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Now Hiring: Program Manager at Venture Cafe St. Louis

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Program Manager, Venture Café St. Louis

Venture Café St. Louis seeks a full-time program manager for our weekly innovation convening, the Thursday Gathering, and other programs that are designed to grow, connect, and amplify St. Louis’s innovation community.

 

ABOUT VENTURE CAFÉ St. Louis

Venture Café St. Louis  is an independent non-profit organization that seeks to further the local innovation economy. The organization’s mission is to “connect innovators to make things happen” by strengthening and supporting the innovation ecosystem and entrepreneurship community in the St. Louis community. Venture Café St. Louis is a member of the growing Venture Café Global Network (currently operating in 7 locations and more in development!), a federation of nonprofit organizations building a movement to enhance the innovation process in cities around the world. It does this through high-impact programming, spaces, storytelling, and broad innovation engagement. Venture Café  St. Louis launched in 2014.

 

Role Description

Join our team as Program Manager, primarily to support our Thursday Gathering,  a weekly collaboration event for the innovation, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem. This role will curate the content for all our weekly events,  including our monthly Cafe Nights. The new Program Manager will expand our strong pipeline of community organizations and partners who host panel discussions, workshops, office hours and roundtables based on Venture Cafe programming guidelines and curate content themes when applicable. This position will report directly to the Executive Director of Venture Café  St. Louis.

The Program Manager will be a leader in the  St. Louis innovation community, helping the city maintain itself among the top global cities as a hub for startups. The ways in which you will achieve this goal include:

Innovation Community Engagement.

You will work in tandem with Venture Cafe’s Executive Director to convene, catalyze connections, and help grow the  St. Louis innovation and entrepreneurship communities. You will continue to  position Venture Café  St. Louis as a valuable, but neutral player in the local ecosystem, working to existing efforts, breaking  down silos, and fostering collaboration.

Managing Venture Café’s Thursday Gathering & Cafe Nights.

The primary vehicle to engage the region’s innovation community is the weekly collaboration event, the Thursday Gathering, which attracts 400-600 people per week. You will be responsible for curating and managing this event that regularly convenes members of the innovation community in an inclusive and open way – essentially, you’re running a mini-conference each week. This event strives to complement and amplify, not substitute or compete, with other existing innovation community gatherings in St. Louis. Venture Café includes an informal social gathering to create opportunities for serendipitous encounters as well and structured conversations and educational session (seminars, info sessions, roundtables, etc.). You will manage and grow a pipeline of community organizations and partners to offer high-quality content based on monthly themes. Your primary role is to be the “chief curator” in order to design thoughtful, high-quality experiences for attendees. Your work will also include curating programming for Cafe Nights – monthly Gatherings held at the Danforth Plant Science Center.  

As you work to operate these programs in  St. Louis you will be expected to:

  • Work in tandem with Venture Café Executive Director to build the Venture Café  St. Louis brand and position it as a neutral, valuable player that complements existing initiatives.
  • Assist with procuring Gathering sponsorship and implementing promised deliverables, this spans from helping to create sponsorship packages and post-event follow-up.
  • Advance the mission of Venture Café  St. Louis which is to enhance and grow  St. Louis’s innovation community by working to make it more diverse, inclusive, accessible and better connected.
  • Share learnings in  St. Louis with the broader Venture Café Global Network and community.
  • Oversee program budget & track costs for gatherings as well as metrics for impact reports, grants, sponsorship, and stakeholders.
  • Manage website updates, mainly the event calendar for upcoming sessions and special events. Also work with the Executive Director to edit the weekly newsletter and help the Venture Café  St. Louis brand and position as a neutral, valuable player that complements existing initiatives.
  • Oversee  volunteer corps that is coordinated by our Event Experience Coordinator.
  • Oversee event logistics implemented by our Event Experience Coordinator.
  • Identify key individuals and community organizations and partner with them to build a strong weekly program. You are not expected to reinvent the wheel – you’re expected to leverage and raise up what’s already happening in the St. Louis innovation community.
  • Balance work in the team office with being visible and engaged within the local innovation community, including attending events, meeting people, and building meaningful relationships.
  • Be an advocate and spokesperson for St. Louis’s innovation and entrepreneurship communities. Convene and connect individuals and organizations that should know each other and potentially collaborate.
  • Manage and/or facilitate other Venture Café  St. Louis programs and projects as needed. You may be asked to help fellow Venture Cafe teammates  with their programs and events (Innovation Hall, Ed Hub, Cortex Commons, Cortex Programming, etc).

Venture Café  St. Louis looks, feels, and operates like a startup. You must be comfortable with uncertainty and blazing your own path. No work will be beneath you (on the same day you may print name tags, move furniture, and have dinner with the CEO of a global company). This environment also creates great opportunities to be creative and to envision new projects that will take Venture Café  St. Louis’s  mission, and particularly its impact in St. Louis, to the next level. We believe in experiments as a way of learning.

Background and Experience

  • You have been involved in innovation and/or entrepreneurship initiatives, preferably in a founding, leadership, or advocacy role and have an understanding of the innovation process.
  • You believe that innovation and entrepreneurship are instruments to improve the human condition, not ends themselves, and that innovation and entrepreneurship take many forms beyond making apps and creating VC-funded startups.
  • You are familiar with the St. Louis community overall, as well as its innovation community, its key players, and believe in its potential for growth. An extensive social network in this community is desirable, as well as the ability to build local partnerships.
  • You understand  St. Louis’s most pressing challenges and embrace them as opportunities for change and problem-solving.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Experience with event envisioning, curation, planning, and implementation.
  • Entrepreneurial experience is a big plus
  • Great hospitality skills – able to keep community members engaged and happy even while resolving problems. Be able to enforce the Venture Café credo/guidelines in a friendly but firm fashion.
  • Ability to communicate clear views and positions without being dogmatic. You must be comfortable telling people “no” when programmatic objectives do not align.
  • Excellent organizational, project and task management skills.
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field.  Advanced degrees are beneficial but not necessary.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills and an excellent listener. Natural comfort with public speaking, in formal and informal settings, is key.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate across sectors and silos.  A diplomatic and consensus-oriented approach to decision-making.
  • An appreciation for the role of design and aesthetics in creating better communication tools, spaces, products, and services. Attention to detail, understanding that form is as important as function.
  • Familiarity with social media channels and ability to leverage them as part of your work as needed.
  • Strong relationship with technology. Familiarity with Google Apps and WordPress, Canva, and other online tools is a big plus.

Targeted hiring range: $40,000 – $45,000.  Compensation commensurate with experience. Benefits:

  • The organization provides employer-paid medical, dental, vision, and life insurance. 100% of health care costs.
  • Laptop and parking included.
  • Two weeks of paid time off (PTO) in the first year — increasing to three weeks after the second full year.
  • Flex time
  • After the first year, is eligible to participate in the 401(k) plan
  • One (1) one-hour massage per month from the on-site massage therapist.

 

Interested applicants should apply via email at work@vencafstl.org with a cover letter and resume. No phone calls please. References should be available upon request. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Venture Café St. Louis is committed to building a team that reflect the fabric of the community we support. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and consider all qualified candidates regardless of race, color, ancestry, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, Veteran status, or any other legally protected status. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation please let us know.