Job Description: Chief Operating Officer
Company: EarthEnable, Incorporated
Reports to: CEO, Gayatri Datar
Location: Kigali, Rwanda, or Jinja, Uganda, with 70% time spent travelling to rural districts in Rwanda, Uganda, and any additional countries we open
Compensation: Competitive, based on qualifications
Timeframe: Minimum of 2 years commitment, starting as soon as possible
Who We Are
At EarthEnable, we believe that our clients deserve our very best, that work should be fun, and that the best ideas could come from any part of the company. We celebrate each other’s wins, learn from our setbacks, and are deeply proud of the impact we make every day. We believe that a home that doesn’t make you sick means more than living disease-free. It means pride and dignity in the place our customers most treasure: their homes. Being a part of our team means more than building housing products: it means building an organization and building a better future for rural families.
What We Do
EarthEnable is transforming the way people live, by making homes healthier for families across rural Rwanda. 80% of Rwandans live in homes with dirt floors which are dusty, unsanitary, and fertile breeding grounds for parasites and germs. While replacing a dirt floor with concrete has significant health benefits (e.g. reducing diarrhea by 50% and parasitic infections by 80%), concrete is unaffordable for many who need it.
EarthEnable addresses this pressing and ubiquitous problem by selling high-quality, earthen floors that are 80% cheaper than concrete with 90% less embedded energy. Earthen floors are already prevalent in modern homes in the United States and are composed of natural materials (gravel, clay, sand, and laterite). EarthEnable trains and hires local masons to install the floors which are sealed using a proprietary drying oil that makes them waterproof, strong, and polished. In our first 5 years of operations, EarthEnable has installed ~8,000 floors for ~35,000 individuals and employed over 500 staff.
About the Role
We are looking for a dynamic and gritty Chief Operating Officer who is excited to build a fast- growing and high-impact organization alongside a passionate and hard-working team. The Chief Operating Officer would have both a strategy and execution role. She or he would develop strategy alongside the CEO, manage and coach the Managing Directors of each country (which entails visiting district teams and customers for 3-4 days/week), gather and analyze operational data, oversee our finance and data systems, and be a critical thought partner to the CEO and Board. We are looking for a leader who can take us to the next level and beyond. The main responsibilities would include:
Manage Business Operations
- Work with Managing Directors to develop country strategies, set quarterly objectives and targets, and support them in meeting these objectives
- Provide insight and guidance to Managing Directors on finance, operations, analytics, and systems
- Frequently travel to districts to meet customers, masons at construction sites, and district teams to obtain a first-hand understanding of our progress towards objectives, challenges, and opportunities
- Recommend business model changes to fit the context based on field learnings, especially in light of rapid expansion, and oversee the execution of those changes
- Work with CEO to determine global scale strategy, and support implementation and procurement
- Initiate, manage, and implement strategic special projects, such as developing new training programs for staff or running pilots to test changes
- Drive gross margins by both finding areas to cut costs and improve company efficiency
- Analyze areas of inefficiency in each country, and implement improvements to cut overhead costs and make team more productive
- Identify and implement continuous process efficiency improvements through significant time with customers, drivers, sales reps, and masons
- Manage the Managing Directors in all countries (currently Rwanda and Uganda), with a heavy emphasis on coaching and capacity building, helping them develop skills and fill knowledge gaps
- Ensure that the leaders of the finance, systems, and operations departments develop the skills necessary to run departments independently
- Work closely with the CEO and Chief of Staff to support employee development across all EarthEnable
- Support the Human Resources and Executive teams across all countries, including hiring effective teams, onboarding new operations hires, setting targets, and determining strategy
Analysis and Finance Oversight
- Collaborate with Finance team to build models to project company performance, analyze company finances, and other models, as necessary
- Oversee P&Ls in all countries and assure proper handling of assets, in accordance with EE’s existing protocols
- Oversee and improve upon impact measurement and outcomes reporting
- Assist CEO, Chief of Staff, Director of Finance, Executive Team, MDs, and other departments with financial analysis, funder reporting, and oversight, as necessary
- Ensure collaboration and alignment between Finance and on-the-ground operations
Data Systems and Operations Development
- Improve and implement systems to scale (construction planning, inventory management, supply chain management, quality control management, customer relations management, financial management, human resources, etc.)
- Manage Head of Systems to integrate software platforms and implement new tools and data systems as necessary for both Finance and Operations
Aligned with EarthEnable’s core values
- Take pride in our impact on health. Work passionately to change the way people live.
- Set the bar for customer care. Exceed their expectations every step of the way.
- Work hard and work together to achieve our most ambitious goals and dreams.
- Be resourceful and responsible with money; our impact depends on it.
- Treat everyone with the fairness, empathy, and concern with which we expect to be treated. Celebrate diversity while building a culture of inclusivity.
- Trust each other to have the humility to support and the vulnerability to be supported.
- At least 7 years of operational management experience in a senior role, ideally in East Africa
- Proven capability to lead teams of more than 200 employees, ideally within a fast-growing social venture
- Excited to get your hands dirty and gritty (taking motorcycles into rural areas, building floors with franchisees, staying at clean but basic lodges in remote districts, taking overnight bus journeys between Rwanda and Uganda, etc)
- Exceptional analytical skills, including Excel modelling and complex data analysis
- Strong understanding of accounting, budget management, and financial management
- Strategic thinker, who is able to convert strategy into operational execution and excellence
- Entrepreneurial attitude, creative problem solver, hard worker, and patient team-player with a sense of humor
- Flexible and adaptable to changing environments, and comfortable with the unknown
- Responsiveness and ability to manage a range of diverse workstreams simultaneously
- Constantly aims for those who you manage to become better than you
- Maturity and poise under stress
Method of ApplicationApplications will be accepted via this application form on a rolling basis until the position is filled, at which point the link will become inaccessible. In other words, if the application form is still active, we are still recruiting! The process will entail the following steps for the successful candidate::
- An interview with our Interim COO or Chief of Staff
- An analytical assessment (remote)
- An interview with the CEO
- Reference checks
- A week-long work sample (in Rwanda) – we recognize that this is a significant ask of candidates’ time, but we feel that a week is required to fully understand the company and meet enough of the team.