CERC +1 (860) 571-7136

VP of Business Engagement

CERC is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Vice President of Business Engagement (VPBE).

About CERC

The Connecticut Economic Resource Center (“CERC”) and the Department of Economic and Community Development (“DECD”) are working in close collaboration to drive economic development in Connecticut. Through this collaboration, CERC is responsible for driving recruitment and retention activities, while DECD helps businesses navigate state and local government to minimize lag time, enhance services, and expedite relocation.

CERC works with businesses of all sizes, municipalities, public agencies, and partners to help them grow their business, identify industries with the best growth prospects, understand market dynamics, and help organizations increase social, physical, and economic value in Connecticut by providing:

  • Marketing - comprehensive marketing insight and capabilities from printed materials, promotions and websites, public relations, events, social media and more.
  • Research - objective research expertise and data to analyze issues at the local, state, national and global levels, offering a variety of online research products and tools as well as individually designed custom analyses for clients.
  • Partner Services - helps organizations increase social, physical and economic value with various services, including business retention and recruitment, research and surveys, branding/marketing/communications, public outreach, engagement and facilitation, commercial real estate, and more.

Summary of Position

Reporting to CERC’s CEO and working closely with CERC’s Board of Directors as well as senior staff at DECD, the Vice President of Business Engagement (“VPBE”) will lead CERC’s transformational effort working with Connecticut’s leading businesses to help them grow their presence in the state. The VPBE will collaborate with his/her CERC colleagues as well as external experts to identify the industry clusters located in Connecticut with the greatest competitive advantage and growth potential. The VPBE will develop and execute a sales approach that is “customer success” oriented, deeply knowledgeable, and builds on close relationships and active collaboration with corporate leaders in these high priority industries, as well as the higher education community and other organizations that focus on workforce/talent development. The VPBE will serve as an advocate for these companies and industries, and work with the Executive Branch of the State of Connecticut to remove obstacles and create programs that enable their growth. The VPBE will build and maintain a sales funnel that is data- based and realistically capable of delivering 100,000 new jobs from the expansion of existing companies in the State within a 5-year timeframe.

Essential Duties            

As noted above, CERC will employ an industry cluster-driven strategy for its business recruitment and retention work. In addition to developing and executing this cluster strategy, the VPBE will:

  • Cultivate relationships with corporate leaders in high priority CT industry clusters;
  • Foster relationships and collaborate with key public and private partners;
  • Collaborate with CERC colleagues, CERC Board of Directors, DECD and other Executive Branch staff, Municipal officials, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Association leaders, University officials, Workforce Investment Board staff and leading Real Estate Developers in developing plans for the expansion of individual companies;
  • Collaborate closely with DECD staff to collect intelligence on real-time competitive state offers and develop CT incentive packages;
  • Build and maintain a pipeline that accurately tracks all existing prospects and maintains/increases the conversion rate through key hurdles in the sales cycle.
  • Develop/manage a budget and staff for CERC’s Business Engagement team that is appropriately sized according to CERC’s overall goals.

Pivotal Experience & Expertise

The VPBE of CERC will be an inspirational and persuasive executive with a track record of strong business development leadership and successful development and execution of sales/BD funnels with analogous complexity and scale to this challenge.

The VPBE will be an innovative leader who leads by example and not only understands but also embodies and personifies the ambition and scope of CERC’s mission. With strong interpersonal and communication skills and an impeccable reputation for integrity, the VPBE will have a positive approach, a 24/7 mentality and an action and outcome-focused orientation.

Key Dimensions for the VPBE include:

  • Business Development.  Ability to formulate meaningful business relationships with a variety of constituents and develop significant relationships with public and private partners. Ability to galvanize business leaders to work collaboratively on long-term challenges facing the state. Confidence in soliciting state, national and international companies.
  • Strategic/Operational Management. Thorough understanding of business and strategic planning processes, personnel and process leadership, and risk and performance
  • Sales/Marketing. Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate spokesperson, excellent in front of audiences and on camera, with good interpersonal and multidisciplinary project
  • Knowledge of Connecticut.Strong current working knowledge of Connecticut, its economic position and challenges as well as the state and national competitive landscape.
  • Data Management. Understanding of how to gather, use and leverage data and research effectively using the most current and innovative tools and techniques.
  • Policy Environment. Working knowledge of the policy environment and regulatory landscape surrounding economic development.

Other Desirable Skills and Expertise

  • Demonstrated prior commitment to improving Connecticut as a business location.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and leadership
  • History and fluency with digital innovation and
  • Strong network with key contacts necessary to carry out CERC’s
  • Experience with both the public and private sectors.

Leadership Capabilities

  • Communications: Possesses a record of establishing proactive, constructive and transparent dialogue with employees and organization leadership as well as externally with policymakers, business partners and clients; a strong communicator who is able to convey a compelling strategic vision in large and small public settings; agility to be direct, informative, supportive, and/or inspiring, depending on the situation; strong negotiating and consensus-building skills.
  • Shape Strategy: Leader with strategic, creative, analytical and financial acumen as well as a strong business intellect and action orientation. Translates vision and strategy into plans with clear milestones that others can understand and execute.
  • Analytical Orientation: A high level of analytical skill to assess and evaluate the operation of subordinate areas of responsibility, participate in establishing organizational financial goals, analyze new products, review legal opinions, and draft operational reports to the board.
  • Build Talent & Teams: Proven record identifying, recruiting and developing diverse and accomplished teams within a sales/BD context; provides direction – motivating and growing employees to drive high levels of performance. Build teamwork across functional and business lines.
  • Inspire & Influence: Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, with a demonstrated ability to work across diverse sales channels, business functions and teams.
  • Decision Making: Seeks input from others; engages multiple stakeholders in dialogue to solve problems; analyzes and organizes information effectively; develops and considers alternatives; draws upon personal experiences; makes the decision and takes action.

Culture & Fit Impact

  • Innovation Leadership: Provides creative solutions, a simplifier of the complex, i.e., someone oriented to focus on the most important success drivers. Encourages and empowers people to innovate, create and be open to change. Entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Integrity and Values: Highly respected for his/her integrity, humility and strength of character; champions workplace integrity that inspires trust amongst key stakeholders.
  • Fosters Collaboration: Drives a culture that promotes collaboration, diversity and inclusion. Leads through healthy influence across the organization and encourages teamwork.
  • Authenticity: Builds strong interpersonal connection through authenticity and empathy, while demonstrating the ability to transform themselves over time.
  • Direction/Purpose: Takes ownership in overcoming setbacks and failure, guided by integrity and a deep sense of purpose, enabled by sustainable energy and optimism. Strong affinity and passion for CERC’s mission.
  • Performance Orientation: Detail-oriented with high expectations and accountability mindset.


Heidrick & Struggles has been retained to assist CERC in searching for their VPCS. Please send letters of application (curriculum vitae), nominations, and inquiries to CERC_VPBE@heidrick.com.