Impact Examples: Center for Employment Opportunities


The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is dedicated to providing immediate, effective and comprehensive employment services to men and women with recent criminal convictions.

“CEO has a long history of benefiting from Encore Fellows’ capacity-building efforts. In 2011, CEO was introduced to the program by the Robin Hood Foundation and welcomed Louisa Hellegers and Beth Kempner to Organizational Development and Marketing roles.

It was immediately apparent that their deep and broad skills made their impact reach far beyond their specific work assignments. Louisa helped implement CEO’s human capital plan including rolling out a new performance appraisal system. Louisa was a valuable resource for the developmental needs of CEO managers and staff and became a trusted advisor to the senior team.

Beth helped communicate CEO’s mission and accomplishments to key stakeholders including media outlets, public officials and policymakers, corporations, and the communities we serve, and she played an important role in internal communications.

In 2012, after significant contributions as Encore Fellows, CEO offered Louisa and Beth part-time, permanent roles within the organization. As Director of Organizational Development, Louisa updated, revised, and aligned all of CEO’s job descriptions. Since job descriptions are a starting point for creating employee job accountability, this task was vital to an organization as performance driven as CEO. Louisa’s biggest achievement was her implementation of CEO’s automated human capital system on which she trained staff before retiring from CEO.

Beth remained a valued member of the CEO management team for several years as Director of Public Affairs. In addition to managing CEO’s social media presence, Beth also oversaw CEO’s volunteer programs, leading a group of highly invested, retired private sector professionals supporting CEO participants’ job preparation efforts.

In addition to the Encore Fellows, CEO has hired three new senior executives with a combined 30 years of senior level experience in the public and private sectors.

Onboarding process providing guidance, integration and feedback

Encore Fellows reported directly to CEO’s Chief Operating Officer and met frequently with the CEO/ED to ensure that their responsibilities were aligned to business goals and strategy. They attended cross-functional meetings early on to integrate them into the decision-making process.

CEO provided a robust onboarding experience including a multi-week training period. Training used a blended learning approach with instructor-led training, round tables with senior managers, job shadowing, partner and funder meetings, as well as an all-staff meet and greet event. Fellows also participated in monthly manager meetings to build their knowledge base and relationships.

 Key questions in the interview process:

  • Candidate’s desire to engage in the social purpose space
  • Professional experiences and accomplishments
  • In connection with CEO’s plan for rapid growth, we want to learn about a time when the candidates influenced organizational strategy and formalized a system to improve efficiencies and the outcomes
  • We believe that a diverse staff makes us more effective and enables credibility in our work. We would want to know an example of something the candidate has learned and/or how awareness of ‘diversity’ has impacted your work in a way that would be relevant to CEO.