The Opportunity

Reach Out and Read seeks an experienced senior leader to lead the re-design and implementation of ROR’s overall books model, focused on equity, quality, and sustainability. As ROR seeks to create more access to diverse and culturally-responsive books across our footprint nationwide, this key role will lead a strategy to tackle the gap that currently exists. This position will work in close collaboration with the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer, across the ROR National and Affiliate network, and manage relationships directly with books vendors and partners.

Families need access to these resources more than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our model helps families across our communities access books, guidance, and services through their existing relationships with pediatric healthcare providers, who promote foundational relationships as key to long-term health and positive outcomes.

For more than three decades, Reach Out and Read has demonstrated the impact of its approach to early childhood development by making books, resources, and guidance available to families during visits to doctors. Reach Out and Read partners with more than 6100 clinics, safety net hospitals, medical systems, and other healthcare settings across the country, currently serving more than 4.2 million children.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the National Director of Books Strategy and Partnerships leads Reach Out and Read’s strategy for incorporating high-quality children’s books into the ROR model. The National Director ensures that Reach Out and Read maximizes the opportunities provided by children’s books for the organization. The National Director creates and executes a comprehensive strategy that guides the acquisition and use of children’s books through partnership with senior leaders in all Reach Out and Read Departments, advisory committees and subject matter experts, book vendors, and external organizations.

Role Summary

You will tackle several key pieces of work, as a seasoned leader with experience in strategy development and implementation, vendor and partner management, DEI and book quality, and the ability to collaborate successfully with a variety of stakeholders. You will build upon an existing strategic framework around books; implement the different components of the strategy in close collaboration with key stakeholders; centralize books leadership; share best practices and pilots; manage external partnerships; bring direct experience championing and incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into books work; and focus on defining books quality and ensuring the representation of the children, families, and communities that we serve.

As a Reach Out and Read leader, you will be part of a vibrant team of professionals serving communities across the country. We will honor your lived and professional experience as key aspects of your candidacy for the role and prioritize applicants with experience dismantling the structural inequities that disproportionately impact children and families with traditionally marginalized identities.

Roles and Responsibilities Include:

1. Develop and steward implementation of Reach Out and Read’s book strategy, focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion

    • Champion and incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into books work at all levels: content, quality, partners, authors, systems
    • Collaborate to codify a definition of books quality that ensures the representation of the children, families, and communities that we serve
    • Identify ways to explore and incorporate innovative approaches to books as a method of community engagement and of how we can meet the needs of our communities
    • Seek to incorporate connections to story-telling, oral narratives, and identify ways to center communities and families in our work
    • Build out books model strategy at Reach Out and Read that is grounded upon principles of equity, quality, and sustainability
    • Lead strategy and change implementation at site, affiliate, National, and external levels
    • Explore and document piloting of model components
    • Share best practices and identify what can scale to the ROR network of affiliates and sites

    2. Oversee the selection of approved/recommended book titles, ensuring fidelity to ROR’s policies

      • Convene book advisory committee(s), with internal and external partners, to review and evaluate titles
      • Monitor titles used by peer organizations and recommended books lists and organizations to ensure Reach Out and Read remains current with best practices in the field
      • Identify titles, authors, publishers, and distributors that will help increase the quality and quantity of diverse and culturally responsive books available to the ROR network
      • Review approved vendor catalogues to ensure title alignment with ROR policies, guidelines, and standards

      3. Liaise with the publishing industry and external book-related organizations

        • Collaborate with Director of Procurement and Administrative Services around communication with vendors about strategy and book selection
        • Cultivate relationships and assess opportunities with new book distribution partners and opportunities for the inclusion of specific titles for the ROR network
        • Identify and cultivate partnerships with other book-related organizations
        • Collaborate with Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer to ensure alignment with organizational strategy and relationships with external parties
        • Manage relationship with approved book vendors including implementation of their improved processes/services to best fit the needs of ROR
        • Collaborate with the Director of Procurement and Administrative Services to manage revenue sharing partnerships, including revenue sharing programs
        • Identify and execute on additional revenue sources for books at Reach Out and Read


        4. Provide book expertise and technical assistance to ROR Leadership and the ROR Network, and collaborate as a books strategy expert across departments

          • Provide resources and expertise to the Chief Operating Officer to support:
            • Program quality, with books as a core component of this
            • Professional development for affiliates for selecting and ordering books
            • Technical assistance and guidance on issues such as quality vs. cost for ROR staff and affiliates
          • Provide or identify expertise to the Chief of Research and Innovation for collection development for special initiatives/topics and training-related work
          • Provide guidance and content to support the Chief Development Officer to fundraise with individuals, corporations, and foundations for resources to support book purchases
          • Identify opportunities to leverage ROR’s purchasing power more effectively through contribution to initiatives such as the business model task force
          • Contribute to messaging, marketing, and public awareness strategies highlighting the role of books within the ROR model, in dialogue with the Director of Marketing and Communications
          • Share recommendations, learnings, and best practices with the Reach Out and Read network and leadership

          5. Lead the development and implementation of book selection policies and procedures

            • Ensure book policies align with organizational policies and priorities including those focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion
            • Convene book advisory committee(s) to guide policy recommendations, invite stakeholder engagement, and ensure that decisions are shaped by subject matter expertise
            • Create and periodically review/revise a book selection policy that guides organizational decisions about how books are selected for the ROR program, with strategic engagement with the Chief Operating Officer and final approval from the Chief Executive Officer
            • Create summary documents for affiliates and providers that provide guidelines for book selection based on ROR’s policies
            • Develop policies and procedures for responding to queries and feedback regarding ROR’s book selection policies such as for complaints, responses to self-published authors, suggestions of titles for ROR program use, etc.

            Qualifications and Experience

            There are innumerable ways to learn, grow and excel professionally. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring to the work. We are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below.

            • At least 10 years of experience in the publishing industry and/or non-profit sector, with a focus on programs and external partnerships, and increasing levels of responsibility
            • Undergraduate degree in a relevant field
            • Experience working with BIPOC communities and depth of experience working to end the systematic inequities experienced by people with marginalized identities
            • Demonstrated ability to examine personal biases and foster inclusive spaces for individuals of all identities and backgrounds
            • Ability to use data to inform decision-making by identifying prospective solutions based on analysis and an understanding of the risks and rewards associated
            • Communicates in a positive and productive way that elicits interest and support for core ideas and beliefs
            • Fosters strong interpersonal relationships with colleagues and external stakeholders that are grounded in a sense of belonging and commitment to a shared mission
            • Willingness to speak promptly, directly, and with compassion to colleagues who are both junior and senior when disagreements arise or there are opportunities to provide positive or adjusting feedback
            • Desire and capacity to work in collaboration with colleagues and departments across the organization in support of shared goals and a common vision for success
            • Effectively cultivates and nurtures internal and external partnerships that leverage strengths and resources for mutual benefit
            • Experience inspiring and mobilizing internal and external stakeholders by sharing an ambitious, inspiring or otherwise compelling pathway to greater impact or sustainability
            • Capacity for leading change and introducing new resources and systems across an organization
            • Strong, calm presence and ability to synthesize information quickly and respond and problem solve
            • Ability to deliver on ambitious goals and benchmarks
            • Proactive attitude, out-of-the-box thinking, sense of humor, and ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment

            Position Specifications

            This is a 40-hour/week, exempt position, with a flexible location working from a home office anywhere in the country. Some travel is required to national conferences and meetings 1-2 times annually.


            Compensation and Benefits

            Salary will be competitive with similar roles at non-profit organizations of a comparable size, and you will also receive a robust benefits package. ROR offers medical and dental insurance, 401(k) retirement plan with a match, paid vacation, and more. The salary range for this position is $110,000-$125,000.

            About Reach Out and Read

            Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read is a networked non-profit organization working to ensure all families have the opportunity to create meaningful everyday moments through shared reading aloud. Reach Out and Read sits at the intersection of health and education, uniquely positioned to play a critical role in addressing systemic disparities and inequities in the public health framework, and is focusing on equitably strengthening and deepening our impact on the children, families, and communities we serve.

            Working together with our sites and providers, we leverage our three decades of expertise, build on our literacy foundations, and engage our shared networks as a catalyst for change, using the parent-child relationship as a foundational component of early success.

            As we recover from COVID-19, there is an even greater urgency to scale and expand our impact to support recovery for the children and families most affected.

            The Impact

            • Reach Out and Read program sites are located in 6,100 hospitals and health centers in all 50 states, Washington, D. C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
            • Our evidence-based model promotes positive, language-rich interactions and shared reading between parents/caregivers and their young children from birth to 5 years old as a means of supporting the early relationships that are the foundation for healthy development and long-term health and well-being.
            • Reach Out and Read serves 4.2 million children and their families annually.
            • More than 6 million new, developmentally appropriate books are given to children annually.
            • 40,000 medical providers currently participate in Reach Out and Read
            • Our peer-reviewed body of evidence demonstrates that Reach Out and Read parents are two-and-a-half times more likely to read regularly to their children, and that children experiencing Reach Out and Read show enhanced language development.
            • The only national early literacy intervention delivered through pediatric care and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

            To learn more about Reach Out and Read, visit www.reachoutandread.org.


            ------------------------EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER---------------------

            Reach Out and Read is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, cultural heritage, ancestry, political belief, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability or veteran status. We value diversity and are committed to equal opportunity in employment. Members of all racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Reach Out and Read is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and we are committed to making special accommodations for your interview or work as a member of our team. If specific accommodations are needed, please notify hr @ reachoutandread. org and we will work to accommodate your needs.