Executive Director, Heartland Summit

Job Title

Executive Director, Heartland Summit

Job Description

The Heartland Forward Board of Directors is seeking a skilled, highly motivated and entrepreneurial visionary to join the Heartland Forward team as the Executive Director for Heartland Summit. The ideal teammate will have the demonstrated ability to lead a collaborative team, responsibly manage resources, build and maintain critical stakeholder and community networks and drive creative engagement.

About the Position
You’ll join a top-notch team and be responsible for the planning and execution of the Heartland Summit and other significant events for Heartland Forward.


• Design a strategy that incorporates event press management as well as collateral for email, invitations, website, and mobile application communication.
• Identify speaking engagements for the Board that align with the mission of Heartland Summit.
• Build and maintain relationships with donors, elected officials at a local, state, and national level and other key stakeholders.

Planning and Process:
• Create an event budget and roadmap for key deliverables for approval by the Board and/or Leadership.
• Develop content and programming that creates a compelling guest experience.
• Source and negotiate contracts with vendors or partners. Set clear expectations, negotiate terms and conditions, manage expenses, and build strong relationships.
• Maintain invitation database and provide strategic recommendations on additions or edits.
• Coordinate regular meetings and develop collateral including agendas, executive briefings, etc.
• Provide consistent reporting.
• Leverage best practices around delegation of authority.
• Coordinate heavily with the public relationship group and legal team to ensure compliance with policies and procedures.

Management and Execution:
• Produce events that effectively integrate programming, activations, and transportation.
• Develop partnership and sponsorship opportunities to support events and programs.
• Manage various event workstreams including content, production, communications, and invitations for the Heartland Summit, mini summits, and other events.
• Identify, hire, and manage resources, ensuring cohesive coordination and collaboration between workstreams.
• Effectively communicate with the Board and/or Leadership by providing ongoing updates as well as post-event analysis.

Whom are we looking for

Personal attributes that support your success:
• Unquestionable ethics and integrity. Demonstrated ability to protect privacy and maintain discretion in dealing with highly confidential information.
• Strong organizational skills that reflect the ability to perform and prioritize multiple tasks seamlessly with excellent attention to detail.
• Service approach with a highlighted sense of accountability, empathy, and humility.
• Highly resourceful team-player, solution-oriented, and comfortable operating with incomplete information.
• Effective independently and in a semi-remote environment.
• Remain accessible and responsive beyond business hours.
• Very strong interpersonal skills, professional demeanor, and ability to maintain grace under pressure when adapting to a rapidly changing environment, including re-prioritization or reassignment of responsibilities.
• Intellectual agility and the ability to analyze and think critically.

Additional Helpful Experience Includes:
• Experience working in small to medium sized companies or a start-up environment.
• Demonstrated record of designing, implementing and running successful political, issue advocacy, electoral and legislative campaigns.
• Experience working with or within advocacy coalitions and collaboratives.

About the Heartland Summit
The Heartland Summit is the flagship convening of Heartland Forward. The mission of the Heartland Summit is to showcase the exciting innovation happening between the coasts, spark frank conversations about the challenges the region is facing, and build networks to sustain economic growth and power problem solving across the country. The Heartland Summit is designed to kick-start economic growth and social innovation by strengthening connections between some of our nation’s best thinkers, problem solvers, and investors.

About the Heartland Forward
Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan, nonprofit “think and do tank,” focused on improving the economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health status. Most research and policy efforts by existing think tanks in the Heartland are focused on their individual state or metro areas within a state. We think a cross-cutting view is critical to solving the region's challenges, and Heartland Forward will fill this void. While recognizing the differences between places in the center of the country, we will analyze the region holistically to identify common issues and solutions.

The Institute will pursue its mission through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented convenings, and impactful policy recommendations. Its flagship convening is the Heartland Summit.

The Heartland Forward is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, among other things or status as a qualified individual with a disability.

Basic Qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree.
• 10+ years with experience in conference and event management, project management, communications or related field.
• 5+ years supervisory experience leading a cross-functional team or complex operation.
• 8+ years of broad operations management, programming experience and managing budgets.
• Experience in leadership management and a demonstrated track record of high-performance while being able to use sound judgement and reasoning to make decisions.