Jobs Board

Executive Director (First 5 LA)

Company Name

First 5 LA

Company City

Los Angeles

Company State


Job Location

Los Angeles, CA

Company Information

First 5 LA is focused on improving the lives of children prenatal to age 5, their families and communities in Los Angeles County, particularly those facing the greatest inequities and opportunities – and we are seeking a champion dedicated to this mission to serve as our next Executive Director (ED).

We focus on systems change – advancing policy and practice change within county and community systems and building collective will among multiple and diverse stakeholders to improve outcomes for young children.
Established as a result of the voter-approved California Children and Families Act (Proposition 10) of 1998, First 5 LA is an independent public agency mandated to achieve results that improve the lives of children, prenatal to age 5, and their families. Our independence allows us the flexibility to design and test new ways of doing work and implement innovative strategies that strengthen child- and family- serving systems and prioritize resources to young children, their families and communities most in-need.

Since our inception, we have invested more than $2 billion in county and community efforts to improve conditions for young children and families. The FY 2022-23 budget of $105.9 million makes First 5 LA one of the largest investors in early childhood wellbeing in the country. In addition to dedicated Prop 10 funds, we have continued to diversify our revenue, attracting over $24.5 million in other public and private resources in the last four fiscal years, and successfully securing State and LA County support of programs and services previously piloted or fully funded by First 5 LA. With 118 budgeted positions, and a racially and ethnically diverse team that reflects the diversity within the communities across the county.

First 5 LA has the financial resources; deep relationships with parents, residents and community leaders; partnerships with the diverse family-serving public systems throughout LA County, and 24 years of experience and learning. We are grounded in the values of Collaboration, Integrity, Learning, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that imbue our work with one another and alongside community; governed by a Board confident in First 5 LA’s strategic direction; and led by a team of mission-driven, passionate, adaptive, and capable professionals. First 5 LA is an employer of choice with a high retention rate. All these assets put us in a unique position to make meaningful progress toward our highest aspirations for children, their families, and communities in the years ahead.

For more information about the organization, visit

Job Description

Our next ED is tasked to build upon the organization’s strong strategic foundation and accelerate our influence and impact. In collaboration with the Board of Commissioners and the First 5 LA team, the ED leads our vision, overall strategy and direction as we strive to advance systems change (policy, practice, community norm change) within child- and family-serving systems in LA County and beyond.

The ED will bring strategic and visionary leadership; have a track record of success in organizational and change management; be skilled at communicating with and building effective relationships and coalitions across a wide array of public, philanthropic and community partners; and understand and model the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all aspects of their work.

Reporting to the 13-member Board of Commissioners, the ED oversees a 7-member Senior Leadership Team, comprising the leaders of the Center for Operational Effectiveness, Center for Child and Family Impact, and the Offices of Data for Action; Equity, Strategy and Learning; Communications; and Government Affairs and Public Policy. They also oversee the Executive Director’s Office, which is led by a Chief of Staff.

The Key Areas of Oversight are:

  • Organizational Leadership: The ED will supervise staff, empowering team members in their areas of expertise and responsibility while providing mentorship and support where needed. They will ensure cohesion and mission-focus across the organization’s programmatic, financial, and operational functions.
  • Vision and Strategic Planning, Implementation and Refinement: The ED will have a successful track record as a collaborator, convener, executor, and innovator. Working in collaboration with Commissioners, employees, stakeholders, and community partners, the ED implements and refines First 5 LA’s strategic plan in alignment with the organization’s resources.
  • Culture-Building and Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Grounded in the organization’s staff-led DEI governance process, the ED will work with staff to identify and implement practices that foster a culture of trust, healing and belonging and an environment that supports the individual and collective success of a diverse team.
  • External Relations: The ED serves as a champion for programmatic and policy initiatives aimed at advancing First 5 LA’s outcomes. They will build on strategic opportunities for First 5 LA in the areas of policy development, advocacy, government relations, partnerships and community engagement. The ED will be a strong facilitator, clear communicator and collaborator who is skilled at listening to and learning from diverse community voices and parents with lived experience in the communities historically underserved and hardest to reach.

Ideal Candidate

First 5 LA’s next ED will be an experienced, people-centric, results-focused and collegial leader who is passionate about First 5 LA’s mission and strategic direction. They will exhibit strategic, inclusive and adaptive leadership, systems thinking, strong “plain speak” communications skills, change management practices, and people management skills. They will embrace the use and power of data and parent voice to call attention to issues and drive systems-level change. They will bring a strong orientation to fiscal stewardship, the strategic use of public funds, and growing state and county investments in the outcomes we seek for young children and families.

The ideal candidate is an active listener, a team builder, and proactive collaborator who fosters a culture of belonging, healing and trust and is committed to DEI as a personal and professional journey of self-reflection and deliberate improvement. And, the individual will possess a high level of emotional intelligence to cultivate and maintain trusting relationships with both internal and external stakeholders and partners.

Job Qualifications

Knowledge, Experience & Education

  • A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university, and an advanced degree is desirable. The First 5 LA Board recognizes that academic credentials alone are not indicative of leadership experience and potential; a mix of professional background and lived experience will be strongly considered in place of formal advanced degrees.
  • Working experience in California and Los Angeles County, especially as it relates to advocacy, public policy and systems change to improve the lives of young children, their families and communities
  • At least 15 years of progressively more responsible leadership or management in complex environments advancing community-focused and community-centered change and successfully influencing colleagues at all levels of leadership across an organization
  • Experience managing complex programs or organizational budgets, with knowledge of public systems and budget processes, at the local, county and/or state level in California, highly desirable
  • An understanding of child development, early learning, community health, social determinants of health and the unique dynamics of work in and alongside parents, residents and local government
  • Deep humility and respect for the lived experience of families with young children and a passion for helping communities work toward equitable systems change
  • Success in coalition-building and working effectively with diverse groups of people, including the acumen and humility to work in a cross-cultural manner
  • A sense of humor

Compensation & Benefits

First 5 LA offers an attractive public sector executive salary, eligibility for an annual performance bonus at the discretion of the Board, car allowance and severance package (pursuant to negotiated employment agreement). The salary offer will be dependent on experience.

First 5 LA offers a generous benefits package including paying 100% of the premiums for employee and their dependents for medical, dental, vision benefits, and for employee’s life and long-term disability insurance policies; 403(b) retirement savings and investment plan through The Standard; contribution to employee’s retirement savings plus matching employee’s elective retirement contributions; paid vacation and sick time; 13 paid holidays; professional development coaching, flexible work schedules; voluntary health and dependent care spending accounts; employee assistance program; life insurance and long-term disability; voluntary college savings plan; and leadership development programs.

Hybrid Work, Vaccine Requirements, Location & Residency

Operating as a fully remote organization since March 2020, First 5 LA has begun testing a hybrid approach, enabling colleagues to return to in-person and on-site work on a voluntary basis. We require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they are entitled to a reasonable accommodation under applicable law. Proof of in-state residency and the ability to work onsite in the First 5 LA building is required.

How to Apply

We are partnering with Justus McGinity Executive Search for this recruitment. The full Position Announcement available here. Presentation of candidates to the First 5 LA Executive Committee will occur in late September. Please submit a resume and cover letter to . Submitted materials will be screened for experience as well as alignment with First 5 LA’s vision, priorities, and attributes for the ED role.

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