THE MISSION

For over 40 years, AAFE has focused on advancing the rights of Asian Americans and all those in need through advocacy and access in civil rights, to provide immigration assistance, social services, affordable housing; to promote economic development; to empower their communities through research and publishing that embody their issues and concerns; and to foster understanding and unity among diverse communities through building coalitions and forming collaborations. 

COMMUNITIES SERVED

AAFE provides services to all residents who live in the five boroughs of New York City. Specifically, AAFE targets the over 1,000,000 Asian residents of the city, which makes up more than 13% of New York City’s total population. To better facilitate the provision of services, AAFE maintains offices in three particularly high Asian-populated areas – Chinatown and the Lower East Side in Manhattan; Flushing, Queens; and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. 

THE OPPORTUNITY

Poised for transformational change and growth, AAFE seeks a trusted advisor to work with AAFE’s key external and internal stakeholders, public and private partners, and the neighborhoods and communities AAFE serves. He/she will report directly to the Co-Executive Directors and will play a key role on AAFE’s six-member leadership team. They will serve as the chief advisor, strategist and thought partner to the Co-Executive Directors, across AAFE for all programs and services. They will be an instrumental part of the leadership team in partnership with the two Co-Executive Directors. The Chief of Staff will also work proactively with all of Senior Program Officers and their program teams, to promote AAFE’s programs and advocacy positions to policymakers and AAFE’s key stakeholders. As a key facilitator, advisor, problem- solver and strategist across all of AAFE, they will lead and oversee cross- departmental projects, taskforces and work to create and strengthen all management communication, systems and processes. They will be a key member of the leadership team charged with ensuring that all AAFE’s programs and policies effectively promote the organization’s mission, vision, values and culture to maximize AAFE’s impact on the communities they serve. They will work in partnership with the Director of Communications to develop external and internal communication materials, processes and messages for a variety of senior people at AAFE using a diversity of approaches to reach AAFE’s key stakeholders. They will also be asked to manage key external consulting resources where they are needed in order to successfully complete their responsibilities. As a member of the senior leadership team they will be expected to be able to discern how best to perform key aspects of their work in support of the Co-Executive Directors, ensuring that AAFE’s resources (budget and people) are used effectively. While the Co-Executive Directors are the primary external ambassadors for AAFE with elected State and City and local officials, community boards and organizations, there will be opportunities where the Chief of Staff will also play that role as a spokesperson on behalf of the Co-Executive Directors. They will actively identify new strategic partnership opportunities for AAFE and lead the process of coordinating, prioritizing and submitting government funding applications, as necessary. They will also participate in supporting the design, prioritization and implementation of AAFE key strategic initiatives, programs and services. They will work closely with the Co- Executive Director’s and the senior leadership team to ensure that their time is managed strategically so that they can successfully use their time and resources in the most effective way in service of AAFE’s external relations activities. As a member of the leadership team they will foster a strong, unified organization characterized by mission-driven investments in people and place; one that requires collegiality and cross-functional teamwork. 

ABOUT AAFE

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of Asian Americans and all those in need. Founded in 1974 to advocate for equal rights, AAFE has transformed in the past four decades to become one of New York City’s preeminent housing, social service, and community development organizations. AAFE is committed to preserving housing throughout New York City and to providing new opportunities for the city’s diverse immigrant communities. To achieve these goals, AAFE organizes these key activities into several lines of business: Homeownership Promotion, Preservation and Lending; Small Business Promotion, Development and Lending; Real Estate Development; Asset/Property Management and Community Building, Planning and Organizing. 

AAFE has assets of approximately $124 million and a $16 million annual operating budget, of which approximately $2.9 million are derived from grants. Total AAFE staff equals 140 professionals which are located in offices: in Chinatown and the Lower East Side, Jackson Heights and Flushing, Queens. The Chief of Staff will be based in the AAFE’s headquarters at 2 Allen Street in Chinatown, New York City. They will travel as necessary and be a vibrant and known leader across all of AAFE’s assets and staff who are based in multiple locations. 

 

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND PRIORITIES 

Trusted Advisor and Direct Support of the Co-Executive Directors

  • Partner with the Co-Executive Directors to set strategic priorities, define metrics for impact, and continuously monitor the implementation of AAFE programs against mission goals and priorities.
  • Anticipate and ensure the Co-Executive Directors are involved with critical project or decision-making processes at all of the right times, where their input and authority are most needed. 
  • Perform advance planning and preparation for the Co-Executive Directors for internal and external meetings, create project plans and timelines and manage the Executive Office’s follow-up tasks and outcomes. Ensure that cross organizational projects and communication are managed on behalf of the Co-Executive Directors. 
  • Develop a diversity of internal communication processes and approaches that reliably and transparently relay information across the organization about upcoming initiatives, new developments, and important activities.

Meeting and Event Preparation

  • Prepare agendas and seek out critical topics for discussion and input for the leadership team and for board meetings. 
  • Help to develop company-wide and board retreats, conferences, and other special events and/or recommend external or internal resources who may lead a particular retreat or program.

Project and Performance Management 

  • Independently lead or coordinate large, often cross-departmental, organization-wide projects or initiatives that require executive level engagement and skills in navigating ambiguity, problem-solving, prototyping new programs, and building relationships. 
  • Diagnose problems, recommend solutions and act quickly and efficiently to confront and triage unexpected internal or external challenges that the Co-Executive Directors or AAFE may face. 
  • Conduct research, perform benchmarking, analyze complex data or information, and make recommendations on how best to utilize the information gathered. 
  • Develop key performance indicators and maintain dashboards for the leadership team to monitor program implementation and the need for course-correction. 
  • Propose the creation of new systems, policies, procedures and/or processes to streamline cross-organizational operations and measure impact. 
  • Help senior directors and staff to raise critical issues with the Co-Executive Directors and serve as an early-warning radar system to abate crises or challenges before they erupt

Strategic Planning, Alignment, and Monitoring 

  • Lead the annual strategic planning process by acting as a project manager and ensuring alignment with the board, Co-Executive Directors, and leadership team. 
  • Monitor the progress and impact measurement of implementing the strategic plan and providing regular updates to the Co-Executive Directors, leadership team, and the Board. 

Board Management 

  • Collect data from across the organization to prepare reports and dashboards for the Board. 
  • Prepare and send Board materials in advance of committee, AAFE Board, and joint board meetings; track and support follow-up actions. 
  • Update Board recruitment and orientation materials. 
  • Support the onboarding of new board members.

Fund Development Support 

  • Work in partnership and support of the Co-Executive Directors in conducting and presenting research and recommendations that summarize background information on potential new AAFE partners and funders. 
  • In connection with this work, maintain accurate and up-to-date lists and information of AAFE partners, funders, and other critical external stakeholders for the Co-Executive Directors and Board, teeing up communications and meetings to support ongoing relationship-building.

Hiring and Management Support 

  • Work with the Director of HR and when needed, draft job descriptions, outline interview processes, and screen candidates for leadership roles reporting to the Co-Executive Directors, and for Executive Office support roles. Support the onboarding of key senior level new hires and assist in integrating them into the leadership team and Executive Office.

External Partner and Community Engagement 

  • Sustain a network of high-level relationships with elected officials and their staff, government agencies, and community boards to support AAFE’s mission goals year- round. 
  • Coordinate the submission of discretionary expense and capital funding requests to the New York City Council, NY State Senate and Assembly. Maintain all correspondence and reporting to appropriate agencies regarding discretionary awards. 
  • In collaboration with Community Services staff and Director of Communications and Marketing, support the design and implementation of community outreach and special events, including AAFE’s annual conference and fundraiser 
  • Represent the organization in meetings with elected officials and their staff, government agencies, community boards, and coalitions 

 

Direct reports: 

  • Leadership Team members: Director of Communications and Marketing and Managing Director of Community Services 
  • Executive Office support staff: Manager of Operations 

 

IDEAL CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE AND CHARACTERISTICS

The Chief of Staff will possess:

1) Superior management and supervisory experience in a highly collaborative and dynamic organization, directing or leading a complex and sophisticated non-profit and mission based organizational strategy utilizing internal and external resources to implement goals and action plans with demonstrated results. Employs a commitment to ensuring best-in-class relationships with diversity of stakeholders and for a variety of projects and initiatives across all of AAFE’s programs and services. They will be a key person at AAFE in staying abreast of changing government policies, programs and funding sources.

2) Deep expertise and experience in playing a key leadership role for a dynamic, growing and yet historically civic-oriented non-profit organization. Strong and demonstrated interest and experience in community development, affordable housing, economic development in Asian American, immigrant and low-income communities. Will be able to handle multiple cross – organizational projects and initiatives with vastly different milestones, timetables, budgets and goals. Hands on experience with having worked with government agencies, elected officials and community relations groups and organizations for a mission-driven organization with a dynamic and growing policy and advocacy agenda.

3) Strong knowledge and expertise in providing strategic, advisory and organizational leadership to support and advance AAFE’s internal and external priorities, especially during a time of organizational change and growth. The demonstrated ability to align leaders and their teams, build the right government and community relations strategy and activities and engage, federal, state and local elected official, government agencies, and other key stakeholders to ensure they are aligned with AAFE’s overall mission, vision and strategic goals.

4) Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, and is able to build and maintain strong, productive relationships with the Co-Executive Directors and be known as their trusted advisor, work effectively with the senior program officers to understand the programs they lead and the communities they serve to promote them effectively. Works well with their key counterpart who is the Director of Communications to ensure that their work is aligned and effective in supporting all of AAFE’s external relations efforts and initiatives. AAFE is seeking candidates who have experience with managing external consultants and participating in both active and passive strategic partnerships.

5) The ability to identify, establish and sustain strong rapport and understanding of the communities that AAFE serves across all of its lines of business and have a keen ability to manage the sensitivities and needs of these communities. Plays a key role as an ambassador and advocate for all of AAFE’s programs and services.

6) Excellent problem-solving skills and approaches their work with an entrepreneurial spirit knowing that government and community relations requires out-of-the-box thinking as the different policy and advocacy positions has its own unique goals, challenges, obstacles and complexities. Has the ability to remain grounded and provides a strong sense of calm in the face of these circumstances and how to create and deliver real world solutions. Employs creativity to break free from established structures and past practices and tries new approaches to solving problems. 

7) Strong presentation skills with a track record of success in presenting to senior management and groups of diverse audiences with different stakeholders and also different goals and needs including: the NYC Council, the Boro Presidents, City Planning Commission, the Board of Standard and Appeals, Community Boards, Town Halls and various City, State and Federal agencies and officials.

8) Superior organizational skills with a demonstrated ability to prioritize their own projects and assignments and also inspire and manage others to deliver high-quality work on time and within budget. Works effectively independently, as well as in a team-oriented, collaborative, and collegial environment. Able to balance the desire for collaboration with the need for efficient and effective business practices.

9) Excellent writing skills including the ability to craft RFP’s and grants to secure financing from multiple sources: government, banks and foundations. Brings with them a track record of success with doing effective community outreach and obtaining funding from key AAFE stakeholders.

10) Ability to maximize the effective use of up-to-date technology.

11) A professional and approachable demeanor with a keen ability to listen deeply. Is someone who leads by treating others with respect, dignity and openness. Employs a high level of sensitivity, appreciation, and commitment to diversity. Has a high degree of emotional intelligence and self-awareness and has a self-reflective nature to the work they perform and the people they interact with on a regular basis.

12) Master’s Degree in business administration, planning, public policy is preferred, or minimally eight years of executive level experience with some of those years having managed a team of internal and external professionals at a dynamic, evolving organization.

13) Bilingual English/Chinese (Mandarin and/or Cantonese) or English/Spanish a plus. A knowledge of working with minority and immigrant communities and a familiarity with NYC AAFE service area neighborhoods: Chinatown, NYC; Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Flushing, Queens is strongly preferred. 

AAFE seeks a diverse pool of candidates. Salary will be negotiable and will be commensurate with your level of expertise and experience. Preference will be given to applicants who live or have experience and/or knowledge about the neighborhoods that AAFE serves: Chinatown and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and Jackson Heights and Flushing, Queens. The Chief of Staff will be based in the AAFE’s headquarters at 2 Allen Street in Chinatown, New York City.

Applications, which must include a cover letter explaining your reasons for your interest in this position and organization, and your salary requirements and/or any candidate referrals, should be sent to the attention of  Daniel Hurd of The Forum Group at dhurd@forumgrp.com.

For more information about the organization and its programs, please visit www.aafe.org