Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.

Chief Development Officer Los Angeles, CA

The Doheny Eye Institute (Doheny), one of the nation’s premier ophthalmology research institutes, seeks an exceptional and seasoned advancement professional to serve as its next Chief Development Officer (CDO). Joining Doheny at an exciting time of growth and momentum, the CDO will provide strategic vision, leadership, and direction for all fundraising initiatives in support of advancing the institute’s vision of having the greatest impact on human eyesight through groundbreaking research, superior education programs, and the best eye care in the world. The CDO reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and, as a member of the senior leadership team, will play an integral role in advancing Doheny’s forthcoming strategic plan, defining funding priorities, and developing a compelling case for support as the institute enters a new era of excellence and prominence.

An independent nonprofit organization, Doheny will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year and has been at the forefront of vision research by furthering the conservation, improvement, and restoration of human eyesight and improving the lives of countless individuals locally and internationally. Doheny is recognized globally, having trained hundreds of the world’s most expert vision scientists and eye specialists; preparing and inspiring the leaders of the next generation of vision scientists is one of Doheny’s major goals over the next decade. Since 2013, Doheny has strategically partnered with the UCLA Stein Eye Institute (Stein), another top eye institute on the West Coast whose mission, values, and commitment to excellence is complementary to Doheny’s. This union preserves each organization’s identity and mission while combining their strengths to create the nation’s preeminent ophthalmic patient care, vision research, and education institution.

In 2021, Doheny transitioned into its new 21st century, technologically advanced vision research center and headquarters in Pasadena, California. The seven-acre campus enhances Doheny’s capabilities for fundamental discoveries that fuel ideas for basic science, clinical trials, new treatments, and cures by bringing together clinicians and scientists to solve the most challenging problems causing visual impairment. The headquarters features state-of-the-art research facilities, the Doheny Image Reading Center, administrative offices, (and soon, Doheny Eye Center UCLA clinics, faculty offices, and an ambulatory surgery center). Following this significant investment in and growth of the institute, and as it welcomes its next Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), Doheny is preparing to embark on a strategic planning process for which the CDO will be a crucial partner to the CEO, the CSO, and other senior leaders and stakeholders in transforming institute-wide priorities into philanthropic opportunities.

In addition, the CDO is responsible for executing dynamic strategies to advance the major gift pipeline; strengthening relationships with existing donors; and crafting innovative strategies for qualifying, cultivating, and soliciting new prospects. Providing strategic guidance to a team of six, with a few key roles to be filled by the CDO, this individual will establish strong and effective working relationships across Doheny and Stein, as appropriate, and will forge strong partnerships with physicians, researchers, and key stakeholders. The CDO will also work closely with the Board of Directors and volunteer management, leveraging their time and talents efficiently and appropriately to increase engagement and philanthropic support. In collaboration with colleagues across the senior leadership team, the CDO will contribute to a culture that is dedicated to excellence.

With a track record of leadership experience in successful development programs, ideally within healthcare, research, or higher education, the successful candidate must possess strong managerial, strategic planning, and motivational skills; a keen understanding of best practices in fundraising; and a track record of significant personal success in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship at the major and principal gift levels. This individual will exhibit the credibility, maturity, and sophistication to effectively engage and partner with key internal and external stakeholders, as well as the initiative and political savvy to navigate a complex medical and research enterprise. As an externally focused senior leader of Doheny, the ultimate hire will possess exemplary oral, written, and presentation communication skills. The CDO will have a deep appreciation for Doheny’s mission, vision, and accomplishments, along with a leadership style that both fosters and promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. A bachelor’s degree is required; CFRE certification is preferred.

Rachel Ellenport is leading this search with Bryce Ervin and Megan Gorman.

Doheny Eye Institute is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. 

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