Senior Director of Programs

Start Small Think Big
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Oct 13

Position description

Start Small Think Big is a non-profit on a mission to catalyze entrepreneurship in marginalized communities. Founded 10 years ago in New York City, we have successfully expanded our work to San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. We are now in the midst of another period of rapid growth and expansion, as we work to replicate our model nationally and grow existing programs to serve larger numbers of entrepreneurs. As we scale our work, we are engaging in an intentional process to identify, understand, and address bias at all levels and advance equity, especially racial equity, from the inside out. 

Through our Finance, Legal, and Marketing programs, Start Small Think Big is connecting small business owners from marginalized communities to high quality expertise needed to transform their business, build wealth for themselves and their families, and support their communities with job creation. In 2020, Start Small supported 3500 businesses across our three tiers of programming. In 2021, we are working to build the infrastructure and programming to scale to serve tens of thousands of businesses nationwide. 

Start Small is supported by leading corporations. 

  • We have partnered with the majority of the top 100 U.S. law firms, including Simpson Thacher, Weil Gotshal, Cleary Gottlieb, Debevoise & Plimpton.
  • Partnered with the biggest and most well-respected financial institutions and corporations, including American Express, Morgan Stanley, Google, and Goldman Sachs.  
  • Secured significant support for our work from some of the largest and most forward-thinking foundations in the space, including eBay, JPMorgan Chase, Citi.


The Senior Director of Programs is a new position reporting directly to the Chief Operating Officer that is poised to accelerate our national growth. The Senior Director, Programs will work in collaboration with the executive team to identify and implement the strategic vision for our programs; serve as an external voice for the organization regarding our programming; and ensure accountability to building and sustaining an equitable and inclusive organizational culture where all staff, clients, and community can thrive. To succeed in this role, the ideal candidate will need to balance strategic thinking, change management, innovation, evaluation, and execution. You should be a seasoned program leader who has overseen high growth and scale and is enthusiastic about leading an organization through change. 


The Senior Director of Programs will oversee our core Program teams (Legal, Finance, and Marketing & Sales, alongside our Impact team) and help identify and implement new offerings and improve our core services. In partnership with the COO and Start Small’s Executive Leadership teams, you will identify where Start Small can have the biggest impact in driving success for our small business clients, building a multi-tiered approach to delivering our programming for introductory level and more sophisticated, high-growth entrepreneurs. As we have pivoted our programming virtually in response to the global pandemic, the ideal candidate should also have expertise in digital learning and events and best practices for engaging key stakeholders in virtual programming. A key member of the Leadership Team, the Senior Director, Programs will partner closely with colleagues to co-create and implement equity strategies across Programs and build organization-wide systems to collect ongoing input, analyze data with an equity lens, and report on progress to ensure accountability to our Equity & Inclusion Action Plan. 

Key Responsibilities 

  • Lead ongoing program strategy & design, implementation and continuous improvement of programs, ensuring alignment with organizational mission and goals. Participate in organizational strategic planning with Executive and Program Leadership teams. 
  • Define and track progress towards success metrics; reset strategy dynamically as needed in response to data, marketplace needs, and impact of programs. 
  • Ensure program teams work collaboratively, ensuring alignment on program goals, experience, and impact. 
  • Nurture partnerships with Corporate Partners, Community Partners, and key funders to support needs of our programs and communities, in collaboration with Program Teams, Business Development, and Community teams.  
  • Collaborate with the Executive team, Business Development and Marketing, and Impact teams to identify opportunities for thought leadership, funding, and coalition building in the small business ecosystem. 
  • Collaborate with Grants committee on proposals and funding opportunities. 
  • Nurture a collaborative, unified, equitable, and inclusive culture across Program teams and the organization as a whole. Serve as a key model for collaboration, effective decision making, and candor; ensure a positive and empowering performance culture that encourages developmental feedback, building tools for staff and colleagues to succeed in their roles. 


  • 10-15 years with progressive professional experience in any of our core program areas (Legal, Finance, and Marketing & Sales) and/or experience leading in nonprofit or educational programs serving diverse communities.
  • Proven track record of developing, managing, and scaling high quality programs with an eye towards outcomes and impact. Ability to understand, use, and organize quantitative and qualitative data and evaluation practices to drive growth, enhance program quality, and demonstrate program effectiveness and impact. 
  • Demonstrated ability to attract, develop, and motivate culturally diverse teams with a high level of collaboration and accountability to organizational values in culture and practice
  • Deep commitment to building a positive work culture that encourages feedback related to practices including but not limited to equity and inclusion
  • A demonstrated understanding of the role of structural racism and other biases in our society and a strong commitment to address these impacts within the context of this role (e.g., mitigating bias in hiring and people management, fostering a learning culture around equity issues, and analyzing data with an equity lens and using client feedback to drive service improvements)
  • Prior experience applying an equity and inclusion lens to programs, as well as building staff teams and management structures with an emphasis on inclusive leadership. 
  • Experience collaborating with Executive Leadership teams and Board of Directors. 
  • Prior experience developing funding relationships a plus. 
  • A deep commitment to providing non-judgmental, culturally-appropriate services across race, class, gender, gender identity and expression, national origin, ability, or any other identity marker with a strong sense of accountability to fostering a positive client experience
  • Ability to form and maintain strong partnerships, building consensus with strategic stakeholders to support success of Programs and client experience. Experience in building networks and ecosystems internally and externally. 
  • Strategic thinker with experience in program evaluation and innovation, with a bias towards action.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets and resource allocation to maximize program effectiveness and quality. 
  • Proven success with change management. 
  • Strong relationship-building and excellent communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills; excellent listener that actively seeks opinions of others in decision making, inspires confidence and trust in teams and is committed to ongoing reflection on one’s personal identity with humility.   

Generous PTO package (25 days) and all federal holidays. Sick time separate from PTO. Competitive health insurance package and access to various other benefits including pre-tax commuter plan, paid parental leave, 401k, tuition reimbursement, life insurance, dental and vision insurance, among others. 


Application instructions

Submit resume and cover letter to: [email protected] (include subject line: “[your name], Senior Director Programs.”

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