Chief Operating Officer

  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Full-time
  • US-Based Positions

The Organization:

The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) is dedicated to healing survivors and ending torture. By extending rehabilitative care to survivors, building the capacity of institutions and individuals and advocating against torture and in support of human rights, CVT works toward a future in which torture ceases to exist and its survivors have hope for a new life. CVT was founded in 1985 as the first torture survivor rehabilitation center in the United States and just the third internationally; it remains the largest organization of its kind in the U.S. and is one of the two largest in the world.


The mission of the Center for Victims of Torture is to heal the wounds of torture on individuals, their families and their communities and to end torture worldwide.


Clients are at the Heart of our Work


At CVT, we are dedicated to healing survivors and ending torture. To do this, we begin with the client. From the time a survivor reaches out to us for care until the day of the last post- therapy follow-up session, CVT works to build security and trust, and to listen. Through highly specialized rehabilitative care, CVT has seen that survivors of almost unthinkable atrocities are able to unlock strength, courage and resilience that allows them to begin rebuilding their lives. CVT uses an interdisciplinary model of care, incorporating mental health counseling with disciplines including physiotherapy, social work, medical care or referrals. All care is assessed with monitoring and evaluation practices that accurately measure effectiveness and results.



CVT also focuses on the client’s family. When a client receives care, family relationships benefit. The way trauma affects individuals has an impact on family members, so we involve family members in rehabilitation as well; in fact, last year CVT extended care to more than 28,000 survivors and family members.



We work every day within survivor communities. CVT extends psychoeducation in many locations in order to work against negative stigma that many people have related to mental health. We also expand access to effective care to survivors by working with mental health care professionals, organizations, institutions and schools as well as individuals, bringing training in specialized rehabilitative skills, self-care techniques, evaluation practices, and more. This allows the capacity to provide effective care to grow and stabilize sustainably, with care delivered in the community, by the community. This capacity development is implemented internationally as well as in the U.S.



In addition, CVT works on policy advocacy in order to impact the structures that have the power to prevent torture and support survivors. From our Washington, DC office, CVT works to build support for refugee protections, to sustain funding for rehabilitative programs, and to foster the prohibitions against use of torture. In addition, through its New Tactics in Human Rights program, CVT promotes strategic and tactical thinking among activists in the international human rights community.


Where do we work?

CVT’s model centers the needs of survivors, and we believe that over time those needs are best served within the local community. Therefore, our centers are located as closely as possible to the places where survivors live: we see survivors in refugee camps and in urban areas in Africa and the Middle East. We extend care primarily to asylum seekers at our centers in the U.S.,


How big is CVT?

The 2020 budget totals nearly $25 million, of which about $6 million is contributed by individuals, foundations, corporate philanthropies and other institutions. $18.5 million is earned through government contracts and medical and targeted case management billing. CVT has grown about 150% over the past 6 years; growth trajectory has averaged 10-15% per year. We employ 430 staff, including 130 in the U.S. and 300 in Africa and the Middle East.


Strategic Goals

  • Develop and expand access for individual survivors and communities affected by torture to as full rehabilitation as possible — in the United States and internationally.
  • Strengthen the torture survivor rehabilitation movement and allies, nationally and internationally.
  • Influence policy and practice to prevent torture and ensure that survivors have access to rehabilitation, protection, and justice.
  • Strengthen organizational capacity to support current strategic goals and future growth.


The Role:

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Reports to: Executive Director

Supervisory Responsibilities: Directors of External Relations (Development, Policy & Communications), Global Operations (IT, HR, Risk Management, Facilities), International Services, Client Services and Research


Position Summary:

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is responsible for overall organizational effectiveness of a growing international human rights NGO; day-to- day management; and implementation, coordination, administration and evaluation of CVT within the framework of CVT’s strategic and operational plans.

The COO will:

  • align internal structures and resources with organizational strategies, working in partnership with the Executive Team.
  • provide leadership to and supervise 5 Department Directors overseeing global operations, programs and external relations
  • work closely with the Board of Directors.


Key Responsibilities:

Operational Leadership:

  • Coordinate CVT’s programs and operations to ensure maximum integration, efficiency and impact in values driven organization.
  • Ensure alignment of priorities, strengthen communication, and facilitate timely, data- driven and transparent decision-making.
  • Lead annual work planning processes and partner with the CFO on budget development and monitoring processes to ensure that the organization meets its financial goals.
  • Guide and/or lead organizational change initiatives needed to accommodate organizational growth and effectiveness of operations, including strengthening decision-making structures, cross-department collaboration, and diversity, equity & inclusion strategies.
  • Oversee new program development and ensure programs and departments operate consistently and ethically within the mission and values of CVT.
  • Maintain ongoing communication and alignment with Executive Director and consult on major policy, personnel and financial decisions.


Staff Leadership:

  • Manage and inspire a strong and cohesive team.
  • Hire, train, coach and develop staff members through ongoing feedback as well as formal performance management systems.
  • Hold regular supervisory meetings with direct reports. Coordinate workflow, resources and priorities.


Strategic Leadership:

  • Participate with the Executive Director and Executive Team in defining the future direction of the organization.
  • Lead implementation of the strategic plan to ensure achievement of strategic goals.
  • Monitor progress and develop and adjust strategies, operating models and structures to accommodate evolving circumstances. Implement systems of accountability and transparency, and ensure allocation of resources align with strategic priorities.
  • Lead the Executive Team through planning processes.


Board and External Relations:

  • Support the Executive Director in working with the Board of Directors.
  • Participate in Board Meetings and serve as management liaison to Board Committees, as assigned.
  • Complement the Executive Director’s external role, as needed, by representing the organization to donors, professional audiences, communities and the general public.


Other Duties:

  • Participate in other organization-wide activities, meetings and trainings. Complete administrative responsibilities. Perform other duties as assigned.


The Person:

  • Passionate about human rights and representing CVT’s mission
  • 10 years proven track record of outstanding performance managing complex global NGOs, nonprofit organizations or other relevant organizations.
  • 7 years of demonstrated successful performance at the executive level
  • Previous experience in a COO role in a similarly complex international organization
  • Experience in humanitarian, health care or service delivery fields
  • Adept at execution of strategy within complex organizations
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and outstanding capacity for managing and leading people with the ability to motivate, promote accountability, foster collaboration and spark innovation
  • Solid understanding of financial management methods and techniques and experience in fiscal analysis and management
  • Collaborative management style with commitment to creating a flexible environment in which senior staff operate as a team
  • Ability to translate strategic vision and strategic directions into effective and smooth running operation; anticipate future opportunities, consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan
  • Proven track record of building organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch diverse workforce, and fostering inclusive and equitable organizations.
  • Well-developed racial, cultural, social-emotional competency and awareness
  • Bias toward action and results
  • Excellent organizational and analytical skills
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communications skills
  • Strong record of consistently exercising sound judgement
  • Demonstrates integrity that is felt by all


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Master’s degree in management, leadership, public administration or related field, preferred.


  • Ability to travel to a variety of locations within metro regularly
  • Ability to travel nationally and internationally up to 15% of time


Diversity & Inclusion

CVT strives to respect the diversity of all people with whom we connect, including staff members, clients, volunteers, partners, communities and donors, and to actively incorporate inclusion and equity into our plans, activities and structures, recognizing that our ability to meet our mission hinges on our effectiveness at inclusion. CVT has embarked on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to ensure we adapt to the changing communities we serve, to address disparities so that CVT staff feel valued and respected, and to transform the ways in which we operate.




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