Cleveland’s North Shore on the coast of Lake Erie is one of the City’s best amenities. However, the current infrastructure limits accessibility for many residents. The FUSE Executive Fellow will engage internal and external partners to facilitate and advance major investment in multimodal transportation alternatives that promote more sustainable and inclusive access to the shore.

Fellowship Dates: October 23, 2023 – October 21, 2024

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.


FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and can effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. They receive FUSE training, coaching, and professional support throughout their fellowships to help them achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.


Northern Cleveland’s shoreline on Lake Erie is a treasure trove of attractions, from natural lakeside amenities to iconic landmarks like Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, this shoreline faces significant barriers to accessibility due to railroads, a four-lane highway, and a steep elevation change, limiting equitable access for Cleveland residents. This issue becomes particularly apparent when examining tree distribution, with predominantly White communities like Shaker Heights having better access than majority Black neighborhoods such as Mount Pleasant, denying many BIPOC residents the health benefits and climate resilience of trees and parks.

To address this challenge, the City of Cleveland is developing the North Shore Master Plan, an initiative to transform the shoreline into an inclusive community hub that promotes equity, climate resilience, and economic inclusion. A key component of this plan is the North Coast Connector. This proposed land bridge would enable safe and convenient access from Downtown Cleveland to the shoreline, bypassing the existing barriers. This project would not only enhance transportation options by facilitating bike and pedestrian access but also consolidate three passenger train stations into a single, efficient point of use.

The North Coast Connector project is crucial in advancing racial equity in Cleveland and ensuring that all residents have equal access to the city’s greatest natural resource, Lake Erie. By providing better and more inclusive access to alternative forms of transportation, the project would contribute to bridging the disparity in tree access and green spaces among different communities. The City of Cleveland will partner with FUSE and a FUSE Executive Fellow to oversee the management of the North Coast Connector project. This fellow will play a pivotal role in developing the project team, establishing processes, and providing ongoing support beyond the Fellowship year, ultimately creating a positive and lasting impact on racial equity and the community as a whole.


The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Starting in October 2023, the FUSE Executive Fellow will build deep relationships with various critical stakeholders. This will include local government leaders (e.g., the Mayor’s Office, City procurement professionals), County agencies, quasi-governmental, and federal agencies (e.g., Cuyahoga County Executive, Amtrak, Federal Aviation Administration), private sector partners (ranging from the Cleveland Browns to small and minority-owned businesses), local environmental and economic justice leaders, and members of the public(with an emphasis on BIPOC communities. The Executive Fellow will understand the strengths, needs, opportunities, and aspirations these partners have for the North Shore. At the same time, the Executive Fellow will conduct an extensive desk review to identify best practices and innovative approaches to facilitating inclusive green infrastructure investment in cities similar to Cleveland.

Next, the Executive Fellow will manage the development of the North Coast Connector. This will include mapping out the steps necessary to bring the North Coast Connector project to successful completion and advancing progress along that map. In addition, the Executive Fellow will engage the internal City of Cleveland stakeholders to promote effective design and procurement. This should include strategic thinking about procurement, including public-private partnerships, and ensuring that small, local, and historically-disadvantaged businesses are able to benefit from this investment. Finally, the Executive Fellow will collaborate with external stakeholders (e.g., Cuyahoga County, private sector partners) to ensure a cohesive, coordinated approach to the project.

Finally, the Executive Fellow will develop the team and processes necessary for the City of Cleveland to continue advancing the North Coast Connector after the Fellowship year has ended. This will include identifying the City of Cleveland staff members necessary to continue advancing the Connector project, securing their supervisors’ support for their participation in the project, and defining their scope of work. In addition, the Executive Fellow will develop the organizational structures (e.g., working groups) and ways of doing business needed to continue internal and external coordination. In order to ensure successful handoff, the Executive Fellow should manage the team and processes that will replace them so that they are operational by the end of the Fellowship year. Ideally, the model that the Executive Fellow puts in place will be replicable for other major projects.

By October 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in government, the private sector, local community groups, and members of the public, with an emphasis on BIPOC businesses and residents. In addition, conduct a literature review of sustainable investment facilitation that has been effective in cities similar to Cleveland.
  • Advance the North Coast Connector Project – Map out and manage progress on the North Coast Connector project, including design, procurement, and internal and external stakeholder engagement. Embed economic inclusion and innovative approaches in procurement.
  • Build a Team – Build the team, plan, and processes necessary for the City of Cleveland to continue advancing this project after the end of the Fellowship year.


  • Executive Sponsor – Bonnie Teeuwen, Chief Operating Officer; City of Cleveland
  • Project Supervisor – Keisha Chambers, Assistant Director of Capital Projects; Mayor’s Office of Capital Projects


In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in stakeholder engagement and procurement methods is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal-opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.