Chief of Staff


Compensation: $95,000 – $115,000 DOE/neg.
Location: San Diego, CA
Reports to: Executive Director
Direct reports: none



Sanford Programs, formally launched in 2014, was established through a generous gift by renowned philanthropist and businessman Mr. Denny Sanford. Our mission is to create positive societal change by 1) developing effective nonprofit leaders and 2) training educators to deliver inspirational programs, serving worldwide needs. Sanford Programs is divided into three major initiatives: Sanford Harmony, Sanford Inspire, and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy.

The Sanford Harmony program empowers Pre-K through 6th grade teachers to foster better relationships among their students by using pedagogical tools to integrate simple and fun exercises into their lesson plans. Sanford Harmony has helped over 24,000 classrooms nationwide to develop strategies that benefit children socially, emotionally, and educationally. The Sanford Inspire program is designed to provide innovative learning experiences for teacher candidates and in-service teachers to develop the skills to be highly effective classroom leaders who inspire their students. Teachers have inspired more than 160,000 students around the world through On-Demand Modules. The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy engages current and emerging nonprofit leaders and private sector executives to improve their organizations while contributing to the overall public good. In partnership with 16 affiliate universities, our innovative programs have already reached over 115,000 nonprofit professionals. To learn more about Sanford Programs and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, please visit:



This is a new position created within the organization, to provide high-level support to Sanford Program’s Executive Director. Often working behind the scenes, the Chief of Staff will work to solve problems and address issues before they escalate up to the ED, thereby optimizing workflow and the overall health of the organization. These responsibilities include filtering and managing projects, responding to requests and coordinating major activities and initiatives within Sanford Programs. They will ensure effective tracking and reporting of each initiative, and will assume primary responsibility for the implementation and management of our new project management system. The Chief of Staff will also play a significant role in coordinating meetings, generating content, and tracking deadlines.



  1. Executive Support – serve as a key trusted advisor, aide and analyst on matters of strategic, tactical and operational importance. Formulate ideas and make recommendations to the ED. Play a central role in all strategic planning initiatives. Prepare briefings, reports and presentations. Represent the Executive Director and other senior Sanford Program leaders at events and meetings as required.
  2. Project Management – serve as the point person on strategic initiatives. Track and monitor progress towards key deadlines and deliverables and reprioritize as situations require.
  3. Work Flow Optimization – create tracking systems to manage multiple strategic projects. Filter projects and requests up to the ED to ensure optimal use of management time and resources. Identify and address any bottlenecks.
  4. Communications – create presentations and communication materials for a variety of audiences, both internal and external. Ensure the entire Sanford team understands and supports each other’s roles and objectives and strives to balance the workload appropriately across the organization. Proactively manage the flow of information to ensure team members are fully informed and engaged.
  5. Research & Reporting – gather and analyze data related to best practices for program development and operations. Assist in preparing various reports covering forecasting, budget status, and other management-related areas.
  6. Relationship Building – build strong relationships with team members and stake holders (internal and external) and serve as an information conduit up to the ED.
  7. Analysis – prepare data-informed strategic recommendations for the ED on all areas related to Sanford Program’s operations and strategy.



  • Passionate: Driven by Sanford Program’s mission, which is to create positive societal change through the development of nonprofit leaders and to create educators who teach inspirational programs serving worldwide needs.
  • Growth Mindset: Curious, innovative and entrepreneurial; someone who loves seeing ideas through to execution and impact.
  • Flexibility: Comfortable with ambiguity; views challenges as learning opportunities.
  • Team Player: Fosters a respectful, transparent, and collaborative work environment.
  • Positivity: Charismatic, warm and welcoming; a true “people-person.”
  • Tact & Diplomacy: Patient, and willing/able to have the difficult conversations as required.
  • Metrics-driven: An innovative thinker, pairing ideas with solutions and measurable outcomes.
  • Reflective: Skilled at receiving and giving feedback and performance critiques.
  • Meticulous: Superior attention to detail and problem-solving skills.
  • Planning and Process Management: Exceptional mind for optimizing workflow and managing people, systems, procedures, budgets and programs.
  • Community-minded: Skilled at connecting with people across the community, while demonstrating a high level of emotional intelligence.
  • Planning skills: Extremely detail-oriented, with excellent organizational, time management, multi-tasking, and planning capabilities.
  • Entrepreneurship: Possesses a strong spirit of innovation and ability to manage risk.
  • Schedule: ability to work evenings and weekends as required.



  • Industry experience – 5+ years of relevant work experience from the nonprofit, academic or political sectors (corporate experience will also be considered).
  • Education – BA/BS required, MA/MS preferred.
  • Business acumen – strong understanding of workflows and general business operations and efficiencies. Ability to prioritize workflows and achieve deadlines/tight turnaround times.
  • Time management – ability to triage requests and serve as a gatekeeper when required.
  • Information management – ability to direct, process and classify large volumes of information, while maintaining confidentiality as required.
  • Communication skills – superior listening, speaking and business writing capabilities. Possess the ability to listen to, connect with, and inspire a wide range of partners and stakeholders. Articulate, poised and comfortable with making presentations.
  • Strategic planning – ability to create and drive high level strategy.