Executive Director

Executive Director

Forge City Works

Hartford, CT   |   September 13, 2021

About Forge City Works

Forge City Works (FCW) believes in the power of food to make lives better. Building from our founding focus on creating opportunities within the neighborhood of Frog Hollow, we have used food to spur investment, support, good health, and employment across the Hartford community.

Currently, we provide job training, food access, and sustainable social enterprises to help people change their lives:

  • We provide on-the-job training for people with barriers to employment such as poverty, a criminal record, homelessness, and mental health challenges and link them to permanent jobs in the culinary field where they can succeed.
  • Our farmers market serves 2,500 shoppers a year and redeems $5,000 in SNAP benefits, which FCW doubles, directly improving food security and providing access to healthy and affordable food in our neighborhood.
  • The Kitchen, our social enterprise, raises just under 50% of our organization’s budget, creating a culture of self-reliance while providing employment opportunities to Hartford residents. This year, we are testing strategies to incorporate equity into our business practices.

Working alongside individuals who have experienced significant challenges, we are committed to meeting people where they are, partnering and empowering them to change their lives. As we continue this critical work, we also see opportunities to be an agent for change in our industry, addressing issues of equity by piloting and sharing practices that can ensure a more diverse workforce can succeed and grow within the culinary field.

To learn more about our vision, our work, and our history, please visit www.forgecityworks.org.

The Executive Director Opportunity

Forge City Works is at a critical inflection point and is seeking an Executive Director to guide our organization into its next chapter after the unexpected passing of our beloved Founder and Executive Director earlier this year. Building on Cary Wheaton’s legacy, we are passionate about our shared commitment to driving change through food. At the same time, we recognize that the pandemic has introduced new challenges and exacerbated issues of inequity in both the culinary and restaurant industries as well as our most vulnerable communities. As such, the new Executive Director will work with our dedicated, high-performing team and skilled Board to identify opportunities and create a vision for how Forge City Works will evolve, adapt, and respond to these challenges.

Building on their commitment to driving change through food and knowledge of the culinary/hospitality industry, the incoming Executive Director will lead us in setting the strategy for the next phase of our work, bringing creativity, entrepreneurial energy, and a commitment to leading our constituents – staff, Board, participants, partners, community members, and funders – to establish the vision for our future. Serving as the face of Forge City Works within the greater community, they will inspire and engage partners, funders, and community members to be part of our mission and our success. In addition, they will empower and support our team in delivering on a renewed vision for Forge City Works, identifying the unique contributions each team member can offer.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Serve as a visionary leader for the organization and the community, identifying opportunities for impact, partnership, and growth based on our core commitment to driving change through food
  • Collaborate with Forge City Works Board and staff to build the organization’s strategic direction for our programs and businesses, informed by past successes and current opportunities
  • Deliver on this new strategic vision by creating and leading implementation plans, identifying appropriate goals, ensuring accountability, and strategizing to address challenges
  • Lead the revenue strategy for Forge City Works and our associated social enterprises, including responsibility for overseeing the business plans for our food service businesses and leading philanthropic and government fundraising activities to support our workforce development programs
  • Identify, cultivate, and steward relationships with current and future programmatic partners, philanthropic funders and donors, and government agencies
  • Provide leadership to our team of talented staff members, ensuring that each individual has the resources they need to contribute to our mission and opportunities to continue to grow and develop
  • Foster a supportive, inclusive organizational culture that welcomes, uplifts, and acknowledges our staff and participants and maintains our person-centered values and focus on equity
  • Lead the Board in developing strategy, providing appropriate governance, and supporting fundraising efforts
  • Ensure ongoing Board recruitment and Board member development
Candidate Profile

The incoming Executive Director will demonstrate many, though perhaps not all, of the following qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • You are an experienced organizational leader, with prior success in developing and implementing strategic plans for the growth of a social enterprise or nonprofit.
  • You come to this opportunity with experience in the culinary, restaurant, or hospitality industry, providing you with a foundational understanding of the context we work within.
  • You bring an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to your work, with a willingness to try new things and take calculated risks.
  • You bring a track record of success in generating revenue, ideally including prior experience with both nonprofit fundraising and social enterprise. You are comfortable not only with building revenue models and plans but also making asks and closing deals.
  • You are a compassionate, authentic, and grounded leader and staff manager who values building relationships with your team members, communicates clearly and consistently, and leads with integrity. You are comfortable building relationships within a team that shares a deep commitment to mission and each other.
  • You value diversity and are passionate about promoting greater equity and inclusion within the culinary industry. You bring a deep respect for our program participants and awareness of the challenges they face.
  • You exhibit the ability to learn and grow, recognizing that as the leader of a small team, you will need to balance a wide range of responsibilities and may be building expertise in certain aspects of our business while on the job.
  • Experience in workforce development is considered a strong benefit.
Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position starts at $120,000, commensurate with experience, and compensation includes a generous benefits package.


Cassie Scarano and Kirstin Griffiths of Koya Partners have been retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. Questions and referrals can be shared via email with Cassie Scarano ([email protected]) and Kirstin Griffiths ([email protected]). All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Forge City Works is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.