The Sylvia Center

Executive Director

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Posted On: Tuesday, 31st October 2017
Category: Administrative
Location: Kinderhook, NY
34 Fischer Road Extension, Kinderhook, NY 12106
Job Type:
Full Time

Job Description:


About the Organization

The Sylvia Center aims to transform communities today and tomorrow by inspiring young people and their families to establish independent healthy eating habits so that they may lead healthy and productive lives.

Founded in 2007 by Liz Neumark of Great Performances and Chaim Wachsberger, The Sylvia Center has accomplished this mission by teaching classes in healthy cooking from children to young adults in underserved neighborhoods in New York City as well as running in-school and separate daylong programs in Upstate New York. To date, The Sylvia Center has reached over 20,000 students and has trained hundreds to be advocates in their own communities by teaching their peers. Through hands-on learning, these students learn to try new foods, increase knowledge of nutrition and culinary skills—and most importantly—build confidence in preparing and eating healthy meals.

The Sylvia Center works with over 4,000 students a year in conjunction with its community partners. In New York City, The Sylvia Center partners with public housing community centers and community-based organizations to increase its impact and ensure sustainability, training its community partners to implement healthy cooking programs and instilling healthy eating habits in the community. In Upstate New York, The Sylvia Center operates immersive daylong programs through its partnership with Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, NY during the growing season, and during the school year, is now expanding its program to reach into school districts in Columbia County.


About the Position

The Executive Director will drive all programs, fundraising, management, and operational functions of this approximately $1 million organization, in close partnership with the Board of Directors. The Sylvia Center is poised for growth and the recipe for success will be to leverage the stable foundation of the organization, assess the next steps, and partner with the Board, staff, and community organizations to increase impact and influence. This is an exciting opportunity to advance healthy eating and lifestyles in critical communities as well as instill self-confidence and an appreciation of food. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and oversees a staff of seven full-time and approximately 15 part-time staff in two sites.



Leadership, Management and Vision

  • Assess the organizational strategy for the next phase of The Sylvia Center in collaboration with the Board of Directors and staff.
  • Oversee the overall direction of the organization’s day-to-day activities, operations and programs as well as the management of a geographically dispersed staff.
  • Provide fiscally sound management of the organization and fiduciary oversight including monitoring budgeting, reporting and audit.

Board Relations and Engagement

  • Work with and help build the Board of Directors to maintain a strong, diverse, and motivated Board.
  • Engage and collaborate with the Board in all organizational planning, financial/resource development, events, and governance responsibilities.
  • Oversee Board meetings; facilitate discussion, deliberation, and decision-making with ongoing, open communication.
  • Continue to partner and maximize the working relationship between The Sylvia Center and Great Performances.

Fundraising and External Affairs

  • Evaluate funding streams and strategy; work to diversify the donor base while overseeing two major events a year, cultivating existing donors, and identifying new funders.
  • Expand community partnership model through engaging current partner organizations and developing new, strong relationships with other potential partners.
  • Personally fundraise and represent the organization internally and externally.
  • Advance and execute marketing, branding, and organizational positioning strategy.

Program Management and Administration

  • Manage the design and implementation of high-quality, high-impact educational programs both in New York City and Columbia County, with a keen eye on metrics and measurement.
  • Evolve and implement the structures, processes, and controls to optimize organizational and program effectiveness.



The successful candidate will be a dynamic, collaborative, and resourceful leader with experience with fundraising, strategic planning and execution, organizational and people management, and program development from the public, private and/or non-profit sectors. He/she will be action-oriented and innovative with excellent relational capabilities to inspire staff, Board, and partners and drive the agenda forward. The Executive Director will also have a strong marketing, public relations, and communications mindset with a digital orientation.

It is critical that the Executive Director has a love of food and cooking and is passionate about bringing food education and healthy eating habits to underserved communities.

As a person, you are:

  • Dedicated to building food education and access, for and with partner communities – the Executive Director will have an appreciation for healthy nutrition and cooking programs to improve the healthy eating habits of at-risk communities.
  • Strategic with a commitment to results – the Executive Director must be able to set the strategy, anticipate and solve problems, appropriately take advantage of opportunities, and motivate the team forward.
  • Able to navigate diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and conversations – the Executive Director will have experience working and partnering with diverse populations.
  • A natural manager, team builder, and dynamic partner – the successful candidate will be able to utilize a high level of emotional intelligence to foster a positive, high achieving team environment while also nurturing and expanding community relationships.
  • A passionate, articulate, persuasive communicator and spokesperson – the Executive Director will have the gravitas, energy, and communication skills to represent and fundraise for The Sylvia Center.
  • Have a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Be able to regularly travel to the Katchkie Farm in Columbia County, NY.


Compensation Salary and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.


To Apply:

Please email cover letter and resume or nominations in confidence to:


The Sylvia Center is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit. The Sylvia Center prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, marital status, registered domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other related consideration. We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.



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