Business Transfers Program Director

Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) seeks an experienced, self-directed and collaborative person to join our dynamic national organization. Our core work is supporting the expansion of democratic employee ownership as a strategy for racial equity. DAWI has a high-functioning, close-knit staff driven by our values, and we want to work with a skilled and reliable colleague. This position has potential to grow as the organization grows.

About the Job
The Business Transfers Program Director leads DAWI’s national work to build an infrastructure of support for business transitions to employee ownership. The employee ownership field is in a critical period of growth; this position is at the center of the action, helping cohere, expand and support this growth and working closely with the national network of business service providers.

This position:
Builds networks and supports collaboration, to ensure that the growing field of technical assistance providers is well-supported and strategically aligned.
Engages new practitioners to expand the field of professionals who are literate with business transfers, with particular attention to capital providers.
Informs and works with cities and their partners to advance municipal legacy business transfer initiatives.
Informs and connects local ecosystem partners to stimulate and meet the growing demand for local employee ownership solutions.
Identifies, documents and advances promising practices, effective tools and new models to spur innovation.
Supports practitioners with impact metrics to implement standard impact metrics and communicate impact.

If there is interest, capacity, and skill, this position may also work directly with companies in the Legacy Fund I portfolio, assisting the Ownership Culture team and skilled technical assistance providers.

Ideal Candidate Statement:
The ideal candidate is passionate about shared business ownership as a force for racial and social equity and ambitious to scale business supports to match the opportunity. They have proven ability to think critically, engage widely with varied business sectors, build bridges and drive strategy. They bring a strong lived experience of the needs and opportunities of small business ecosystems, with experience in exit planning and employee ownership. Strong candidates combine familiarity with small business owners and workers, particularly MWBEs and BIPOC entrepreneurs, with facilitative leadership skills and a desire to work at the systems level to connect business leaders, service providers, and local elected officials. This position is a good fit for a natural organizer and consensus-builder who enjoys being a highly visible hub and can rally partners around a shared purpose.

Job Description
The major duties and responsibilities of the position are as follows:

  • Program strategy and management - 10%
    • Works with the Senior Director of Programs to establish strategic priorities for the program.
    • Collaborates with adjacent DAWI program staff on programming.
    • Works with data and communications teams to track and communicate impact.
    • Prepares and maintains a variety of qualitative and quantitative reporting related to grants, contracts, and special projects.
  • Workers to Owners Collaborative - 25%
    • Builds networks of shared knowledge and action in the field of practitioners
    • Convenes and facilitates monthly and annual meetings of the 40-organization national Workers to Owners Collaborative, curating speakers and topics.
    • Develops and supports topic-focused W2O working groups.
    • Leads processes to develop shared strategy and standards.
    • Supports collection, analysis and sharing of field-wide impact data.
    • Curates stories, tools, models. Identifies and reinforces best practices.
    • Produces regular internal communications.
    • Maintains with updated information and case studies.
    • Provides business consultations to small business owners looking to sell to employees.
    • Dispatches/coordinates referrals to the best resources and partners.
  • Outreach - 25%
    • Expands the diverse pool of emerging professionals who are literate in the conversions idea, with a racial equity lens.
    • Builds relationships with and delivers trainings to entrepreneurship and small business support organizations (SBDCs, business accelerators, service providers, etc.), with a focus on BIPOC-led and -serving organizations.
    • Coordinates with educational institutions (MBA and certificate programs) to build the bench of qualified support professionals.
    • Speaks to investors, lenders, CDFIs and other finance institutions about how to invest in business transitions to employee ownership.
    • Develops and implements employer and partner engagement activities.
  • Ecosystem-Building - 25%
    • Builds an ecosystem of support for business transitions as a municipal government strategy for small business retention and layoff aversion.
    • Serves as an information-rich connector for practitioners and ecosystem partners, and a national focal point for resources and relationships.
    • Works on DAWI’s Employee Ownership Cities team to support successful implementation of city-partnered legacy business transition initiatives.
    • Establishes and supports community partnerships in key cities, through private and public engagement that includes memberships, events, convenings, speaking, training, and more.
    • Educates and informs small business, corporate, non-profit, local government, workforce and economic development partners.
    • Reviews economic development reports, labor market trends, and regional surveys to stay current with the workforce and economic trends locally, state-wide, and across the nation.
    • Organizes W2O local groups, cohorts and networks in key cities.
    • Advises on supportive policy and implementation.
  • Knowledge Production and Curation - 10%
    • Acts as a strategic driver for innovative practices, with a focus on capital strategies and impact metrics.
    • Curates effective tools, innovative practices, and success stories.
    • Catalogs and supports adoption of new models and approaches
    • Creates, supports, and maintains one-pagers and toolkits for business owners, TA, capital providers, policy makers and economic development staff.
    • Supports high-volume data-driven outreach and pipeline-building strategy.
    • Supports development and implementation of impact metrics field-wide as a critical dimension of a capital attraction strategy.
  • Organizational and Professional Development - 5%
    • In addition to job duties, all DAWI staff participate in organization and professional development, and participate in shaping the organization’s overall strategy. As desired, staff may participate as a member in membership-level governance of the organization.

Required Qualifications Experience:

  • Demonstrated experience organizing and leading ecosystem initiatives for equitable economic development. Proven ability to build relationships, partnerships and networks with a diverse array of stakeholders, to motivate and lead within collaborative working groups.
  • History of progressively responsible experience and skills in advising small business owners.
  • Experience with local business ecosystems, particularly workforce development and/or economic
  • development.
  • Substantial program and project management experience, including supervision of staff.
  • Experience in curating and developing resources and promotional materials.
  • Experience in the employee ownership, ESOP or worker cooperative field co-owning, developing, advising, investing in or lending.
  • Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • Self-directed and eager to embrace new opportunities and challenges with creativity.
  • Commitment to racial equity; fluency in cross-cultural communication.
  • Knowledge of entrepreneurial and management principles and practices.
  • General knowledge of capital structures and practices, including business lending, financing, impact investing, and publicly funded business financial assistance programs
  • Knowledge of supports and resources for MWBEs, and basic understanding of MWBE systems,
  • policies and practices.
  • Working knowledge of local government: actors, agencies, imperatives, and levers of support for small business.
  • Ability to lead an organizational vision and make decisions in uncertain and complex situations. Able to
  • address obstacles creatively, using available resources.
  • Meeting and group facilitation skills, active listening skills, ability to articulate ideas, and communicate
  • clearly (written and oral).
  • Public speaking skills, experience teaching adults and effectively presenting complex topics.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, emotional intelligence, and flawless diplomacy.
  • Skills with basic office tools and technology: Microsoft Office Suite, GSuite, online project management
  • systems, remote file systems, online/remote meeting tools, and online research tools.
  • Ability to work independently, prioritize and execute work, establish realistic deadlines and meet them
  • consistently. Strong self-management, organizational skills, task-tracking, follow-through.
  • Commitment to racial equity; fluency in cross-cultural communication.
  • Self-directed and eager to embrace new opportunities and challenges with creativity.

Preferred Qualifications

  • History of progressively responsible business management experience, including small business ownership, with evidence of mastery in several of the following areas: accounting and finance, sales and marketing, operations, personnel management, information systems, employee training and workforce development, leadership coaching, and strategic planning.
  • Knowledge of applicable Federal, State, and local laws, rules, regulations, codes, and/or statutes for small businesses.
  • Experience developing, implementing or otherwise working with impact metrics and strategic data collection.

About DAWI
The Democracy at Work Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think-and-do tank that expands worker cooperatives and other employee-owned forms to communities locked out of good jobs and business ownership opportunities, especially BIPOC, recent-immigrant, and low-wage workforces. We do research and advocacy; training, consulting, and education; field-building and convening; tool and model development; and impact measurement. We build field-wide capacity to ensure that further growth in the worker cooperative movement reaches low-income people, people of color and recent immigrants. In all our work, as well as internal operations, we strive to embody our organizational values of Excellence, Equity, Entrepreneurialism, Collaboration, and Human-Centeredness. We are affiliated with our sister organization, the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives. All programs integrate USFWC member input. Started in 2013, DAWI is a relatively young organization, and all staffers are expected to help build organizational capacity and processes. In turn, DAWI commits to building all staffers’ professional development and leadership skills. We love our work, and we work hard, but we also strive for work-life balance, including but not limited to working a 4-day work week. We are a small team of 18 with low staff turnover. Full-time staff are eligible for membership in the organization after 6 months of employment. Members are eligible to serve on the board of directors, elect two directors, and participate in the strategic guidance of the organization.

We are a remote organization with physical offices in San Francisco and New York, and somewhat flexible working hours and locations. All staff are expected to support the effective functioning of a remote workplace. A certain amount of travel (once it is safe) for all staffers is expected and supported. For this position, travel averaging once per month is required.

Notice of Nondiscrimination
Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) is committed to a multi-racial and class-diverse staff that reflects the future of worker cooperatives. Women, people of color and others who may be underrepresented at senior levels of the nonprofit workforce are strongly encouraged to apply. DAWI is committed to equal opportunity for all persons without regard to sex, age, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under state or federal law. It is the policy of DAWI to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding equal opportunity. In keeping with that policy, DAWI is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. Accordingly, DAWI will not tolerate unlawful discrimination against or harassment of any of our employees or others present at our facilities by anyone, including any supervisor, coworker, vendor, client, or customer of DAWI.

Full-time position (for DAWI, full-time is 4 days per week and can work remotely)
Compensation and Benefits
Starting salary is $80,000-$95,000 depending on experience. DAWI offers full health benefits coverage for employees, including dental and vision; participation in a 401(k) plan; a Flexible Spending Account; a generous time off policy; and a professional development budget.
How to Apply
Email a cover letter, resume, and two references to hiring [at] (subject: Business%20Transfers%20Program%20Director) . Cover letters should be addressed to the Hiring Committee and include a 2-3 paragraph statement of interest describing how your skills and experiences qualify you for the position. Include the subject line “Application for Business Transfers Program Director position.” All materials should be submitted in PDF format.

Deadline to apply: Applications are reviewed until the position is filled but we encourage applicants to apply by Jan.15th (open until filled).