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Thistle Farms

Chief Executive Officer

Thistle Farms


Job Summary

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.

Job Responsibilities

  • 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.


  • 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.

Additional Information


Thistle Farms provides a generous benefits program including health, dental, vision and life insurance as well as a 401k program with employer match.

How to Apply

Please submit your resume and expression of interest to: Chris Spagnola, Partner, at cspagnola@thinkingahead.comThe application screening process is ongoing until a candidate is hired.


  • Date Posted: March 30, 2022
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Social / Human Services
  • Start Date: 06/01/2022
  • Working Hours: 40 hours/week