Program Director

October 27, 2022


The Program Director leads the programmatic department at Forward Cities and is responsible for co-developing and overseeing the implementation of Forward Cities’ equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems and learning strategy. The Program Director is accountable for consistent and high-quality delivery of the department’s work on programs and engagements. The Program Director will support department staff in their work and may act as Lead for individual programs or engagements. The Program Director will actively contribute to the field of equitable ecosystem development through program planning, direct delivery of program services, production and delivery of learning materials, networking with colleagues in the field, and contributing to the overall success of the Forward Cities equity approach. As part of their responsibilities, the Program Director will work closely with the Impact & Assessment teams and the finance and executive teams to integrate departmental strategies into the organization’s overall strategy.

The Program Director will report to the VP of Finance & Operations with additional strategic and programmatic guidance from the President & CEO.
Direct reports include the Director of Ecosystem Engagement, Director of Entrepreneur Engagement, and shared responsibility for tasks assigned to the Manager of Program Operations.


Functions and Responsibilities

Departmental Leadership (50%)
  • Leads the Ecosystems & Learning department including establishing departmental priorities, strategies and objectives;
  • Supervises Ecosystems & Learning personnel and contractors to ensure accountability and facilitate employee growth;
  • Oversees projects and knowledge capture, and works with finance personnel to oversee program budgets;
  • Works with the Impact & Assessment Department to evaluate the efficacy of our ecosystems and learning engagements and to ensure continuous improvement;
  • Develops and manages a system for documenting, codifying, and sharing emerged learnings, processes, and tools;
  • Develops internal and external departmental processes and collaborates with other departments regarding organizational and programmatic processes;
  • Prepares reports (including grant reports) as needed and assisting in the preparation of documents and presentations for the department;
  • Works with President & CEO and Development & Communications Department to provide department and topical expertise and content for grant applications and proposals and assistance in follow-up and tracking.
Program Management & Delivery (50%)
  • Through engagements and programs, will equip communities to grow more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems, prioritizing learning, training, and community-informed programmatic design aligned with our organizational values;
  • Develops and refines program execution plans, team deliverables, and timelines;
  • Serves as the client lead and community liaison for designated programs;
  • Executes on quality community facilitation and program delivery in in-person and virtual formats including the coordination of cross-departmental inputs, utilizing designated systems and platforms;
  • Project-manages and course-corrects engagements to ensure milestones and tasks are on schedule, in line with impact goals and within prescribed budgets.



The ideal candidate will have:

  • 10+ years of operational experience with nationally scaled programs;
  • Prefer experience with non-profit operations;
  • 10+ years of experience in the development and implementation of entrepreneurial support and/or entrepreneurial ecosystem building programs;
  • A lived experience aligned with the equitable entrepreneurial and systems-change mission and work of Forward Cities;
  • Experience building and managing teams;
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communications skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work autonomously and effectively, while contributing to a cohesive team environment;
  • The ability to thrive in a fast-paced, dynamic work environment.


Work Location & Expectations

Standard work hours are 9am - 5pm EST, Monday through Friday. This position can be filled locally or remotely. If local, this position requires at least two days per week in Forward Cities’ Durham office. If remote, quarterly travel to the Durham office will be required. In either case, approximately 3-5 days of travel per month will be required throughout the geographic footprint of our programs, as well as periodically to Durham for planning, training, and/or programmatic activities.


Salary and Benefits

The starting salary range for this position is $85,000-$90,000 - includes full benefits (PTO, parental leave, subsidized group health plan/health insurance stipend, life insurance, telecommunication stipend, and 403(b) plan participation after 90 days with the organization).

The role will report to the VP of Finance & Operations.




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.