Roca Baltimore seeks an Executive Director

Roca has partnered with Baltimore Corps to conduct the following executive search through its Place for Purpose service:


Roca, a crime prevention and intervention program which has a track record of success in the Boston area, is looking for a dynamic and committed leader to launch the organization’s work in the City of Baltimore, serving justice-system-involved young men between the ages of 16 and 24.

For 30 years, Roca has been working in Massachusetts with the deep and abiding belief in the value of every young person – no matter how hurt, angry, or left out; and with the genuine conviction that each of the young people we are privileged to meet can succeed. With these beliefs, we have created a long-term Intervention Model, which helps young people at the highest risk of long-term incarceration to build safe, stable, and hopeful lives. Our relentless model is focused on changing behavior, helping young people develop critical skills, and using data to improve our work every day. We are honored and excited to join the many people and organizations in Baltimore committed to reduce violence and provide opportunities for all young people. The leader of Roca’s work in Baltimore will need a dynamic combination of skills, including extensive management experience, team- building capability, strategic planning, ability to run intensive daily operations, commitment to partnerships and collaborations with other agencies and organizations, and love and compassion for this particular group of young people.

Apply here.


Roca’s mission is to disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty by helping young people transform their lives.


Roca’s work is based on the theory that young people, when re-engaged through positive and intensive relationships, can change their behaviors and develop life, education, and employment skills to disrupt the cycles of poverty and incarceration. Roca’s Intervention Model engages the highest-risk 16-24-year- olds in a long-term process of behavior change and skill- building opportunities.

The young men that will be served by Roca Baltimore belong to a small group of young adults who have enormous potential that is often left untapped when systems are unable or fail to reach these young men. The group of young men we serve are deeply involved in the justice system, and violence is very present in daily life. These young people are often kicked out of training programs and jobs because they are seen as not ready to participate, unmotivated, or dangerous. We refuse to accept these perceptions. We reach out again and again – dozens of times, relentlessly – until we connect. After the connection is established, we build trust together, and then we help these young people identify personal goals and build the skills necessary to accomplish them. This requires grit and relentless drive, but we know that this is what makes change possible.

Understanding that meaningful change does not happen overnight, we deliver a four-year Intervention Model that allows for relapse during the process. We know that lasting change requires a safe space to grow and to flex newly acquired decision-making skills.

The Roca Intervention Model is based on evidence-based practices of community corrections, deep studies of behavior change models (stages of change, cognitive behavioral theory, etc.), brain development, and three decades of collecting critical data and working on the ground with young people. The model has five core components: 1) relentless outreach; 2) transformational relationships; 3) tailored programming designed to withstand relapse and the comings and goings of young people who have failed in traditional learning or work environments; 4) engaged institutions strategy to support young people and help them move out of the criminal justice system; and 5) performance-based management.

The organization is very explicit in its approach and methodology. Our model has documented work and implementation processes, an intensive “real-time” performance-based management system that tracks young people and staff, and a “real time” safety process. Roca and its model are data-driven, with daily, weekly, and quarterly use of data, and extensive training, coaching, and supervision methodology.


After 30 years of work across Massachusetts, Roca is humbled by the opportunity to partner with so many terrific individuals and organizations working tirelessly to bring about change and reduce violence in Baltimore. We are honored and excited to be planning and developing our first out-of-state replication site, together with our partners in the city.

Since its inception, Roca has focused all its work on young people who too many have identified as “not ready for change.” Through Roca’s Intervention Model, we help to prove again and again that change is possible, even for those deemed most at-risk. As part of the planning process, we have already started building the structure that will refer young men to Roca, both from criminal justice agencies and street outreach partners.

Roca Baltimore will operate as a separate, but related entity with a Managing Board and a Community Advisory Board. The Roca CEO and senior team members will be actively participating in the launch and implementation of Roca Baltimore, and provide ongoing support, coaching, and assistance to the Baltimore site.


Roca is seeking to hire an Executive Director for Roca Baltimore, to begin this spring. The Executive Director’s initial responsibilities will include helping to hire front-line staff and support the final stages of planning and preparation for the site launch in July. The Executive Director will be Roca’s leader in Baltimore, and will play a key role in launching Roca’s work in the city.

The Executive Director will build a strong team that will work collaboratively to reach out to the city’s highest-risk young people, provide programming, analyze data, and partner with a wide range of community leaders, organizations, government agencies, criminal justice partners, law enforcement, and employers.

The Executive Director will serve as an active member of the Roca senior management team and work in close partnership with the Roca CEO and Chief Strategy Officer to develop, launch, and implement Roca’s Intervention Model within the Baltimore site. The Executive Director will advance effective operations, model fidelity, and improve performance in order to help this very specific group of young men change their lives. In addition, the Executive Director will work with the CEO to develop and support a Managing Board for the Roca Baltimore entity and work with the Roca team on several aspects of fundraising for the work in Baltimore.


Site Leadership and Management

  • Drive the goals of Roca Baltimore locally, while effectively partnering with Roca’s executive team leaders across the organization on programmatic and operational needs, and model adaptations, as appropriate for site.
  • Provide the Baltimore team with a clear sense of direction, especially in times of high-stakes activity.
  • Provide supervision and coaching to the Roca Baltimore Management Team.
  • Oversee day-to-day operational efficiency, reporting requirements, program budget and grants, asset management, and related deliverables.
  • Promote the Roca culture to ensure high-quality programming and support for young people and staff.
  • Promote diversity of thought and experience on the team and in how staff interacts to achieve the best outcomes for the site.

Program Implementation and Results

  • Be a results-oriented leader responsible for managing and leading program site to fully implement the Roca Intervention Model and achieve target benchmarks and outcomes.
  • Lead the team towards the clear and measurable goals and outcomes for Roca Baltimore. Implement a plan for tracking progress toward Roca’s annual and long-term goals, and perform and assign tasks required to achieve those goals.
  • Utilize the organization’s performance based management system to drive operations towards effective outcomes.
  • Lead and support managers with the coordination of daily operations – programming, work crews, outreach, check-in, emergency and critical incident responses, movement of young people, etc.
  • Ensure appropriate safety and risk mitigation processes and strategies are in place, and regularly review and optimize said processes and strategies.

Partner Engagement and Community Network Building

  • Lead strategic work within the criminal justice field and engaged institution partners across all communities, i.e. Police, Probation, Parole, Corrections, and the Department of Juvenile Services, and others as those partnerships develop.
  • Help lead and organize Baltimore partners to enhance strategy and effectiveness of work within the city for young adult work to an effective and strategic level for the city.
  • Work with Roca CEO to develop and support a Managing Board and Community Board for Roca Baltimore.
  • Work with the Roca executive team and others to determine appropriate relationships and relationship maintenance with other engaged institution partners and community partners (health, education, employment, community organizations and groups, etc.).
  • Identify and implement opportunities to leverage and build Roca’s brand and extend its reach among key influencers and the public.
  • Maintain an understanding of the local, regional, and national environment (i.e., economy, issues affecting high-risk youth and young adults, employment, violence, etc.) regarding what impacts young adults.
  • Advocate on behalf of Roca with government partners at the State and Local levels and provide partners with regular feedback on ongoing program operations.
  • Assist in supporting relationships with local funding partners and other community based partners.

Talent Leadership and Coaching

  • Nurture and lead a culture of high performance for the Roca Baltimore staff
  • Work with management to ensure staff positions are filled in a timely manner and actively work to reduce turnover.
  • Develop middle managers to reach fullest capacity in management positions.
  • Motivate and inspire staff through effective team management.
  • Ensure regular supervision, professional development plans, and corrective actions for staff as required and/or needed.
  • Inspire a strong desire to succeed, and lead others to successful goal/milestone accomplishment.


The Roca Baltimore Executive Director serves as the local face of Roca. As a powerful presenter and advocate for the organization and its mission, he or she will advocate vigorously and effectively for the teens and young adults served and the program. The Executive Director will need a combination of love for this specific group of young people, excellent people skills, compassion, commitment to learning, and the ability to pay attention to the smallest details for safety and the bigger picture of moving things forward.

The very nature of Roca’s work requires an individual of great commitment and energy to the mission. Roca seeks a highly driven individual who is good fit both personally and professionally for the culture of Roca. In addition, the ideal candidate for this position will be a trustworthy decision-maker. He or she will have a sense of humor, feel passionate and committed to direct work with high risk youth, and demonstrate interest in coaching and supporting coworkers.


  • 10+ years of experience in working with very high-risk teens and young adults and/or related fields
  • 10+ years of senior management/supervision experience
  • BA in education and/or equivalent experience

Required Skills

  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach and manage staff; develop high-performance teams; set and achieve strategic objectives; and manage a budget
  • Demonstrated ability to use data and evaluation to assess strengths and weaknesses
  • Demonstrated experience in nurturing culture among young people, a team, and partners to implement the model and the work
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize and multitask different levels of responsibilities and work in complex work environment
  • Demonstrated experience in strategic planning and implementation
  • Demonstrated capacity to use programmatic data to guide and inform management decisions
  • Excellence organizing, managing, and completing multiple complex projects and tasks simultaneously with thoroughness, accuracy, timeliness, and good humor
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral
  • Strong cultural competencies and experience and comfort working with diverse communities

Requirements for the Position

  • Travel around the Baltimore Metropolitan area
  • Computer literacy
  • Valid Maryland driver’s license and current driving record
  • Willingness and ability to work outside of normal business hours, and holidays and/or weekends, as needed

Apply here.

Women and people of color encouraged to apply.

Roca and Baltimore Corps provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Roca and Baltimore Corps comply with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Source: Roca

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