Title:Chief Product Officer
Position Type:Full time
Supervisor: President & CEO
Last Updated: November 2021
Job Purpose:Build and manage a team of design, product, and technology experts and lead them from early ideation and prototyping through full development.
Location:Remote, various locations throughout California
Calbright’s Chief Product Officer is a new role for the College and an exciting opportunity for someone with deep experience in a senior product development role and a track record of building products that engage and support users. Reporting to the President & CEO, the CPO will serve as a member of the College’s leadership and the technology team’s senior leader. This position will leverage product development and technology expertise to create and implement the product roadmap and integrated prototyping strategy that results in the design and execution of breakthrough solutions for historically underserved college students. The CPO will build and manage a team of design, product, and technology experts, and lead them from early ideation and prototyping through full development.
Calbright College is an online institution and its employees work remotely from within California. There will likely be in-person meetings throughout the year, but the majority of day-to-day work and management will be conducted in a remote setting.
Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities
The duties below are representative of the role and are not intended to cover all of the duties performed within the scope of work:
- Serve as the College’s senior technology leader.
- Develop and lead the overall product and technical roadmap for Calbright, including user-centered design and numerous new training program launches/improvements, requirements gathering and documentation, prototyping, product development, and software development.
- Lead continual prototyping environment to test Calbright’s research-informed assumptions and R&D findings in an integrated manner, working closely and collaboratively with the Academic, Program, Technical, and Executive stakeholders to ensure we’re building a product that demonstrates learning gains for students via a user experience that teachers and students love.
- Recruit and build the design, product, and initial technical teams of staff/contractors needed to execute the product and software vision and roadmap.
- Lead the design, learning, and validation of minimum viable products, refining and prioritizing product features and requirements to ensure we are developing a product that users will derive value from and that is in service of our organizational mission.
- Guide key technology decisions in our early stages informed by key technology leaders and implementers, leading decisions around the data architecture and technology stack, licensing other technologies, and making priority technology investments.
- Ensure we are building collaborative DNA across the teams by closely partnering with other senior leaders, bringing product and technical expertise and a deeply user-centered approach to all of our focus areas, and creatively fostering coherence and clarity across our program and efforts.
- Help drive the vision and direction-setting for the organization and inspire and motivate the team to persevere through and learn from the many challenges along the way.
- Ensure an inclusive R&D process, seeking diverse perspectives across the Calbright team and always keeping our students - those underrepresented in higher education - centered in design decisions.
- Directly manage product, design, and technology teams and ensure their individual and collective ongoing learning, development, and growth.
- Perform other related duties as assigned that support the objective of the position.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Extensive experience in a senior product development role and a track record of building products that engage and support users:
- If you have a background in large organizations, you’ll need to be excited about working in a smaller, more flexible and dynamic organization.
- If you come from a startup background, you should be excited about working in the arena of the community college and workforce development public education system, which is more structured than “retail consumer” product areas.
- Strong product leadership experience, including setting a product vision and assembling and managing or collaborating with product management, design, and engineering teams.
- Experience building and managing effective and collaborative product and technical teams.
- Trusted and inspiring leader to designers, product managers, and senior engineers.
- Up-to-date technical knowledge to build and lead the teams through complex product and technical decisions and strategy. You have a track record of working closely with an engineering team and technical leadership.
- Data and hypothesis-driven: Able to see product features as core assumptions to be tested and validated with limited waste and in service of the larger product and organization mission.
- Deeply user-centered in focus, and committed to building a product with and for priority student groups, specifically Black, Latino and Native students and those experiencing poverty.
- Are a highly collaborative teammate, enjoys cross-functional work, and shared-ownership of goals and processes.
- Exceptional planning and organization skills.
- Outstanding written and verbal communication skills.
- Sound judgment and discretion when handling sensitive and confidential information.
- Ability to anticipate needs, identify issues impeding success, and propose creative, viable solutions. Cope well with ambiguity and changes in direction as solutions are developed
- Collaborative working style and gets along with all types of personalities. Ability to effectively build relationships with staff at all levels.
- Ability to act on own initiative and make decisions.
- Able to effectively work in a remote environment, using technology (Zoom, Slack, Google suite, Asana) to collaborate and are able to travel as needed for in-person meetings, when we are able to travel again.
- Knowledge of product management, product strategy, technical architecture, and product design work.
- Knowledge of product management processes.
- Ability to develop and maintain budgets, timelines, milestones, and deliverables.
- Ability to effectively manage a diverse team of contributors including roles such as product designers, product managers/directors, and senior software engineers/managers.
- Ability to communicate and advocate for product vision with diverse stakeholders, including senior executives, board members, instructional staff, administrative staff, technical staff, end users, and product staff.
- Demonstrate understanding of, sensitivity to, and respect for the diverse academic, socio-economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, disability, and sexual orientation of community college students, staff, and faculty.
- Bachelor’s degree and 10 years of progressive experience in product design and development.
- At least 4 years of leadership/management position.
- Experience with college/university-level learning programs and systems.
- Experience with workforce training programs and systems.
- Understanding of college/university administrative systems such as LMS, SIS, HR, Finance, Admissions, Course scheduling, and related systems.
- Master’s degree
Working Conditions and Travel
- Calbright College is a statewide online college where all instruction and support are done via various online technologies both in person and remotely. Calbright College has administrative offices in Sacramento available for use. When working remotely, employees should be able and willing to use digital communication tools as used by the college and have the ability to work on a computer for extended periods of time.
- Regular attendance is considered an essential job function; the inability to meet attendance requirements may preclude the employee from retaining employment.
- The person holding this position is considered a mandated reporter under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in Calbright College policies, procedures, and Title IX.
- Calbright College celebrates all forms of diversity and is deeply committed to fostering an inclusive environment within which students, staff, administrators, and faculty thrive. Individuals interested in advancing Calbright College’s strategic diversity goals are strongly encouraged to apply. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for qualified applicants with disabilities who self-disclose.
- Requires the ability to function in a remote online instructional environment performing work of primarily a sedentary nature. Requires the ability to use hearing and speech to make presentations to groups and carry on conversations over the phone and in person. Requires speaking skills to communicate with staff and students in one-on-one and small group settings, on the phone, and to distinguish sound prompts from various types of equipment. Requires near visual acuity to read printed materials and computer screens. Requires sufficient hand/arm/finger dexterity to retrieve work materials, operate a personal computer keyboard, and operate standard office equipment. Requires the ability to lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
- Work is performed indoors where minimal safety considerations exist.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Calbright College provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, veteran status, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Calbright College complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment.
Who We Are
Calbright College is one of California’s newest community colleges – the first statewide, online campus designed to bridge the gap between employers with unfilled positions and students who don’t have either the time or money to attend a traditional school. Our mission is to increase economic mobility and close equity gaps for working adults who lack easy access to traditional forms of higher education by offering online, flexible, affordable skills-based programs that provide tangible economic value for both working adults and hiring managers.