Position Description

Position Description

Side by Side

(San Anselmo, CA)

Title: Chief Executive Officer


Side by Side is a community-based nonprofit organization serving at-risk young people and their families. With the mission to walk with young people impacted by adversity toward a future with connection and meaning, Side by Side operates across the Bay Area, providing young people ages 5-26 and family members with critical services that span behavioral and mental health, early intervention in schools, LGBTQIA+ support, transitional housing for foster youth, and special education.

When a group of civic-minded women started an orphanage in San Anselmo in 1895, they could not possibly have imagined the vital and diverse agency this organization has become. From an orphanage that housed 100 children in Marin County, Side by Side now operates in four counties – Marin, Alameda, Sonoma, and Napa – across the Bay Area, reaching over 2,000 children, young adults, and family members per year with a broad spectrum of much-needed services. In 2018, the agency (then Sunny Hills Services) was rebranded as Side by Side to better capture the essence of its relationship with the youth it serves across a diverse array of programs. Its programs use data to drive outcomes and impact, while remaining open and responsive to the ever-evolving needs in the communities it serves. 

Currently, the agency offers six programs that help youth identify their strengths, needs, and goals and work to build emotional, social, and functional skills and competence: 

  • Community Counseling (Alameda, Marin, Sonoma, Napa Counties): Mental and behavioral health treatment for children and youth ages 5-26 and their families.
  • Irene M. Hunt School (Marin County): Special education in a therapeutic school for up to 64 K-12 students with social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities.
  • Our Space (Alameda County): Specialized community services for LGBTQIA+ youth ages 13-25 impacted by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, poverty, and homelessness, as well as mobile outreach groups for LGBTQIA+ youth and the professionals who serve them.
  • Real Alternatives (Alameda County): Housing and support services for transition-age foster, former foster and probation youth ages 16-24 including mental and behavioral health services, life and job skills mentoring and training, and educational support.
  • TAY Space (Marin County): Community center that provides clinical services, case management, and social activities for transition-age youth struggling with mental illness, poverty, and homelessness.
  • YouThrive (Sonoma and Marin Counties): Early intervention for low-income, at-risk middle and high school students and their families, and diversity, equity, and inclusion curricula for college-age students.

For additional information about Side by Side and its programs, please visit www.sidebysideyouth.org.


After 21 years with the organization, the last eleven as CEO, Mary Denton will be retiring from the Chief Executive Officer position in 2021. Side by Side is seeking a visionary, empowering, empathetic leader with demonstrated success in team leadership as its next CEO to lead the agency toward continued sustainability and success in accomplishing its strategic priorities and objectives.


The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the overall leadership and management of Side by Side and for the successful consistent achievement of its mission, strategic goals, and financial objectives, helping to maintain the agency’s excellent reputation. Reporting to and working in partnership with the Board of Directors, the CEO provides strategic vision, exceptional leadership, and business and financial accountability for the organization’s sustainability, future growth, and development. A highly visible representative of Side by Side, the CEO is responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships with various constituencies including children and their families, staff, Board members, donors, volunteers, community leaders, foundations, government, and partner agencies. This individual will lead the agency’s strongly held commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at all levels of the organization. The CEO supervises and empowers the agency’s senior leadership team and assists the Board in fulfilling its governance functions, ensuring that all Board members, staff, volunteers, and donors are working to achieve a common vision and purpose. The CEO oversees an annual budget of approximately $11 million and a total staff of 90 with the following direct reports: Chief Program Officer; Director of Finance; Director of Development and Communications; Director of Human Resources; and Director of Property and Risk Management. 

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Leadership Articulating vision and strategic direction of Side by Side, ensuring the implementation of the newly developed strategic plan and recommending short-term and long- range plans and budgets to the Board of Directors; formulating budgets for plans, programs, and objectives, and directing all programs, services, and activities; articulating both the short-term and long-term vision of the agency and ensuring that overall agency objectives and milestones are met.
  • Management and Staff Development – Leading the senior management team to strengthen and support the programmatic, financial, and operational goals of Side by Side; involvement in recruiting, developing, and motivating staff; identifying training needs and ensuring development and implementation of programs that address needs; overseeing succession planning and assessment of staff; reviewing current practices and methods, and initiating development of new ones as necessary to reduce costs, encourage growth, and improve efficiency.
  • Financial Oversight – Maintaining primary accountability for the financial position of the organization; overseeing financial management and the development of budgets to ensure the financial integrity and viability of the agency; ensuring the Board is regularly informed on the financial status of the agency; monitoring appropriate financial compliance, reporting, and auditing; providing the appropriate control and accountability of all funds, physical assets, and other property.
  • Funding Identifying and developing effective partnerships, collaborations, and strategic alliances with government agencies, foundations, corporations, and other sources of funds within the nonprofit sector, as well as with individual donors; representing Side by Side to prospective and current funders; building and cultivating relationships on behalf of the agency.
  • Board Relations – Facilitating operations and administration of the Board by promoting proactive, inclusive Board development, advising and informing Board members, interfacing between Board and staff, and supporting the Board to fulfill its governance function; ensuring an environment that is conducive to transparency, good governance and productive Board work; advancing opportunities to further diversify Board membership.
  • Quality, Compliance and Reporting Ensuring that agency activities and operations are in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and laws governing business operations; establishing systems to regularly and systematically evaluate the results of overall operations and programs.
  • Risk Management – Overseeing and maintaining a strong system of internal controls; analyzing financial and business risks and taking steps where appropriate to help mitigate those risks; ensuring employee and client safety; protecting assets as necessary and appropriate.
  • Advocacy, Community Relations and Communications Assuring that the agency and its mission, programs, and services are consistently presented in a strong, positive image to relevant stakeholders; maintaining leadership and program advocacy role of the agency by interfacing with other community organizations and key constituent groups, government departments, and political leaders through direct contact and through local and state provider associations.


The ideal candidate is an empathetic, collaborative team builder, mentor and inspirational leader who operates with a strategic perspective while executing day-to-day activities. The CEO will be a visionary, forward-thinking leader with an entrepreneurial spirit who effectively utilizes strong business acumen to inform decisions. Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, are essential. As such, the CEO will be an excellent listener, have strong interpersonal skills and be a natural relationship builder. The capacity to lead the fund development effort and to relate comfortably with a variety of funding sources, including public, institutional, and individual funders, is essential. The CEO will be accessible and transparent and possess the ability to adapt and respond effectively to change, while continuing to lead and mentor the team. This individual must be a coalition-builder who can work on multiple levels with a wide variety of constituencies and across various geographic regions and offices to implement programs and processes, and facilitate change, when required. The CEO will have a demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity within the organization and on the Board, as well as recognize the diverse nature of the community. An inclusive leadership style that endorses collaboration, trust and open, transparent communication between all stakeholders will be highly valued. This individual will accomplish goals through motivation, the delegation of authority, and the use of systems that are designed for effective planning, evaluation, and accountability. The successful candidate will have critical thinking skills and will display integrity, good judgment, technical expertise, financial acumen, strong organizational skills, and logical priority-setting skills. The successful candidate should have a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness, a strong work ethic, self-initiative, a good sense of humor, and a high energy level. Above all, this individual must be deeply passionate about the work of Side by Side and demonstrate a commitment to providing high quality services in a mission-driven environment.


Preferred candidates will have demonstrated excellence in a senior leadership position in a complex human service or nonprofit organization that is recognized for its commitment of exemplary service to the community. Experience building and motivating a strong team with exceptional programmatic results while simultaneously growing an organization’s talent, systems, and processes to enhance its impact and financial sustainability will be highly valued. The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and forward-thinking individual who has shown success in generating widespread support for an organization through positive culture building, and collaborative efforts with internal and external stakeholders. The CEO should also have a good understanding of effective, forward-looking fiscal management, including annual budgeting and cash flow analysis, and implications for nonprofits. Team management experience is required, and the successful candidate must demonstrate an ability to oversee, inspire, and collaborate with staff and will have a clearly articulated management philosophy which supports a positive team culture, high performance, and employee retention. Excellent communication skills, including public speaking and writing skills, and success in forming strong community partnerships are essential and expected. The successful candidate will articulate a strong commitment to and understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, will possess a high level of cultural competence, effectively incorporating DEI into all aspects of their work, and will work productively across lines of difference. 


An undergraduate degree is required; an advanced degree in related fields of study such as mental health services or social work is preferred.


The salary range is $175,000 to $225,000. A comprehensive benefits package will be provided.


To apply for this position, visit www.morrisberger.com/searches.php

Morris & Berger
500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 2150
Glendale, CA 91203-1923

1 (818) 507-1234