Partnership Director

Full-time position with The BrandLab in Chicago, or Milwaukee but Minnesota is also a possibility.
Job posted May 16, 2024

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About The Role

The BrandLab is a non-profit based in the Midwest, introducing exciting training and connecting young people ages 15-25 to careers in the marketing and advertising industry.

Our offices are unique because each of our three locations resides inside a marketing or advertising agency. These agencies provide our team with office space, basic infrastructure, and support for a minimum of one year to ensure our organization is supported by a broad-based coalition and not only one agency. In addition, this unique approach to office space helps us create strong community support for our mission to benefit the industry and provides our team with a bright, lively work environment – that often hosts free food and lots of fun.

Since its inception, The BrandLab has worked towards creating a more equitable and inclusive industry. Our organization works to change the industry by introducing and connecting young people who identify as a person of color to opportunities in the creative and marketing space. Additionally, we work with the industry to create more inclusive and equitable work environments so individuals can feel a sense of belonging and thrive once they arrive.

We envision People of Color launching sustainable careers in workplaces of inclusivity and belonging.

To change the face and voice of the marketing and advertising industry.

Core Values
Our core values are written as action words. We don’t believe in ‘culture fit’ but look for all team members to actively embrace and work to embody these values.

BE AUTHENTIC – Foster a culture focused on relationships with our talent and team that are rooted in honesty, empathy, consistency, and passion.
BE INCLUSIVE – Courageously commit to learning and unlearning that encourages and supports our team and talent.
BE VISIONARY – Intentionally listen and learn to inspire the creative evolution of our work with our talent and team.
BE A CATALYST – Create connections that cultivate the full potential of our talent and our team personally and professionally.

Job Summary

This position will report to the Chief Executive Officer and will be a critical member of the organization’s leadership team. The Partnership Director directly oversees the Partnership, and equity departments across the organization. Additionally, they will contribute to strategy development in partnership with the leadership team, Board of Directors, and regional partnership committees. This role is vital for supporting the leadership team and the organizational culture and telling the organizational story within the marketing and advertising industry.

General Leadership
We are a small non-profit organization with team members working throughout the Midwest, with dedicated office locations in Kansas City, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. We work together across cross-functional teams and team members are expected to assist with organizational-wide team needs including, but not limited to, supporting youth programs and events throughout the calendar year.

Live out our core values and be a person who leads with a passion for youth, equity, and creativity.
Responsible for contributing to the new vision for the organization as we work to deliver a center-of-excellence programming model across the organization.
Provide a high level of customer service for all employees and clients.
Partner with the Chief Executive Officer and internal leadership team to facilitate transparency and accountability regarding successes, challenges, and opportunities.
Attend all Board meetings.
Lead regional partnership committee and meetings.
Partner with the finance team and Chief Executive Officer to set budgets and ensure strong financial controls and effective budget management.
Assist with organization-wide team needs including; supporting youth programs and participants throughout the calendar year.

People Leadership
We are a people-centric organization, and leaders are expected to know their team members, ask questions about what they need to do their best work, and create a positive work environment.
Responsible for providing professional development and learning opportunities for direct reports.

Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through continuous development, modeling inclusive behaviors, and proactively managing biases.
Support the team in scheduling and facilitating Fearless workshops, and general project management of the Fearless program.
Provide leadership, coaching, and accountability for the Partnership Coordinator/Manager position.
Provide leadership, coaching, and accountability for the Equity Programming Coordinator/Manager position.
Partner with Program Director to provide leadership, coaching, and accountability for the Fearless Workshop Facilitator(s) position (currently outsourced).
Work with each direct report team member to set goals and develop professional development plans.
Work with team members to manage budgets and ensure strong fiscal stewardship.
Partner with Human Resources on recruiting, hiring, development, and decisions regarding team members.

Relationship Development

Relationship development is a primary responsibility of this role and includes developing partnership strategies and business growth and development, focused on driving deep partner engagement across all 4 pillars (Equity, Exposure, Access and Opportunity) and in line with organizational goals.

Responsible for partner identification and partner cultivation through in-person and virtual networking, in-person and virtual conversations and email communications.
Responsible for having courageous conversations with partners around DEI&B topics and helping partners identify which Fearless workshops will best meet their organizational needs.
Facilitate ongoing engagement points with key stakeholders (e.g., regional partnership committee members, school leaders, foundation funders, agency, and corporate).
Establish and deepen existing mission-aligned partnerships (4As, MIMA, ANA, AdFed, local colleges, etc.).
Responsible for managing partner relationships at the decision-maker and key influencer levels.
Responsible for creating community-based partnership (cross-sector) engagement and partnerships.

Fund Development

The organization has a mix of income sources. All fund development responsibilities extend across the organization. This role will partner with Chief Executive Officer, development team, and organizational committees to develop and deliver on fundraising goals.

Responsible for understanding programming across all 4 pillars (Equity, Exposure, Access and Opportunity), program successes, and opportunities to tell a full organization story and drive program donations.
Responsible for leading fund development within the following funding types: Agency donations, Corporate donations, Program Revenue donations, and In-Kind donations.
Work with the Development team to support fund development within Individual Giving, Foundations, and Sponsorship.
Responsible for contract creation, negotiation & management
Support grant proposals to corporate, foundation, and government foundations.
Support the Programming team in impact measurement and reporting based on donations.
Support fundraising events with the support of the Development team, staff, and volunteers.


Experience working in and around the marketing and advertising profession.
Passionate about our mission of creating radical change.
Passionate about building a more equitable creative workforce, a strong fundraiser, and the ability to manage the complexities of running a year-round, mission-driven non-profit.
Smart, energetic leader with an eye for detail but also the ability to think and communicate strategically.
This is a small non-profit, and the candidate will need to be able to multitask, juggling several projects and prioritizing them effectively and efficiently.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required.
5+ years of marketing or advertising experience, including previous experience in a leadership role.
Proven track record of achieving sales and revenue targets through business development.
Experience working with senior-level executives (C-level/VP).
Experience working with a Board of Directors is preferred.
Positive, “can-do” attitude, flexibility, teamwork, and collaboration.
A high degree of initiative and comfortable rolling up your sleeves to dig in.
Strong partnership, communication, and collaboration skills.
Strong business IQ and EQ.


Competitive benefits package (health benefits, HSA, options for dental coverage. Retirement plan with company matching).
Flexible work schedule and unlimited PTO policy.
Work where you do your best work policy with access to a workspace inside of a fun, energetic advertising agency.
Paid professional development opportunities.

Position Details

The position is an exempt, full‐time position with a salary of $90,000-110,000.
The preferred locations are Chicago, or Milwaukee but Minnesota is also a possibility.
Travel required, up to 25%.


Please submit your cover letter and resume to


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