Director of Operations

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Deadline to Apply:

Monday, July 31, 2017, 12:00pm


Boston, MA
United States

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Job Description:


The Operations Director with be at the center of one of the most ambitious Outward Bound initiatives in decades.  Launched with funding from the Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab (the Lab) will convene the most experienced practitioners from the regional Outward Bound Schools (Adult Practice Leaders) with leading national research and curriculum consultants.  14 independent organizations (Outward Bound Schools, researchers, consultants) will participate in a year-round program of retreats, trainings and field site reviews at Outward Bound centers across the country in both urban and deep wilderness environments.  In the first 12 months alone, the Lab will organize four 2-day retreats for up to 30 participants, a dozen 3-day field site reviews by cross functional teams, deployment of student outcome measurement surveys and systems for aggregating the data centrally, and the testing and deployment of brand new professional learning modules.  All across a system that spans four time zones and some of the most remote settings on the continent.  The Operations Director will make the trains run on time.  Coordinating the overall work, delegating local logistics and sub-systems and communicating comprehensively, s/he will ensure all 14 organizations understand and execute their part of the work.


  • Master the SMART Goals of the first three years of the Lab’s work as documented in Outward Bound’s grant application to the Foundation and maintain a strategic viewpoint from which to adapt, improvise and innovate as the detailed plans encounter reality.
  • Understand the capabilities, needs and distinct contribution of the different parties (Outward Bound Schools, Lab Learning Specialists, and our institutional research partner and curriculum consultant) in order to communicate effectively across all the various parties and personalities.
  • Personally manage overall scheduling of retreats, trainings and field site reviews (events), maintaining an overall project plan of who will participate, when and where.  Implement systems to communicate those plans across the system.
  • Arrange and then delegate logistics for the various events and confirm accountability for details in writing with participants.
  • Track accountability for the various events and project manage the parties involved so as to meet deadlines, flag potential delays and develop contingency plans for the Director when needed.
  • In collaboration with the Director, establish milestones by which our research partner and curriculum partner can be held accountable, communicate regularly with those parties to monitor progress and advise the Director when intervention or support is needed to stay on plan.
  • In collaboration with the Lab Learning Specialists, establish and oversee video and file sharing systems that meet the needs of researchers, Lab specialists, Adult Practice Leaders and other participants.
  • In collaboration with the Lab Research Coordinator, establish and monitor protocols for compiling data, analyzing data, distributing findings and maintaining digital archives for the Lab and outside research.
  • Collaborate with Outward Bound USA finance, HR and other administrative staff to meet their needs for purchasing controls, approval of invoices, expense tracking and progress reporting for the Outward Bound USA Board and the Foundation.



This position reports to the Director of the Lab.  This position works closely with the Adult Practice Leaders and other administrative staff in each of the regional Schools, our research and curriculum partners and Outward Bound USA administrative staff.  S/he will communicate effectively and routinely with Outward Bound board members, executive and instructional staff, logistics directors, conference and hospitality providers, senior researchers and post-doctoral fellows.



The Operations Director must have demonstrated excellence in managing complex projects with diverse participants, strict deadlines and the need to adapt and change plans on the fly.  S/he will bring curiosity and enthusiasm for the intersection of academic research and practical expertise in advancing the art and science of character development.  The job will be most gratifying for someone with a genuine enthusiasm for understanding the needs and interests of a marvelously talented and diverse set of participants.  The ideal candidate will relish working side by side with everyone from national trustees to executive directors to rigorous academics to idealistic youth workers to hard core outdoor adventure junkies. 

  • Formal project management training or experience with project management software or systems a strong plus
  • Superb written and oral communications essential
  • Experience with coordinating and scheduling senior executives, orchestrating gatherings of industry leaders or otherwise bringing together diverse groups of demanding people
  • Ability to track high level long term goals and descend into short term plans and logistics without losing the strategic perspective
  • High degree of comfort developing detailed logistical plans, delegating their execution and monitoring performance
  • Competency with computers including word-processing and Excel.  Strong aptitude and/or familiarity with on line document sharing and storage, video conferencing and other technologies designed to enable virtual work teams
  • Terrific organizational tools.  Someone who takes pleasure in having the details nailed down.
  • Good sense of humor, flexibility, tenacity and compassion
  • Willingness to accept and promote core values and mission of the organization
  • Occasional travel to program sites, if circumstances allow, so that the underlying character development work can be observed and experienced first hand



For at least the first year, the position is based in the Seaport District of Boston where a workstation, phone and office amenities will be provided.  Working remotely from a home office is acceptable as a significant portion of the Outward Bound USA organization works remotely. For at least the first year of the position, the Operations Director will work some days with the Lab team in office space on Thompson Island which is accessible by private ferry from the Seaport District.  In years two and three of the position, it is possible that the selected candidate could choose to relocate, pending the Lab Director’s location. Remaining in Boston will also be an option.



This role will require sedentary time in front of a computer and/or reviewing paper copy materials. Required of this position is included: the ability to read from a computer screen; use hands to type; speak on the phone and participate in conference calls and web conferences; the ability to intellectualize materials and articulate edits/finding as pertaining to the essential functions of this position.  If the Operations Director decides to travel to program sites, the ability to move unassisted over rough terrain, carry a 50 lb. backpack and adapt to outdoor weather prevalent in North America.



The individual filling this position is a full time employee of Outward Bound USA. Competitive salary, commensurate with experience. Employer sponsored health insurance with the option to select between two comprehensive, valuable plans. Dental and vision plans also available.  Ability to participate in a 403(b) retirement plan. Generous paid time off (PTO) including holidays.  Flexible scheduling, pursuant to position. This is an exempt position and currently grant funded for three years, with the potential for continuing employment following the grant period.  

How to Apply: