Organization: World Business Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

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About World Business Chicago:    

World Business Chicago (WBC) is a public-private, nonprofit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business and promotes Chicago as a leading global city. Founded in 1999 by Mayor Richard M. Daley, WBC was created with the belief that a public-private economic development partnership, chaired by the Mayor of Chicago with a Board of Directors comprised of private sector leaders, would enable a collaborative, open and transparent business climate in Chicago. WBC is responsible for the implementation of a coordinated effort to assess and expand Chicago’s economy and historically has had three core functions: Business Development, Research and Marketing. These functions continue to support WBC’s mission to drive regional, inclusive economic growth.

When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office, he activated the broader business community, strengthening its ability to attract new businesses and create jobs in Chicago. Currently chaired by Mayor Emanuel and led by President & CEO Jeff Malehorn, WBC’s scope has continued to expand – hosting high profile international delegations, incubating organizations that have since become separate organizations (i.e. Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, Matter, mHub), bringing together organizations that have similar missions (i.e. Career Tech, Chicago Sister Cities International) and taking a broader approach to economic development through the implementation of the economic growth plan. WBC remains key to collaborations between organizations throughout the city, region, state, country and world.

WBC is responsible for convening the area’s civic, private and public partners to implement Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, a coordinated effort to equitably, innovatively and inclusively grow the economy for all residents and businesses in Chicagoland. The Plan is a living document to help expand and improve the economy at a faster rate, make the most of Chicago’s existing assets and foster the new assets necessary to flourish an inclusive economy of the future. The Plan presents a set of strategies for which actionable programs, projects, events and initiatives are being implemented.

World Business Chicago includes flagship programs associated with the goals of the Plan:

  • ChicagoNEXT, a council of technology leaders and dedicated effort to drive business growth and opportunity in science, innovation and technology entrepreneurship;
  • Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy (CASE), an advisory council of economic anchor institutions connecting these anchors to SMEs in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and underrepresented firms;
  • Metro Chicago Exports, a regionally led coalition with seven counties in the area guiding export assistance throughout Chicagoland; and
  • The WBC Fellowship Program, an important part of the implementation and management of the Plan, which gives mid-level executives from partner organizations an opportunity lead initiative development.
  • Additionally, Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) promotes Chicago as a global city, develops international partnerships and networks and shares best practices with its twenty-eight Sister Cities, located in almost every region of the world.

WBC has achieved notable successes, including:

  • Top 10 U.S. Economic Development Organization, Best Large Sister City Program, Top 10 Global City;
  • #1 City Region in U.S. for business expansions and relocations for the last three years, #1 City Region for Foreign Direct Investment for the last four years;
  • Won and launched, with partners, the U.S.’s Digital Lab for Manufacturing;
  • Partnered to develop and build numerous industry innovation centers: Matter, MHub, Current (two more to be announced); and nationally recognized CASE (Neighborhood Anchor); MCE (Export) and Career Tech (Skills) programs;
  • Developed and built city-to-country and city-to-city economic agreements with China and Mexico City; and
  • Hosted signature events including the annual Chicago Venture Summit and the Joint Commission of Commerce and Trade (U.S. Department of Commerce and China’s Ministry of Commerce).

For more information on World Business Chicago, please visit

The Opportunity:

A new role at WBC, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) will be the leader for all development initiatives and fundraising strategies for World Business Chicago.  Fundamentally, the CDO will help forge new relationships to build WBC’s visibility, impact and financial resources.

The CDO will work in close partnership with the President & CEO, Board Members and colleagues at WBC to implement strategies for growth by building and stewarding robust, meaningful partnerships with current and prospective corporate, philanthropic and individual donors.

The CDO will be a bold thinker and a strategic, yet hands-on executor who will lead a best-in-class development program. S/he will identify, solicit and cultivate corporate prospects and individual donors and build a strong donor pipeline to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives.

S/he will collaborate with the President and CEO, Board of Directors and program leadership to ensure that they are effectively supported and leveraged to achieve fundraising goals. S/he will have the experience and/or capacity to develop fluency in the issues and opportunities in Chicago’s economic development and business sectors to create tailored and compelling strategies for institutional, corporate, and individual donors.

As a member of the organization’s senior staff, the CDO will also be engaged in broader organizational strategies and initiatives, working collaboratively across the organization.

Key metrics for success in this role include:

  • Establishing a comprehensive development strategy positioning WBC for long-term, sustainable success through strong and growing philanthropic support;
  • Supporting leadership for the Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs to execute clear fundraising value proposition for Plan that then empowers Plan to execute upon its work;
  • Partnering with leadership for WBC Flagship Programs (MCE, ChicagoNEXT, and CASE) to develop clear fundraising value proposition for each program assist with the executing of fundraising for each initiative;
  • Cultivating new revenue sources by creatively and strategically expanding the donor base, including identification and cultivation of high-profile individual donors, hosting signature events, and securing additional funding from major foundations and corporations;
  • Supporting Sister Cities International in its fundraising efforts to promote Chicago as a global city, developing international partnerships and networks and sharing best practices through citizen-to-citizen connections.

Candidate Profile:

The Chief Development Officer will enhance WBC’s overall approach to fundraising. An entrepreneurial leader, s/he will bring a genuine passion for creating economic growth in Chicago coupled with deep experience driving sustainable fundraising success.

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

An Expert in Development

The CDO will be an experienced leader in development or other relevant field with a measurable track record of success. S/he will have a record of successfully developing processes to achieve success and strategically executing on a plan. S/he will flourish in a business environment and have a demonstrated record of implementing fundraising initiatives, including identification, cultivation, and stewardship. A tactical leader, s/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.  Hand-in-hand with a process orientation, the CDO will also embrace an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The CDO will have a motivating approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support from stakeholders. S/he will be a charismatic leader who can establish rapport and open communication with all constituents and successfully convey WBC’s mission and objectives. S/he will be able to develop a strong working relationship with key leaders and be a proactive communicator at all times.

Strategic Leadership

With a creative and entrepreneurial mindset, the CDO will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. S/he will be a detail-oriented individual who functions well in a fast-paced environment. S/he will be an assertive and results-oriented leader with the ability to translate WBC’s initiatives and strategies into clear objectives for WBC’s Senior Staff, Board, and programmatic leaders. Fundamentally, the CDO will be a ‘change agent’ who will successfully lead a diverse group through a period of fundraising transformation.

Passion for Mission and Vision

The CDO will have a passion for the mission of WBC and a commitment to advancing the city’s position as a thriving location for business and accelerating economic growth. S/he will have the capacity to understand and appreciate WBC’s strategies, programs, and impact and be able to share this knowledge with potential donors with conviction.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a related field is preferred.


Marissa Martin, Alison Ranney and Turner Delano of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Marissa and Turner directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

World Business Chicago is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with nonprofits. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit