Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer 150 150 jobelephant
Stroke Onward
March 24, 2023
Portola Valley
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Stroke Onward


Chief Executive Officer

Stroke Onward

Location Flexible

About Stroke Onward

Stroke Onward has a bold goal of ensuring that stroke survivors and their supporters have the resources needed to rebuild identities and rewarding lives.

The organization was founded in 2019 by husband-and-wife team, Debra Meyerson and Steve Zuckerman as a result of their experiences following Debra’s severe stroke in 2010. Debra, formerly a tenured professor at Stanford University (organizational behavior, gender, diversity) still suffers from aphasia (communication challenges.) Steve is a nonprofit executive (economic justice), previously in private equity, and Debra’s “carepartner” since 2010. Through Stroke Onward, they are committed to catalyzing transformative change in the health care system to fill the gap in the stroke system of care that leaves most survivors without sufficient support for the emotional journey that is critical to a real recovery after a stroke.

The launch of Stroke Onward followed the successful release of a book co-authored by Debra and her oldest son, Danny - read more about With the founders in the San Francisco Bay Area and current employees in Kentucky and New Hampshire, Stroke Onward is currently operating as a fully remote organization.

For more information, visit

The Opportunity

Stroke Onward is poised for rapid acceleration in growth and impact, and is seeking a mission-driven, entrepreneurial leader to lead the organization in this chapter.

Following a strategic review with the help of Stanford Alumni Consulting Teams and the successful completion of Stroke Across America (read about this, Stroke Onward has clarity on its purpose and potential, and the founders and board are excited to partner with a new leader who can drive the organization forward.

Responsibilities and Requirements

Stroke Onward is an entrepreneurial venture currently with a small team (2 full-time staff). After a successful major donor campaign, we now seek an entrepreneurial leader who is excited by a nimble, early-stage environment and sees our potential to become a major player in changing the status quo around supporting and empowering stroke survivors in their recovery.

Reporting to the Board Chair, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will work with the board, co-founders, and team to develop a strategy for growth and financial sustainability; define short and long-term priorities; position Stoke Onward for expanded impact, and ensure that all programs, activities, and initiatives effectively and strategically position the organization for growth and impact.

Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to:

Strategic Storytelling: Lead the development of expanded messaging to support Stroke Onward’s mission and effectively communicate our portfolio of programs, initiatives, and advocacy through strategic marketing and communications initiatives. Through effective storytelling, raise Stroke Onward’s visibility in the market to establish the organization as a credible, knowledgeable advocate and resource for stroke survivors.

Fundraising and Development: Expand on Stroke Onward’s successful major donor strategy by developing complimentary efforts that will scale development and advancement efforts to support a budget of $1-1.5M in the next 3-5 years. Build and steward strategic partnerships and alliances within philanthropy, healthcare, community organizations, advocates, and individuals to advance Stroke Onward’s mission.

Organizational Stewardship: In partnership with the Board, drive Stroke Onward’s strategy evolution, manage organizational goals, and drive processes that balance short and long-term priorities and initiatives. Serve as an external ambassador with donors, partner organizations, and other important constituents while representing Stroke Onward’s mission to the community.

Operations: Assume leadership for a current annual budget of about $650,000 (mostly raised for the next three years) and effectively position the organization for at least 2-3x growth with long-term operational sustainability and fiscal health. Skillfully balance organizational needs and aspirations, expand funding streams, and convene cross-sector groups to position Stroke Onward for growth and impact.

Staff Management: Effectively engage staff to define responsibilities within a growing organization, identify key priorities and metrics for staff growth and development, and effectively build recruitment pipelines and onboarding for a growing and diverse team.

Board Management and Development: Partner with current board to develop a 360-degree feedback process for both the board and CEO. Leverage current Board expertise and partner with Board Chair to develop appropriate strategies to expand the Board appropriately as Stroke Onward grows in size and scale.

Program Development, Execution, and Assessment: In close partnership with staff, strategically plan, execute, and assess programs and initiatives that support stroke survivors and their carepartners while driving systemic change that will build into the stroke system of care more consistent support for the emotional journey to rebuild identities and rewarding lives.

Candidate Profile

We believe everyone has the potential for success and recognize that there is a range of skills and experiences that complement our mission, goals, and priorities. While candidates might not have experience in every responsibility outlined in the position profile, the successful candidate will demonstrate these fundamental qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Commitment to the Mission

Our next CEO shares our belief that we can and will challenge the status quo around empowering stroke survivors in their recovery and changing the standard of healthcare for stroke survivors. They believe that supporting survivor’s emotional and mental health are complementary to the science of healthcare and are excited to help us preserve the dignity and autonomy of stroke survivors. Energized by strategic risk-taking, they challenge the status quo, creating paradigm shifts that produce sustainable results, and are deeply committed to developing programs, resources, and advocacy that generate systems-change in the healthcare system. They share our belief that collaboration is core to Stroke Onward’s success and that authentic relationships are critical to meeting and exceeding our fundraising/sustainability objectives.

Fiscal Stewardship and Fundraising

An entrepreneurial leader, the next CEO aligns strategy with funding models and brings strong strategic financial planning experience. A trusted fiscal steward, they build upon successful donor campaigns, consider alternative financial models, and comfortably demonstrate success in engaging a wide range of donors, partners, and key collaborators. Throughout their career, they developed and implemented responsible annual budgets, including management of grants and fundraising structures, and built economic models that position their organization for sustainable success and fiscal health. They view strategy development as a continuous process and have built (or significantly contributed to) economic models that position their organization to grow – in terms of budget, programming, staffing, and most important, impact. They identify and develop complementary efforts to scale fundraising and development campaigns, analyze their results, and think strategically about sustainability, effectiveness, and impact.

Ambassadorship and Storytelling

A big-picture thinker, our next CEO integrates community engagement and advocacy, leveraging both to communicate powerful narratives to donors, program partners, advocacy-based organizations, public audiences, government entities, healthcare, and philanthropy. They consistently execute, assess, and communicate organizational priorities to ensure that current and emerging initiatives are growth-oriented and aligned with the organizational mission and values. They are a skilled storyteller who effectively conveys goals, values, and objectives in a manner that establishes rapport and generates support for their cause. A clear and nuanced communicator who works with and influences the team, Board, and key constituents, they develop collaborative, mutually beneficial relationships that effectively position their organization to meet and exceed fundraising, sustainability, and impact goals.

Strategic Leadership

Biased toward action, our next leader thinks and plans strategically, seizes new opportunities eagerly, and consistently assesses their organization’s efforts to optimize programs, services, and advocacy to deliver impact. While leading strategically, they are also willing to “roll up their sleeves” to actively contribute where appropriate, on tasks large and small. They lead with candor, fairness, integrity, humility and respect to develop teams and create feedback loops between staff, Board members, donors, and the communities they serve. By inspiring trust and empowering others, they inspire confidence, deflect credit, celebrate individual and collective successes, and hold both themselves and others accountable. They leverage and develop their Board, identify gaps and areas for opportunity, coach their team with confidence, exhibit sound judgement, and position their organization to maximize impact and challenge the status quo.

Other Qualifications:

• A personal connection to stroke, stroke recovery, or a similar life-changing journey is warmly welcomed.

• Experience building organizational sustainability in a nonprofit, advocacy-based organization, healthcare, or healthcare system is a plus.

• Prior experience as a founder, ED/CEO, or senior leader of an early-stage organization is strongly preferred.

Compensation & Benefits

This is a full-time position with a $150,000 annual salary and benefits. Please note that this is a fully remote opportunity that oversees a virtual team.

How To Apply


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Malissa Brennan of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials by All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Stroke Onward is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information, visit