Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

As one of the primary external faces of the organization, the CEO will have the capability to speak passionately and compellingly about Thistle Farms mission while also sharing empathetically with residents and staff. The CEO will be both inspiring and inspired—quick to share excitement and celebration about what the team has created. The CEO will have an understanding of traditional fundraising strategies and the capacity for new business development across our multiple social enterprises. The CEO will stay present to the needs of residents and employees while keeping a close eye on external opportunities, balancing a speed of change that does not outpace the organization’s readiness.


  • Partners with the founder and the Board of Directors to assure that the organization has a long-range strategy to fulfill its mission while ensuring that the budget, staff, and priorities are aligned with Thistle Farms core vision and mission.
  • Provides inspirational servant leadership and direction to the entire organization.
  • Establishes consistent effective decision-making processes that will help Thistle Farms achieve its short and long-term goals.
  • Responsible for hiring, managing and evaluating key organizational leadership roles.
  • Provides leadership to the staff and board in developing a realistic annual budget.
  • Ensures that comprehensive development, marketing and sales strategies that will help meet revenue targets are in place.
  • Facilitates cross-departmental collaboration and ensures strong internal communications with staff throughout the organization.
  • Creates and promotes a positive, trauma-informed, multicultural and inclusive work environment.
  • Provides leadership for fundraising efforts, including supporting the board’s involvement in fundraising and the implementation of annual fundraising plans.
  • Ensures compliance with all federal/state/local laws and regulations.
  • Oversees facility and property development.
  • Continuously analyzes resident, staff and community needs to determine program direction and goals.
  • Ensures that staff have adequate support and resources to successfully do their job and fulfill mission and vision.
  • Promotes the visibility of Thistle Farms to the general public and acts as a key spokesperson; represents the organization by participating in key associations and organizations, serving on committees and advisory groups when possible.
  • Builds and maintains positive working relationships and cooperative arrangements with partner organizations and other community based organizations.
  • Provides mentoring and support for members of the Thistle National Network.


  • An understanding of nonprofit corporate structures, legal accountability, policy development and compliance.
  • Understanding of the role and responsibilities of a volunteer board.
  • Knowledge of federal and state legislation affecting nonprofit organizations.
  • Knowledge of fund development processes and procedures, as well as proven ability to help plan and implement a fund development strategy.
  • Ability to develop and administer budgets.
  • Familiarity with best practices to recruit, supervise, inspire and evaluate employees.
  • Understands best practices of marketing principles, branding, product, and customer engagement.


  • Person of exemplary character with a demonstrated commitment to social justice.
  • Ability to lead, inspire, and mobilize others to action.
  • Takes responsibility for the operations and wellbeing of the agency and for meeting goals and deadlines.
  • Possesses excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Flexible, well organized and able to reorder priorities in response to new opportunities, needs, or unexpected obstacles.
  • Collaborative, open and inclusive.
  • Able to excel in a dynamic work setting with multiple bottom lines and deadlines.
  • Able to establish and maintain effective internal and external working relationships.
  • Able to anticipate, understand, and respond to the needs of customers and donors to meet or exceed their expectations.
  • Works cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems, and make decisions that enhance organizational effectiveness.
  • Sets priorities, develops a work schedule, monitors progress towards goals, and tracks details, data, information and activities.
  • Thinks critically and analyzes situations.


  • Interpersonal - Maintains confidentiality; Remains open to others' ideas and a willingness to take risks and try new things.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Excels in communicating with large groups, both internal and external to the organization.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively.
  • Quality Management - Looks for ways to improve and promote quality.
  • Visionary - Creates and communicates a compelling and inspired sense of purpose. Can lead on a vision of the future, not the reality of today.
  • Strategic thinking - Can see ahead clearly and anticipate consequences and trends accurately, has broad knowledge and perspective; articulates vision, possibilities, strategies and plans.
  • Ethical - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.
  • Relationship Builder - Relates well to all kinds of people, inside and outside the organization. Able to influence and stimulate others, and build trusting relationships with others.
  • Motivator- Able to inspire and motivate others. Communicates and sells the vision and the future.
  • Teamwork - Able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives.
  • Continuous learner- Can analyze both successes and failures and learn from the experience.
  • Flexibility - Able to adapt to a dynamic work environment with ease and speed.
  • Dependability - Responds to Board direction; Keeps commitments; Commits to long hours of work when necessary to reach goals.
  • Initiative - Undertakes self-improvement activities; Looks for and takes advantage of market opportunities; Asks for and offers help when needed.
  • Motivation - Sets and achieves challenging goals; Demonstrates persistence and overcomes obstacles.
  • Planning/Organizing - Prioritizes and plans work activities; Uses time efficiently; Plans for additional resources; Sets goals and objectives; Develops realistic action plans.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Treats everyone with respect and consideration regardless of status or position; Accepts responsibility for own actions.


  • Minimum 10 years’ experience in nonprofit or public agency management preferred, including supervising paid staff and volunteers; experience working with a Board of Directors desirable.
  • Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s desirable; relevant experience may be substituted.
  • Experience leading a social enterprise is desirable, particularly in manufacturing, retail and/or hospitality (e.g., restaurant).
  • Working knowledge of nonprofit fiscal management, including fund accounting and budgeting.
  • Experience in fundraising, with success in securing major gifts and managing donor relationships.
  • Demonstrated ability in public speaking, clear and effective written and oral communication
  • Maturity, compassion, vision, optimism and leadership skills.


Thistle Farms has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search. Please submit your resume and expression of interest to: Chris Spagnola, Partner, at

The application screening process is ongoing until a candidate is hired.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Thistle Farms is an equal opportunity workforce. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. Thistle Farms does not discriminate with regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or on the basis of any other legally protected status. In order to provide equal employment opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions at Thistle Farms will be based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. Employees are not to show prejudice or discrimination in matters concerning customers, visitors, or fellow employees under any circumstances.