Vice President of Learning, Impact and Innovation

Posted: Feb 25, 2013
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

United States

Over the years, the Kellogg Foundation’s programming has continued to evolve, striving to remain innovative and responsive to the ever-changing needs of society. Today, the organization ranks among the world’s largest private foundations, awarding grants in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa.

The essential concepts that make up the WKKF identity are four pillars:

  • Respectful Relationships: WKKF holds itself accountable to building respectful relationships as the organization engage with communities and all other stakeholders, both inside and outside the foundation.
  • Vulnerable Children: The vision of social change is focused on vulnerable children and implemented in the context of community.
  • Community Engagement with an Emphasis on Priority Places: Working in place, over time, in partnership with the community, helps to achieve the desired impact.
  • Practical Application of Knowledge: The practical application of knowledge helps amplify the impact and transfer learning to and from communities for the benefit of all.


Leading Dialogue 
WKKF is sponsoring dialogue in local communities and building national networks to help identify challenges, establish priorities, coalesce resources and help children succeed.

Sustaining Communities 
WKKF supports hundreds of committed community-based and national organizations, focusing significant resources on three places where children face especially tough challenges.  The support of grassroots organizations in those locations can improve the lives of children. 

Investing in Opportunity 
WKKF supplements the grant-making with mission-driven investments that enable high-impact financial institutions to move capital into vulnerable communities. These investments generate both social and financial returns by helping leading community development institutions extend loans to small businesses, helping families secure loans for affordable housing and providing financial services to low-income residents.

Sharing Our Expertise 
The philanthropic community is a powerful force for good, and WKKF join hands with other foundations by offering our knowledge, expertise, best practices, resources and influence to elevate the collective voice in support of causes shared.

Advocating Change 
As WKKF works inside communities, it learns about the unique education, health and economic challenges children face, and lends its voice to local and national groups that promote change in public policies that impact children. 

WKKF views the mission through the dual lenses of racial equity and civic engagement, and partner with those who embrace these ideals.

As a core member of the executive team at WKKF, the Vice President of Learning, Impact, and Innovation will be responsible for strategic leadership and a creative approach to evaluation, program learning and innovation. S/he will lead a culture in which learning from programming work is systematically pursued and applied, leading to robust ongoing innovation. S/he will develop and implement plans and capture, assess and infuse acquired program learning/knowledge into ongoing philanthropic work, both within and outside WKKF.

The Vice President of Learning, Impact and Innovation will help WKKF identify and set the culture and conditions for successful learning, impact and innovation. S/he will develop and recommend strategic direction and vision, set long-range and annual priorities for this critical function. S/he will initiate programs and activities to help WKKF become a learning organization that applies its programming knowledge and disseminates learning to enable grantees, partners and others. This leader will create a learning agenda for its programming work and assist WKKF to increase its capacity to learn from and evaluate its programming to advance the goals of the foundation.

Working in partnership with the programs team, s/he will design, develop and implement a program evaluation planning process that allows for managing and monitoring evaluations within the foundation. This individual will serve as a resource to program areas and initiative teams to assure that evaluation, innovation and learning is incorporated into strategic planning and initiative design.

The Vice President of Learning, Impact and Innovation will also partner with the executive team and Human Resources to design, recommend and implement learning approaches, frameworks, models and activities for talent acquisition, talent management and especially talent development within the organization. S/he will serve as an ambassador of WKKF with key external stakeholders and intermediaries by understanding, articulating and interpreting the foundation mission, policies and organizational initiatives to the outside world.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Providing overall management for assigned areas; as part of executive team, design, communicate, implement and assess organization structures, systems and processes to ensure effective and efficient use of resources, compliance with legal requirements and alignment with WKKF’s mission and program impact
  • Developing and managing operations and programming budgets
  • Managing the performance of all direct reports within areas of responsibility to include performance planning, coaching, dialog, performance feedback and development.
  • Managing interfaces and facilitate work between and among units within WKKF and various external stakeholders
  • Ensuring high quality evaluation design; leading the development and articulation of WKKF evaluation methods, and program learning, impact and innovation processes and assure that the processes are continuously enhanced and integrated with other program processes
  • Utilizing existing networks and proactively create and cultivate relationships with internal and external partners to identify opportunities for interaction and synergy around organizational efforts
  • Overseeing/tracking programming and strategic framework milestone/results against priorities; working in concert with program team to track, develop or synthesize data related to program indicators for each area
  • Convening internal and external partners to discuss priorities and share information/metrics; keep partners informed regarding progress toward program goals and agreed upon learning outcomes
  • Implementing and capturing “lessons learned” outcomes and impacts of program initiatives
  • Creating and maintain a creative, collaborative environment which encourages, celebrates and reflects a diverse work force and encourages teamwork

The successful candidate will have a solid knowledge base and a minimum of 10 years of practical experience in fields related to WKKF programming. Significant experience in the nonprofit sector and/or philanthropy is preferred. S/he will bring a broad generalist background with deep and comprehensive understanding of program learning and assessment, program design and development, evaluation, systems and networking. S/he will be an entrepreneurial leader, who will foster institution-wide innovative thinking and learning by working in close partnership with WKKF programs.

Additional qualifications include:

  • Solid knowledge of program evaluation and learning as evidenced through established networks, experience, and accomplishments
  • Prior success in the development of learning programs and skilled in organizational learning and organization development, especially learning as a team endeavor
  • Successful experience working as part of a multidisciplinary leadership team and interacting effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds
  • Mastery of both quantitative and qualitative methods, ability to determine the appropriate mix of methods to meet information needs, strong analytical skills and the capacity to effectively use research and evaluation
  • Excellent organization, administrative and management skills; ability to motivate staff through effective leadership, mentoring, communications, coaching, development, facilitation, evaluation and rewards
  • Outstanding communication skills; exceptional writer, presenter and group facilitator.
  • Commitment to collaboration and teamwork with executive team and staff.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build supportive relationships internally and effective collaborations externally
  • Global and critical thinker with demonstrated ability to develop and implement programs that have impact and contribute to programmatic directions and priorities
  • Knowledge of international cultures and systems and the ability to work with international groups preferred
  • Sensitivity to, and support of, diversity and multiculturalism
  • High level of ethics and commitment to WKKF mission, vision and core values; ability to execute strategic objectives


Understanding Philanthropy

  • Knows the mission-critical technical and functional skills needed to do the job; understands various types of propositions and understands how the sector operates in general; learns new methods and technologies easily.

Getting Work Done Through Others

  • Manages people well; gets the most and best out of the people he/she has; sets and communicates guiding goals; measures accomplishments, holds people accountable, and gives useful feedback; delegates and develops; keeps people informed; provides coaching for today and for the future.

Being Organizationally Savvy

  • Maneuvers well to get things done; maze bright; knows where to go to get what he/she needs; politically aware and agile; knows what the right thing to do is; presents views and arguments well.

Communicating Effectively

  • Writes and presents effectively; adjusts to fit the audience and the message; strongly gets a message across.

Managing Diverse Relationships

  • Relates well to a wide variety of diverse styles, types, and classes; open to differences; effective up, down, sideways, inside, and outside; builds diverse networks; quick to find common ground; treats differences fairly and equitably; treats everyone as a preferred customer.

Inspiring Others

  • Is skilled at getting individuals, teams, and an entire organization to perform at a higher level and to embrace change; negotiates skillfully to achieve a fair outcome or promote a common cause; communicates a compelling vision and is committed to what needs to be done; inspires others; builds motivated, high-performing teams; understands what motivates different people.

An undergraduate degree is required; a graduate degree is highly preferred.


Korn/Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis. Korn/Ferry shall comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations in the performance of duties pursuant to this Agreement, including but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and state and local anti-discrimination laws to the extent applicable.

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