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Director of Industry Programs


This is a Contract position in New Brunswick, NJ posted January 12, 2022.

Our Purpose The story of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 isn’t really about the fire.

It’s about what happened next: A remarkable moment when the most brilliant engineers, architects, and inventors came together to build a new city.

Their innovations – born of passion and practical ingenuity – shaped not just Chicago, but the modern world.

What started 140 years ago continues to this day.

1871 exists to inspire, equip, and support founders, growth scalers, and innovators in building great businesses.

We deliver unfair advantages at scale The team supports 400 early-stage companies.

300 growth stage-members and 100 partners made up of Chicago’s brightest designers, engineers, and leaders shaping new technologies, disrupting old business models, and resetting the boundaries of what’s possible.

Come to a place where you can share ideas, make mistakes, partner with others, work hard, grow professionally and, with a little luck, change the world.

If that sounds like you, join us.

What are 1871 Industry Programs Given 1871’s purpose, we seek to provide early-stage startup, growth-stage startups, and corporate innovators with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed.

One of the ways we do this is through Industry Programs.

We have 20 different industries established or in our pipeline, including: Supply Chain Tech Food & AgTech FinTech Sports & Entertainment Tech Cannabis Consumer Services ….and more What are Industry Labs?

Ongoing Member Resources and Content for Members: Regular content, events, programming, mentoring, resources and more for all 1871 early-stage, growth-stage, and corporate innovators as well as select events and programming for the broader public community.

Goal: Support our members and broader community in understanding and innovating within the industry as well as inspire new innovators to join us.

Industry Lab: A 4-part immersive experience designed to dive deep into the industry.

This event series pulls in startups, corporates, investors and more to connect them in strategic ways.

Goal: Showcase our members’ and partners’ innovations and provide top-tier experience to inspire community and foster connections among startups, corporates, investors and more.

Therefore, in addition to the other resources available at 1871, participants in our Industry Programs receive: Pool of mentors and experts-in-residence within the industry.

Ongoing programming, meetups, and fireside chats to dive deeper into trends, challenges, and opportunities within the industry.

Opportunity to apply the lessons in PYROS to your specific industry.

Participation in our annual Industry Lab series for opportunity to connect with industry leaders, investors, and startups from all over the world.

Core Responsibilities The Director of Industries is responsible for leading our Industry Program Strategy to take us from a few seedling industry programs to 20 robust, top-tier Industry Program.

Core responsibilities include: Pilot a few Industry Programs in 2022 based on the Industry Program Strategy to date.

Design and execute an exceptional experience for each individual participant type (startups, corporates, investors, mentors, etc), including Develop and execute the industry programming and events schedule Recruit and manage experts-in-residence and mentors for the industry Develop and execute the 12-week, 4-part Industry Lab annual events (first one is Supply Chain in May 2022) Develop a clear product vision, strategy, and quarterly roadmap themes to enhance and expand the Industry Program experience Collaborate with cross-functionally with the Events, Operations, Community, and Corporate Innovation Teams to keep the entire team aligned and on track Work 1:1 with corporate partners to deliver on key partnerships requirements and maintain strong relationships Eventually build a team of Program Managers to support the day-to-day execution of individual programs.

This role has tremendous growth opportunities.

You’ve succeeded in this role at the end of year 1 if: We successfully pilot two Industry Programs with 100 participants in each one by the end of 2022 The next iteration Industry Programs have been developed, positioned in the marketplace, and built to scale to 5 industries in 2023.

You develop a reputation for building robust experiences from a 10,000 foot view all the way down to the nitty gritty details.

Role Overview This role reports to the VP of Product and works alongside various other product owners.

The role currently has no direct reports but the goal is to have individual Industry Program Managers as we scale.

The Director of Industries also manages contracted experts-in-residence who lead a large part of the industry programming and provide the Director expert guidance on content.

You are not expected to be an industry expert Other functional leaders you will work closely with include: membership/community, operations, finance, marketing, business development, fundraising and corporate innovation.

Requirements Ideal Candidate Passion.

You don’t have to be a ‘perfect fit’.

If you are passionate about startups and supporting others in making their ideas a reality, we want to hear from you.

Experience in running events or building out programs is a plus but not required.


You should be the kind of person that asks “why?”.

1871 is shifting from a project-based organization to a product-based organization so everything we do should tie directly back to our target customers’ biggest needs.


You will need to organize and execute over 50 sessions & events per year.

Organization through the use of project-management tools, spreadsheets, and Google calendars is a requirement to be successful in this role.

Vision alignment.

You should have or be open to a long-term goal of being a leader at a high growth company, a corporate innovator, or founder.

This role will equip you to be highly successful in the startup and growth-stage tech company environment.


You thrive in ambiguity, are strategically self-driven and excel in cross-functional collaboration.

You get things done.

You are the owner.