ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND With more than $40 million in assets and 12,000 members in an 8-county area of Northeast, Ohio, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) is a powerful economic development organization with the largest metropolitan chamber of commerce in the country at its core. GCP represents the collective voice of members, serving as a catalyst for progress and focusing resources to support collaborative efforts to boost the economic vitality of the region. The area includes 3 million residents and the economy represents 40 percent of the entire state’s GDP.
GCP was formed in 2004 through the consolidation of Cleveland Tomorrow, the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, and their primary affiliates – the Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition (NorTech), COSE and the Commission on Economic Inclusion. This important merger has allowed better allocation of the region’s two most precious resources—dollars and committed leadership—toward creating a more vibrant economy in Northeast Ohio, as well as speaking with one voice on behalf of job and wealth-creation priorities locally, in Columbus, Ohio and in Washington, D.C.
The mission of GCP is to mobilize private-sector leadership, expertise, and resources to create attractive business conditions that produce jobs, grow investment, and improve the economic prosperity of the region. We work to support an extraordinary and equitable quality of life across the region. GCP also acts as a regional convener to assist in promoting innovation and an entrepreneurial ecosystem for local business. GCP is committed to serving as a lead partner with other civic organizations in creating an environment of promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity.
In order to accomplish this mission, GCP has 6 key areas of focus:
Advocacy. The GCP Advocacy Team works with political leaders to create and shape policy that will maximize the economic development potential for all Greater Clevelanders. GCP serves its members as “one voice” to advocate on behalf of the local business community, providing businesses with what they need to grow and expand.
Equity & Inclusion. The Diversity and Inclusion Division of GCP focuses on helping local employers connect diversity and inclusion to their bottom line and works to ensure that minority citizens more fully participate in the benefits of, and contribute to, economic development in the region.
Business Growth Services. Companies that call Northeast Ohio home are responsible for 80 percent of the new jobs created in the region. GCP nurtures a vibrant and growing local economy by connecting local companies to a vast network of governmental and other resources. Through partnerships with JobsOhio and Team NEO, GCP has an enhanced tool kit “INGEAR” of economic development resources at the local, regional, and state-wide level to help ensure a vibrant future for member companies.
Council of Smaller Enterprise (COSE). As the region’s small business expert organization, COSE provides small business owners with the right solutions and resources they need to grow and thrive. COSE provides small member companies with unparalleled networking and educational events, advocacy on legislative and regulatory issues, and cost-effective group programs.
Real Estate. Through its real estate and business development finance affiliate Cleveland Development Advisors, GCP is committed to accelerating the development of catalytic projects that transform Cleveland’s neighborhoods and attract investment. Since the inception of the program, almost $500 million has been raised and invested to advance catalytic projects throughout the region.
Talent. Through a renewed and reinvigorated partnership, GCP works with its partners in the public and private sectors to ensure that Northeast Ohio creates, attracts, and retains a 21st century workforce. GCP supports the development of educational systems to prepare students for in-dem and jobs in the region.
This work is fully embodied through GCP’s visionary strategic plan, ForwardCLE, which is designed to accelerate the region’s growth and prosperity by addressing its biggest challenges and opportunities. ForwardCLE lays a foundation for changes in GCP’s work, addresses the need to generate greater financial capacity, and is supported by an integrated public policy agenda and a commitment to diversity and inclusion in each initiative.
Major elements of ForwardCLE include:
Enhancing the innovation sector of our economy
Solving talent/workforce needs
Developing a growth strategy around equity and inclusion
Accelerating individual business growth
Developing new neighborhood opportunities
Making the delivery of government services more efficient
The most important and distinguishing philosophies that guide GCP include ensuring that only the CEOs or equivalent leaders of companies in the region can serve on GCP’s Board of Trustees and that its operations are not funded by public sector dollars.
GCP is considered to be a national leader in the Chamber of Commerce industry and its staff are regular leaders in various state and national business coalitions.
Finally, GCP also operates a significant employer healthcare program (MEWA) to serve the healthcare needs of its membership.
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES The President and CEO reports directly to the Board of Directors and leads all facets of oversight of the $15M, 75-staff organization. The President and CEO will serve as the chief spokesperson to represent the Greater Cleveland area as the premier business organization with investors, businesses, government entities and other key stakeholders. The President and CEO works with peer organizations to improve the region and drive business attraction, retention, and expansion, and advocates for policies that advance a favorable climate where business can grow and thrive.
Specifically, the President and CEO is responsible for the following:
Strategic Direction. In conjunction with the Board of Directors, develops and executes a visionary strategic plan to focus the organization on the key priorities that are critical to advancing a diverse and inclusive business climate in the Greater Cleveland region.
Board Relations. Builds and maintains strong collaborative relationships with GCP’s highly engaged and influential Board of Directors. Inspires the CEO community for greater engagement in GCP and regional civic life, bringing their insight and resources to bear on enhancing the health of Greater Cleveland. Serves as a servant leader, partnering with the Board to establish short-and long-range focus on strategies to accelerate Greater Cleveland’s economic prosperity and vibrancy.
Advocacy. Serves as an advocate and regional convener to advance GCP’s strategic public policy before government, business, media, and other key external stakeholders. Also provides advocacy muscle for many of the region’s most critical organizations and efforts. Collaborates effectively with elected officials and other regional leaders to influence outcomes with the goal of advancing priority economic development initiatives for the region.
External Relations & Strategic Partnerships. Serves as the dynamic spokesperson, servant leader, and primary advocate with elected officials, the media, business leaders, academia, and other key civic stakeholders. Develops strong relationships with industry leaders, and partnerships with other local civic community organizations, implementing equitable and sustainable approaches to growing the local economy and raising the quality of life for all citizens in the region. Identifies strategic partnership opportunities, both within Ohio and externally, that will improve the region’s ability to attract investment and business attraction and growth.
Organizational Leadership. Fosters a culture of collaboration, innovation, and results through bold and visionary leadership. Provides oversight and leadership of approximately 75 highly respected, dedicated, and skilled professionals. Sets a clear vision for goals and expectations while encouraging an internal culture of partnership, creativity, innovation, member service, and entrepreneurial thinking.
Operations. Provides fiscally responsible administration of the organization’s resources and ensures long-term, sustainable financial health. Partners with the Board to ensure a highly functioning organization by defining a clear direction, operating targets through effective planning, a positive and professional culture of excellence, talented and motivated staff, a digital strategy, and effective process systems. Develops annual business plans that ensure fiscal integrity and prudence, including oversight of internal audits of financial and operating systems.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS GCP seeks a well-respected, inspirational leader with a passion for advancing the organization’s mission and priorities. S/he will be a dynamic and innovative leader who builds on GCP’s strong legacy, while bringing a fresh approach to envision the future of business and the economy for the Greater Cleveland region. The President and CEO will have demonstrated experience developing and implementing a visionary strategic plan in conjunction with a diverse influential, executive-level Board of Directors. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of executive-level leadership experience with a regional, national, or global organization of similar scale and complexity, with demonstrated working knowledge of business, public policy, and economic development.
Specific experience and qualifications will include:
Genuine passion for positioning the Greater Cleveland region as a top location nationally to conduct business and positively influencing the future economic vibrancy of the region.
Demonstrated experience working effectively with a diverse Board of Directors to advance an organization’s priorities and achieve impactful outcomes.
Demonstrated record of successfully leading, advocating, and advancing complex, multidisciplinary business, and public policy issues. A reputation for operating on a bipartisan basis.
Exceptional gravitas, confidence, and stellar communications skills to serve as the principal external spokesperson for GCP. The President and CEO will be a passionate public advocate for the mission and vision of GCP, with an ability to build collaborative partnerships and open doors with other organizations, both inside and outside Ohio.
A track record for leading through complex challenges with multiple diverse stakeholders. Effective at leading change while engaging diverse viewpoints.
Excellent interpersonal and relationship-building skills. Ability to build trust and relate well with a variety of internal and external stakeholders. Demonstrated political savvy, with ability to drive influence and build consensus among diverse stakeholders.
A servant leadership style that fosters a collaborative, results-oriented work environment that empowers staff members to accomplish organizational objectives. Ability to attract, engage, develop, and retain top caliber talent.
Operates with the highest level of integrity, intellectual agility, creativity, and vision. Nimble leadership with an openness to new ideas. High energy and a positive attitude toward achieving significant challenges.
Proven record of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of business and civic life.
Ability to maintain extensive in-state travel schedule.