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Cottonwood, Inc.

Chief Executive Officer

  • Location

    Lawrence, KS
  • Posted On

    November 12, 2021
  • Job Type

  • Category

    Nonprofit Administration
  • Experience Level

    10+ Years
  • Education Level

    Bachelor's Degree
  • Salary

    Commensurate with Experience

Job Description

Chief Executive Officer

Cottonwood, Inc.

Lawrence Kansas (Onsite Position)

Cottonwood’s Background

Cottonwood, Inc. is a multi-faceted non-profit in Lawrence, Kansas that was established in 1972 to provide services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). Over the years, Cottonwood has earned a reputation for excellent services and care. In 1995, the Developmental Disabilities Reform Act established Cottonwood as the Community Developmental Disability Organization (CDDO) for the Kansas counties of Douglas and Jefferson. The CDDO serves as the single point of entry connecting individuals of all ages with I/DD to the network of services in the area. With a total team of approximately 200 people, the CEO oversees an organization with a $15 million budget. Cottonwood offers a full array of services, including:

  • Targeted Case Management
  • Health Supports – wellness monitoring; health care coordination
  • Cottonwood Industries/Work Services – developing skills in light assembly, kitting, packaging, bulk mailings, shredding and collating; AbilityOne contracts
  • JobLink Employment Services – supported employment and customized placement, serving a broader population of people with disabilities
  • Life Enrichment Services – person-driven day services that meet the individual’s needs, honoring choice and providing necessary supports to be active community members
  • Retirement Enrichment Services – relaxed person-centered learning and leisure opportunities
  • Residential Services – designed around the needs of the person and provided 24 hours/day, 365 days a year.

Position Summary

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) serves as the leader of Cottonwood, Inc and is its primary public representative. The CEO reports to the Board of Directors and works in partnership with them to ensure that the organization fulfills its mission and creates strategies for future sustainability and success. The CEO is responsible for the programmatic and fiscal integrity of the organization in keeping with the direction, policies and objectives set forth by the Board of Directors.


Leadership: Serves as a decisive, credible leader for Cottonwood who attracts and retains top-notch, diverse talent. Maintains a work environment that fosters employee empowerment and commitment to the organization’s mission and purpose. Supports an open and healthy culture of collaboration, diversity, and mutual respect.

Board Relations:  Fosters solid relationships and supports the operating and foundation Boards in their roles for the organization. Keeps the Boards fully informed and engaged regarding the status and activities of the organization.

Strategic Planning:  Works with the Board to design and implement a plan to set strategic direction, long-term goals, and annual objectives.

Partnerships:  Recognizes the importance of collaborating with other allied agencies and works to identify/strengthen strategic opportunities to the benefit of all.

Financial Viability:  Holds primary responsibility for managing costs/investments and ensuring sustainable, diverse funding streams.

Operations:  Ensures the team operates with excellence and continues to deliver high quality services that meet the needs of its consumers and the community.

Advocacy:  Navigates a complex local and state political environment and supports policies that have the most significant impact on Cottonwood and its service area.

Community Relations:  Interfaces and establishes strong relationships with many constituencies at the local, state, and national level including the health and social service community, policymakers, community leadership, funders, and the public.

Communication:  Serves as the primary spokesperson for the organization and effectively articulates the vision, mission, and outcomes.

Professional and Personal Qualifications

  • Undergraduate degree is required. A master’s degree in social work, human services management, business administration, or related degree preferred.
  • An affinity for the mission of caring for individuals who are developmentally disabled. Demonstrated program experience with persons with intellectual disabilities preferred.
  • A seasoned nonprofit executive, with 10 years of progressively responsible management experience with prior operations and program development experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to make effective decisions in difficult and complex situations; open to receiving and integrating feedback.
  • Demonstrated leader of high personal and professional integrity, who is sensitive and committed to maintaining and enriching Cottonwood’s mission, values, and culture. Skilled people manager and team builder. Ability to foster strong collaborative teams and actively engage with staff. Will maintain Cottonwood’s positive working environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills. Previous success in establishing relationships with the community including public funders, civic leaders, charitable agencies, fundraising sources, and donors. Ability to develop and maintain trusting relationships.
  • Ability to maintain and strengthen collaborative partnerships with affiliated organizations.
  • The ability to successfully adapt to a rapidly changing environment and circumstances. Change agent – effective leadership with the ability to “bring others along.” Can motivate and influence individuals and groups.
  • Strong advocacy skills. The ability to communicate and interact with officials at all levels of government. An understanding of the public delivery systems, issues, and regulations that affect vulnerable populations.
  • Possess a history of achieving goals, improving bottom line performance, and growing the organization; a history of successfully generating new revenue streams and improving financial results.
  • Strong organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development, task facilitation, without micromanaging key managers.
  • Solid budget management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision making and reporting.
  • Active fundraising experience, an understanding of nonprofit fundraising strategies and donor relations unique to the nonprofit sector.
  • Experience and skill in working with a Board of Directors.
  • Ability to successfully manage conflict and adversity.


The projected compensation range for this individual will be competitive and in accordance with the background and experience of the selected candidate. Compensation is supplemented by a strong benefits package that includes retirement through the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System and 100% medical for employees.


Cottonwood supports the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, creed, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected categories.

How to Apply

Application Process

The search for the Chief Executive Officer is being conducted by The Moran Company.

To apply for this position, submit a cover letter and resume to Ann Graff at The Moran Company. Resume should include all professional experience, dates of employment (month and year), position/title, and organization names. APPLY NOW

When applying, mention you saw this opening listed on Disability Scoop.