ConnectUP! Institute Program Specialist: Events St. Paul, MN · Full time

The Program Specialist: Events supports the mission and strategy of ConnectUP! Institute through efficient program management to support our strategic goal of creating a more inclusive entrepreneur ecosystem. We’re seeking a team member who can manage the successful execution of all events. This includes all aspects of event management such as recruitment, registration, and general programming which includes but is not limited to: inviting speakers, scheduling meetings, Zoom management & serving as the main point of contact for founders and stakeholders, etc. This position will work closely with the Executive Director, Development Lead, and Programs team.




CI is currently seeking a person to fulfill a critical role on the team:  Program Specialist: Events. Our Program Specialist: Events is responsible for running Summits (2-days biannually), mini-Summits (4-one day events biannually), Founder Circles (90-minute workshops), and Donor events in accordance with our Playbook, and supported by guidance from the CI team. The Program Specialist: Events will be both an internally and externally facing position, meaning this person will not only work across the organization to meet programmatic goals, but may also represent CI as a manage and build relationships (this includes in writing, over zoom, and in-person) with founders, mentors, sponsors, partners, and other programmatic stakeholders. 

We don’t imagine that the Program Specialist: Events will have expertise in all of the following project management strategies but rather has the experience that is transferable and is ready to build expertise.


The Program Specialist: Events needs to be highly collaborative, detail-oriented, responsive, and strategic, working closely with the Programs Team and Leadership to execute high-quality Summits and Founder Circle programs, advance the mission of CI, and contribute to the sustainability of the organization. The Program Specialist: Events is responsible for making sure all of the moving parts of the event programs are attended to and executed successfully.

This job is for you if you are (a)...

  • Committed to Economic and Gender Justice
  • Motivated and compelled by building collaborative systems change
  • Curious about the evolution of entrepreneurial services to promote scale
  • Get satisfaction from checking things off your checklist 
  • Able to adapt to emerging digital mediums and trends
  • Enjoys driving multiple projects at one time
  • Excited to work with founders who are diverse across race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more 
  • Desire to both drive and execute projects
  • Persistent/tenacious
  • Finds joy in problem-solving/finding solutions

Personable—appreciates communicating in-person and digitally (i.e. Zoom, phone, email, etc.) for most of your workday- this means that you’ll be spending a lot of time communicating with many different people each day.

Self-aware–because our work is about elevating the next generation of entrepreneurs, we want to work with folks doing their own development related to identity and culture and who can speak openly as a leader about the impacts of racism and misogyny on our experiences within/among our team.

Detail Lover—you like charts, graphs, spreadsheets, lists, and using them to meet goals brings you joy

Relational—to be successful in this role you will be motivated by and enjoy developing meaningful professional relationships with each member of the team and external partners

Diplomatic—able to balance competing priorities and requests without compromising our organizational integrity

Mindful—ability to find the interdependencies in each activity and plan accordingly. For example, the CEO assigns a project and is out sick and you need to finish a report to present to the Board tomorrow, you have a survey analysis due all in the same day, each is important and you can determine what is urgent and what is important that day

Team Player—our success is based on what we do together; we need someone who enjoys working with internal and external teams to meet deadlines and achieve goals

An Operator—we have built the foundational processes for operations and set strategic goals for the organization. We need a person who feels comfortable adopting existing systems and protocols with an eye for increasing efficiency. 

Desired Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent experience.
  • 3-5 or more years of event planning experience.
  • Understanding a social enterprise is a plus.
  • Knowledge of Apple/Google/Microsoft Office Applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) 
  • Knowledge of customer relationship & project management systems.
  • Understanding of Salesforce is a plus
  • Knowledge of the economic justice movements in Minnesota is a plus.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Commitment to economic justice, including actively participating in CI’s learning culture and thought leadership in economic justice.
  • Works with and communicates effectively with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Well-organized and methodical, demonstrates attention-to-detail, problem-solving and time-management abilities
  • Excellent verbal communication, interpersonal and relationship-building skills to effectively work with a variety of people and personalities. Able to communicate clearly in person and in writing.
  • Able to plan, prioritize, coordinate, and manage own work. Thorough, organized and detail-oriented approach to work.  Applies effective time management skills to meet all deadlines.
  • Demonstrates initiative and a solution-focused attitude while positively contributing to our teamwork environment.
  • Effectively manages multiple meetings and events simultaneously within timelines and budget
  • Works under deadlines, adapting to rapidly changing circumstances
  • Experience working in a corporate, matrix organization is required
  • Travel up to 10 percent for assigned programs (local and national)

Event Management (60%)

  • In collaboration with colleagues across CI, curate events aligned with identified engagement strategies that activate identified stakeholder groups, particularly donor and funder partners. Strategies will include CI-hosted events as well as partnering with other organizations/companies/groups for co-branded events and events where CI will have a supporting role.
  • Create comprehensive event work plans to ensure a successful event experience, including post-event activities. Collaborate with colleagues to delegate roles and task responsibilities.
  • Work in collaboration with the Programs Team and Development Lead to manage and coordinate event sponsorship and donor opportunities.
  • Engage event vendors and venues that align with the CI values, specifically, being intentional in contracting with women and women of color-owned businesses.
  • Identify and track notable metrics attached to events.

Partnership Management (20%)

  • Leveraging the Salesforce platform to manage a portfolio of key stakeholders and partner organizations.
  • Lead strategy and outreach to build meaningful relationships with aligned partner organizations.
  • Assess and build out audiences to engage with the CI to broaden and diversify the participant base.
  • Attend community events to build continued relationships and represent CI.
  • Collaborate with cross-departmental teams to explore and identify partnership engagement opportunities that will support the organization’s strategic goals.

Additional Organizational Support (20%)

  • Participate in weekly team meetings and contribute relevant expertise to the evolution of the team and brand. 
  • Actively work to improve or develop processes, procedures, policies or playbooks.
  • Attend Board of Directors or Advisors meetings as needed. 
  • Be a strong steward of and representative for the CI brand across the community by adhering to the organization’s values. 
  • Participate in CI’s social media presence and events as requested and appropriate; contribute to creating content to support the recruitment of high-potential entrepreneurs to the CI program.
  • Support fundraising efforts as necessary, including attending fundraising events, speaking with donors, etc. 
  • Attend CI events as required and/or as requested by the ED.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned by the ED.
  • Actively participate in ED’s learning culture in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Support new and ongoing CI efforts as requested and appropriate.


This position may require a person to participate in in-person meetings and events. We are seeking candidates who are within two hours of travel distance to Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. We do not currently have a relocation stipend for candidates. 


  • We are a statewide nonprofit that currently has staff in the Twin Cities metro. We need you to be in a place with reliable cell phone access and high-speed internet. 
  • Generally available to work up to 30 hours (more hours leading up to events) per week, via phone/Zoom/email and attend in-person and virtual partner events. We are very flexible for caregivers who might need to provide rides, support, attend appointments or be available for caregiving. We also need you to be working when engagement is at its peak. 


In this role, you would report to the Executive Director and integrate the development priorities across the organization.

Black, Indigenous, Asian Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern/North African, Women, and LGBTQ+ people are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to perform the essential functions of this position successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions.


While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to use hands or fingers and handle or feel objects, tools, or controls. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk, sit; and reach with hands and arms. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, and the ability to adjust focus. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to operate a computer and frequently initiate and reply to written and verbal communications. Must be able to communicate accurate information, a visual ability to review detailed reports and information. The person in this position occasionally needs to move around the office space to access files and office machinery. The person in this role will also need to frequently attend external meetings and events outside traditional business hours.



$42,000 - $46,000 per year