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JOB: Head of Development, SYPartners

We have begun a new search for a Head of Development (Director level) for an exciting, established, and fast growing CVPartners client dual-based in San Francisco and New York City.  This position will be based in NYC.  The company is on the forefront of building a culture around digital media and developing a spectrum of B2B products for an established marquee customer base.  The client’s culture is truly dynamic.  They employ energetic, passionate team members with strong corporate values and a startup mentality.  This position will report to the Executive Director of Technology and Tools based in New York.  Partnering with our client we are making an investment to gather requirements, speaking with the key stakeholders, and gaining a true understanding of their unique product and business challenges.


Michele Lundin

CVPartners in Technology, Inc.

650-210-2868  Office l


About the Company

SYPartners is a thriving boutique consulting firm that helps companies design their future by driving business, brand and cultural change at all levels of the organization down through the individual. The company has offices in San Francisco and New York City and is a privately-held organization with approximately 100 employees.  SYPartners places a high value on results, optimism, hard work, and collaboration.  The work environment is highly energetic and creatively charged.  SYPartner’s culture is the reason for their continued success.  In that light, they strive to reinforce the key attributes that they value from team members and they make it clear what their expectations are from a performance perspective.

In summary these areas include:

  • The company values design as well as strategy
  • The company takes an optimistic view, and they see their job as to not only make smart recommendations but to also be a catalyst for change
  • The company is highly collaborative
  • The company has put less emphasis on different levels within the firms, and more on the capabilities of the team as a whole
  • The company does not tolerate politics within the firm
  • The company promotes and believes strongly in work ethic


SYPartners believes that a great company is one in which every member of the organization has the courage to live by its values, meet and exceed its growth targets, fulfill its mission, and shape a better future.

Type of work performed

The Company partners with leaders and CEOs to lead innovation and change efforts.  SYPartners help their clients discover the rare ideas that will advance their purpose.  They stay at their client’s side to execute deeply in areas that speed change.  In addition, SYPartners works with their clients to instill the courage and leadership in their organizations, while teaching the skills that allow them and their teams to sustain greatness from within.

SYPartners has engaged with CEOs and their teams who believe that leadership is an act of courage and clarity, including those at Apple, Blackstone, Charles Schwab, The Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Deloitte, Facebook, General Electric, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Starbucks, and Target.

Online information


About the Leadership

Susan Schuman, Chief Executive Officer and Partner

Susan has the dual role of managing the firm and leading key engagements – working with executives at Starbucks, Yahoo!, Target, Marsh, Alcoa, Apple, GE, eBay, Gap Inc., Old Navy, JPMorgan Investment Bank, Lifetime, Hewlett-Packard, PBS, PeopleSoft, and PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (now IBM Business Consulting).  She brings a breadth of management and operational expertise from prior posts as Chief Operating Officer of PlanetOut, General Manager of Studio Archetype, and Chief Operating Officer of the Human Rights Campaign.  She ran her own marketing and product strategy consulting firm, and spent seven years at Apple Computer, where she was Group Manager of Worldwide Product Marketing.  She holds a BA from SUNY Buffalo.

Brian Goldston, Executive Director, Tools and Technology

Brian has been designing interactions, information, and business processes for over 12 years.  He has helped corporations change the way they think about sharing information and created innovative, interactive products and services.  Prior to joining SYPartners, Brian led his own interaction and design strategy studio where he worked in depth with clients such as Levi Strauss & Co., Oracle, UPS, Visa, and Wells Fargo.  He holds a BA from Vassar College with a focus on contemporary American poetry.  He loves poetry for its ability to communicate to the most amount of information in the smallest amount of space – an ideal he aspires to in his use of design and technology.

Michelle Roach, Director of Digital Production

Michelle has been with the organization for 6 years.  Michelle is based in New York and manages a small team focused on production.  That said her role is more than just production focused; she could be seen as somewhat of an ‘air-traffic controller’.  Michelle sits between the production process, technology, the interactive group, and the client delivery process; thus she has a comprehensive view and strong perspective of the inter-workings of the company’s operation.

Position Overview

Reporting the Executive Director of Tools and Technology, the Director of Development is a savvy leader with deep expertise in application development for the web, mobile devices, and desktops—architecting elegant solutions to complex and unusual technology challenges. This is an opportunity to create cutting-edge, lightweight applications that make use of highly visual interfaces, have delightful, simple, unique interactions, and beautiful visualizations based on real-time data. This is not your typical business software or SaaS platform. SYP has a strong belief in fusing great thinking with great design and great experience. So these are radically simple, human-centered tools to make people see, believe, think, and act differently.

The Director of Development leads projects—and a team of developers—through the development life cycle from strategic planning, development, testing, deployment to ongoing maintenance, reliability, scalability, and measurement/metrics of the firm’s products and services. This position will also partner with the larger Tools and Technology team and business to set vision, ideate on products and services design, and ensure that all products leverage a common design, interaction, and code framework.

As a strategic leader, the Director of Development will also help shape the overall technology strategy for the firm to support business growth and agility—from products to platform (SaaS/Cloud solutions, web services)—through a broad understanding of established/emerging technologies and industry best practices.

In addition, the Director of Development demonstrates the ability to:

  • Provide substantiated strategic technology and architecture recommendations
  • Translate a client’s business requirements into compelling technical designs
  • Understand and navigate enterprise-level deployment issues and environments
  • Innovate and be forward-thinking as well as to investigate/evangelize emerging technologies
  • Work with object-oriented design and data modeling
  • Lead and mentor junior and senior developers

Position Oversight and Leadership

Leadership: The Director of Development will elevate the awareness of technology value and development processes across the business, help shape the technology strategy for the firm, and continue to build the firm’s in-house and outsourced development capabilities.

Recruitment: The Director of Development will be responsible for recruiting top development talent for the firm’s in-house development team as well as consider outsourcing/offshoring and partner eco-system strategies.

People management: The Director of Development will be responsible for managing a team of in-house and external developers.  They will be responsible for successful, cohesive communication among the development team, ensuring that the team is working in sync and communicating clearly with each other and the larger cross-functional team and business partners.

Culture: The Director of Development will need to build a unique bond with the business (interaction design, visual design, strategy, project management, production, and IT) in order to maintain a “can-do”, forward-looking culture that is critical to the company’s growth and success.

Process and Project Management: The Director of Development will drive, coordinate, and manage development projects with consistency, predictability, and quality—within budget. He or she will need to be forward-looking in their approach—anticipating challenges and thinking through potential problems before they arise.  A goal and challenge for this position will be to drive the business in adopting consistent practices while further defining an agile development process.

Key Business Partnerships

While it will be critical to collaborate across the functional areas of the firm, as with most other companies there will also be several key partnerships where the Director will need to focus their immediate efforts in order to ensure success.

Director of IT

This partner is charged with building the day-to-day technology infrastructure at SYP, supporting the work of the Tools and Technology team, and is responsible for operations and reliability.  The Director of IT and the Director of Development will work closely together on initiatives and must be completely aligned on strategic vision, goals, and execution. The success of each position depends on the other.

Director of Digital Production

The Director of Digital Production manages the operations of the Tools and Technology team – specifically the workflow and resourcing of digital projects across the firm and across projects.  They maintain strong partnerships with all teams within SYP to ensure that digital projects are on the radar, that they’re being properly integrated into project and process workflows, deadlines and schedules are in place and on track, budgets are considered, and team- and client-goals are being met and/or exceeded.  The smooth, seamless functioning of the Tools and Technology team will depend on a strong partnership between these two positions.

Technology Summary

The Director of Development will be responsible for the following applications and infrastructure components.  It will be expected that the Director of Development would be proficient in most of the following technologies:

Web/Native Apps: HTML5/CSS3, AJAX, Javascript (Sencha, jQuery, Process.js, Raphael), Flash/Flash Builder 4, ActionScript 3.0, PhoneGap/Titanium, Xcode/Cocoa/Objective-C

Web Services/Server: OAuth, Facebook Connect, Google Analytics, Ruby on Rails/PHP, Drupal, Jira, Git/Subversion, CentOS, [database], Amazon EC2/S3/Coudfront



Given the nature of the company’s mission, the interview process and ultimate decision for the Director of Development position will be heavily weighed on cultural and environmental matching criteria.  As a result we will be seeking a candidate that not only possesses deep-rooted and well-rounded technology

knowledge but a candidate who also possesses superb communication, listening, and executive-facing soft skills. The candidate must be a bright and articulate individual with internal fire and drive towards results; with proven ability to establish strategic direction, drive organizational change, demonstrate leadership skills, and manage client-facing initiatives.

Finally the Director will be seen as a technology leader and partner within the firm.  This individual will integrate closely with the leadership team, contributing ideas to the company’s future growth through a technology roadmap.


SYPartners offers a four-quadrant approach in constructing their compensation packages.  This will include a competitive salary coupled with a 401K profit share contribution program, a performance-based annual bonus (based on profits of the firm and determined at the end of every year) and a comprehensive set of health benefits including Medical, Dental, Vision, and Flex spending.  This is a full-time, exempt position. CVPartners is available to provide a more comprehensive summary of the benefits upon request.

CVPartners Executive Search shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis. CVPartners Executive Search shall comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations in the performance of duties pursuant to this Agreement, including but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and state and local anti-discrimination laws to the extent applicable.