Director of Community Innovation

Description of Role

The Forward Cities Director of Community Innovation works with the President to support the day-to-day operations and program logistics of the Forward Cities’ Community Innovation (CI) department. This position has a significant focus on the delivery of our entrepreneurial capacity-building pilot programs and pilots in the field. The ideal candidate will have significant understanding of entrepreneurial support programming and ecosystem development. Direct reports include all Local Directors.

Work Expectations

This position will require approximately 3-5 days of travel per month, depending on need. The position is primarily an in-office role with the following schedule: in office: Monday-Tuesday 9am – 5pm. Work expectations for Wednesday/Thursday/Friday are also 9am – 5pm. Because of the level of this role we request that at least one of these days needs to be in-office and the other two can be remote.


Program Management

  • Provide director oversight for all Local Directors to ensure quality delivery across every facet of our national capacity-building efforts and pilot projects;
  • Working with the leadership team to set and track the department’s horizons and goals, ensuring we are delivering in alignment with our strategy and values;
  • Serving as the primary programmatic liaison with engagement funding partners;
  • Building relationships and trust within our client cities and maintaining active contact with our local partners throughout the process;
  • Guiding and overseeing the Local Directors on all aspects of Ecosystem Infrastructure pilots.
  • Work with the Research & Evaluation department staff to ensure alignment and timely communication regarding research inputs for all associated CI engagements and pilots;
  • Lead the on-boarding of new community engagements;
  • Working with Director of Talent Development to manage the recruitment and staff of Local Directors;
  • Coordinating with the Director of Learning Network to provide any necessary CI department inputs related to member benefits, national conferences, and other events.

Pilot Coordination

  • Oversee the operational management of the Community Innovation pilot programming (MVSs) that emerge from the organization’s capacity-building engagements;
  • Maintain, track, and update the pilot (MVS) calendar, action plans, and project management platforms, insuring all engagement, departmental milestones and tasks are on schedule and within prescribed budgets;
  • Identify potential issues and risks and provide timely recommendations;
  • Flag and communicate any Local Director project task delivery/performance issues;
  • Co-lead Community Innovation department meetings and provide weekly verbal and written status reports on all engagements.

Knowledge Management

  • Work with the Senior Director of Community Innovation to develop and implement a strategy for departmental knowledge management including Google Drive organization, file management/sharing, communication protocols, and written codification of processes;
  • Set up new file/folder structures for new minimal viable solutions;
  • Produce minutes, actions and follow-up after meetings and schedule future meetings;
  • Prepare reports as needed and assist in the preparation of documents and presentations for the department.

Budget Coordination

  • Oversee departmental and MVS accounting functions of the Forward Cities;
  • Collaborate with the Accounting and HR Manager on all budget matters to ensure overall accounting alignment;
  • Ensure a clear and transparent digital record is in place for all associated financial transactions and can be tracked directly to current projects and their respective restrictions/reporting requirements.

Salary Range: 

$65,000 – $80,000 depending on experience.

The role will report to the President, be part of the senior leadership team, and is based in Raleigh-Durham, NC.

About Forward Cities

Forward Cities is a national capacity-building and learning network working within and between cities and micropolitans to create more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem development. Our mission is to create opportunities for shared prosperity through inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem development.

Forward Cities provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

 If you are interested in being considered for this position, please apply here.