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Chattanooga’s CO.LAB opens recruitment for new CEO

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Recruitment is underway for a successor to Lindsey Cox, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chattanooga’s CO.LAB, who has been named CEO of Launch Tennessee, and the deadline to apply is April 30.

“This is a great opportunity,” Charlie Brock wrote in a social media post, and he certainly knows the landscape. In fact Brock led the organization for several years before becoming, ironically enough, President and CEO of Launch Tennessee. He will lead the search as Chair of CO.LAB’s Board of Directors.

“We need an entrepreneurial, collaborative leader who will join a  strong team and board with an exciting strategic plan in place,” he continued, noting that the selected individual “gets to do transformative work in an unbelievably cool city with lots of momentum!”

CO.LAB grew out of a 2009 initiative named “Create Here.” Cox’s predecessors were, in order, Brock, Mike Bradshaw, and Marcus Shaw.

In announcing the recruitment, CO.LAB wrote that it was “seeking an inspiring, experienced, collaborative leader to join their high-energy, high-performing team as CEO. The CEO should have insight or experience into early stage, high-growth companies, and the ability to keep both details and a broad vision in mind. They should be the kind of person who motivates, not micromanages; who communicates expectations clearly and has the organizational skills and work ethic to jump in with an enthusiastic team who is already moving forward with an established plan.”

During Cox’s early months on the job, she led the development of a new five-year strategic plan for CO.LAB. “The CEO will execute on this plan in 2022 and beyond, while updating it periodically based upon the needed direction, advice of the Board of Directors, and input from the CO.LAB team and broader Chattanooga community,” according to the job description.

Other requirements outlined in the overview of the role include:

  • The ideal candidate will have a well-developed network, enabling them to connect Chattanooga-area start-ups with relevant contacts, strong mentors, and capital resources.
  • The person selected will need to provide direction for the CO.LAB staff to ensure that they are focused on the most important projects for accomplishing CO.LAB’s mission.
  • The person selected will need to be able to maintain and build partnerships throughout Chattanooga and regionally in order to recruit a talented and diverse set of entrepreneurs.
  • Finally, the CEO must reside in Chattanooga during his or her tenure.

Other relevant information includes:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent working experience;
  • At least seven years of experience in management, high-growth start-ups, economic development, venture capital, or a related area well aligned with CO.LAB’s mission;
  • Experience or proficient knowledge of fundraising in a non-profit setting;
  • Experience or proficient knowledge of raising capital, including but not limited to venture capital, angel investment, crowdfunding, and debt; and
  • Demonstrated ability to manage a team of five or more individuals.

To date, CO.LAB has worked with hundreds of companies such as Branch Technology, Variable, and WeCounsel (now Visuwell) through a variety of programming, supported $120 million of early stage capital, and been key to the growth and vibrancy of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Here’s the full job description (2022-CO.LAB-CEO-Job-Description). Interested individuals should submit “a persuasive cover letter” and confidential resume, combined into one PDF file, and email the package by April 30 to: jobs@colab.is.

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