CED Recruiting for President & CEO

The Opportunity

The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (“CED”) in Durham, NC is seeking a dynamic leader to become its next President & Chief Executive Officer. The new CEO will work with an engaged Board and committed leadership team to drive CED’s mission of promoting and advancing the success and expansion of growth-stage, technology based companies in North Carolina’s famed Triangle region. In addition to seeing first hand new ideas come to life, the CEO will help budding entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

This executive will oversee and manage all aspects of the organization, with a particular focus on enhancing awareness of the region’s well developed and supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs; development of programs to enhance the infrastructure and networks needed for growth-stage companies to flourish; and increasing national awareness of the region’s vibrancy and vitality for entrepreneurial endeavors.

In addition, the selected candidate will function as the chief strategist, innovative thinker, and team leader – especially in regard to fiscal sustainability, fund raising, messaging, and overall program development. This position will lead the development of the branding, marketing, and constituent programs necessary to deliver the message that the Triangle region is one of the country’s most attractive and fastest growing places for entrepreneurs to grow their companies.


With over 4,000 active members and 500 companies represented, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development is the largest and longest-running network for entrepreneurs in the country. Founded in 1984, it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting and growing a community of entrepreneurs in the Triangle region, with particular focus on assisting growth-stage, technology based companies.

The Triangle region of North Carolina is a thriving hub of innovation. It is anchored by a mixture of high-tech start-ups; global Fortune 100 companies; and cutting-edge research institutions. It has major universities, the world renowned Research Triangle Park, and an outstanding quality of life. With more than a dozen pioneering industries such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, clean technology, and information technology, it is the home of a large community of individuals and businesses inspired by entrepreneurship.

CED provides networking, education, mentoring and capital formation resources to technology-based, high-growth Triangle-based entrepreneurs to assist them in building and growing successful companies. In addition to providing continuous and often spontaneous networking opportunities to fledgling companies, investors, and service providers, CED sponsors two significant conferences: the Life Science Conference (over 1,000 annual attendees) and the Tech Venture Conference (over 800 annual attendees) along with the CED Venture Mentoring Service, entrepreneur-only workshops and investor introductions.

The organization is a leading source of otherwise unavailable information about entrepreneurial activity in North Carolina and related investors/funding sources. CED tracks trends and presents findings regarding North Carolina’s flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem through its quarterly CED Innovators Report. 

CED’s membership includes a wide range of entrepreneurial companies, maturing enterprises, corporate partners, investors, academics, service providers and other individuals interested in entrepreneurship. CED-connected entrepreneurial companies have collectively raised $8.5BB over the past 31 years. These numbers will only continue to grow, along with CED’s unparalleled network.  For more information, go to the CED website: www.cednc.org

The Triangle Region of North Carolina

The Triangle Region of North Carolina is a multi-county area that includes the state capital of Raleigh, as well as the vibrant cities of Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary. The region’s name comes from the Research Triangle Park, one of the largest dedicated research and industry zones in the nation. North Carolina’s Research Triangle  — “RTP,” as it’s known locally — is located inside a triangle of the three major universities in the area (Duke University in Durham, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh). Private industries and universities within the Triangle have effectively leveraged the patent system to expand their businesses, spur growth and hiring throughout the region, and help lead the way for innovation.

The area has a rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War period and is known for sports, the arts and culture. Cultural and sporting offerings include the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes, Durham Bulls AAA baseball, Durham Performing Arts Center (nationally ranked) as well as a vibrant and competitive college sports scene. There are also many theatres, music venues, and small town festivals. For more information on the Triangle see www.workinthetriangle.com

The Position


The President & CEO position is based at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, 334 Blackwell Street, Suite B012, Durham, North Carolina 27701; telephone 919.549.7500.   The office is located in the American Underground office space in the repurposed historic American Tobacco campus in downtown Durham.

Reporting Relationships:

The President & Chief Executive Officer reports to the Chair of the 60-member Board of Directors, which represents a cross-section of North Carolina’s entrepreneurial community.  The CEO works most closely with a 10-member Executive Committee.

The CEO supervises the current CED staff of nine professionals including a Vice President-Development & Operations, Chief Financial Officer, Director-Communication, Director-Entrepreneurship, Director-Investor Relations, Corporate Relations Director, Business Manager, Communications Manager and Member Relations Manager. The CED team is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping to build successful outcomes for the Triangle region.  Many of the staff have been with CED for more than five years, highlighting their engagement and pride in the organization and its mission.

Other important working relationships include: CED members; investors within and outside the region and state; donors and supporters; representatives of other public and private sector economic development and business organizations throughout the Triangle and state; elected officials and their staffs; members of the media; industry, and outside advisors.

Position Charter:

The President & CEO is responsible for the strategic vision and execution for the organization’s activities including operations, programs, finances, communications, community partnerships, and staff.  This executive will work with the CED Executive Committee, Board and staff to further its mission to attract, retain and assist growth stage, technology-based companies to be successful in the Triangle region.  The organization’s objective is to make the Triangle region one of the top five hubs for entrepreneurship in the United States.

Major Duties and Responsibilities include:

  • Expand CED’s role as the “chief connector” among entrepreneurial companies, investors, corporate partners, service providers, academics, and other individuals vital to an entrepreneurship eco-system.
  • Increase CED’s influence and reach as the “go­to” network and partner for growth­stage companies.
  • Create more awareness of CED and promote the region, constituent companies, and CED on a national basis by promoting the strong brand and reputation of the Triangle region and CED.
  • Set the strategic vision and tone for the organization to ensure the organization provides excellent value to members and stakeholders.
  • Work with the Board and staff to develop and plan short and long-range organizational goals and objectives; regularly review progress with the Executive Committee and the full Board.
  • Establish and measure key performance indicators for CED and its staff, with a particular focus on facilitating successful outcomes for growth­stage companies in the region.
  • Working with the Development staff and Board, complete the #OnTheRise capital campaign and develop a robust revenue stream through a combination of member dues, event revenue, sponsorships, grants and philanthropy.
  • In concert with the Board and staff, oversee CED’s annual operating budget of $2+MM.
  • Represent CED and act as a key liaison throughout the community, region, and state and present CED’s mission, vision, and services to its myriad constituents by serving on boards and committees, through written communications, and through public speaking.
  • Manage the day­to­day activities of the staff and CED; mentor and empower staff to accomplish objectives; attract and retain organizational talent.
  • Meet regularly with the Chair of the Board, and other Board members as appropriate, supplying background information and clarifying issues.


Occasional travel is required, mostly within North Carolina, but also periodically to other states for conferences and similar activities related to CED’s mission.


The President & Chief Executive Officer is expected to earn an attractive compensation package; appropriate benefits and some relocation assistance will be provided.

The Candidate


A Bachelors degree is required; an advanced degree in business, law or related discipline is valued.

Professional Qualifications:

Candidates may come from a variety of professional backgrounds. The preferred candidate may be a top executive of a complex nonprofit organization, multi-constituency economic development organization or someone who has served in a corporate development/marketing/sales role where advocacy and constituent leadership is clearly evidenced. An experienced, entrepreneurial leader with a background that includes significant engagement with nonprofits and a keen interest and passion for CED’s mission and the RTP region may be well suited for this role.  A senior leader currently at the COO level or a “#2” at a similar organization who is professionally prepared to step up to the CEO-level position may find this role of considerable interest. 

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Attributes:

  • Commitment to mission (can demonstrate a strong commitment to and passion for entrepreneurship and for the mission of CED; personal or professional experience in a “connector role” or as an entrepreneur or experience in an entrepreneurial organization).
  • Executive-level experience (minimum of 10 years of progressive leadership; candidates who have operated as the primary organizational leader and effectively managed multiple, diverse constituents are strongly preferred).
  • Marketing, branding, and business development (experience and knowledge of ways to effectively market, promote, and “sell the invisible”).
  • Public relations (experience serving as “the public face” of an organization and articulating its mission, goals, and objectives to a broad and diverse audience; effective at interacting with the media, community groups, and elected officials).
  • Fund raising and investor relations (experience with multiple funding activities including development programs, capital campaigns, and special events; personal experience with successfully soliciting individual and corporate donors; demonstrated ability to cultivate donors and investors and expand their commitment to an organization’s mission).
  • Planning and fiscal management (experience in developing and implementing tactical and strategic plans as well as overseeing the financial affairs of an organization).
  • Board relationships (significant involvement with governance issues and Board of Director interactions).
  • Established contacts (demonstrated ability to develop and maintain key local, regional and national connections with economic development, public and private sector leaders).

Desired Personal Traits:

  • Natural connector (possess exceptional listening and relationship-building skills; has the ability to use those skills creatively and effectively across a broad range of constituents to support the organization’s mission)
  • Leadership (a take-charge executive with vision; can manage, motivate, challenge and delegate to others; results oriented; meets established goals and objectives).
  • Visible, personable, and persuasive (has an outgoing persona; highly visible to key stakeholders; active in the community; listens genuinely; exercises superior oral and written skills; able to interact with and convince people from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints to come to a logical resolution and embrace the organization’s mission).
  • Naturally relational, collaborative, and inclusive (builds constructive and effective relationships and drives consensus among various parties; demonstrates an ability to work with and through others; has an appreciation for the value of diversity at all levels; takes a team approach in working with others).
  • Credible and energetic (possesses the highest ethical and moral standards; has a personal style that is genuinely enthusiastic and will command the respect of Board, staff, and the entrepreneurial community).
  • Decisive (makes good decisions; encourages lively debate and diverse opinions to improve the quality of decision making).
  • Results oriented (demonstrated record of achievements; meets established goals and objectives).
  • Strategic thinker (able to envision “the big picture” and lead an organization toward future goals; senses trends impacting the future).
  • Imaginative and passionate (able to envision nontraditional solutions to issues and share his/her vision with others with passion and conviction).

Challenges and Opportunity:

This CEO position represents a leadership opportunity to bring passion and renewed focus to the organization and to take it to “the next level” of success.   This executive will work with a dedicated CED staff and a committed Board of Directors and inherit an operationally sound, well-respected organization.

In the first year, the new President & CEO of CED will be expected to:

  • Establish his/her presence as CED’s CEO and form effective working relationships with key constituents as well as leaders of related organizations in the Triangle and throughout North Carolina.
  • Become completely familiar with all operating aspects of the CED organization including staff, finances, operations, funders and collaborators, other Triangle relationships and Board members.
  • Evaluate all aspects of the CED organization and implement and/or make recommendations on enhancements and changes. 
  • Refine the strategic direction of CED.  Develop strategic and operational plans to move forward; maintain appropriate focus on strategies while evaluating and surfacing new issues. 


The client organization we represent and Waverly Partners firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability.  Interested candidates should send a resume/CV to Waverly Partners, the executive search firm retained by CED’s Board of Directors.  Email: CED@Waverly-Partners.com  or contact either consultant: 

Eric N. Peterson                                                            B. Harrison Turnbull

Managing Director & Principal                                         Managing Director & Principal

Cleveland, Ohio                                                             Charlotte, North Carolina

(440) 892-5961                                                               (704) 643-9394

EPeterson@Waverly-Partners.com                                  HTurnbull@Waverly-Partners.com     

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