Lab of Ornithology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is the world's leading institute for research, education, citizen science, public engagement, and conservation focused on birds. A vibrant unit within Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the Lab's globally focused, mission-driven programs are directed by full-time faculty and other renowned professionals. Lab staff conduct research, teach courses, advise graduate students, mentor postdoctoral fellows, collect and disseminate world-leading digital resources on biodiversity, and engage with partner organizations and public citizens around the world to foster cutting-edge science and conservation action. The Lab is advised by an Administrative Board that includes leading entrepreneurs and managers from the business and non-profit sectors, conservation-minded civic leaders, and faculty from Cornell and other universities.
The Lab completed an ambitious strategic planning process in 2018, and together with the university is moving into a campaign with ambitious fundraising goals. In the coming years the organization will grow rapidly and restructure its programs to improve its capacity for achieving global impact. To help lead these efforts we seek an experienced financial leader who will: 1) spearhead the Lab's transition to a significantly larger and more complex budget (currently $34M, anticipated 25% growth in the next five years); 2) guide restructuring of the Lab's internal financial framework to align with the strategic plan; 3) oversee and manage all Lab financial operations, contract negotiations, and budget management; and 4) provide high-level counsel to top Lab, University, and Administrative Board leadership.
The Lab receives no revenue from Cornell University tuition and fees, but thrives on diverse and growing revenue streams that include private donations from more than 120,000 supporters, endowment income, annual disbursement from a 509(a)(3) supporting organization, grants and contracts, and programmatic entrepreneurship. Within this multi-faceted context, the Senior Director of Finance and Contracts holds a high-visibility position with extremely high levels of oversight responsibility, fiscal management, confidentiality, internal interactivity, and external reporting. Reporting to the Executive Director of the Lab with a dotted line to the CALS Associate Dean, the key duties are:
serve as overall senior financial leader, advisor, and forecaster at the Lab, providing advice and counsel to the Executive Director, senior leaders, and the Administrative Board, to ensure the financial health of a complex, internationally engaged $34 million a year (and growing) organization.
help guide the Lab through organizational and financial restructuring to align structure and budget with goals defined in the Lab's 2018-2025 Strategic Plan.
establish and monitor annual budgets, develop financial projections, strategies, and long-term models; track resources from all sources; implement best practices for day-to-day financial operations; consult with development staff on donor proposals; provide financial oversight of grant and contract proposals.
work closely with the Lab's Administrative Board; prepare detailed financial reports and manage meetings for the Board's finance committee and present financial reports during full Board meetings.
serve as the chief fiscal manager for the Friends of the Cornell Lab (FCLO), a separate 509(a)(3) supporting organization that currently manages $38 million in assets and is directed by an independent board of directors and investment committee; execute trades as dictated by the investment committee; track and report fund performances.
prepare, negotiate, review, and manage a wide variety of service contracts and other external agreements – including complex technology licensing agreements and MOUs with international organizations – working closely with Cornell's legal counsel, risk management, technology licensing, and procurement.
oversee all aspects of the Lab's financial procedures and infrastructure, maintaining close working relationships with all levels of management and staff, fostering partnerships with program directors and serving as a critical link between the Lab, the college, and Cornell's central administrations. Work in partnership with CALS Business Service Center to ensure that all financial operations meet programmatic needs while complying with University and college policies.
provide direct supervision, direction, and mentorship to staff within all of the Lab's finance and business service teams.
facilitate the consistent application of new and existing university and college financial systems, policies, and procedures to advance the Lab's unique and non-traditional academic programs.
AICPA Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential or IMA Certified Management Accountant (CMA), or be able to earn the credential(s) within 1 year.
Credential must be maintained as a condition of employment, professional fees will be reimbursed to maintain credentials. Master's degree, MBA, or equivalent formal training in business administration, or related field required.
At least 7 years of experience with accounting, financial management, budgeting, and managerial positions in higher education or similarly complex settings, with progressive scope and responsibility or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Strong working knowledge of budgeting and accounting policies and practices; grant and contract management; finance investments, policies, laws and procedures; risk management; financial analysis, reporting and external contract negotiation required.
Ability to analyze large amounts of data, deliver succinct reports, and consult with executive to guide decision-making and problem solving.
Ability to oversee finances in a complex institution, including ability to develop/mentor team members and establish credibility as an effective developer of budgets and strategic financial solutions.
Must have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.
Attention to detail and organizational skills are critical.
A proven ability to manage multiple areas, events, and deadlines simultaneously.
Must be naturally curious and responsive to ever-changing needs, with evidence of strong customer service, interpersonal, and communication skills, and demonstrated ability to cultivate and maintain collaborative and effective work relations with all levels of management, staff, administration, and academic personnel (within the Lab, College, University and Administrative Board).
Must have proven leadership ability including effectiveness in working with creative individuals and a large scope of responsibilities.
Ability to use judgment in accomplishing tasks that are urgent or of a sensitive or confidential nature, balance conflicting priorities, and make decisions from a range of choices.
Must be comfortable working in a high-performance work environment and where adaptability in process/procedures is required.
Must have demonstrated ability to synthesize complex information, regularly prepare and deliver cogent presentations to Administrative Board, Lab leadership, and staff of all levels.
Proven ability to prepare and review a wide variety of service contracts, seeking guidance from legal counsel, risk management, technology licensing (CTL) and procurement services.
Strong interest in mission and vision of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Upper-level management experience within not-for-profit and/or academic institutions, including working with and communicating to supervisory Boards.
Experience with financial investment management and tracking.
Experience and familiarity with biodiversity sciences, educational outreach, and/or information technology strategies; experience working with partner institutions and organizations.
Cornell University provides great benefits that include professional development, access to a plethora of wellness programs, employee discounts with local and national retail brands, health care options to choose from, generous paid leave provisions: 3 weeks of vacation, 12 holidays (including end of year winter break) and superior retirement contributions. Cornell has also been nationally recognized as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives. For more information, follow this link:
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Visa Sponsorship is not available for this position; not eligible to apply.
Relocation assistance is not provided for this position.
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Mgr Finance III
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