SLDC Executive Director
Provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission, strategy, and its annual and long-range goals and objectives
Executive Bridge has been retained to assist SLDC in recruiting its new Executive Director (“ED”) given the impending retirement of its highly respected, long-tenured leader, Otis Williams. Founded in 1988, SLDC is an umbrella, not-for-profit corporation with the mission of fostering economic development and growth in the City of St. Louis by stimulating the market for private investment in City real estate and business development and improving the quality of life for everyone who lives in, works in, and visits the City. This ED position is responsible for the staff support of ten separate economic development authorities. At present, unlike many development corporations in other cities, the SLDC does not receive allocated funds from the City of St. Louis’s budget. Instead, its sources of revenue come entirely from grants, transactional incentive-based fees, real estate sales and leases and parking fees. The administrative budget is approximately $10MM, and the program budget ranges from $10 to 25MM depending on project-related grant levels. SLDC has just finished a planning process which resulted in the Equitable Economic Development Strategic Framework (“Framework”) which connects people, neighborhoods, and jobs to provide opportunity for growth and investment on equitable basis across the entire City. To accomplish the significant goals of this plan, cooperation and collaboration is essential across numerous entities throughout the region. Under the Framework, SLDC is being reorganized in order for the ED to have four strong director reports and a Chief of Staff, with a total staff of approximately 70 people. SLDC will be internally organized into five functional groups – Real Estate Development; Incentives; Strategic Development and Growth; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Internal Support with the first four will be led by the described directors.
As a proven community leader and collaborator, this dynamic and charismatic ED will be the collective face of economic development for the organization and the City of St. Louis. The ED position is appointed by the Board of the SLDC which is comprised of 9 people – the chairs of two Aldermanic committees, the chairs of seven of the economic development authorities SLDC supports, and a Chair of the Board appointed by the Mayor. The ED provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization’s philosophy, mission, strategy, and its annual and long-range goals and objectives. The ED works collaboratively with the Board of Aldermen and other key stakeholders in commerce, economic development, and governmental organizations for the collective good of the region, navigating competing demands to ensure positive results. In addition, the ED will be adept at recruiting, managing, and motivating a large staff within a complex organizational structure. Measures of success will include leading and managing the following:
- Key measures outlined in the Framework which at a top level include increasing the City’s population by 30,000 residents by 2030; exceeding the national growth rate in jobs and payrolls among St. Louis’ key industries; closing existing opportunity, employment, wage, entrepreneurship, and wealth gaps for people of color; and achieving sustainable long-term tax revenue growth for the City.
- All the detailed action items/deliverables in the Framework and ensuring they are met over the next several years according to the timelines outlined therein.
- Positive and consistent promotion of SLDC through superior program development, outstanding relationships with key existing and prospective businesses, and media relations.
- Key confidential and high profile projects as the lead negotiator.
- Taking complex political issues and objectively distill them into mathematical decision points.
The successful candidate will be an unquestioned leader whose career demonstrates proven experience and track record through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) and who will have a history that includes but is not limited to the following:
- Management of a P&L of $5MM or more in an organization of comparable size and scope.
- Master’s Degree in business, law, urban planning, government/political science, finance or similar/related field. Related certifications in AICP, CEcD, EDFP a plus.
- Substantial economic development experience with a strong knowledge of real estate underwriting and risk analysis.
- A keen focus on and experience in development and support of neighborhoods and minority and women-owned businesses, and the application of development tools and incentives in an equitable manner.
- Known for successful use of consensus-building and collaboration. Must be balanced in approach, politically savvy and have proven ability to develop and maintain relationships with everything from large corporate CEOs to unproven start-up entrepreneurs.
- Proactive leadership skills and ability to articulate organizational mission and purpose to, and work with, a wide variety of constituent groups. Experienced and effective public speaker. Ability to navigate complex and sensitive political issues.
- Sound strategic thinking and the ability to bring creativity and innovation to the implementation of a strategy. Considered and thoughtful in approach and decision making.
- Experience working with a board of directors is essential.
- Senior-level management professional with experience including general administration, budget and finance, staff recruitment, technology and fund development.
- Defining characteristics: a charismatic and persuasive manner; passion for making a positive difference in the community; commitment to DEI; unquestioned integrity and a strong critical thinker with an ability to anticipate and solve problems.
- Knowledge of the greater St. Louis area considered a plus. The ED is required to be a resident of the City of St. Louis.
Applications are taken online only using the application portal.