President & Chief Executive Officer - Meals on Wheels

Locations: San Diego, CA
Reports to: Board of Directors
Direct Reports: 8 (Chief Financial Officer, Projects Director, Director of Development, Meal Center
Manager, 4 Service Center Managers)

Who We Are

Founded in 1960, Meals on Wheels is a leading provider of nutrition and support services for seniors in San Diego County. Leveraging technology platforms and mobile applications, we track and monitor the total health, safety and well-being of program participants throughout the region. Last year our network of over 3,000 dedicated volunteers served nearly 500,000 nutritious meals while providing safety checks for local homebound seniors. Meals on Wheels San Diego County is a nonprofit organization with an annual operating budget of $6M and a team of 76 staff members. It is the only agency covering the entire county, providing meals to homebound seniors 7 days a week, 365 days per year. Frequently, its volunteers may be the only person the senior sees all day, providing human contact and a safety net, particularly for those seniors living alone. Lives are saved nearly every week as a result of alerting emergency personnel for someone who has fallen, had a stroke, or is simply in need of additional supportive services. Meals on Wheels plays a vital role in allowing our senior population to age in place, enjoying the comforts of their own home. Please visit: www.meals to learn more about our organization and programs.

Position Summary:

Reporting to an 18-member Board of Trustees, the President & CEO will be involved in nearly every aspect of the organization, playing an instrumental part in its strategic vision, future growth and expansion of services. The primary focus areas for the role are 1) building organizational capacity through strategic planning, staff and board development, operational oversight, and program management, and 2) fundraising and donor relations. In addition to building a strong internal culture, the President & CEO will be highly visible in the community, serving as the chief spokesperson and advocate for the organization’s mission and goals. Strategic priorities for the President & CEO include the following:

  • Develop a deep understanding of the organization and programs, with a focus on building trust and relationships with team members, community partners, and stakeholders at all levels.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees and the Senior Management Team to develop and execute a multi-year strategic plan.
  • Conduct a thorough evaluation of the organizational structure to identify any potential training gaps, level set wages and salaries, and create a staffing plan to support anticipated organizational growth.
  • Assess and execute a significant expansion of programs and services, including integration of a healthcare program.
  • Create a branding and marketing plan to position Meals on Wheels as the leading senior service provider across the community.

Key Responsibilites:

Strategic Planning

  • Work closely with the Board of Trustees in all areas of strategic planning, including organizational growth and change management, with the ability to plan and act ahead of potential growth and expansion.
  • Develop and manage annual operational plans and budgets, and a 5-year strategic plan.
  • Provide vision and oversight for all goals, objectives, and activities.

Operational Leadership and Oversight

  • Ensure fiscal discipline, financial integrity and internal controls are maintained.
  • Guide the development of performance management and reporting systems to measure outcomes on both a quantitative and qualitative basis.
  • Oversee preparation of monthly financial statements, ensuring they are timely and accurate.

Fundraising /Business Development

  • Plan and execute a comprehensive development plan, aligning with our strategic plan, including individual and major gifts, annual giving, planned giving, grants, events and sponsorships.
  • Maintain a personal portfolio of top donors and prospects; solicit and close major gifts.
  • Build loyal and long-term relationships with key donors, sponsors and program partners

Brand Awareness and Advocacy

  • Raise the organization’s public profile by serving as the agency’s spokesperson and advocate.
  • Serve as a visible, visionary and influential leader in the community.
  • Position oneself and the organization as a leading advocate and thought leader in the areas of healthcare, food insecurity and quality of life for seniors across the region.

Staff and Board Development

  • Promote a supportive workplace culture and create opportunities for professional development.
  • Develop and administer an effective performance management system for all employees including annual goal setting and performance evaluations.
  • Implement a comprehensive staff recruitment, engagement and retention strategy.
  • Provide leadership to and maintain strong relationships with the Board of Directors, committees, and community advisors.

Program Management

  • Achieve programmatic excellence by establishing operational benchmarks, setting timelines, and obtaining the resources needed to achieve strategic goals.
  • Participate in nationwide initiatives, programmatic innovations, best practices and quality standards; adapt these standards to create maximum impact.


  • Passionate: Dedicated to our mission of supporting the independence and well-being of seniors.
  • Strategic Thinker: Intellectually curious, decisive, resourceful and responsive, with the organizational sensitivity to gain support and confidence from all areas of our organization.
  • Community-minded: Understands the community and clients we serve, skilled public speaker and networker, with the ability to communicate with sensitivity and discretion as needed.
  • Tenacious: Someone who loves seeing ideas through to execution and impact.
  • Collaborative: Ability to “manage up”, coach, mentor and develop staff; highly collaborative with a calm and confident leadership style.
  • Deliberate: Listens, absorbs and reflects before acting.
  • Metrics-driven: An innovative thinker, pairing ideas with solutions and measurable outcomes; firm but fair, holding team members accountable for performance.
  • Servant-leader: A dedicated manager who is self-motivated and can take charge, build consensus, work cross-functionally and affect change; must impart credibility, trust, integrity and enthusiasm; someone who understands the subtleties of motivating and directing others.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotionally mature, with a sense of humor and the flexibility and sensitivity to work with diverse personalities and situations.
  • Culturally Adept: Ability to work effectively within our culture, with a focus on inclusivity and diversity as well as the happiness and well-being of the entire organization.
  • Teambuilding: Constantly works to build and manage strong teams, collaborating with colleagues at every step.
  • Communication: Outstanding oral and written communication skills, with the executive presence to serve as an effective and highly visible public spokesperson; a skilled storyteller who can passionately and authentically communicate the critical need for and impact of our work.
  • Tactful & Diplomatic: Exhibits a high level of emotional intelligence, demonstrating empathy and reflective listening skills; willing and able to have difficult conversations when required.
  • Flexible: Ability to embrace shifts in priorities on a regular basis; possesses excellent change management skills.
  • Schedule: Ability to work evenings and weekends for events and donor meetings as required.

Preferred Work Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred.
  • 10+ years’ experience in a leadership capacity in a nonprofit organization, preferably with an organization focused on health and human services.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets, ideally at the level of $8+ million.
  • A successful track record in growing and diversifying funding sources such as individual giving, events, grants, contracts and other partnerships.
  • Experience working within and across the San Diego County region highly desirable.
  • Proven ability to create lasting and impactful cross-sector relationships/partnerships with a wide array of organizations including business, government, academia, and funders.
  • Experience working with a board of community leaders, including reporting, advising and board member recruitment.
  • Ability to engage staff and develop each team member to their fullest potential.
  • Prior experience creating work environments that are inclusive, productive, and healthy.
  • Exceptionally well-developed listening and communication skills including the ability to connect with and inspire a wide range of partners and stakeholders; must enjoy public events.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director
Blair Search Partners
550 West B Street, Fourth Floor
San Diego, CA 92101