Position President
Organization Kendall Square Association
Location Cambridge, MA
Reporting Relationship Reporting to the Executive Committee
Website http://kendallsq.org



The founding of the Kendall Square Association

Nine years ago, leaders of some of the most innovative organizations in Cambridge’s Kendall Square met to discuss the impact they could affect by proactively guiding the trajectory of the world’s densest innovation district. The Kendall Square Association (KSA, a non-profit 501(c)6 organization) was established with the vision of making Kendall Square a household name synonymous with high performance, innovation-driven institutions, and emerging companies. MIT, Google, CIC, Genzyme (now Sanofi Genzyme), the Broad Institute, and others were all there at the beginning to explore how they might find new ways to collaborate and how they might unite around urban development aspirations and shared interests. Additionally, the founders were interested in enhancing community offerings to make it a true 24/7 neighborhood full of dynamic retail and cultural offerings.

Kendall Square Association today

Today, the Kendall Square Association’s membership reflects the evolution of the innovation district with most of the world’s leading life sciences companies headquartered here and many of the world’s leading technology companies having a sizeable presence in the neighborhood. Indeed, the regional influence and global reputation that had been imagined has been realized. These large companies are complemented by a stunning array of biotechs, research institutions, startups, venture capital firms, service providers, and a growing residential and retail community all anchored by MIT. Over one hundred and seventy-five of these organizations underwrite the KSA’s mission, both financially and intellectually.

Our mission statement is as follows: The Kendall Square Association (KSA) advances Kendall Square’s vibrant innovation ecosystem through its convening power and vital programming. The KSA is the resource and advocate for “the most innovative square mile on the planet.” Made up of more than 175 diverse member organizations, the KSA works to tell their stories, connect them with their neighbors, and create a community where everyone can live, work, play, learn, and eat!”

The KSA Board, comprising 26 industry leaders and five committees (Marketing & Events, Sustainability, Transportation, Development, and Retail), works to advance the Association’s four current objectives:

  1. Advance the Innovation Ecosystem by continually assessing and acting upon the district’s opportunities and challenges;
  2. Grow Collaborations among the companies that carefully selected Kendall Square as their home, and with the residential neighborhoods that surround the district;
  3. Enhance Placemaking by invigorating the physical environment to convey the Square’s vitality, nurture the cross-pollination of ideas, and brand the vibrant mix of innovative science and technology that makes Kendall Square unique; and
  4. Advocate for Transportation by working with others to identify local and regional solutions for the challenges posed by our aging public transit system.

Meanwhile, an array of community-based activities creates weekly opportunities for those in Kendall Square to meet, learn and share ideas. Last year, the organization hosted over 30 events ranging from Kendall Community Day that drew several hundred people to create public art projects and Little Libraries throughout the Square to our Annual Meeting featuring New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman.

An expanded vision for our second decade

As the Kendall Square Association approaches its 10th anniversary, we are asking ourselves what’s next. How should the world’s most connected innovation district evolve? How do organizations realize the value of being located within a dynamic ecosystem and how do the people who work inside these organizations maximize the benefit of coming to work here every day? How can Kendall Square pave the way and provide insights for other innovation- centric communities across the world? In short, the KSA aspires to become an increasingly impactful organization—one that will fully empower Kendall Square’s potential — locally, regionally, and on the world’s stage.

We see the KSA as a laboratory for change, a community-based resource for pursuing evidence-based experimentation and data-driven prototyping of solutions to issues that impact the wellbeing and effectiveness of our members and the district. We also see the KSA as a critical catalyst in creating a connected community of innovation leaders. Above all, the KSA seeks to be nimble and solution-oriented as we respond to the evolving needs of the broader community.

As we move toward the KSA’s second decade, primary priorities are:

  1. Transportation – Advancing transportation solutions to improve the ways people travel to, from, and within Kendall Square while increasing our effectiveness as transportation advocates at the city, regional, and state levels. Included in this is advancing research and projects that show how transit-centric development does not necessarily have to contribute to increased traffic and congestion.
  2. Workforce Development – Aggressively addressing the growing opportunity- disparity evident in urban centers by working with Kendall Square employers to create more entry points, along with best-in-class training, growth and retention strategies for diverse candidates to succeed inside our organizations, in particular those residing in the neighborhoods bordering Kendall Square.
  3. Global Outreach – Partnering with other leading innovation ecosystems to share our experiences and best practices to help bring what makes Kendall Square remarkable to innovation hotspots around the world while also building the Kendall Square brand and leveraging this identity to convey and further enable our aspirations.


Recruiting an entrepreneurial leader to take us to the next level

The Board of the Kendall Square Association is conducting a search for a proven, entrepreneurial-minded leader to serve as the organization’s third President (formerly referred to as Executive Director). While much of the Association’s roadmap has been designed, big, exciting questions remain to be asked and answered about how the organization can be a powerful force for meaningful community building, advocacy, and collective action.

The Executive Committee is looking for a critical, strategic, and innovative thinker, strong relationship-builder and exceptional communicator, skilled at leading and mobilizing others. The new President should be familiar with the Kendall Square community and have a track record of accomplishments relevant to the work described above.

Reporting to the Executive Committee and working closely with the Board of Directors, the new President will provide intellectual leadership, grow and manage the Association’s budget and impact, and oversee a small but mighty team of full and part-time staff members. This position is full-time and requires frequent attendance at morning and evening events.

Specifically, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following:

  • Working closely with the Board, create an impact-focused five-year plan and organize the resources and activities of the organization to support it;
  • Demonstrate resourcefulness and an entrepreneurial approach in expanding the Association’s business model, output, and impact;
  • Retain and grow the membership, staying attuned to their evolving needs and interests;
  • Manage and grow awareness of the Kendall Square brand nationally and globally;
  • Create and catalyze the planning and implementation of strategic programming and events reflective of a world-leading innovation district;
  • Oversee strategic marketing, message development and public relations
  • Inspire, enlist, mobilize, and retain dozens of volunteer leaders in order to advance organizational priorities;
  • Initiate and manage effective relationships with key stakeholders across city, regional, and state agencies, public officials, commissions, community groups, business associations, and other nonprofit organizations;
  • Manage goal setting and initiative planning for all committees and oversee staff in day-to-day committee and volunteer management;
  • Serve as a spokesperson and chief advocate, along with the president, for the KSA and issues related to Kendall Square;
  • Collaborate closely with the Chair of the Board and Executive Committee, to deliver effective monthly board meetings that engage our 26-person member board and enable the advancement of our organizational goals;
  • Build, grow and effectively manage the Association’s budget;
  • Hire and manage all staff (currently two full-time and one part-time) and vendors.


  • Minimum of 5 to 7 years success in senior management/leadership roles in nonprofit or business;
  • A strong leader and confident listener and communicator who brings integrity, a calm presence, patience and the ability to build consensus and engender trust;
  • Vision, respect for and understanding of mission-driven organizations;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills;
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills;
  • Outstanding operational and organizational talents;
  • Proven supervisory and employee development skills;
  • Organized, self-motivated, able to multitask and able to work with minimal supervision;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, along with a sense of humor;
  • Strong personal/business connections within the Cambridge community, area business associations, and local officials can be helpful (but is not required);
  • A BS/BA is required. Master’s degree in an appropriate field preferred or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Leadership Characteristics

  • Leadership Characteristics
  • Deeply curious and able to connect dots that may not be obvious in order to find innovative approaches to problems;
  • Strong strategic thinker with an impulse toward action and a clear ability to translate strategies into well-defined and measured plans;
  • A true team player, eager to share successes, quick to learn from failures;
  • Has a strong public presence and is an effective communicator in front of small and large audiences;
  • Has high emotional intelligence and self-awareness.

Full-time salaried with benefits commensurate with experience.

To apply: Please send cover letter and resume addressed to Interim President C.A. Webb via innovationleader@kendallsq.org.

KSA President Position