What a job description focused on the community shared value strategy should look like.
By David Holder, Clarity of Place
When the astute strategists at Destinations International introduced the industry to the advanced concept of community shared value (CSV), they highlighted the numerous avenues that intersect with the wide-ranging vision. If you can visualize the multitude of challenges and opportunities facing municipalities then the options posed by CSV are easy to grasp. Unfortunately, the approaches needed to address those options are not so easily envisioned. Connections to economic development, neighborhood support, social programming, diversity, equity and inclusion, funding and finance, and infrastructure are just a few of the community alignment points that benefit from the view that destination-focused initiatives extend beyond the traditional tourism vertical.
With such a wide range of approach options, it begs questions around both priorities and starting points as organizations drift toward conscientious, intentional direction based on the delivery of CSV. There is an important, additional question connected to CSV initiatives and tied to organizational resurgence following pandemic-caused pivots. As destination organizations begin to chart a clearer route through recovery and reassemble the heart of their future internal staffing, the opportunity exists for someone beyond the chief executive to lead the CSV proposition for the organization. Organizations will not look the same going forward so reassembling around a needed purpose benefits from focused consideration.
When the question of CSV job description was first posed by Andreas Weissenborn, Destinations International’s Vice President of Research and Advocacy, the initial thinking by Clarity of Place was to lean towards a generalist. It was envisioned that this desirable individual would have skills that bled into research, advocacy, communications, and strategy development. Those broad skills would need to notably connect to sales, technology, marketing, media relations, leadership, and human resources. So, the ideal CSV professional would need to be a true unicorn, and as beneficial as that might be, reality needs something a little less magical and a little more realistic. Once realistically narrowed, the CSV professional must be the interpretive empathizer for the destination organization. The ability to translate destination results into meaningful points of relevancy across the ever-shifting list of community stakeholders will define this position. Truly gifted CSV individuals will convert those points of relevancy into non-traditional investments that support on-going destination programming. This individual is envisioned as the organization’s chief engagement officer but is not envisioned to carry that title. To this end, here the CSV job description as envisioned by Clarity of Place:
Vice President of Community Benefit
The Vice President of Community Benefit is responsible for organizing and connecting the strategic initiatives of the destination organization to corporate, civic, and governmental stakeholders beyond the traditional tourism industry. The key areas of focus include coordination with government affairs initiatives, strategic philanthropy, community outreach, intentional volunteerism, economic development, and comprehensive social and civic needs, especially connected to diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
Leadership: Coordinate government affairs, civic engagement, and corporate relationships in concert and under the direction of the President and CEO.
Prioritized Alignment: Translate stakeholder needs and direction into aligned priorities that connect with delivered value from the destination organization’s programs.
Programmatic Interpretation: Work directly with internal teams to develop and communicate accountability and outcomes that match with prioritized points of alignment
Economic Development: Develop and deliver the destination organization’s economic development strategies with support and integration across internal teams. Determine economic development-related goals and measure annual progress and advancement. Participate on economic development committees and deliver direct engagement with established economic development-related entities serving the region.
Issues and Impacts: Monitor and manage destination responsiveness to stated community issues. Blend resident sentiment, community awareness and corporate needs into ongoing adjustments to destination strategy. Assess, prioritize, and address potential threats and opportunities facing the destination and the destination organization. Engage internal teams to help address threat and deliver on opportunities.
Social Empathy: Recognize and embrace the social culture of the entire community to foster an equitable involvement across all individuals. Foster ongoing programming that extends into all points of the community. Blend, connect, and elevate the consciousness of social programs and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across the community as part of the destination organization.
Philanthropic Intentionality: Align destination organization involvement and support, both financial and volunteer, with community and civic organization boards of directors that reach across the community. As much as possible link engagement programming with destination values and personal individual beliefs and objectives.
Communication: Work effectively with the internal communications team and vendors to visualize and communicate community alignment and results into inspiring outreach that fosters community understanding, appreciation, and support for the destination organization’s efforts.
Investing in Impacts: Convert community engagement into meaningful, sustainable, and respectful opportunities for investment by local corporations, civic improvement organizations, and associated other stakeholders.
- Established experience in conceptualizing and delivering effective corporate or government relations programs.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively with community leaders including civic leaders, elected officials and corporate executives.
- Proven ability to set clear objectives and drive work resulting in desired outcomes.
- Proven ability to translate results into meaningful outcomes that address issues and connect to strategic plans.
- Demonstrated ability to anticipate trends and issues in business and society that affect organizational and community reputation.
- Recognized team builder capable of inspiring involvement and pursuit of established vision.
- Excellent written communication skills; excellent verbal skills, including public speaking, meeting facilitation and presentations.
- Demonstrated strong interpersonal, networking, relationship-building, negotiating, and influencing abilities.
- Demonstrated strong leadership skills.
- Demonstrated strong organizational and decision-making skills.
- Strong attention to detail.
- Demonstrated project management, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- Ability to work under fast paced, multi-tasked and deadline driven environments.
- Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information.
- Ability to navigate complex organizations and wide community network of relationships.
- Ability to work flexible hours including evenings and weekends.
- Belief in community direction and willingness to help lift others to make a difference.
- Demonstrated participation and support in organizations that achieve social, diversity, equity, and inclusion accomplishments across the community.
- Working knowledge of economic development practices and approaches.
Bachelor’s degree in communication, business, political science, or related field.
The concept of Community Shared Value is the needed direction for destination organizations of the future. Establishing community alignment and interpreting programmatic results in a more meaningful manner builds destination leadership. This leadership can and will be converted into sustainability that provides a community focused future for the organization. The creation of CSV focused positions within destination organization will elevate the understanding of both the destination organization as well as the various internal departments responsible for its outcomes.
David Holder co-founded Clarity of Place with a hands-on understanding of what destination leaders need to be successful. David translates community inputs into meaningful actions by interpreting needs into priorities.