Chief Executive Officer


Malone, NY

15+ years

Posted 186 days ago

  by    Elise Riffel

This job is no longer available.


Citizen Advocates and the North Star Family of Services (Citizen Advocates) is a multi-service 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides caring, professional, and certified care to over 7,000 individuals each year through its programs in mentalhealth, substance use disorder treatment and prevention, and residential, habilitation and vocational services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Founded in 1975 as a small sheltered work program for people with intellectual and developmentaldisabilities, today Citizen Advocates is the largest private employer in Franklin County, NY, with a staff of over 750 employees.

The organization partners with numerous state agencies, including the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), and the NYS Department of Health (DOH).

Headquartered in Malone, NY with an operating budget of $40M, Citizen Advocates operates extensively throughout Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties in northern New York State, often referred to as the North Country. The large catchment area means the agency?s transportation systems log over 800,000 miles each year transporting clients.

Citizen Advocates is committed and passionate that their evidence-based, culturally sensitive, trauma informed and family/patient-centered care programs help their regional population address behavioral health needs that achieves best outcomes and improves quality of life for all.


The CEO serves as the chief professional officer of the organization and tasked with leading one of the premier companies located in the region. Reporting to a highly energized board, the CEO will set Citizen Advocates towards a path of growth.

The CEO must possess strong business building skills. The board looks to a CEO who can think creatively about leveraging existing resources towards strategic growth that positions Citizen Advocates to better serve its North Country community. Recently the organization was selected to lead two new important programs (Crisis and Recovery Center and a CCBHC). The CEO will continue to set the organization?s sights towards programmatic expansion.

Citizen Advocates seeks a leader who will thrive in an entrepreneurial, collegial and accomplishment-oriented culture and who will have the ability to maintain the sustainability of the organization on a long-term basis that is financially viable, balancing visionary leadership with the need to drive toward operational implementation.

Services provided by Citizen Advocates relies deeply upon a dedicated and highly motivated workforce providing vital services to its clients. The CEO must ensure that the organization is appropriately staffed and that staff is trained and professionaly supported throughout their career path within the organization. The CEO must develop and incorporate professional staff development and retention as part of Citizen Advocates ongoing strategic initiatives.

The CEO will also be tasked with building the Citizen Advocates brand and reputation in the region. As one of the region?s largest employers and a major provider of direct services in the North Country, Citizen Advocates requires its CEO to ensure that the organization is prominently represented with county, state and federal agencies; with other similarly-minded service providers; community leaders; elected officials; and media/news outlets.

He/she is responsible for ensuring superior standards of care and service delivery, progressive service growth and sound business expansion, a positive reputation with stakeholder groups and ethical conduct throughout the organization.



?        Drive the creation and implementation of strategic plans.

o  Engage and motivate Board of Directors, management and staff in the development and implementation of plans.

o  Evaluate progress and impact.

?        Seek new opportunities for service growth both in the public and private sectors, strategic alliances and business opportunities to support the mission and vision of the organization.


?        Create an organizational environment that reflects an absolute commitment to mission and the continuing pursuit of quality improvement throughout the organization.

o  Ensure that policies, procedures and practices facilitate a mission driven culture.

o  Assure that all programs and services are consistent with the mission, vision and values of the organization and meet or exceed expectations of relevant stakeholder groups.

o  Continually assess organizational performance against plans and external benchmarks to validate the organization?s position as a premier provider of services for people with disabilities.


?        Promote a culture of workforce inclusion, professional development and recognition to enhance employee performance and the pursuit of best practices throughout the organization.

?        Build depth in managerial and professional leadership structure to assure ongoing stability throughout the organization.

o  Continue to provide experiential and development opportunities for staff at all levels throughout the organization.

?        Motivate, evaluate and inspire staff by creating a collaborative, transparent and inclusive culture that allows for an open dialogue to address both the challenges and goals facing Citizen Advocates.

Board Relations

?        Inform and advise Board of Directors with regard to significant environmental trends such as new service delivery models, changes in government policy, funding opportunities or challenges and market trends that could impact organizational directions and activities.

?        Working with Board leadership, create a dynamic, collaborative partnership between the organization?s voluntary Board of Directors and senior management to advance short and long term objectives, with particular emphasis on community outreach and fund raising activities.

Communications and Community Relations

?        Ensure an effective communication program is developed and maintained to promote positive relationships with stakeholder groups (people served, families, funders, state agencies, business partners, donors and the public at large).

?        As the face of the organization, continually seek and cultivate relationships on behalf of Citizen Advocates with individuals who might serve as Board or Board Committee members, become donors or otherwise promote the advancement of Citizen Advocates and the people it serves.

?        Work with leaders within all areas of government on systemic changes relevant to the sector.

?        Develop and leverage an ongoing communications, public relations and branding strategy.



?        Minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible leadership experience in related field.

?        Master?s Degree in relevant field highly desirable.

?        Should have demonstrated success in leadership roles managing complex organizations in a highly regulated environment.

?        An understanding and interest in working with a rural-based service provider.

?        Financial acumen, business, management and forecasting skills ? ability to link strategic and operational goals to fiscal realities and program priorities.

?        Reputation as a team builder with demonstrated success leading, motivating and collaborating with a large group of professional and direct service staff.

?        Successful relationship builder with a track record of attracting new funding sources and/or the appetite to do so.

?        Ability to articulate Citizen Advocates? message to a broad range of constituents and the general public.


?        Passion and dedication to Citizen Advocates? mission.

?        Inspirational leadership skills.

?        Unquestioned integrity and values.

?        Persistence/resilience ? the realization that the work is not the priority of others and that the ability to keep going in the face of obstacles, delays and denials is essential.

?        Commitment to change/improvement ? creating a culture that always looks to improve.

?        Sound judgment/decision making in order to deal with the complexities and uncertainties in the nonprofit marketplace.

?        Intellectual/emotional intelligence.

?        Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

?        Prudent risk taker/results oriented.

?        Flexible/responsive to feedback.

?        Innovative/entrepreneurial/creative/high energy.

?        Politically savvy.