ThinkChicago Program Manager, ChicagoNEXT

World Business Chicago is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city.

As an initiative of World Business Chicago (WBC), supported by a council of 250+ tech community leaders, ChicagoNEXT drives inclusive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy and innovation ecosystem through their portfolio of programs and initiatives. ChicagoNEXT flagship programs include the Startup Chicago, the Chicago Venture Summit, and ThinkChicago.

ThinkChicago is ChicagoNEXT’s national STEM talent attraction and retention program for local companies and startups. ThinkChicago leads a series of events that connects STEM university talent with career opportunities in the Chicago’s tech & innovation ecosystem. ThinkChicago’s flagship events include ThinkChicago Lollapalooza, ThinkChicago Week, ThinkChicago Roadshows, and ThinkChicago Summits with university partners.


World Business Chicago is seeking a full-time Program Manager to manage ChicagoNEXT’s talent portfolio, which includes the ThinkChicago flagship program, and to assist in the development and execution of all related initiatives.

The Program Manager will report to the ChicagoNEXT Director and receive guidance and direction from the ChicagoNEXT Chair and World Business Chicago leadership. The Program Manager will work closely with the various organizations that currently exist in Chicago’s technology and innovation ecosystem, and should be proactive in developing and implementing ideas for companies to attract, develop and retain STEM talent. The Program Manager will have familiarity with Chicago’s technology and innovation ecosystem, with relevant project management experience. The Program Manager will have excellent organizational and communication skills, and an ability to thrive in complex environments and manage multiple priorities simultaneously.


Event Production

  • Manage event logistics, including vendor relationships, student participation, and corporate engagement for all ThinkChicago programs and related ChicagoNEXT talent initiatives.
  • Support development of program content, activities and promotional strategy.

Tech & Innovation Ecosystem Engagement

  • Manage relationships with local companies to identify hiring needs to develop recruitment and placement strategy through ThinkChicago and relevant initiatives.
  • Manage and build sponsorship program for programs and events.
  • Align ThinkChicago & ChicagoNEXT talent programming with City of Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force (RTF) target industries and priority work streams.

University & Student Engagement

  • Manage and create ongoing relationships with local and national universities to help build awareness and promote ThinkChicago and ChicagoNEXT talent initiatives.
  • Manage student participation, using multiple channels to recruit local and national candidates, which may include, but not limited to: colleges/universities, meet ups, industry meetings, job fairs and digital assets (social media, email newsletters, etc.).
  • Maintain and update digital tools including online application system and student surveys.
  • Manage student communications leading up to, during, and after the program
  • Manage ThinkChicago alumni engagement through programs and social media.

External Communications

  • Manage the development and production of new programs and partnerships to drive awareness of ThinkChicago and ChicagoNEXT talent initiatives.
  • Contribute to communications products, including outreach plans, press releases and blog posts to drive awareness of ThinkChicago and other talent initiatives.
  • Manage maintenance and updates for program website and other relevant digital and social media assets.

Project Management/Operations

  • Engage, collaborate, and manage communications with all lead ThinkChicago program partners.
  • Manage and engage relevant stakeholders to identify and implement best practices in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Successfully support, and in some cases manage, multiple relationships with various stakeholders in Chicago innovation and technology ecosystem.
  • Ensure that all projects are delivered on-time, within scope and within budget.
  • Maintain comprehensive project documentation. 


  • Ability to work effectively across a variety of skill areas, including project management, communications, content creation, event planning and execution.
  • Awareness of and experience working within Chicago’s technology community.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively with all constituent groups, including WBC staff, board members, government stakeholders, and outside advisors.
  • Self-starter with the able to work independently as well as with a team; enjoys creating and implementing new initiatives.
  • Excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills.
  • Commitment to deliver against deadlines; ability to handle high priority and pressure situations.
  • Entrepreneurial approach is a must, and experience working in a startup environment with evolving priorities and processes preferred.


  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in event and/or project management with knowledge of the Chicago tech industry preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite applications.
  • Financial budget and reporting experience.
  • Ability to travel as needed.


If interested, please send a cover letter, resume and list of 3-5 professional references with references contact information to:

Carrie Simmons

World Business Chicago

177 N State St #500, Chicago IL 60601