Chief Financial & Operating Officer


Compensation: $120,000 – $140,000 DOE/neg.
Location: San Diego, CA
Reports to: Chief Operating Officer
Direct Reports: 3 (Director of Operations, HR Director, Staff Accountant)


Our Story:

Far from a dusty collection of artifacts, our mission is inspiring human connections by exploring the human experience. We accomplish this by sharing alternative narratives that challenge peoples’ assumptions and encourage them to think in new and different ways. Every day our dedicated team of 65 staff is working hard to make our organization one of the most dynamic places for visitors to learn from each other, reflect on our place in the world, and build a better community. We are human-centered, with a deep commitment to inclusivity and personal connections. With an annual budget of $3.7M, the Museum welcomes over 230,000 visitors annually, from across the US and 132 countries around the world. From cannibals, to beer history, to learning about the local Kumeyaay Native Californians, we take familiar topics, flip the script and encourage our visitors to see them with fresh eyes. The Museum is housed inside the historic California Building in Balboa Park, with its iconic California Tower offering views of the San Diego skyline. To learn more about our work in these areas, please visit:


The Chief Financial & Operating Officer (CFO/COO) reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for all fiscal areas, including financial planning, budgeting and analysis, accounting, financial controls and reporting, risk management, insurance and IT. This position will also maintain a thorough hands-on knowledge of all Museum projects, operations, and plans. The CFO/COO will manage three direct reports and will also serve as a member of the executive leadership team.

Strategic priorities for this position include:

  • Develop a deep understanding of our organization and culture, with a focus on building trust and relationships with team members at all levels.
  • Take ownership of financial strategy, planning, and reporting; guide decision making in ways that are fully mission-aligned.
    Conduct staff training sessions regarding financial accountability and budgeting.
  • Assess training and development needs for each department and implement digital employee evaluations.
  • Identify new and sustainable sources of earned revenue for the Museum.

Tactical priorities for this position include

  • Conduct a thorough financial assessment in preparation for the fall 2019 audit.
  • Create multiyear cashflow projections and begin planning for major investments, including a rebranding campaign and new ticketing system.
  • Work closely with the City of San Diego in a variety of capacities.
  • Solicit requests for proposals to identify a new audit firm for FY 2019-2020.
  • Lead a roll-out of Salesforce system to all departments.
  • Review and update organizational policies and procedures.

Duties & Responsibilities:

The CFO/COO is a key member of our leadership team, moving our culture forward, and working across the entire Museum. This is a highly visible position within the organization, requiring a candidate who is equally committed to both organizational performance and a culture of diversity and inclusivity. Focus areas include:

Organizational Strategy:

  • Provide leadership and direction, with responsibility for developing best practices in all finance and operational areas; build upon the Museum’s capacity to effectively serve and engage with its visitors.
  • As a key member of the executive leadership team, work closely with all department heads to help them understand the financial and operational implications of programming decisions.
  • Through measured and thoughtful engagement and analysis, instill a sense of transparency, accountability and ownership and facilitate decision making and discipline at all levels.
  • Serve as an executive representative to the Board of Trustees and multiple committees including but not limited to: Internal Well-Being, Audit, and ad hoc working groups.
  • In consultation with the CEO, direct and constantly improve the Museum’s long and short-range business model, evaluating progress to goals and relevant benchmarks, and ensuring plans are revised and updated as necessary in response to visitor demographics and market conditions.

Financial Management:

    • Act as a strategic business partner with the CEO and other organizational leaders to provide advice on lines of business, financial operations, technology and data systems, budgeting, cash flow, and policy matters.
    • Oversee all treasury functions including cash management, investment management and banking relationships; track and manage performance of our investment portfolio, in consultation with professional investment advisors and in keeping with established policies and investment guidelines.
    • Serve as our chief financial representative and spokesperson, responsible for ensuring the long-term fiscal health of the institution, including:
      • Managing and improving our budget process, including the framework for budget preparation and reporting, supervising budget control systems, and monitoring budgets and forecasts.
      • Ensuring adequate funding, maximized investments and optimal financial efficiencies by working closely with the Accounting Manager on annual budgeting, reforecasting, risk management, and investment activities.
      • Overseeing the timely production of all financial reports including monthly financial statements and analysis, reviewing and questioning our monthly financial performance, and reviewing the annual audit.
      • Instituting rigorous financial planning and analysis processes for evaluating organizational and staff performance, meeting goals and determining areas for potential revenue enhancement, cost reduction, program improvement and/or policy change.
      • Ensuring internal control systems are properly designed, implemented, maintained and consistently adhered to.
      • Ensuring key transaction systems (including fundraising, membership, store sales, admissions and ticketing, and rental sales) are efficiently and fully implemented and regularly reconciled to the general ledger.

Operations and Human Resources:

  • Work towards the highest levels of employee diversity, inclusion, engagement, and performance by working closely with the Human Resources Director to ensure appropriate recruitment, onboarding, compensation, benefits and professional development activities are in place.
  • Ensure our business operations are in alignment with our overall objectives and reflect the institution’s core values, setting high standards for integrity, productivity, professionalism, creativity, diversity, equity, and cooperation in the workplace.
  • Provide coaching and mentoring to team members across the organization.
  • Work closely with both the City of San Diego and other civic and cultural institutions around the region, fostering strong communication and trust.
  • Oversee and develop key third-party relationships with outside stakeholders including vendors and service providers to the Museum.

Attributes & Work Style:

  • Passionate: Dedicated to our mission and culture to inspire people and human interactions, through inclusivity and personal connections.
  • Independent: A self-starter with a strong professional presence who can support the Museum by means of strategic, analytical and hands-on operational leadership.
  • Planning and Process Management: Exceptional mind for optimizing workflow and managing people, systems, procedures, and programs.
  • Deliberate: Listens, absorbs and reflects before acting.
  • Collaborative: Ability to “manage up” as well as coach, mentor and develop staff; highly collaborative with a calm and confident leadership style.
  • Metrics-driven: An innovative thinker, pairing ideas with solutions and measurable outcomes; firm but fair, holding team members accountable for performance.
  • Solutions-oriented: High level of integrity and dependability with a strong sense of urgency and results-orientation.
  • Articulate: Exceptional analytical skills and the ability to tell the “story” behind the numbers.
  • Servant-leader: A dedicated manager who is self-motivated and can take charge, build consensus, work cross-functionally and effect change; must impart credibility, trust, integrity and enthusiasm; someone who understands the subtleties of motivating and directing others.
  • Strategic Thinker: Intellectually curious, decisive, resourceful and responsive, with the organizational sensitivity to gain the support and confidence from all areas of our organization.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Emotionally mature, with a sense of humor and the flexibility and sensitivity to work with diverse personalities and situations.
  • Culturally Adept: The ability to work effectively within our culture, with a focus on inclusivity and diversity.
  • Teambuilding: Constantly works to build and manage strong teams, collaborating with colleagues at every step.
  • Communication: Outstanding oral and written communication skills, with the presence to serve as an effective spokesperson for the Museum in all administrative capacities; able to effectively relate to the Museum’s Board, staff and our wider community.
  • Flexible: Ability to embrace shifts in priorities on a regular basis; possesses excellent change management skills.

Preferred Work Experience:

  • 10+ years in progressively responsible financial leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, with demonstrated capability in leading all financial functions (nonprofit accounting, 990s, audit, financial statements, and cashflow projections).
  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting or closely related field of study. MBA/and or CPA preferred.
  • Familiarity with the complexities of a multidimensional cultural institution a strong plus.
  • Track record of success with managing systems, operations, and teams.
  • Experience with QuickBooks and Salesforce.
  • Demonstrated expertise in overseeing administration, and operations functions including security and facilities management.
  • Operational experience with earned revenue departments such as retail, admissions and ticketing, concessions, rentals and special events highly desirable.
  • Proven experience applying analytics to institutional decision making.


Sarah Thompson, Director

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