Every year, more than 6.3 million mothers, babies, and young children benefit from the federal program known as WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children). The National WIC Association (NWA) is the only nonprofit solely focused on supporting the WIC agencies across the nation by providing education, guidance, and other forms of support to state and local WIC staff. NWA also drives innovation and advocacy for the WIC program.
NWA’s mission is to provide its members with tools and leadership to expand and sustain effective nutrition services for women, infants, and children. It envisions a nation of healthier families. The President and CEO of NWA will report to the Board of Directors and will lead this nonprofit association of WIC provider agencies as it continues to support the passionate people who ensure that the benefits of the WIC program are delivered to the families who need them.
About the National WIC Association and WIC
Background Information about the Federal WIC Program
The NWA was formed to support those who administer this complex federal program but does not administer WIC itself.
To better understand NWA’s important work, some background information about the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program known as WIC is helpful. Initially launched in 1974, the WIC program is a federal program funded through USDA grants and was designed to protect the health of low-income women, infants, and children who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods and information on healthy eating, breastfeeding support, and referrals for health-care services. Today the WIC program is an important $6B child development and nutrition education program that has bipartisan support and benefits 52 percent of the infants born in the US and its territories. WIC is administered through state and local agencies; these state agencies include state health departments, Indian Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, and five US territories. WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies in 10,000 clinic sites and 47,000 authorized retailers. WIC’s benefits include not only food packages designed to meet the special nutritional needs of women and infants, but also include nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and immunization and health screening and referrals. As these local agencies are often located in county health departments, hospitals, mobile clinics, community centers, schools, and even public housing sites, the WIC program brings recipients to community centers and clinical settings.
The Role of NWA
What began as an informal network of the state WIC Directors has today become a 501(c)(3) organization with an annual budget of approximately $5M to $6M, a 27-member Board of Directors, and a staff of 20. Based in Washington, DC, since 1983 the organization has been supporting its members, which are the state and local WIC agencies; individuals, students, and retired members; and industry members whose vision for WIC aligns with NWA’s vision. NWA serves as the nonprofit education arm and advocacy voice of the 12,000 public health nutrition and child development service provider agencies and the more than 6.3 million mothers, babies, and children under five who are served by the WIC program. Its member benefits include e-newsletters, discounts on educational offerings including three yearly conferences, networking, and volunteer opportunities. Through its extensive training and education programs, NWA develops tomorrow’s WIC leaders.
Central to NWA’s mission is health equity, which it defines as the ability of all individuals and families to achieve optimal health, irrespective of their identity, race, ability, or class. This requires equitable access to nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, chronic disease prevention and management services, safe living environments, and good jobs with fair pay. It necessitates removing obstacles to families’ short- and long-term health and wellbeing including poverty, discrimination, and institutional racism and other forms of bias expressed through housing, healthcare, education, labor, and other public policies.
The President & CEO Role
NWA seeks a President & CEO who is passionate about the organization’s mission and has the necessary foresight, experience, and competencies to lead the organization to achieve its vision. The preferred candidate will have an extensive record of successfully leading advocacy efforts, directing legislative efforts, and acting as an organization’s spokesperson. The ability to effectively communicate with leaders on both sides of the aisle as well as a variety of stakeholders is required. NWA seeks a leader with exceptional staff management, financial, and administrative skills that include the ability to improve and modernize systems and processes.
Provide Strategic Vision, Planning & Execution
Serve as a non-voting member of the NWA Executive Committee, Board, Finance Committee, and all Association committees, sections, and task forces.
Lead the organization’s long-range strategic thinking, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the work.
Ensure that NWA executes its initiatives and operations to achieve its goals.
A key responsibility of this role is to effectively advocate on behalf of NWA members and WIC program beneficiaries.
Direct the development of national coalitions and cooperative relationships with other groups, organizations, and entities of national importance.
Serve as a leading public representative, funding and business development executive, and spokesperson for NWA’s brand to key constituencies. These constituents represent multiple stakeholders including the White House, US Department of Agriculture, individual and institutional donors, nonprofit partners, institutional partners and funding sources, and the national/local media.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Direct advocacy efforts to educate Members of Congress and staff, the Administration, other groups, association members, and the public on WIC and NWA issues.
Direct legislative efforts, including bill and report language negotiations, reauthorization and appropriations committee mark-up negotiations.
Direct the drafting of bill and report language for consideration of Congressional committees and members’ personal staff.
Negotiate federal WIC and related legislative, regulatory, and policy initiatives and statements.
Program & Membership Development
Direct membership services, education, training, conferences, and product development.
Direct the development of research opportunities, health equity and community partnership initiatives, and program innovation.
Team Leadership, Management, Employee Development & Succession Planning
Hold full authority to lead and manage the staff leadership team. The CEO must: recruit and appoint, develop, support, and regularly monitor the performance of the staff leadership team.
Establish and uphold a culture of courtesy, professionalism, and respect within the organization. This includes consistently demonstrating behavior in alignment with these values, pro-actively contributing to a positive work environment, and being part of the solution and redirection when behavior on the team is out of alignment.
Supervise, motivate, and hold staff accountable, ensuring they have appropriate skills and resources to further the work of the organization.
Work with the staff leadership team to foster values and mutual trust throughout NWA. Build and develop a strong, progressive, motivated, entrepreneurial, and collaborative team at all levels.
Board Interface, Governance & Accountability for Performance
Work in partnership with the Chair of the Board and Executive Committee to develop Board meeting agendas and reports for the Board.
Serve as a non-voting guest on the Board of NWA and contribute to governance as requested by the Board.
Monitor and report on the performance of NWA and its initiatives at Board meetings.
Facilitate the orientation of new Board members.
Assist the NWA Board in the formulation of policies. Inform staff of Board policies and decisions and ensure that they are implemented quickly and consistently.
Fund Development & Cultivation
Oversee the solicitation, accumulation, investment, and allocation of NWA’s capital resources.
Cultivate and secure resources to support initiatives to achieve the mission and goals of NWA.
Lead the staff leadership team to define and budget for NWA initiatives, and work with the Board for support on commitments to those initiatives budgeted.
Appropriately leverage relationships and resources of the Board and encourage Board members, volunteers, and staff to actively participate in fund cultivation efforts and activities.
Operations & Fiscal Oversight
Oversee the structuring of budgets that reflect and integrate annual and multi-year operational plans, goals, and strategic objectives.
Establish an efficient, effective, entrepreneurial organizational structure and spirit, with clearly defined responsibilities and lines of authority and accountability.
Ensure that appropriate fiscal controls and procedures are in place to ensure transparency and accountability.
Report significant organization and fiscal updates fully and in a timely manner to the Board Executive Committee.
Co-execute, with the Chair of the Board of Directors, all contracts between NWA and other persons or entities or other instruments, which may have a significant material or long-term binding effect on NWA or its members, including notes, mortgages, evidence of indebtedness, documents regarding bankruptcy, and conveyance of property.
Ensure that the Organization is in compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.
Required Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
The CEO must be an inspiring, entrepreneurial, and passionate leader. Specific previous experiences and qualifications include:
An undergraduate degree is required with a minimum of seven years of management experience preferred.
Master’s Degree preferred, with five years of management experience in lieu of the seven years required with undergraduate degree.
A degree in a relevant field such as nonprofit management, public affairs, or business is highly preferred.
Proven ability to engage stakeholders in developing strategy, implementing strategic plans and agendas, and exceeding goals.
Effective in building strategic partnerships and garnering philanthropic support or partnerships from individuals, foundations, corporations; strong ability to clearly communicate NWA’s mission and work to external stakeholders.
Proven ability to create constructive partnerships among diverse constituencies; to build consensus, collaboration, and effective communication.
Effective verbal and written communication skills are necessary, including excellent public speaking skills for formal and extemporaneous presentations.
Integrity and high ethical standards with a reputation for fairness, honesty, and transparency.
Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to use diplomacy effectively.
Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment.
Strong commitment to cultural, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Passionate belief in NWA’s mission, vision, and values.
Experience establishing and working within budgets.
Demonstrated ability to achieve results through others; highly skilled at building cohesive teams that support the organization’s mission.
Ability to assess and develop staff talents, recognizing opportunities to motivate, celebrate, and reward effective performance; ability to proactively identify and fill talent gaps.
Excellent organization, planning, and administrative skills.
Personal Leadership Characteristics
A passionate, visionary leader who successfully implements strategies to achieve the vision.
Leads with integrity and models ethical behavior.
Values transparency and incorporates it into communication, processes, and operations.
Collaboration and relationship-building skills.
An authentic, empathetic leader with high emotional intelligence.
Decision maker with sound judgement.
Compelling communication and influencing skills.
A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.
To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé (Microsoft Word® format preferred). The cover letter should outline how your experience fits the requirements of the position as this will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.
Sterling Martin Associates is committed to providing equal opportunity for employees and applicants in all aspects of the employment relationship, without regard to race, religion, color, age, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, political affiliation, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.