Director of Small Business Economic Empowerment Center Job at Center for Changing Lives, Chicago, IL

  • Center for Changing Lives
  • Chicago, IL

Job Description

Mission : Center for Changing Lives (CCL) partners with those held back by lack of resource and economic opportunity in order to uncover possibilities, overcome barriers, and realize their potential.

Background: CCL offers free one-on-one financial, employment, resource development and small business coaching to the community-at-large, as well as community workshops and group coaching classes. CCL believes that every person is the expert of his, her, and their own lives and coaches partner with people to achieve goals using his/her/their strengths and values.

Position Overview: CCL is recognized and funded by the Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) under the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as well as the City of Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. CCL’s small business programming operates as an Economic Empowerment Center and a Small Business Neighborhood Development Center (SBNDC) which is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and welcoming business ecosystem for communities that have historically faced systemic barriers. Through the Small Business Economic Empowerment Center (EEC) and SBNDC services CCL small business coaching aims to support and empower socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

The Director of Small Business Economic Empowerment Center (DSBEEC) will lead the establishment, operation, and day-to-day management of CCL’s Economic Empowerment Center. DSBEEC is responsible for providing the leadership and direction for CCL’s Economic Empowerment Center, attaining the overall goals of the Small Business Economic Empowerment Center as well as its shared vision and goals under Center for Changing Lives. The DSBEEC both manages the work of EEC and SBNDC as well as carries a portfolio of clients. The DSBEEC will provide training and resources for entrepreneurship and small business management to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, dislocated workers, veterans, and youth entrepreneurs. This role involves a wide variety of management skills to serve a diverse clientele, ensuring that client confidentiality is maintained.

Areas of Work Include:

Program Implementation and Marketing (30%)

  • Oversee the development and implementation of EEC and SBNDC programs and budget to ensure alignment with the objectives outlined by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
  • Plan and coordinate programs and activities consistent with the goals and objectives of CCL’s small business programming which encompasses the work outlined as a Neighborhood Business Development Center and as an Illinois Economic Empowerment Center.
  • Establish and maintain a referral system for business advisory services, financial resources, and educational programs.
  • Develop internal and external resources to accomplish program objectives, including actively seeking additional funding resources.
  • Coordinate and administer cohort training plans using evidence-based curricula for start-ups, existing businesses, and dislocated workers.
  • Coordinate and administer the delivery of direct business advice, technical assistance and training to clients, ensuring culturally competent training programs and initiatives that support targeted program participants.
  • Establish a marketing plan that will allow for high visibility of the centers.
  • Promote the EEC and SBNDC programs and the needs of the small business community.
  • Collaborate with the Marketing and Communications teams to create new materials and strategic, targeted campaigns to reach targeted communities and increase community engagement and participation in CCL related programs and initiatives.

Funding, Reporting and Strategic Planning - Strategic Planning and Implementation  (30%)

  • Grant research and writing initiatives and develop strategies to secure funding to ensure long-term sustainability.  
  • Prepare and submit appropriate documents regarding funding requests, obtain additional available funds to supplement available resources 
  • Monitor and report on the program's performance, including data collection on the number of participants, training outcomes, and business successes.
  • Ensure compliance with state funding requirements and manage the program budget effectively.
  • Collaborate with the Senior Director of Program Operations and Strategy and other administrative staff  in delivery, reporting, and evaluation efforts as needed.
  • Participate in Strategic Planning activities and meetings, collaborating with internal stakeholders across the organization on strategic planning activities to support the programmatic enhancements and expansion.

Institutional and Business Relationship Building (20%)

  • Develop and maintain relationships with local post-secondary education institutions, businesses, government entities, and community organizations.
  • Organize and facilitate advisory group meetings with community business experts.
  • Coordinate and cultivate relationships with other SBNDC/SBAs resource partners, local chambers of commerce, professional associations, and economic development groups.
  • Represent Center for Changing Lives at community events and presentations.

Leadership and Professional Development (10%)

  • Manage the recruitment, orientation, and training of EEC and SBNDC staff and instructors.
  • Participate in supervision and mutual accountability as a coachee, designing professional and leadership goals via the coaching process of: Visioning, Goal setting and Action Planning.
  • Participate in CCL Program and Staff Meetings.

Supervisory Responsibilities (10%)

  • Manage the recruitment, orientation, training and ongoing supervision of EEC and SBNDC staff.
  • Maintain client control records and management information system.
  • Supervise and provide EEC staff guidance ensuring that processes, protocols, and standard operating procedures are developed, adhered to, and improved.
  • Support the professional development of EEC staff on relevant technical, industry, and

program delivery best practices.

Strong Candidates Will Demonstrate:

  • Passion for CCL’s mission and its core values of innovation, poder, economic justice, solidarity and accountability.
  • Strengths in the areas of creativity, resourcefulness, problem solving, persistence and self-reflection.
  • Proclivity to risk-taking and a willingness to fail, learn and adapt.
  • Openness to regular, 360-degree feedback and an environment of mutual accountability.
  • Ability to engage a diverse community of people.
  • Commitment to confidentiality and professionalism.
  • Knowledge of business management and fiscal practices.
  • Knowledge of regulatory compliance principles and practices. 
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for promoting programs and services. 
  • Knowledge and application of various instructional methodologies. 
  • Skill in budget/resource management. 
  • Skill in people leadership and supervision.
  • Skill in program development and process improvement. 
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective and positive working relationships. 

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Education, Public Administration, Economics, or a related field.
  • At least 5 - 8 years of related experience in small business program management, small business development, or business consulting.
  • Three (3+) years of supervisory experience required OR An equivalent combination of certification, education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job such as those listed above. 
  • Proven track record of managing and engaging community/small business outreach programs or economic development initiatives.
  • Strong leadership, organizational and relationships management skills.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including public speaking.
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Well-organized and detail-oriented with strong documentation skills
  • Experience working with diverse populations and understanding of cultural competency.
  • Experience with grant writing and management.
  • Must be fluent in Spanish both written and speaking.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, or a related field.
  • Knowledge of Illinois economic and business development landscape.
  • Eight plus (8+) years of related experience preferred. 

Outcomes: The position is an outcomes oriented position, with specific expectations on the quality and effectiveness of all CCL small business programmatic marketing, implementation and management.  DSBEEC is ultimately responsible for CCL’s Small Business Economic Empowerment Center and small business development goals.

Working Conditions: The DSBEEC  is an external position and travels throughout the Chicagoland market to source employers and community partners.  Evenings and weekends are required as needed, and a stable means of transportation is a plus. The DSBEEC is supervised by the Senior Director of Program Operations and Strategy, and interfaces with the administrative team on matters of external relations, marketing  and resource development related to business partners.

Salary: This is an at-will full-time (40 hours a week) exempt position.  The starting annual gross salary is between $60,000 and $70,000 and depends on relevant experience. 

Benefits Summary: This is a full-time (40 hours a week) exempt position that includes health, dental and vision insurance, life, short-term and long-term disability insurance as well as generous paid time off (4 weeks paid vacation, 7 sick days, 4 personal days, 12 paid holidays). Additional benefits include flexible savings account, commuter benefits, employer matched retirement plan, employee assistance program and sabbatical leave. 

To Apply: Email cover letter and resume to with the position title specified in the subject line. No phone calls please. 

Women, people of color, LGBTQ, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. CCL is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job Tags

Holiday work, Full time, Temporary work, Local area, Flexible hours, Weekend work, Afternoon shift,

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