Chief Business Officer

Portland, OR 97203 USA
$35,000 to $40,000 Annually
15 Jun 2018
15 Jul 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Why does this position matter?

We believe all people deserve the chance to grow without soul-crushing debt. We believe education is an investment we share, because education is our chance to make the world better. To this end, we strive to create financial models that make this education affordable and accessible to students from a variety of background, that prioritizes the student experience, and prevents our students from accumulating debt during their time at Wayfinding. These priorities impact the way we have built our business model, track our budget, engage with required compliance, and hire our staff and faculty. The Chief Business Officer is the champion of this vision and these priorities while seeking to grow the movement.

What does this position consist of?

The Chief Business Officer role is primarily responsible for all non-academic components of operating the college and is one of the primary strategic conversation partners for the President and Chief Academic Officer.

You would have lots of opportunity to tailor the details of this role to your specific interests, talents, and desired areas of growth. So, knowing there is a lot of flexibility in the role and surely other things will come up as Wayfinding evolves, here are the foundational responsibilities that rest with the Chief Business Officer:

  • Strategic budget conversations and ongoing cash flow management responsibility, including reconciliation of end-of-period statements and preparing these for sharing with the crew, Board, and other stakeholders.
  • Budget maintenance, including monthly accounting/bookkeeping tasks, bill paying and tracking, monthly check ins with crew members to make sure budgets are on track, termly meetings with the Board Finance Committee, monthly financial outlook meetings with the President, Director of Community Engagement, and Board Chair.
  • Securing lines of credit or friendly loans to help Wayfinding weather cash flow ebbs and flows that happen throughout our academic year.
  • Tuition billing model oversight - using the model we have built on our foundational beliefs, making annual adjustments and improvements to it and meeting with students individually about their tuition payment plans and monthly or termly invoicing and collecting of tuition.
  • Legal and Compliance - ensuring our insurance stays up-to-date and meets our needs, management of our lease with the LLC that owns the building, creation and/or review of any contracts we are signing as an organization.
  • Grant management and oversight (grant writing optional depending on who on the team has the strongest skills in this area) - leading the team in envisioning the role of grants in helping us strengthen and expand our programs.

Additional opportunities for someone in this role:

  • Launching new programs and initiatives, especially things that bring in additional sources of revenue. Examples: Lifelong Wayfinding program (Fall 2018 planned launch), collaborating on building an intergenerational living community with community partners (unknown launch date), launching a 2nd campus location (unknown launch date).
  • Accreditation assistance. Currently the President does all the accreditation applications and paperwork, but having some help with this would be appreciated, especially if we choose to proceed with NWCCU accreditation and have to navigate their compliance elements, site visits, etc.
  • Scholarship funding and creation.
  • Combine this role with being the Director of Technology to vision and develop new platforms for us to achieve our objectives as well as maintain and improve our current platforms.

You’ll have the help and support of a talented crew of staff and volunteers to achieve our goals, and you will be given the freedom and flexibility to make the role your own. Some specific responsibility areas of the Chief Business Officer include (but are not limited to):

  • Fostering a thriving student body at Wayfinding Academy
  • Connecting students to the communities around them through connections to mentors or internships
  • Maintaining organizational metrics and dashboards and helping other crew members do the same
  • Being part of the core crew and coordinating efforts with the support of the rest of the cross-functional crew

Additional Commitments:

  • Participate in weekly crew meetings (required)
  • Attend quarterly Board meetings (required)
  • Participate in Orientation the last week of August (required)
  • Attend off-site strategic planning retreats which take place approximately 2 times per year (very strongly recommended) Attend various community engagement events (schedule permitting)


What does an ideal candidate for this position look like?

Skills and traits an ideal candidate would have (or be confident they could quickly develop):

  • Ability to train colleagues and students in software and financial systems
  • An understanding of all aspects of financially managing an organization; budgeting, book keeping, cash flow management, reporting, auditing, tax filing
  • Willingness to read and respond to legal matters including insurance, contracts, copyright, state filings and reporting, institutional policy matters
  • Analytical and strategic sense
  • More of a realist than an optimist
  • Ability to stretch resources and find creative solutions
  • Proactive in addressing upcoming challenges
  • Thorough and willing to dig down in the weeds
  • Ability to complete projects and not leave 85 projects half done.
  • Ability to listen deeply and understand a problem before trying to solve it
  • Ability to prioritize tasks; when there are more important/great ideas than hours to complete them
  • Ability to address non-urgent tasks before the backlog grows out of proportions
  • Firm and Persistent in terms of setting and complying to financial boundaries and policies set by the organization
  • Ability to speak up, challenge and build upon other peoples ideas, so they are more manageable
  • Ability to engage people at all levels: students, community members, colleagues, board, authorities

Qualities of an ideal candidate (and what you can expect from your co-workers):

  • Conscientious: do what you say you’ll do
  • Dedicated: you need to care about the college, the mission, and the people in it
  • Curious: you won’t know everything you need right away, so you better love learning
  • Independent: management resources are thin, so most of the work is self-directed
  • Humble: we’re learning as we go, and that requires a willingness to self-critique
  • Gritty: when the going gets tough, you don’t run away or shut down
  • Kind: starting a college is challenging, we need to be good to each other
  • Revolutionary: we need change in higher education, you should be on board for that

Statement of diversity & justice:

We believe diverse backgrounds and perspectives are not simply ideal, but critical to the Wayfinding Academy, the movement to re-imagine higher education, and to the students we serve. We believe justice is an active pursuit, not a passive stance. As such, we place special emphasis on candidates from underrepresented racial, ethnic, religious, gender association, sexual orientation, economic, (dis)ability, and cultural backgrounds which will increase the diversity of our organization and help us strive toward justice on those (and other) fronts.

Wayfinding Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, religion, national origin, disability, previous military service or any other protected category in the admission of students, employment, access or treatment in its programs and activities or the administration of its educational and employment policies.

Wayfinding Academy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicable federal and state laws and guidelines are followed, including Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Executive Order 11246 of 1965, as amended by Executive Order 11357 of 1967; Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

How to apply:
Please submit an up-to-date resume or CV and a cover letter that tells us who you are and why you’re applying. Also, please submit an answer to the following prompts which are very similar to the prompts potential students respond to during their application process to join our 2-year program:

1) Our Creed represents what we stand for and strive toward every day. Read it thoughtfully and imagine yourself at a college that believes these things. Is this a place where you will thrive? (Find it here:

2) Which of the tasks and responsibilities listed above are you most confident about? Which one(s) do you feel would be the most “stretchy” for you?

Note that this position is a 1/2 time role on its own. The annual salary posted is for a full time role in case we are able to combine the Chief Business Officer role with other roles to create a full time role. Also because there is no easy way to list an annual salary for a half time role on these online job boards. :)

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