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Midwest Director

Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization, founded and run by small business owners to ensure that America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable, diverse economy. Since 2005, we have actively engaged small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and have delivered information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong, sustainable job-creating economy. Our team works from nine offices in Washington, D.C. and seven states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York and Virginia. We regularly engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners and 1,000 business organizations. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers, including healthcare, access to capital, taxes, retirement, paid leave and other workforce issues.

This position is based in Chicago, Illinois and reports to the Vice President, National Outreach.  There will be state, regional and some national travel involved with this position.

Description & Responsibilities

Direct all of Small Business Majority’s on-the-ground work in the Midwestern United States. Currently, this includes our three offices in Chicago, St. Louis and Springfield (MO).

Working directly with and through direct management of the Outreach Managers in those states, the Midwest Director will have responsibility for the following integrated vertical activities in the states in the region:

Outreach

  • Develop and maintain relationships with state and regional business organizations, including conducting seminars, webinars and other joint activities to educate the business community on a variety of business and public policy issues. This work includes the maintenance and expansion of SBM’s Strategic Partnership program.
  • Coordinate with SBM’s Small Business Engagement team to develop and maintain relationships with individual small business owners, and mobilize those small business owners to conduct advocacy on SBM’s public policy agenda
  • Develop and maintain relationships with small business support organizations such as lenders, small business technical assistance providers and others so SBM is seen as a hub or connector that can direct small business owners to the appropriate organizations for assistance

Fundraising

  • Secure significant funding from philanthropic, corporate and other institutional funders. While national funding will be allocated to the Midwest, the Midwest Director is ultimately responsible for raising the needed funds locally to sustain the operation. 
  • Maintain relationships with current funders and ensure grants are renewed at the appropriate time (usually annually).
  • Identify and develop relationships with new state and regional funders in the Midwest and make a convincing sales pitch in an effort to secure funding. 
  • Work with our national Development team on crafting proposals that match our organizational goals and those of the prospective funders.

Policy & advocacy

  • Stay on top of key state- and municipal-level policy issues relating to SBM’s work and direct SBM’s state and municipal advocacy work 
  • Work with SBM’s policy leads and state Outreach Managers to develop SBM’s state policy positions and a plan to take action
  • Testify before state and municipal governmental bodies, meet with lawmakers, speak at press conferences, etc., to advance SBM’s policy agenda
  • Coordinate with other advocacy organizations to advance SBM’s policy agenda
  • Provide input into the development of national policy and advocacy strategies

Communications 

  • Collaborate with SBM’s national communications team to develop state/municipal-based media and other communications strategies 
  • Establish ongoing relationships with key local media
  • Communicate directly with national and state media as appropriate 

Research

  • Work with SBM’s national research director on the development and implementation of national and state research projects such as opinion polling and focus groups

Other Responsibilities

  • Work closely with other SBM team members to maximize the efficient management of the organization and resolve other major organizational issues
  • Coordinate on an ongoing basis with other SBM Outreach Directors and the Vice President, National Outreach to maximize the impact of SBM’s work, share best practices and ensure the appropriate allocation of resources across the country

Qualifications

  • Experience organizing and communicating with constituency groups
  • Experience managing staff
  • Successful experience fundraising from corporate and/or philanthropic institutions
  • Highly organized and able to track/monitor work being completed in multiple states by multiple staff members
  • Ability to work in a flexible, entrepreneurial environment with frequently shifting priorities and evolving internal processes and structures 
  • Strong interest/experience working with state legislatures and other policymakers to enact public policy changes, particularly in Illinois
  • Interest/experience working on small business issues such as healthcare, responsible lending, retirement security, workforce, taxes and other issues
  • Ability to quickly build relationship with all types of people
  • Strong public speaking abilities 
  • Self-starter who has ability to make cold calls and network with small business owners, business organizations, funders, policymakers and other advocates
  • Available for regular travel (approx. 1 week per month on average) to visit states in the region and attend key external and internal meetings (including SBM’s annual 3-day retreat in California and SBM’s annual 3-day Washington, DC summit.)

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Please submit cover letter and resume to: [email protected]