National Business Incubation Association; Your source for knowledge and networks in business incubation

National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) President & Chief Executive Officer


ABOUT NBIA: The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) is the world's leading organization advancing business incubation/acceleration and entrepreneurship. It provides thousands of professionals with the information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies worldwide. Founded in 1985, the Association currently has over 2,100 members from more than 900 organizations around the world. The annual budget of $1.61 million is derived from a diversified stream of revenues. Conferences (along with other trainings, seminars and Webinars) and membership dues are the most notable sources of revenue. Other primary sources include consulting, sponsorships and publications. An elected (and one appointed) 16-member voting Board of Directors governs the Association. NBIA strives to engage and represent all segments of the business incubation/acceleration industry and create value for members by providing information, research and networking resources to help members develop and manage successful business incubation/acceleration programs; monitoring and disseminating information about industry developments, trends and best practices; informing and educating leaders, potential supporters and stakeholders of the significant benefits of business incubation/acceleration; building public awareness of business incubation/acceleration as a valuable business development tool; expanding valuable resources through the development of industry partnerships; and offering worldwide consulting and developing specialized training to help participants create and administer effective incubation/acceleration programs. NBIA conducts research, compiles statistics and produces publications that provide hands-on approaches to effective incubation program development and management, and promotes industry outcomes and impacts. The Association also tracks relevant legislative initiatives and maintains a speakers’ bureau and referral service to meet membership needs.

NBIA is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization, headquartered in Athens, Ohio. Nestled in the Appalachian foothills of Southeast Ohio, Athens County is home to Ohio University and Hocking College. Just over an hour from Columbus, Ohio, and three hours from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Athens County is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers and history buffs. Note: Full-time residence in Athens, Ohio, is not a requirement for the position. 

PRIMARY PURPOSE OF POSITION: The President & CEO is responsible for the effective leadership and management of NBIA with responsibility for directing the Association’s programs, activities and affairs and ensuring consistent achievement of the organization’s mission and strategic objectives. He/She is employed by and directly responsible to the Board of Directors. The position requires an individual with the drive, intellect and professional presence to support and promote business incubation/acceleration in the U.S. and internationally.

RESPONSIBILITES: The President & CEO serves as the “voice of business incubation/acceleration” in the U.S. and internationally. He/She has primary responsibility for the accomplishment of the Association’s strategic goals and objectives through board governance and support; executive leadership and management; program management; marketing/member relations; external relations; financial management; human resource management; information management; and administrative operations, with a particular focus on revenue generation, membership, and products and services for members. Because of the nature of the responsibilities, travel is expected to be approximately 20 percent.

Specific responsibilities for the position include:

Leadership: Serve as a decisive, credible leader for the Association, and as an expert and thought leader to the industry worldwide. Advocate for business incubation/acceleration and maintain expert-level knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field. Develop and sustain effective working relationships with heads of other organizations, government agencies, corporations, foundations and allied member associations, who play a critical role in entrepreneurship support, early-stage company development and training. Provide leadership in developing programs and organizational and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff that carry out the strategic plan and policies authorized by the Board.

Communications: Serve as the spokesperson for NBIA, traveling to meet with members, funders, strategic alliance partners and others. Publicize the programs, goals and activities of the organization. Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with industry segments and organizations. Represent the Association to all constituencies, including government agencies, industry organizations and the public, on an international scale. Ensure that business incubation/acceleration and NBIA are recognized for their positive contributions.

Board Relations: As a partner in governance, support and develop the Board and promote active board participation in all areas of the organization’s work. Work with the Board Chair to organize meetings and committees and ensure necessary liaison and staff support to committees. Provide environmental and operational feedback to the Board on the important factors influencing the organization and its mission. Execute Board decisions.

Strategic Visioning: Execute the strategic plan and work with the Board and staff on an ongoing basis to develop future strategic directions for the organization. Ensure that the organization follows the long-range strategy, achieves its mission, and makes consistent and timely progress toward its goals.

Membership/Sponsors: Provide leadership, vision and planning needed to meet the membership and sponsorship goals of the organization. Acquire an in-depth understanding of the current and potential membership base, and identify, cultivate and build strong relationships with individuals, groups and institutions to expand the member base and create added value for members. Develop, implement and promote NBIA programs including publications, training, membership, development and advocacy. Identify opportunities for securing sponsorships and/or grants and for managing these activities.

Fiscal/Budget: Maintain sound financial practices and controls, and ensure all funds are appropriately safeguarded and administered. Work with the staff and the Board in preparing a budget, and ensure that the organization operates within budget guidelines. Lead efforts to secure adequate funds from membership, sponsorships, grants, etc. to permit the organization to meet its strategic objectives. Seek and engage in revenue-producing contracts in alignment with the strategic plan. Conduct official correspondence and execute legal documents on behalf of the organization.

Human Resources: Implement and refine a collaborative work environment that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff of top-quality people working on site and remotely. Oversee the recruitment, employment, training and development of Association staff. Ensure job descriptions are developed, regular performance evaluations are held and sound human resource practices are implemented. Stimulate staff professional growth and development, and assist staff in relating their specialized work to the strategic plan.

Policies and Procedures: Ensure appropriate policies, procedures and systems are in place to maintain official operating, financial and legal records and documents to ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations and organizational Bylaws, and implement the general policies established by NBIA’s Board of Directors.


Core Characteristics: The successful candidate will possess and demonstrate the core attributes and skills of a highly effective, entrepreneurial business leader and CEO, including strong ethics and integrity; excellent business management skills; experienced fiscal management, budgeting and financial planning and reporting; strategic innovation in developing programs, services and revenue streams; and strong interpersonal skills and professional demeanor. He/She is able to balance multiple demands, prioritize tasks and retain clear focus in carrying out his/her duties. He/She is culturally astute and diplomatic to accommodate NBIA’s diverse global presence and membership, and intellectually open-minded and inclusive of all segments, diverse industry sectors (including nontechnology and technology) and economic environments (e.g., programs serving rural, urban and developing economies). He/She is dedicated to the purpose of the organization, can further the organization’s vision, and can mobilize diverse constituencies to jointly turn that vision into a reality.

In addition to the core characteristics, these specific requirements must be met, and the following preferences will weigh heavily:


  • Inspirational leadership qualities and an outward-facing focus that engages and serves members and multiple stakeholders around the world
  • In-depth knowledge of business incubation/acceleration and the entrepreneurship ecosystem to establish credibility with NBIA’s current and potential membership
  • A passion for furthering, serving and advocating for the business incubation/acceleration industry
  • Excellent public presentation and written communication skills
  • Excellent leadership, team building and management skills
  • Must hold a valid drivers license and have (or be able to obtain) a current passport in order to participate in job-related meetings and otherwise fulfill position responsibilities

Demonstrated Experience and Skills:

  • Developing customer-focused, value-driven programs and services
  • Expanding and diversifying the customer base
  • Managing a sustainable fiscal budget and developing new revenue streams
  • Serving in a public advocacy role and working with government and private sectors
  • Implementing a strategic plan with clear objectives
  • Leading an effort with international focus and multicultural outreach to existing and potential members with diverse missions and backgrounds 
  • Attracting and developing sponsors and strategic collaborative partners
  • Engaging and working well with a Board of Directors and volunteers
  • Managing or overseeing an industry-recognized business incubation/acceleration program is preferred, but not required

Compensation is market-based, corresponding to the experience level, credentials and personal characteristics of the candidate. A full range of employee benefits is offered.

Applications will be held in confidence and must include a letter outlining the applicant’s background, qualifications and vision for the position, a current resume and contact information for five professional references. All candidates that are advanced after the initial resume screen will be required to complete a Predictive Index® behavioral assessment, and a background check will be performed on all finalists. References will not be contacted and a background check will not be performed without the prior approval of the applicant. Submit all applications electronically to:

Carol Lauffer
NBIA Search Committee Chair

Confidential inquiries may be directed to the above contact and e-mail address.

The deadline for submission is Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, at 5 p.m. EST.


Contact NBIA

Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
340 West State Street, Unit 25
Athens, OH 45701-1565