New Growth Innovation Network
Close date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019

Location: Flexible (United States)

Chief Executive Officer


The New Growth Innovation Network is a national organization of leading economic development practitioners committed to building a new field of quality economic growth practice. NGIN provides disciplined practice and product innovation, expertise and resources to practitioners and communities, and serves as a center of gravity for thought leadership to develop and realize a new approach to driving quality growth. The quality growth NGIN seeks to foster is focused on creating long-term value, increasing the productivity and participation of all economic assets, and enabling more people - especially those who historically have been left out - to own and drive the enormous wealth creation emerging in today's economy.

The rationale for new models of economic growth—whether labeled inclusive growth, quality growth, equitable growth or sustainable growth—is becoming more widespread. Yet the conversation about direction is running far ahead of the invention of tools, techniques and practices that will take us from talking about growth differently to doing growth differently. NGIN is a practice-focused invention network designed to bridge that gap.

Just launched in 2018, NGIN is leading with a founding portfolio of five major quality growth innovation projects – each multi-site undertakings by teams of leading practitioners and national experts. NGIN recently hosted its inaugural convening which brought together 100 top economic development practitioners to workshop leading edge inclusive growth opportunities in market-making urban land redevelopment, human capital platforms, diversifying ownership of high growth companies, new approaches to neighborhood development, inclusive cluster practices and development finance. NGIN will be establishing Communities of Practice in these and other areas as requested by members.

The Opportunity:

NGIN has been conceived and organized by a group of over fifty economic development leaders and organizations, with support from the Ford Foundation. A 16-member Board of Directors comprised of national economic development experts and foundation partners leads the organization, and has established both Board and Operating Committees engaging additional leadership. NGIN aspires to be a focused network of leading practitioners committed to  undertaking the hard work of invention together: the first wave (beyond the founders) of membership invitations has just been extended. NGIN is being staffed during its start-up period by a team of experts coordinated by RW Ventures, LLC, with Robert Weissbourd serving as the Interim CEO. The organization is incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and its application for 501(c)3 status is pending.

Building on this highly successful start-up phase, NGIN now seeks a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the organization through its next growth stage of scaling-up operations and beyond. NGIN’s CEO will serve as its primary leader and strategist, external champion, organization builder and internal manager. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the CEO will provide overall management of the organization including business development, fundraising, operations, and financial management. The organization is currently raising its 2019 operating budget of approximately $1.6 million, as well as seeking approximately $10 million for launch of the founding portfolio projects, and is expected to grow substantially towards managing its own project grant and investment funds.

CEO responsibilities include recruiting key staff and building a strong team and organizational culture; leading strategic business planning and program development and evaluation to deliver on NGIN’s value proposition; cultivating a network of engaged members; securing and stewarding NGIN’s resources; exercising thought leadership within the economic development field and extending NGIN’s engagement with corporate and other audiences; and executing all critical governance and operations tasks.

Candidate Profile: The ideal CEO candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, characteristics and skills:

Commitment, Expertise and Experience to Realize NGIN's Mission

  • The successful CEO will be both passionate and knowledgeable about building a new economic development practice for the new economy that drives inclusive, quality growth for all. S/he will have broad experience in the field of economic development, and deep expertise in at least one practice area. S/he has demonstrated expertise in innovation, particularly developing new tools, practices, products or enterprises to drive inclusive growth. NGIN’s CEO will be comfortable working with diverse stakeholders, and specifically is experienced working with people and communities of color.

Visionary, Strategic, Entrepreneurial Leadership

  • NGIN is a start-up with a strong foundation which needs a CEO who will both execute work underway and build well beyond it, inventing and creating what aspires to be a major national organization. The successful CEO will be a dynamic, strategic, and entrepreneurial field-builder who is excited about the opportunity and ready to take on the hard work of scaling up a dynamic, innovative and inclusive organization. S/he will be able to craft and execute on a strategy to engage the leading economic development thinkers and doers across the country in interactions that lead to cutting-edge practice inventions. S/he will need to be able to cultivate and sustain relationships with a network of diverse stakeholders, inspiring trust and confidence across NGIN’s board and staff, funders, and members, which range from public sector officials to economic development practitioners and community-based organizations. S/he is flexible, energetic, positive, creative, ambitious and experienced in establishing strong working relationships in furtherance of the organization’s mission.
  • As the CEO of a start-up organization, s/he will need to be able to balance consistency of purpose and vision with entrepreneurial agility in execution. As new opportunities to invent and push the leading edge of practice surface from among NGIN’s members or arise due to changing economic conditions or available resources, NGIN’s CEO will need to be agile and open to strategic adaptation. As the leader of a growing organization, s/he will need to embrace the ‘hands-on’ nature of early-stage work and be as comfortable building the enterprise as s/he is serving as its public face and voice.
  • NGIN aspires to be a thought leader, grounded in practice. The successful CEO will be an excellent communicator, fluent across the range of disciplines and sectors that animate the field of economic development and discussions about inclusive growth and the future of the American economy. S/he will need to be a passionate and articulate spokesperson for NGIN, eager to develop crisp and compelling written pieces, speeches, and other communications that convey the importance and relevance of NGIN’s and its members’ work to diverse audiences.

Successful Track Record in Resource Development and Stewardship

  • The founding CEO will be responsible for stewarding relationships with NGIN’s existing funders, cultivating a long list of member prospects, and building new relationships with potential supporters. As a start-up, NGIN will need to raise its operating budget, as well as programmatic funds to support innovation projects developed by NGIN members. Creativity in resource development and an ability to effectively translate NGIN’s value proposition to potential investors will both be critical skills. S/he will be able to enthusiastically convey NGIN’s vision, potential and goals to existing and potential new donors, including individuals, foundations and corporations.

Sound Management

  • NGIN’s CEO is an executive with strong staff, operational and financial management experience. S/he will understand and implement best nonprofit management practices and planning, including compelling communication messages and effective marketing strategies, management succession, and most importantly, ensuring that overall day-to-day operations are aligned with strategic goals.
  • S/he will bring experience building and leading high performing teams with the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members’ growth and development. S/he will need to recruit, retain, and manage a diverse and high-capacity team, provide a productive and creative work environment and professional growth opportunities, and continue building an inclusive culture in the organization and all of its work.
  • S/he has a track record of sound financial planning, oversight and accountability, with the ability to clearly communicate with and elevate important issues to the Board of Directors. S/he understands the importance of a robust partnership with the Board of Directors and will ensure fiduciary responsibility and sound financial management practices and accountability to the Board of Directors. S/he will also possess the knowledge and ability to ensure that the Board of Directors is achieving its primary responsibilities of best practice governance.
  • S/he will need to successfully leverage the skills and networks of the Board of Directors to create and execute a strategic plan, while working closely with the organization’s various stakeholders on the plan’s implementation and evaluation. S/he will need to be attuned to the complex dynamics of managing a membership network and providing oversight to members, and even Board members, who may also receive funding and other resources from the organization. S/he actively and strategically seeks out partnerships and builds coalitions to advance the organization’s mission and priorities.

Credentials: A Bachelor’s degree is required; graduate degree or equivalent professional experience preferred. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of seven to ten years of leadership experience in economic development or a related field.

Compensation: Salary and benefits commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Location: Flexible. NGIN is currently staffed from Chicago, IL but its Board of Directors and membership are national.

Position Type: Full Time

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and CV to Robert Weissbourd at by April 5, 2019. The search process is being led by a small Committee of NGIN’s Board of Directors. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

For more information about the position, click here.