Executive Director Job Opportunity 

StartingBlock Madison is an entrepreneurial hub in Madison, Wisconsin with a mission to create the meaningful intersections that cultivate entrepreneurs, grow successful companies, drive innovation and build a startup community that gives back. Since opening in June 2018, StartingBlock has housed 69 local startups that have raised $41.9M to date. Our 50,000 sqft entrepreneurial hub is a place for entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and community members to connect, share innovative ideas, and create and grow next-generation businesses. Through collaborations with existing business leaders and partner organizations, such as Doyenne Group, gener8tor, Capital Entrepreneurs, and others, StartingBlock is helping galvanize Madison into a global leader in entrepreneurship.

Title Executive Director

Reports To Chair of the StartingBlock Madison Board of Directors

Job Overview StartingBlock Madison is seeking a fearless Executive Director who is responsible for fostering an organization focused on creating one of the strongest, most founder-friendly, and impactful startup communities in the nation.

As StartingBlock enters a new chapter, we need a master relationship-builder, connector, and collaborator to drive our evolution. This leader will be the “Chief Sales Person” for both StartingBlock and the entire Madison startup ecosystem on the local, regional, and national levels. The position will ensure the continued evolution of StartingBlock Madison; in its programs, offerings, connectivity, and brand positioning.

The Executive Director duties will include: 

  • Connect, collaborate, and convince — represent StartingBlock Madison in public and private engagements and advocate for startup founders, members and the startup ecosystem.
  • Develop and execute a winning communication strategy that builds the StartingBlock Madison brand, and encourages startups, founders, investment partners and other stakeholders to participate in new business creation and acceleration in the Madison, WI region.
  • Develop and execute a plan that engages our Board, members, investors, sponsors, partners, local government, and leadership team in fundraising activities to continue to sustain the activities of StartingBlock Madison.
  • Support founder development in conjunction with regional stakeholders and founder development organizations (university leadership, Gener8tor, Doyenne etc.) leading to an excellent funnel of innovation within greater Madison Region.
  • Seek to partner with traditional and nontraditional stakeholders to ensure that StartingBlock Madison remains not just relevant, but a thought leading organization.
  • Be a resource for best practice information, or a referral to one of our many partners and/or stakeholders for the latest information.
  • Develop and maintain all strategic plans for the organization.
  • Integrate all operational plans (marketing, membership, fundraising etc.) whenever possible to leverage local, state and federal opportunities for mindshare and funding.
  • Lead and develop existing StartingBlock Madison personnel; maintain personnel development plans for the organization, and cultivate talent for future hire, volunteering, and mentoring opportunities.
  • Build an annual budget and execute the financial plan for the organization.
  • Oversee all aspects of StartingBlock Madison’s day-to-day operation.
  • Conduct Board Meetings and assure accurate reporting of StartingBlock Madison impact.

Personal Skills and Qualifications: 

While it is unlikely that any single individual will possess all of the desired experiences and qualifications, the successful candidate should bring many of the following qualifications, skills, experience and qualities to the role:

  • Passion for, and understanding of, startup founders and the impact that new business creation has on the greater Madison community.
  • Were once a founder or attempted to found your own business – preferably high growth.
  • Humble, hungry, accountable and smart leader with a serve- first attitude, trustworthiness, personal integrity and honesty.
  • Self-starter with unfailingly positive attitude, high energy, creativity, and a strong work ethic that emphasizes follow-through.
  • Flexible and adaptable leader, with an ability to inspire and motivate others to act.
  • Good vision, with an ability to focus on both big picture strategy and hands-on implementation.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills and comfortable with public speaking.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse communities of donors, board leaders, community leaders, managers and employees.
  • Proven ability to integrate with and leverage local, state, and federal programs.
  • Able to work irregular hours when necessary, and to travel to meetings with board members, donors, community leaders and other interested parties and organizations
  • Demonstrated professional fundraising experience with a non-profit organization in a local community preferred
  • Undergraduate Degree Required.

What Success Means in this Role This position is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the organization’s key programs in order to help accelerate the growth of the tech startups we serve. This position is the principal owner of growing and overseeing our organizational partnerships (Gener8tor, Doyenne, Capital Entrepreneurs, Madworks, American Family Insurance, etc.) our year-round Company Memberships, and the volunteer Mentor Network. To succeed in this role, you must be able to:

  • Manage the people, programs and services that help member companies grow and scale, including increasing their annual revenues, raising investment capital, and achieve other major growth milestones.
  • Attract and retain quality StartingBlock Madison employees, corporate partners, and members of our volunteer mentor network who provide invaluable support to client companies.
  • Serve as the organization’s primary spokesperson, salesperson and cheerleader.

If you are interested in being considered for this exciting opportunity, please submit your resume and cover letter indicating your interest. Applications will be reviewed as received with the goal of identifying a suitable candidate as soon as possible. Deadline for receiving applications is Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Salary Range: $80,000-$90,000


  • Paid Time off

This Job Is Ideal for Someone Who Is: 

  • People-oriented — enjoys interacting with people and working on group projects
  • Adaptable/flexible — enjoys doing work that requires frequent shifts in direction
  • Achievement-oriented — enjoys taking on challenges, even if they might fail
  • Thrives on Challenge – enjoys the pressure of having to deliver.
  • Innovative — prefers working in unconventional ways or on tasks that require creativity

This Company Describes Its Culture as: 

  • Innovative — innovative and risk-taking
  • Outcome-oriented — results-focused with strong performance culture
  • People-oriented — supportive and fairness-focused
  • Team-oriented — cooperative and collaborative


  • Monday to Friday (and occasional evening and weekend events)

How to apply: Upload your resume and cover letter here or email it to Mark Richardson (StartingBlock Board member and Executive Director search lead): mark@unfinishedbusiness608.com

More information about StartingBlock: https://www.startingblockmadison.org

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