Vice President for Finance and Administration

Lasell College is seeking a disciplined and experienced financial professional with a proven record of providing creative, innovative, and forward-thinking strategies to be its Vice President for Finance and Administration (VP). As the College's chief business strategist and financial officer, the VP serves as a vital partner to the President, charged with the achievement of strategies and objectives that enhance the college's valuation and brand in the long term while maintaining its long and successful focus on an accessible, inclusive, and diverse student-centered mission. Required to respond with nimbleness and agility to an ever-changing higher education marketplace, the VP works to test the College's business model and challenge the status quo when helpful. The VP serves as chief financial officer for the College and Lasell Village. The VP reports directly to the President and works in close collaboration with the other Senior Management Team members in the advancement of college goals.

Lasell College:
An innovative educational institution for over 167 years, Lasell is an independent coeducational college emphasizing the integration of professional and liberal arts programs leading to bachelor's and master's degrees and an increasing number and variety of certificate and continuing and adult education programs. The 54-acre campus is situated in Newton, Massachusetts, eight miles from downtown Boston. Its location at the heart of the Route 128 high-tech corridor is a powerful symbol of Lasell's "connected learning" philosophy, which engages students in the work of their field of study through service learning, internships, project-based classroom experiences, and opportunities for global learning. As a result, Lasell students graduate with a degree and a robust resume, and consistently report graduate school and job placement rates about 95% (most recently, 97%!).

Lasell's educational commitment to blending theory and practice was embraced at its founding in 1851 as the first two-year college for women and has remained central to its mission through the transition to four-year education in 1988 and coeducation in 1998. Graduate programs, introduced in 2003, provide new opportunities for incorporating the College's distinctive connected learning model. In 2000, Lasell Village, a vibrant living and learning retirement community sponsored by the College, was opened (see below). And in 2008, Lasell began a Green Campus Initiative with a goal of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Today, Lasell serves about 1650 undergraduate and about 450 graduate students from across the US and around the world.

A commitment to teaching excellence and academic innovation has been at the heart of Lasell from its beginning. The school is widely recognized for helping students make the connection between classroom lessons and real life through the integration of challenging coursework with practical experience in an environment that fosters lifelong intellectual exploration, active citizenship and social responsibility. In the last 10 years, with an expanding and diverse student body, Lasell set enrollment and fundraising records and developed three ambitious strategic plans, two of which have been successfully fulfilled. The most recent strategic plan (here) is well on track.

The College has become a leader in the effort to develop lower cost models for independent colleges, experimenting with ways to deliver a high quality private higher education at prices 30-50% lower than current tuition rates. Lasell hosts the Lower Cost Models for Independent Colleges Consortium (LCMC), a collection of 19 colleges founded in 2017. Lasell is initiating its unique "Lasell Works" program, which, for students who opt into the program, features declining tuition rates each year a student returns to the College. Lasell College is also a member of edHealth, a consortium of higher education institutions in the Boston/New England area that is harnessing the power in numbers to successfully offer quality healthcare at lower costs.

Lasell Village, an award-winning senior housing community, approaches retirement in a whole new way - with an emphasis on active, intellectually enriched living. The Village combines the security of a continuing care retirement community with the cultural, social, and recreational opportunities of lifelong learning. Designed on the scale of a small New England neighborhood, Lasell Village is located on a beautifully landscaped 13-acre site on the campus of Lasell College. At the Village center is the clock-towered Town Hall building, surrounded by fifteen residential buildings all connected by enclosed walkways. The Town Hall provides a full range of amenities from personal banking to sophisticated dining, while each residential building includes at least one common space dedicated to continued learning and physical fitness.

Life at Lasell Village reflects the interests and imagination of Village residents. A focus on living and learning is the defining characteristic of Lasell Village, and one that makes it unique among retirement communities. Although it is one of a growing number of college-affiliated retirement communities, it is the first to feature a formal, individualized and required continuing education program for residents. The presiding philosophy of education at Lasell Village is that learning is not a chore or task, or even a specified activity. Rather, it is a way of being - an approach to life in which residents pursue interests and new experiences that enrich their lives. While residents are required to attend 450 hours of educational coursework per year, they do so eagerly.

Leadership:
Michael Alexander became the ninth president of Lasell College on July 1, 2007, following successful corporate careers, first in media and entertainment and then in technology, deferring an early desire to enter higher education leadership.

During his tenure, Alexander has overseen substantial campus-wide growth, including a more than an 80 percent increase in total enrollment, a doubling of full-time faculty, and an almost 90 percent increase in annual giving. Last June, Lasell completed its three-year capital campaign which raised more than $15 million for new programs, endowment, and part of the cost for the recently completed Science and Technology Center. It was the second capital campaign completed in Alexander's time at the College, which has also included overseeing the construction of five new buildings and the renovation of many others.

Previously, Alexander's roles in higher education included Assistant Dean of Freshmen for Harvard College while pursuing his doctoral work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Executive Assistant to the President of Barnard College, later taking on responsibility for the financial and administrative affairs of the college.

He received an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.A from Ohio State University, and completed all coursework toward an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition, Alexander has been involved with a number of organizations and institutions over the years, including the Boards of Trustees of Antioch University, Bloomfield College, the Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, and the National Urban League.

Alexander resides in Dunne House on the campus of Lasell, with his wife Mary Barbara, an actress. Their daughter, Maggie, lives in Florida.

The Opportunity:
As Chief Financial Officer of Lasell College and Lasell Village, this position is responsible for ensuring the financial integrity of the College and Lasell Village and advising the President on all matters of fiscal security and accountability, financial planning, and stewardship of College resources. This position has fiduciary responsibility for the safeguarding of all College assets and managing all funds and securities of the College. This position provides leadership, direction, strategic planning, and coordination for the Business and Finance Department, Department of Plant Operations and Public Safety, the Department of Information Technology, Student Accounts, and Human Resources (all of which support the academic and administrative departments of the College). This position provides appropriate support to the Business Office of Lasell Village. Areas of responsibility may change based on the experience and qualifications of the person hired. The VP will oversee a divisional budget of $23 million, an enterprise-wide budget of $91 million, a Lasell Village budget of $19 million, and a staff of 69.

As a member of the President's Senior Management Team, the VP will advise the President to support the development of ongoing, long-term strategic planning, as well as the executive functions of the institution. The VP is responsible for the assessment and development of the College's financial strategy, business model, and performance measures that balance strict financial discipline with higher return initiatives that drive innovation and growth.

Further, the VP will provide leadership in the identification, market testing, implementation, and continual performance assessment of initiatives for new revenue generation including programs, products, events, services, and the development of associated business plans. The VP must have the awareness of where the market and competition are heading and have the ability to engage in analytical thinking, problem solving, and planning.

To effectively foster an entrepreneurial spirit and a culture of collaboration and innovation within the College, particularly in the generation of new revenue, the VP must be a transparent communicator with the ability to build creative teams that are open to taking risks. The VP will facilitate shared governance and faculty, staff, and student engagement in the development of financial goals and budget development.

The VP for Finance and Administration will have the opportunity to provide purpose, discipline, and clarity as the College launches, assesses, and grows new strategic initiatives. The ideal candidate will help Lasell College to be explicit about what they choose to do, choose not to do, how they do it, and why.

The VP will work collegially with a wide variety of constituencies, including but not limited to students, faculty, staff, senior officers, collaborators at other institutions, contractors, external businesses, Lasell Village residents, and the Board of Trustees. The VP will employ strong written, oral, and interpersonal skills in order to effectively support the Board of Trustees, including the Finance, Investment, Governance, and Audit Committees of Lasell College and the Investment Committee of Lasell Village, and to communicate important financial matters pertaining to the whole institution and to individual departments.

Qualifications and Experience:
The successful candidate will have earned a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a graduate degree in a relevant field is preferred. The VP will have demonstrated significant and progressively responsible leadership over the financial administrative area, preferably in a college or university setting. Excellent analytical ability is vital. The VP must be able to evaluate the College's financial needs and select appropriate investments and business strategies that will meet established financial goals. Experience in partnering with an executive team and a high level of written and oral communication skills are essential in order to effectively collaborate with colleagues and interact with clients or organizational management. The candidate should also have effective project management abilities in order to successfully oversee multiple business initiatives. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) certification is preferred.

In addition, the VP should have the following experiences and attributes:

  • Financial analysis and planning, budgeting, accounting, internal compliance, risk management, facilities, public safety, human resources, and information technology.
  • Accurate and timely estimates of the financial condition of the College and the Village in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Financial and tax reporting at all governmental levels
  • Liaison with the City of Newton on financial, tax, zoning, construction, and approval matters
  • Maintenance of the financial planning model.
  • Development of effective business practices including implementation of new financial and business information systems.
  • Management of the system of internal controls and financial operations.
  • Compliance with College, state and federal policies, regulations and laws.
  • Oversight of external audits for Lasell College and Lasell Village.
  • Supervision of all phases of construction projects.
  • Collective bargaining /union negotiations and contracts.
  • Oversight of the College's participation in collaborations with other organizations, including edHealth (a medical insurance consortium)
  • Auxiliary enterprises including food service, environmental services and Donahue Bookstore.
  • Oversight of the investments of the College's endowment funds and the reserve funds of Lasell Village.
  • Negotiation and oversight of debt instruments for the College and Lasell Village
  • Liaison to the Finance Committee and Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Management of rental programs/rental of facilities.
  • Negotiation of contracts on behalf of the College, such as food service, insurance, and legal services.
  • Anticipation of financial and operational risks and opportunities prior to their arrival, when it is possible to avert looming problems or take advantage of opportunities.
  • Improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of operations, including attention to controlling costs.
  • Experience in developing, evaluating, and prioritizing innovative revenue generating ideas and subsequently developing and implementing business plans that bring ideas to fruition;
  • Robust knowledge and understanding of current issues facing higher education, including the importance of leveraging technology;
  • Experience contributing to and implementing a strategic plan;
  • Experience articulating a vision, building an effective team, and listening to and engaging diverse constituencies in working toward shared goals;
  • Experience making detail-oriented, informed decisions and communicating decisions in a transparent manner;
  • Experience working with a diverse range of faculty, staff, and students, and contributing to a climate of inclusivity;
  • Experience developing new and creative ways to continue to attract, support, and retain high-quality, diverse employees;
  • Demonstrated commitment to shared governance;
  • Exemplary interpersonal skills including the ability to listen, communicate, and collaborate effectively with the College's multiple constituencies, including faculty, students, staff, alumnae, donors, and professional organizations;
  • An entrepreneurial, innovative leadership style; and
  • Experience interacting with a Board of Trustees to ensure the College's overall

Contact:
Koya Leadership Partners is assisting Lasell College with this hire. This search is being led by Tom Phillips and Charlotte Harris.

Nominations and applications, including a detailed letter of interest, qualifications, and a current curriculum vitae, should be submitted here.

The Lasell community appreciates diverse, global perspectives and recognizes that students, faculty, and staff from a range of backgrounds make our campus greater. We are committed to providing our community with the academic resources and professional development needed to foster an inclusive environment.

Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

Lasell has made a community-wide commitment to acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences in our multiple perspectives, identities, social positions, and cultural lenses. We affirm that Lasell's mission of social responsibility and effective, engaged learning requires our commitment to an inclusive campus in which all members of the Lasell community can thrive.

About Koya Leadership Partners:
Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit www.koyapartners.com.

Koya Leadership Partners- Vice President of Finance and Administration