Chief Operating Officer

Position: Chief Operating Officer

Compensation:  Commensurate with experience  

FLSA Status: Full-time; Exempt

Reports to: Brad Myles, C.E.O.

Direct Reports:  None

Location: Washington DC

Other: For more information about the COO role or search, please submit resume and cover letter, in MS Word format to Sarah Yun, Search Consultant, and Kathleen Yazbak, Founder/President: Viewcrest Advisors, at:

The Organization:

Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris disrupts the conditions that allow human trafficking to thrive in our society. From working with government leaders to protect victims’ rights, to building partnerships with the world’s leading technology corporations, we spark long-term change that focuses communities on identifying, reporting, and eliminating trafficking networks. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of all that we do -- helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and gathering the data to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.  Unparalleled expertise. Relentlessness. And an innovative spirit. This is how Polaris eradicates the slavery networks that rob human beings of their lives and independence. More details about our programs, values, and history can be found at:


The Opportunity:

The goal is for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) to join forces and combine their respective strengths to continue to build, grow and advance Polaris, and to lead the broader anti-trafficking field to higher levels of innovation and impact.

While the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) directly oversees development/fundraising and communications, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) creates and executes on a vision for the majority of Polaris’ team and infrastructure. Specifically, s/he provides critical oversight and management of the majority of internal functions, systems and processes at Polaris, driving toward a streamlined, integrated and nimble matrix organization. With a strong talent management and cultural development orientation, the COO will oversee a team of 50+ colleagues working in: program (policy, data analytics, global hotlines, client services), national hotlines, finance, legal, IT, security and crisis management, program performance, infrastructure, risk, knowledge management, and performance/outcomes measurement. As such, the COO will position Polaris as a sustainable entity, ensuring long-term ability to execute its vision, strategy, and mission as a best-in-class $10 million plus operation.

The ideal candidate will be a seasoned, strategic, and process-minded leader with experience scaling an organization, ideally one with a complex, data- and tech-enabled business model, while inspiring a high performance culture. S/he must bring a blend of business acumen, sensitivity, compassion and composure, and an unflagging commitment to excellence, with an eye towards execution and efficiency.




Strategy and Leadership

  • Partner closely with the CEO to provide daily organizational leadership, to include: tag-teaming on a wide range of organizational priorities and initiatives; adapting to change; keeping each other informed of critical issues on a regular and timely basis; and integrating new information/developments as they arise;

  • Co-lead ongoing strategy development with the CEO to ensure Polaris is well-positioned to optimize trends and opportunities in a rapidly growing field, with a keen eye towards weighing the risks and rewards;

  • Drive organization-wide annual planning; revise and refine internal existing systems for tracking and reporting on the progress and impact of the strategic plan and organizational initiatives;

  • Participate as an active member of the Executive team (currently five people), in partnership with the CEO, the Chief Program Officer, the Chief Communications Officer (to be hired), and the Chief Development Officer;

  • Coach and collaborate with department leaders as they implement their strategic plans and drive day-to-day program operations. Identify, address, and resolve barriers to effective implementation;

  • Oversee internal communications for Polaris, driving transparency and staff engagement;

  • Constantly review competing organizational needs to establish the priorities that leadership must address;

  • Identify opportunities to leverage cross-program and network strengths to take advantage of new opportunities, influence partners, and to address challenges;

  • Serve as a management liaison to the Board, in partnership with the CEO; present critical organizational matters at Board of Directors meetings and Board committee meetings; and,

  • Represent the organization externally, as necessary.


Talent Management/Team Development

  • Lead, coach, cultivate, and retain a robust management team with an emphasis on developing managers’ capacity in strategic analysis, planning and program budgeting, measuring and driving towards impact, efficiency and execution, and talent retention;

  • Promote a highly engaged organizational culture of excellence and continuous improvement that values learning and innovation, agility and entrepreneurship, an unwavering commitment to quality, organizational cohesion, inclusion, and equity, and professional growth;

  • Ensure systems are in place to effectively recruit, retain, train, support, and evaluate a talented, highly motivated, and diverse staff;

  • Enhance and deploy effective performance management systems throughout the organization to monitor staff performance, develop goals and priorities, and assign accountability;

  • Foster an environment that authentically brings Polaris’ core organizational values into every aspect of our work, behavior, and decision-making.


Finance, Administration, Technology, and Operations

  • Working in partnership with the Director of Finance and the Operations Manager, ensure that all financial planning, budgeting, expense management, cash flow, investment priorities, and organizational operations achieve optimal resource allocation that balance programmatic goals, new opportunities, and resource restrictions;

  • Evaluate and analyze long-term multi-year financial planning that ensures scale and growth are appropriately resourced and that sustainability is assured;

  • Lead Polaris’ annual financial audit;

  • Ensure that the CEO, Board, and other key members of senior management are advised on financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, future funding challenges, investment priorities, and policy matters;

  • Affirm that technology infrastructure planning aggressively positions Polaris for success, both programmatically and for internal team use;

  • Minimize and mitigate risk and liability for the organization through effective policy formulation and implementation in partnership with Polaris’ counsel and network of pro bono lawyers;

  • Manage and oversee business contracts and oversee vendor selection and management;



  • Minimum 15 years of professional experience, with a senior-level track record scaling the impact of a nonprofit with complex programs, ideally those that integrate the diverse talents of colleagues in analytics, advocacy, and information technology. Must bring an understanding of operational functions (budgetary and operational planning, business analysis and finance, strategic planning and evaluation).

  • Leadership: Proven track record of success facilitating organizational change and development; able and willing to take charge of situations when necessary; manages up; overcomes resistance and takes unpopular stands when necessary; brings wisdom and sound judgment in both roles of thought-partner and decision-maker;

  • Operational management: Sophisticated level of business and operational acumen; adapts and balances program delivery with budgetary realities in an evolving field; excellent portfolio management and problem-solving skills, resourcefulness in setting priorities, proposing new ways of creating efficiencies, and guiding investment in people and systems.

  • Talent development and culture: Experience building organizational and human capital to meet current and future needs; develops and empowers exceptional leaders, enforces accountability, resolves conflict, adapts and adjusts leadership priorities as necessary, and differentially positions team members to succeed.

  • Communications: Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills; effectively interfaces at all levels and adapts to different audiences; translates complex ideas into actionable language.

  • Personal characteristics: Self-aware, self-reflective, well-grounded, energetic, flexible, collaborative, positive, resilient, good sense of humor and proactive; must bring a passion for Polaris’ mission.

  • BS/BA degree required; an MBA, MPA, or similar graduate degree preferred.


To Apply:


For more information about the COO role or search, please submit resume and cover letter, in MS Word format to Sarah Yun, Search Consultant, and Kathleen Yazbak, Founder/President: Viewcrest Advisors, at:

Polaris is an equal opportunity employer and highly values diversity in the workplace. We are committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the fight against human trafficking, we realize and celebrate the fact that human capital is the greatest and most valuable asset we have. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but our reputation and our organization's achievement as well.


Values Statement

The work of Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs that provide a common starting point for all of our activities. At Polaris, we look for talented individuals who are passionate about combating all forms of human trafficking and who will strive to embody and model these values within the Polaris community and in the anti-trafficking field. Please take a moment to make yourself familiar with these values and our mission statement before submitting your application. You can find a full description of our values here.