Business For Good is a different kind of business owners’ group—one where our values drive impact. We’re a nonprofit on a mission to unite local business owners to drive policy that improves our community for all.
We have a ton of momentum and are on the brink of a huge growth spurt. Therefore, it’s with great excitement we announce that Business For Good is now hiring a Managing Director!
Business For Good has been an all-volunteer 501(c)6 organization since shortly after our start in 2017. The Managing Director position is a big step in a long trajectory of driving meaningful change for us.
We’re looking for someone who is passionate about our work and is excited to lead our organization through a lot of growth. Read on to learn more about who we are, what we’ve done, and why you’ll definitely want to be on board with us for where we’re headed.
How the idea of Business For Good started
Business For Good’s origin story dates back to 2014 when BFG Co-Founder and Board Chair Mikey Knab was reading the morning newspaper. A San Diego Union-Tribune cover story announced: “City Council considers an increase to minimum wage in San Diego, which business opposes.”
“It just stuck in my craw,” Mikey said. “I thought to myself, what is this monolithic voice of business that opposes a minimum wage increase? I run businesses here in San Diego, and I fully support a minimum wage increase. Surely, I can’t be alone in that.”
Meanwhile, as Mikey considered ways to address this, the grant-making agency Open Society Foundations launched a funding project called Open Places Initiative. It was designed to empower groups that had a lot of influence, but not much access—veterans, AAPI communities, academics, and independent business owners.
The project rolled out in eight targeted geographic areas throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including San Diego.
Open Places helped get these influential groups a seat at their regions’ decision-making tables by offering technical assistance through education, and connection to other folks doing similar work who had a history of gaining access and winning power.”
As part of the launch of the Open Places Initiative in San Diego, a coalition called Partners for Progress (P4P) was created with allied organizations in the region.
P4P sought help from Main Street Alliance (MSA), a national grassroots organization that advocates for the issues that matter most to small businesses in our country. Their goal is to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues across the nation.
Karim Bouris, who eventually co-founded Business For Good with Mikey, was then hired to start and grow the MSA chapter in San Diego as part of the P4P and Open Places Initiatives.
He began his search for progressive-minded San Diego small businesses in order to essentially form a progressive Chamber of Commerce—one excellent way to help reach the goal of Open Places. Soon after, Mikey and Karim met through a mutual connection at San Diego’s Economic Development Department.
“Right away, it was clear that we were both fully aligned on our values and local policy goals for improving San Diego,” Mikey said. “We were really excited to start teaming up with others to help make this happen.”
Business For Good is founded + the policy wins begin
Mikey and Karim quickly sought the support of some incredible values-aligned local folks in order to make the dream of a progressive Chamber of Commerce a reality. Together, the dynamic group went on a mission to unite local, independently-owned businesses to help bring more access, opportunity, and impact to San Diego.
“We began thinking about what really matters to local businesses,” Mikey said. “If you want to be in business for a long time—if you want to be in business for good—what are the top things you need to invest in?”
From these brainstorming sessions, the group of engaged business owners identified key areas that are most crucial to improving the health, well-being, and livelihood of San Diego’s local communities. These became BFG’s four core policy action areas:
- Environmental Health—Good business means making sure our customers and employees are healthy and living in a clean San Diego
- Housing and Homelessness—Ensuring employees have access to affordable housing, transportation, goods, and services close to where they work
- Small Business Resources—Investments that help independent businesses, especially those with underrepresented ownership, stay competitive and succeed
- Immigration—San Diego is the border city on the busiest port of entry in the Western Hemisphere. We must have an inclusive economy; one that gives all business owners equal access to resources, support, and opportunities
After Trump was elected and immigration became a focal point of national conversation, the group knew it needed to be a central part of empowering the collective small business voice here. They were certain that it simply wasn’t possible to be an effective small business organization in San Diego without a focus on immigration.
But unfortunately, immigration wasn’t one of Main Street Alliance’s advocacy goals. As such, the group decided to separate from MSA, and in 2017, they officially founded Business For Good San Diego—where Karim served as Executive Director for the first year.
There’s no question this was the right move. In just four short years, Business For Good has reached some major milestones and successes in our core policy action areas. We have helped:
- Establish the City of San Diego’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (Immigration)
- Get San Diego’s styrofoam ban passed into law (Environmental Health)
- Develop a Homelessness Toolkit for San Diego business owners (Housing and Homelessness)
- Create a guide to Socially Responsible Investing for San Diego business owners (Small Business Resources)
- Form San Diego Community Power, a community choice energy program that brings affordable electricity from renewable sources to San Diego (Environmental Health)
About the Managing Director role at Business For Good
It’s truly thrilling that Business For Good has reached the point where we can hire a Managing Director to help lead us in shaping more progressive policy that improves San Diego for everyone.
Several indicators let us know that now is the right time to hire a Managing Director:
- BFG’s member base has grown over 20% in the last year alone. We are perfectly poised to drive more positive impact at this moment.
- San Diego has elected leaders who reflect the values of BFG members
- BFG has a strong, effective, and committed board of directors
- As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the ideal time for values-aligned local business owners to build and strengthen in preparation for what’s coming next
The Managing Director will play a key support role in doing all of the above—and more. They’ll provide strong leadership that will help implement policies and programs that grow BFG and its presence throughout San Diego County.
This awesome person will also be responsible for successfully managing day-to-day operations while partnering with the Board of Directors to drive strategic policy in our four core action areas.
Key duties will mainly be focused on supporting BFG in:
- Building a foundation to grow our membership even more
- Securing additional funding streams
- Increasing BFG’s public profile throughout San Diego County
- Creating processes that support our internal administrative operations
Our new Managing Director is organized, flexible, well versed in working in the non-profit space, and is a project management expert. They also understand the many demands that small businesses face; have the ability to interpret public policy and how it connects to business; and will work diligently to build diverse relationships within San Diego’s equally diverse community.
Last but certainly not least, a genuine excitement to advance the mission of Business For Good’s values is essential!
If you’re considering applying, here are a few questions and answers that might help you decide if you’re a good fit for the role:
Q: What life experience might our Managing Director have to help champion BFG’s vision of “local businesses having rightful power and influence to strengthen our communities and make life better for all of us”?
- Some contact with running a business or entrepreneurship will give this person super important insight into our membership
- Anyone who feels that they’ve been marginalized by the policies and systems that we are trying to fix
Q: Which regional challenges and public policy advocacy in San Diego would be excellent for our Managing Director to know about?
- Race and gender equity—This is a lens through which we want to view all our advocacy work. All success needs to be measured by its impact on humans
- Homelessness—It’s the number one issue to San Diego voters, and it’s an important and solvable problem
Q: What aspects of BFG’s Managing Director position sets it apart from similar positions at other non-profits?
- You’ll become the most popular person in your friend group when you’re suddenly friends with all kinds of awesome local business owners! We’re not too modest to say that BFG really does have the best of San Diego’s business folks as members.
- Hanging out with our members and getting to know them. Seriously, this is the best part of our organization—people who are smart, committed, have shared values, and really enjoy and respect each other. All BFG members at some point realize, “Oh! These are my people!”
Q: What does BFG look like one year from now, after our Managing Director’s help in growing the organization and its membership?
- Geographically broad—Members from Oceanside to Chula Vista to Lakeside to Encinitas
- An incredibly diverse population of local business owners
- Different languages! A Spanish-language program, in particular, would be fantastic
- A wide range of ages