Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

Civic Consulting Alliance

Chicago, IL   |   October 31, 2019

About The Civic Consulting Alliance

The Civic Consulting Alliance (“CCA”) is a nonprofit consulting firm marshalling collaborative, pro bono investments to get big things done for Chicago and the region. Working in close partnership with its public sector and not-for-profit clients, CCA does not just focus on big problems; it solves them.

CCA works to address Chicagoland’s greatest challenges. Engaging diverse people and resources, CCA teams generate solutions and create a more prosperous, equitable city. It does so by developing strategies that design sustainable solutions to complex problems, providing the talent to assist in the launch of these projects, and developing appropriate metrics to measure progress.

Civic Consulting Alliance’s experienced staff, best-in-class pro bono partners, and deep public and private sector relationships allow its teams to tackle old problems in new ways. CCA pinpoints the root causes of complex issues and convenes institutional leaders to focus at a systems-level to create real impact that benefits the entire region.

With its partners, CCA provides $10 – $15 million in services at no cost to taxpayers every year. Companies work with the Civic Consulting Alliance because they know their contributions will work towards high-impact, high-accountability projects that are well-defined and achievable. CCA provides a unique platform to make an impact on the region that no individual, company – indeed no single sector – could achieve on its own.


The roots of the Civic Consulting Alliance go back more than a century to the establishment of the Commercial Club of Chicago. To support Chicago’s growing economic vitality and improve its quality of life, business leaders formed the Commercial Club of Chicago to undertake civic, social, and economic pro bono projects.

In 1983, the Commercial Club released its seminal Jobs for Metropolitan Chicago study, showing in stark detail how Chicago was losing its economic prominence. To address this situation head on, the Commercial Club created the Civic Committee to develop a long-term strategic plan to keep Chicago on the leading edge of economic development. Since its founding, the Civic Committee has been at the forefront of public policy, focusing on school reform, fiscal stability, public health, and other critical issues.

The unique Civic Consulting Alliance model began with a request from Chicago Mayor Harold Washington to the Civic Committee in 1985 to evaluate the fiscal health of the City. More than 70 business leaders came together on a pro bono basis to study the budget, evaluate long-range financial prospects, and find ways to strengthen the City’s bottom line through improved operations. But the City also needed help implementing the recommended reforms. The Civic Committee organized the Financial Research and Advisory Committee (“FRAC”) to bring private-sector expertise to the cause. In 2005, FRAC became the Civic Consulting Alliance. The CCA is co-located with the Civic Committee in the Commercial Club’s offices, creating further access to the tremendous resources of Chicago’s leading business, academic, and civic talent.

In 2020 CCA will welcome its next leader to succeed Brian Fabes, who has successfully led the organization for 15 years. Under Brian’s leadership, CCA has developed strong partnerships, trusted relationships, and a track record of success. CCA is now seeking a leader to accelerate the work for the benefit of all of Chicago.

CCA’s Work and Progress

CCA’s mission statement – to make the Chicago region a great place for everyone to live and work – was carefully crafted to reflect its values and purpose. Chicago is a world-class city in many ways. At the same time, like many cities and regions, inequities exist in educational opportunities, health care outcomes, neighborhood safety and infrastructure, job opportunities, and in interactions with the legal system.

CCA believes Chicago can only be a truly great city if these inequities are identified and effectively addressed in the neighborhoods where people live and work. Importantly, due to the history of effective partnerships across sectors, the tremendous commitment by the business community, and partnership with city, county, and state governments, CCA believes this is possible. CCA is committed to partnering with the individuals most impacted – members of the most underserved communities of Chicago – and working across sectors and ensuring a seat at the table for all stakeholders, with the goal of creating a more inclusive civic culture and inspiring the next generation of leaders.

Working with its clients and pro bono partners, CCA has responded to big issues and driven impactful efforts in three Platform areas over the past decade:

  • Education: to create an education system that provides equitable access to living-wage career paths for all residents and enables growth of an economy that works for everyone.
  • Economic Vitality: to grow an economy that works for everyone while reducing inequities between communities.
  • Public Safety and Criminal Justice: to ensure that everyone – residents and police – are safe and that justice is applied consistently across all communities.

ISSUE:  A Postsecondary degree is critical for accessing good jobs, but the graduation rate of Chicago’s community colleges was 7%

The City Colleges of Chicago (“CCC”) represent a path from poverty to the middle class for tens of thousands of Chicagoans every year. In 2010, however, the graduation rate of CCC students stood at a mere 7%.  Working with the Mayor’s Office, multiple pro bono partners and a new Chancellor, CCA helped to stand up and manage Reinvention, the nation’s most extensive community college reform effort.

  • Since the launch of Reinvention, graduation rates tripled, the total number of degrees and credentials awarded annually topped 10,000 for the first time, and CCC is living up to its role as an accessible path to the middle class for all Chicagoans.

“Civic Consulting Alliance knows how to cut through complex problems and relationships to get the work done. We are lucky to have them as partners in this work”

– Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago

ISSUE:  Life expectancy is 16 years less for residents of Chicago’s West Side than for those living in the Loop

The average life expectancy for Chicagoans living in the Loop and Near North Side is 85 years.  Life expectancy drops to 69 – a 16-year difference – just a few El stops away in West Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side. This “Death Gap” is not the result of access to healthcare institutions. Chicago’s West Side is home to the Illinois Medical District and some of the finest healthcare institutions in the world. Rather, the Gap is the result of social determinants of health (for example poverty, access to healthy food, inadequate housing, etc.), factors that make treatable conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes fatal for residents on the West Side.

  • Since 2018, CCA has worked with six healthcare institutions and dozens of community stakeholders to launch West Side United, the nation’s largest “anchor-based” collaborative. West Side United’s goal is to cut the 16-year Death Gap on Chicago’s West Side in half by 2030.
  • In the first year of West Side United, CCA helped launch and implement initiatives across four focus areas (health and healthcare, neighborhood and physical environment, economic vitality, and education), stood up an operational backbone, and developed a governance structure that will embed community voices at every level of decision-making.

“Working with Civic Consulting Alliance allowed us to accelerate our impact and deepen our anchor strategy. Now we will be able to spread these best practices to other health systems to improve vitality on West Side of Chicago.”

– Larry Goodman, CEO, Rush University Medical Center

ISSUE: Elected officials have little time and no public funding to transition into office 

While the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, after winning elections Governors, Mayors, County Presidents, and other officials in Illinois must plan for and take over large, critical institutions quickly and with no public funding.  After the recent Mayoral election in Chicago, for example, Mayor-elect Lightfoot had seven weeks to plan for and execute the transition of a government the size of McDonald’s Corporation.

  • To ensure new officials can be effective Day One, Civic Consulting and dozens of pro bono partners have provided non-partisan support to help plan and manage the transition of two Governors, two Mayors, the Cook County Board President, Cook County State’s Attorney, Cook County Assessor, and other elected officials.

“Civic Consulting Alliance did a yeoman’s job in helping to set up our transition office, source talent, and really keep us on track. They’re an invaluable resource for our city.”

– Lori E. Lightfoot, Mayor, City of Chicago

ISSUE: Public safety and criminal justice in Chicago have become a part of the national discussion

In recent years, shootings and murders in Chicago have painted a picture of a city that is not providing for the safety of its residents. Too many in the region do not feel safe in their neighborhoods. At the same time, personal experiences and statistical trends paint a troubling picture of how law enforcement and the criminal justice system are applied unequally across racial lines.

  • To improve public safety, CCA helped to create and has been supporting the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities (“PSPC”), a unique coalition of 50 foundations and philanthropic organizations. Since 2017, members of PSPC have committed $75 million to support an evidence-based portfolio of interventions to reduce gun violence. As a result of PSPC-supported initiatives and the work of many others, non-fatal shootings are down by 40% and homicides have decreased by 33% since their peak in 2016.
  • Historically, poor people of color who were arrested and could not afford bail made up a significant portion of the Cook County Jail population – those accused, but not convicted of crime, often charged with non-violent offenses. Since 2014, CCA has worked with the Cook County Pretrial Stakeholders’ Group (The County Board President, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff, Public Defender, Chief Judge, State’s Attorney, and other partners) to reduce jail population through innovation and reform. By January 2019, Cook County Jail’s population had decreased by more than 40%, to its lowest level since 1991, reducing the significant toll of over-incarceration on Chicago’s communities.

“The recent reduction in Cook County’s jail population is an early sign of what can happen when leaders come to the table and work together.”

– Justice Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court

For additional case studies highlighting some of the major change CCA has achieved working with clients and partners on big-picture issues and more information on Civic Consulting Alliance, visit

The Opportunity

Civic Consulting Alliance is seeking a dynamic, dedicated, bold, thoughtful, and energetic leader to chart its future course and lead the organization into its next phase of impact for the region. It is a unique opportunity for a highly talented, special individual.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the CEO will have overall strategic, operational, financial and managerial responsibility for CCA. S/he will continue to grow partnerships locally and nationally; diversify and expand funding streams and revenues; bolster a diverse, inclusive, creative, entrepreneurial, insightful, and results-focused organizational culture; attract, lead, and support exceptional talent; promote professional staff development; and thoughtfully elevate CCA’s brand and cultivate relationships with other organizations and leaders in Chicago and beyond.

Serving as the key spokesperson and primary liaison for CCA, the CEO will spend substantial time developing trust-based relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders. This executive will operationalize strategy and institutional knowledge across the organization. S/he will evaluate, develop, and implement strategies, initiatives, and solutions, continuously improving processes and infrastructure to meet objectives and maximize impact.

This is an opportunity to take the skills a leader has developed throughout their career and apply them in a mission-based role that has the rigor of a state-of-the-art metrics-driven business. When high level consultant services and business tools are applied to the challenges of a big city and complex region and state with the support of nonprofits, the business community, government, and members of the community, important things can and do happen. CCA believes this combination of resources and longstanding public and private sector relationships is without precedent.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

A Visionary & Strategic Leader

The CEO will be a strategic, nimble, and results-oriented leader who, in partnership with the Board and staff, will elevate the vision for CCA’s next chapter. An inspiring, thoughtful and engaged leader with a strong ability to lead through influence, s/he will have experience cultivating, retaining and developing diverse teams with a broad set of ideas and skills and achieving organizational impact by recognizing, leveraging, and building up individual strengths and teamwork.

This executive will be successful at orchestrating and delivering on strategic processes and objectives and leading a passionate team to execute on organizational goals, while providing staff with a mission-driven work environment and professional growth opportunities. S/he will have a track record of good judgement in complex situations. S/he will foster a positive environment for participation, diversity, equity and inclusion, and collaboration and innovation with the goal of advancing CCA’s mission and impact. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Trusted Advisor & Spokesperson

A natural connector and relationship builder, the CEO will be an experienced leader and trusted advisor. S/he will be a confident spokesperson who inherently welcomes the external side of the role. S/he will embrace the current funding landscape and enthusiastically work to continue to expand and diversify CCA’s funding sources and pro bono partners. S/he will utilize brand and marketing strategies to elevate CCA’s recognition where appropriate, while maintaining strong, trust-based relationships with CCA’s staff, constituents, and partners for whom discretion and judgement are often important.

The CEO will be confident yet humble, with the ambition to accomplish great outcomes while sharing the credit broadly with all involved. S/he will command respect and have the gravitas to work across the diverse spectrum of current and future stakeholders including the staff, Board, clients, pro bono partners, elected officials, community leaders, and donors. S/he will have strong verbal and written communication skills. S/he will have an inspirational and influential approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from all stakeholders.

Business Acumen

The CEO will bring experience leading and scaling operations in a professional services, complex organization, or comparable environment. An individual of high intellect and innate curiosity, the CEO will have a firm grasp on complex urban challenges and be capable of scoping projects, outlining achievable outcomes, and evaluating progress. S/he will have the ability to conceptualize and analyze problems and solutions in a proactive, constructive, and creative manner that will result in improved performance across the organization. A proven general manager, the CEO will bring the ability and confidence to ensure that CCA’s operations are run efficiently and effectively. Past experience in management consulting or comparable endeavors is highly desirable.

Passion for the Mission & the Chicagoland Region

Fully embracing with dedication and pride the values and goals of CCA, the CEO will be passionate about fulfilling CCA’s mission and have a personal commitment to those whom CCA serves. Strategic about growth, the CEO will analyze the civic landscape and thoughtfully evaluate the projects CCA takes on to produce the greatest impact to the region. S/he will be bold and will be energized by identifying and taking on meaningful issues in the Chicagoland landscape and driving toward solutions in collaboration with partners, such as the Board, Civic Committee, and pro bono partners among others. This executive will be focused on building and leading an organization that reflects its values and produces wide-sweeping results for constituents in the city and surrounding region. The ideal candidate will be strongly attracted to this position. S/he will inspire others because s/he is inspired by the work itself.


Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Alison Ranney, Cheryl Stevens, Domino Gehred-O’Connell and Allison Dunne are leading the engagement.

To make recommendations or to express interest in the role, please email All nominations, inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.