Chief Executive Officer
View CNT's diversity policy here.
Chief Executive Officer
From the CNT Board Chair, Margaret O’Dell:
CNT is excited to announce the opening of our search for our next CEO. We are looking for a new leader who will build on the successes of CNT, especially over the last five years, and move us in new directions. We are seeking an experienced leader and skilled manager to work with our professional and motivated staff and Board.
This is a great opportunity for someone who deeply understands the social, political, and economic root causes of environmental injustice and brings expertise in housing, transportation, community development, or climate policy, along with a commitment to including local voices and embedding racial equity into the work.
CNT works to create neighborhoods that are equitable, sustainable, and resilient through innovative analysis and solutions that support community-based organizations and local governments.
Founded in 1978, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) works where urban form—the built environment and infrastructure of our cities—intersects with disparities of race and income. CNT works closely with communities in creating neighborhoods that are sustainable and resilient with an emphasis on environmental justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Its work shapes policy and development practice across the country.
CNT’s work includes:
- Analysis: CNT conducts rigorous, interdisciplinary analysis of urban and regional challenges to produce evidence-based solutions. It creates sophisticated data analytical tools and online resources to make its tools and research findings usable by community organizations and government agencies.
- Community Engagement: CNT engages neighborhood partners and local government leaders, supporting community self-empowerment to improve their neighborhoods.
- Innovative and Entrepreneurial: CNT designs innovative and data-driven policy as well as financial and technological solutions. CNT uses innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to create programs to solve urban problems.
Some of CNT’s innovative solutions to urban challenges have included:
- Energy conservation measures to keep household costs down by reducing demand for energy, which were so successful that a new nonprofit, Elevate, was spun off to focus on this work.
- Projects that reduce urban flooding and improve stormwater management through green infrastructure development.
- Transportation alternatives to reduce the cost, congestion, and pollution of automobile reliance including car sharing and equitable transit-oriented development; high-quality research and data sharing to produce publicly accessible webtools like the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index and AllTransit; and analysis to show local leaders how the built environment can better meet the needs of people rather than cars.
- Close partnerships with community-based organizations throughout all of this work to ensure that solutions are rooted in community needs and priorities.
Current CNT programs and projects address environmental justice, climate resilience, transportation equity, and housing affordability:
CNT’s environmental and climate justice program works at the intersection of sustainability and equity. It helps homeowners and municipalities save money by installing green infrastructure solutions like rain gardens and bioswales to reduce flooding. CNT works to strengthen water infrastructure, assist communities in assessing and undertaking lead service line replacement, and explore cost and access issues related to clean drinking water, particularly as it disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities.
CNT’s community development program focuses on housing affordability, particularly as it intersects with transportation access and climate resilience. Currently, CNT is working in three communities to introduce the concept of comprehensive housing rehabilitation, which aligns and streamlines the various public sector programs that independently fund individual housing rehabilitation components – like energy efficiency, water efficiency, weatherization, lead abatement and other components of healthy homes – into a comprehensive program.
CNT’s transportation program works to improve the equity and sustainability of our transportation systems working in Chicago and across the country by expanding and improving transit, pedestrian and bike systems that anchor amenity-rich, walkable communities. Priorities include supporting the Transportation Equity Network, a group of community-based organizations advocating for transportation equity in Chicago and developing new tools to evaluate the equity impacts of transportation decisions. A new project, the Jacky Fellows Fund, will train women of color studying transportation planning and policy to become effective advocates for equitable and sustainable transportation policies.
CNT is governed by a diverse 21-member board of directors composed of mission-driven, equity focused business and civic leaders.
CNT has a staff of 22. It has an office in downtown Chicago, but many staff have chosen to work remotely part of the time and some staff are located in other cities.
CNT’s $6.2 million 2023 operating budget derives from government grants and contracts, earned income from corporate contracts, and philanthropy. The average budget over recent years has been in the $3.2-$3.5 mm range. Over the past five years the most recent CEO stabilized finances, enhanced operations, strengthened relationships with community-based organizations, and developed the Board and staff of CNT. The previous CEO has chosen to step away from the leadership role to focus on programmatic work; with Board support, he will remain as the Chief Strategy and Program Officer.
The successful candidate will deeply understand the social, political, and economic root causes of environmental injustice and bring expertise in how to embed racial equity in housing, transportation, community development, and climate policy.
The CEO will be the leader of an organization that is poised for growth and will demonstrate the vision necessary to lead CNT in fulfilling its mission, including creating and implementing new programs. The CEO is the primary public face of CNT to stakeholders including communities, donors, government agencies, partners, and other NGOs. The CEO will report to the Board of Directors and work with the Board to set the strategic vision for the organization while the Board provides oversight and governance.
The new CEO will be a dynamic and charismatic leader with the skills necessary to promote CNT’s brand externally and also motivate and inspire CNT’s passionate, smart, and hard-working staff. The new CEO will capitalize on their strengths and support staff growth and development in an existing culture of collaboration, transparency, and respect. Demonstrating the highest integrity and employing best management practices, the new leader will ensure that effective systems are in place to support all areas of operations.
This new leader also will be committed to the importance of raising community voices in the process of building neighborhoods that are equitable, sustainable, and resilient. This includes advancing policies, practices, and cultural norms that allow communities of color to be self-determined.
Representing the organization externally, the CEO will raise its profile nationally and locally, and attract support for its initiatives through relationship building, writing, and speaking.
The CEO must have an entrepreneurial, creative, mission-based mindset; a passion for CNT’s goals, initiatives, programs, and operations; and, a track record of successful staff, program, fundraising, and financial management. The successful candidate will have strong communication skills, great leadership acumen, and unrivaled passion for the organization and its valued team.
- In partnership with the Board and staff, set and execute organizational strategy to achieve agreed-upon goals and report progress in achieving them.
- Lead and manage CNT to ensure a thriving, financially sustainable organization.
- Attract, support, and retain talented human capital to support CNT’s mission and vision.
- Guide CNT towards meeting its internal goals of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Articulate the compelling mission of CNT internally and externally to advance CNT’s goals and create new opportunities for impact.
- Strategically expand CNT’s profile locally and nationally.
- Cultivate and maintain productive and collaborative relationships with external strategic partners and other stakeholders.
- Oversee the annual budget development process and manage the organization’s finances and reporting of outcomes.
- Lead the fundraising process and broader implementation of strategic fundraising efforts.
- Work collaboratively with the Board and engage its members in discussions regarding the status of programs/projects.
Vision: CNT seeks an energetic, strategic, and innovative leader with a passion for working with community organizations to create neighborhoods that are economically and environmentally just, equitable, sustainable, and resilient. A dynamic and visionary leader, this individual will demonstrate values and beliefs consistent with the mission and culture of CNT. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated commitment to inclusion, diversity, justice, and equity as well as a proven ability to achieve and sustain organizational growth and influence while supporting a talented and mission-driven staff.
Management Skills: The qualified candidate will be an excellent leader who is collaborative, inclusive, accessible, and empathetic and who inspires respect and enthusiasm among the staff and who formulates and communicates a compelling vision to the team. A skilled manager of people and processes, this individual will have a clear awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses and the ability to foster the strengths and professional growth of staff. The new leader will have strong operational experience and a proven ability to hire, develop, motivate, and empower staff in a human-capital-intensive organizational culture and the expertise to identify and monitor projects towards impressive and measurable outcomes.
External Relations: Qualified candidates will demonstrate proven cultural competence in working with diverse people and communities. They will enjoy building, maintaining, and/or growing relationships with partners, funders, the media, and governmental entities. They will either have pre-existing relationships or will demonstrate the ability to quickly develop exceptional relationships with Chicago-area and national strategic partners, foundations, and donors.
Communication Skills: The ideal candidate will be an exceptional communicator with effective listening and writing skills and a demonstrated ability to be a compelling spokesperson for CNT. An innovative marketer who can expand the organizational brand and scale up its impact is key, This individual will be skilled at building external relationships, articulating the mission of CNT, and sharing that vision with others clearly and confidently.
Interpersonal Skills: Calm and centered, this individual will be a self-starter with the energy, empathy, and tenacity to guide and authentically lead a strong and talented team toward ever greater operational success. The ability to attract and inspire others is important. The successful candidate will be intellectually curious, have a sense of perspective, and be able to handle adversity and pressure gracefully. The candidate will also have excellent negotiation skills, the ability to be decisive and collaborative, and the highest ethical standards and integrity. Flexibility, adaptability, and resilience are important as is the ability to keep a sense of humor under pressure.
- Highly responsible leadership experience at a nonprofit, community-based organization, foundation or government entity.
- Prior experience building successful relationships with a nonprofit Board is strongly preferred.
- Mission-based entrepreneurial energy and a history of providing visionary leadership.
- A record of successful fundraising, including demonstrated success working with individuals, corporations, and foundations to secure major gifts.
- Experience and success building, nurturing, supporting and mentoring high performance, mission-driven, and results-oriented teams.
- Financial management experience, including the ability to make financial decisions to maintain the health and growth of the organization.
Advanced degree or equivalent experience in such fields as urban and regional planning, public policy, public health, urban design, or environmental or energy/climate policy is preferred. Active participation in civic and community organizations is a plus. Spanish language facility is also a plus.
Please submit applications and nominations to Noetic Search; please submit a current resume and letter of introduction.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
Starting salary range is $180,000 to $200,000 depending on experience and qualifications. A comprehensive benefits package and hybrid work model are provided. Occasional travel is required.
Center for Neighborhood Technology is an equal opportunity employer. No person shall be discriminated against in employment because of such individual’s race, religion, color, creed, sex, age, sexual orientation, ancestry, marital or parental status, military status, national origin, citizenship, veteran’s status, physical or mental handicap unrelated to ability, or any other legally protected status.
View CNT's diversity policy here.