Finance Manager

Location: Metro Chicago

The mission of the Institute of Political Innovation (IPI) is to contribute theory, scholarship and strategy that catalyzes model, modern and nonpartisan political change in America.

IPI’s vision is a restoration of healthy competition in American elections and legislation at federal and state levels, in service of real results for real people.

IPI was founded in February 2020 by business leader, entrepreneur, author and political innovator Katherine M. Gehl. IPI is a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization.

IPI represents a culmination of a multi-year period of scholarship and research, and a turning toward investment and action.

In 2013 Katherine Gehl was refining the competitive strategy for her $250 million high-tech food- manufacturing company in Wisconsin. With more than a century of innovation under its belt, Gehl Foods found itself faced with precipitously declining fortunes. Like most CEOs, Katherine utilized trusted tools for competitive analysis, like Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter’s Five Forces framework, to lead the turnaround effort.

Unlike most CEOs, Katherine was simultaneously running a parallel competitive analysis—of American politics. “It was a lightbulb moment for me,” remembers Katherine. The industry competition lens shed new light on the root causes of dysfunction in our political system, and the most powerful—and nonpartisan—solutions. From this analysis, Katherine concretized the four foundational principles of “Politics Industry Theory,” which are as follows:

  • First, although people tend to think of the American political system as a public institution based on high-minded principles and impartial structures and practices derived from the Constitution, it’s not. Politics is a private industry. It behaves according to the same kinds of forces that shape competition in any industry.
  • Second, the dysfunctions of the politics industry are perpetuated by unhealthy competition that secures the duopoly’s position.
  • Third, our political system will not correct itself. There are no countervailing forces or independent and empowered regulators to restore healthy competition.
  • Fourth, certain strategic, precise changes to the rules of the game in elections and legislating would alter incentives in ways that create healthy competition, innovation, and accountability.

After selling her company, Katherine—believing business leaders were “missing in action”—used her theory to develop the business case for nonpartisan political innovation, with a laser-focus on targeted structural changes that will change the incentives that dictate decision making in politics. In 2016 she asked Prof. Porter to join as co-author on the seminal 2017 Harvard Business School report,

Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A strategy for reinvigorating our democracy, which reshaped the national conversation on political reform. Katherine and Michael have broadened that work into a book, The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy, which was released in June 2020. To support action, Katherine and Michael are donating all proceeds of the book to IPI.

Katherine’s goal is to “create lightbulb moments for millions of people across the country, and in so doing catalyze a primetime movement for political innovation the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years.” The immediate focus of IPI is “Final-Five Voting,” the principal solution brought to light through Politics Industry Theory.

IPI is laser-focused on catalyzing a grasstops-led movement toward state-level legislative action around Final-Five Voting, a two-step innovation as follows:

  • Step one: Replace party primaries with a single nonpartisan primary in which the top five finishers, regardless of party, advance to the general election. This eliminates the “eye of the needle” conundrum, allowing legislators much more leeway to deliver results in the public interest without constant fear of getting “primaried.” It also creates dynamic competition in the general election with a broader field of candidates and space to debate a diversity of ideas instead of the same-old, binary, wedge issues.
  • Step two: Replace single-candidate voting in the general election with “Ranked-Choice Voting,” which allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference. This system eliminates the main barrier to new competition in politics, and, finally, injects accountability into our politics.

Final-Five Voting is a wise investment with a big return: healthy competition that delivers innovation, results and accountability—the best of what we call “free market politics.” Final- Five Voting isn’t designed to force people to abandon their ideological views, or to change who wins; it’s designed to change what the winners are incentivized to do on behalf of the American people.

IPI is a leader in national “nonpartisan democracy reform,” a community in which Katherine is deeply connected. Katherine is a board member of Unite America, Business for America, and New America. She is also co-chair of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers and co-founder of Democracy Found, a Wisconsin organization pursuing Final-Five Voting.

The Institute for Political Innovation brings a targeted universe of powerful leaders—civic, business, philanthropic, not-for-profit—to a point of action. IPI is committed to lead a nationwide movement to further elevate Politics Industry Theory (and subsequent scholarship) and develop and support state-level and nationwide innovation campaigns

IPI deploys three tactics toward achieving our mission and vision. Each tactic is geared around action—this is not centrally about clicks and hits, likes and shares—and each tactic flows from Gehl’s academic work, and is accelerated by her work as an influencer, connector and funder. A key asset at IPI is Gehl’s access to leaders and influencers across key American institutions—business, politics, academia, technology, and beyond. In order to break political gridlock and dysfunction and achieve real results for real people, an ongoing campaign of awareness building and enrollment is required. IPI will lead this campaign and leverage Gehl’s ability, access and influence.

  1. Political Innovation Research & Publication: IPI is the home for Gehl’s academic practice, which currently revolves around Politics Industry Theory. IPI will pursue continued research and publishing opportunities to perfect and socialize this work and extend it. IPI will aspire to a long-term partnership with a university, as well.
  2. Re-engineering Electoral Machinery: IPI is the action center for actualizing the primary solution to unhealthy competition in the politics industry: Final-Five Voting (FFV). IPI will target upwards of a dozen states to engage, incubate and drive political philanthropy around locally led campaigns—primarily legislative campaigns—to pass the FFV package within the next 3 to 10 years. IPI will also support grasstops engagement in ballot-initiative campaigns for FFV.
  3. Legislative Machinery: Still in a theoretical stage, the Legislative Innovation Commission (LIC) is the second step toward injecting healthy competition in the politics industry. The Institute will create an interdisciplinary coalition of experts and leaders to create a zero-based approach to the rules and practices of lawmaking and Congress, and then work collaboratively with elected officials to make the prescribed changes, legislatively.

Institute for Political Innovation (IPI) Action Fund, a national nonprofit organization, seeks a full-time, highly qualified Finance Manager to optimize, organize, and oversee the financial health and excellence for IPI Action Fund and its affiliated tax-exempt organizations. This person will report to the Co-Executive Directors and will collaborate with Leadership to build an environment of responsibility and accountability. She/he will perform full charge day-to-day bookkeeping and, for example, assist Leadership in preparation and monitoring of budgets; staff an annual audit; adapt and strengthen internal controls; recommend updates to the existing financial system; and serve as the primary liaison with IPI Action Fund’s professional employer organization (PEO). The Finance Manager will work closely with the Co-Executive Directors for the IPI Action Fund. IPI Action Fund was founded in June 2021 to contribute theory, scholarship and strategy that catalyzes model, modern and nonpartisan political change in America. IPI Action’s vision is a restoration of healthy competition in American elections and legislation at federal and state levels, in service of optimal democratic outcomes.

DUTIES AND ACCOUNTABILITIES:

• Support and engage the establishment of the annual and long-term financial strategy in partnership with Leadership.
• Manage best practices for execution of that strategy, such as day-to-day owned/delegated administration over repetitive functions, i.e., payroll, corporate and tax filings, internal controls, etc.
• Provide full charge day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting functions which includes accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, general ledger preparation, financial statement preparations. 1099’s and other accounting activities.
• Serve as the primary liaison with IPI Action’s PEO.
• Work closely with the fundraising team to build budgets, systems, and practices and to prepare grant-specific financial reports, as needed.
• Provide financial trainings and support to staff.
• Administer and review all financial plans and compare to actual results with a view to identify, explain and correct variances as appropriate.
• Staff an annual audit.
• Manage business insurance, in coordination with Leadership.
• Ensure all financial activities, policies and procedures comply with applicable local, federal, and state regulations and laws.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTER SKETCH:

• BA/BS or MBA degree in business, nonprofit financial management or accounting (MBA preferred).
• Five or more years of experience managing nonprofit accounting including grants and contributed income required.
• Budgeting experience required.
• Highly organized with demonstrated ability to simultaneously balance deadlines and projects in a fast-paced environment.
• Excellent proficiency in the use of QuickBooks accounting software.
• Experience with multi-company accounting.
• Proficient technology skills and knowledge and experience with CRM (Salesforce), Microsoft Office suite (Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint), Dropbox, databases, and meeting technology. Ability to quickly learn and become proficient at other software programs.
• Attention to detail and consistent quality of work.
• Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
• Strong written and oral communication skills.
• Demonstrated ability to work both independently and collaboratively, in a team environment.
• Proactive and resourceful approach to work, taking initiative to get things done.
• Eager to accept and quickly implement feedback.
• Honest, responsible and flexible.
• Understands that the utmost in confidentiality, discretion, and professionalism is required.
• Willing to sign and adhere to a confidentiality agreement.
• Outstanding, verifiable references.
• Willing to perform other duties as may be requested.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

• English proficiency
• Able to work legally in the United States
• Willing to take a post-offer pre-employment physical, and, if requested, a drug screen
• Proof of good credit history will be required. A credit report (authorized by the candidate) will be used to make a decision regarding employment. A poor report may result in elimination from consideration for this position and/or continued employment.
• A criminal background check will be commissioned by IPI Action Fund post-offer. Any offense revealed that had not been discussed during the interview process may be cause for IPI Action Fund to withdraw its offer.

While this profile is intended to be an accurate reflection of the most significant duties of the current position, it is not necessarily exhaustive of all responsibilities, duties, efforts, requirements or expectations. Other duties may be assigned as necessary.

IPI Action Fund strives to be an inclusive organization that fosters learning, collaboration, and respect. We actively recruit for diversity in the workplace, believing that a range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences contributes to our mission.

IPI Action Fund is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any applicants for employment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, disability; or on any other basis prohibited by law.

We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate who needs reasonable accommodations to apply for this position, please contact us.

TO APPLY: Please submit cover letter and resume to Alyssa Larkin, [email protected].