Carbonell Family Executive Director Search


The George Washington University and José Andrés are pleased to launch the search for the Carbonell Family Executive Director of the Global Food Institute.

Press release: Monday, October 30, 2023

The position specification is below in PDF and text format.


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The Carbonell Family Executive Director Position Specification



Position: The Carbonell Family Executive Director

Organization: The Global Food Institute (GFI) at The George Washington University (GW)

Location: Washington, DC

Reporting Relationship: Provost Christopher Bracey




Founded by The George Washington University (GW) and renowned chef, humanitarian and long-time GW instructor José Andrés, the Global Food Institute at GW (GFI) seeks to advance global food policy and address the world’s most urgent problems by leveraging the power of food.  The GFI works across three main pillars: Policy, Innovation and Humanity.  The GFI is positioned to produce cutting-edge research to create and improve domestic and global food policies, incubate and engineer innovative new technologies with an entrepreneurial spirit, and lead critical conversations about the impact of food on humans and our planet.

The GFI enables GW faculty and students from each of its 10 schools and colleges, as well as food industry leaders, policymakers and renowned experts to work and teach across its three pillars by:

  • Educating the next generation through the lens of food;
  • Becoming a hub of cross-disciplinary research, translation and innovation; and
  • Convening leading experts in local, state, federal, and global food policy.

The GFI will convert actionable research and discoveries into real-world impact through cross-disciplinary research and teaching.  GW’s unique location and strengths at the intersection of education, business, technology, healthcare, and international affairs create the ideal environment for private- and public-sector global leaders to develop innovative solutions to our most pressing challenges.

The Institute is made possible by a founding gift from José Andrés, as well as through the support of other key funders. The Executive Directorship is endowed by the Nelson A. and Michele M. Carbonell Family Foundation.  The Institute’s work is powered by philanthropy and supported by partnerships with organizations, companies, foundations, and individual donors.      


The core belief of the GFI is that we can change the world through the power of food.  The inaugural Executive Director will develop and bring this strategic vision to life, bring a strong sense of existing food systems, a demonstrated ability to think boldly and catalyze high-profile partnerships across the public and private sectors on a bipartisan basis, and the ability to act as an ambassador for the Institute with key, and often high-profile, stakeholders as it transitions from launch to execution.  As the face and voice of the Institute, the Executive Director will leverage their public profile to develop and solidify the Institute’s reputation, strategically bring the novel approaches developed by the Institute and its partners to the forefront of the food conversation, develop consensus among food system leaders, and build the formal and informal coalitions of support required to transition ideas into action.

In collaboration with Founder José Andrés and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher Bracey, the GFI’s inaugural Executive Director will develop and implement a strategy that successfully transitions the Institute from its initial launch phase and accelerates the Institute’s progress, including translating its broader conceptual goals and three main pillars into the prioritization and execution of specific projects and partnerships.  

The Executive Director will have the discretion to build a team to support the Global Food Institute as its needs evolve over time, including drawing from GW staff and resources and additional support as required. The Institute’s team currently includes a Director of Research and Policy and a Director of Curriculum Development. The Executive Director will report directly to the Provost and work in close consultation with the Institute’s Strategic Advisory Committee and its Leadership Council. The Strategic Advisory Committee will be led by the Executive Director in partnership with Founder José Andrés, and will support the Institute through philanthropy, expertise, passion, and connections. 

Additional responsibilities for the Executive Director include:  

Ambassador for the Global Food Institute 

  • Represent the Institute as an inspiring and credible ambassador with diverse audiences, including food and agriculture industry leaders, policymakers, community partners, advocates, media and other food system actors whose partnership will be integral in transitioning the Institute’s research and thought leadership into actionable policy change and practice innovations; 
  • Develop the Institute’s values and promote a culture and environment that reflects those values and those of GW; and
  • Develop and foster strategic relationships, including recruiting public and private sector partners and funders. 

Administration of the Institute 

  • Plan, develop, implement and direct the day-to-day operations of the Institute, including building, leading, and managing a team;
  • Oversee the Institute’s financial position and outlook and steward the Institute’s budget and long-term financial health;
  • Work with the Director of Policy and Research and the Director of Curriculum Development to develop and articulate operational priorities, programming, and benchmark progress; and
  • Develop long-term growth initiatives for the Institute. 

Ongoing Engagement with Funders and Strategic Advisors 

  • Meet with the Strategic Advisory Committee quarterly and engage with the Committee between meetings as needed to drive the Institute’s success;
  • Meet with the Leadership Council twice annually and engage with the Council between meetings as needed to drive the Institute’s success; and
  • Provide updates at formal meetings of both the Leadership Council and Strategic Advisory Committee on the Institute’s progress, programs, financial status, and aspirations. 


Passion for the Mission   

The Executive Director must be passionate and knowledgeable about issues related to today’s food environment and the overall mission of the Institute. They must appreciate the importance of evidence-based policy that centers food as a solution for some of the world’s most pressing problems, and have an established reputation for supporting policymakers, thought leaders, industry partners and individuals in creating the food solutions of tomorrow. The Executive Director will come to the Institute with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice and will be energized by the opportunity to impact all communities, including those disproportionately impacted by food-related issues.   

Executive Experience and Mindset

The Executive Director will be a high-energy, charismatic leader who will serve as an ambassador for the Global Food Institute. They will serve as an advocate to encourage the development of new opportunities, programs, and partnerships for the Institute. They will have an executive, mission-driven presence and the ability to convey the Institute’s mission and priorities to a range of external stakeholders to inspire action.   

Entrepreneurial Ambition

The Executive Director must have an entrepreneurial ambition and approach. They will have demonstrated experience leading an initiative or organization and be hands-on, agile and versatile. They will be solutions-oriented with a continuous improvement mindset. They will have a track record of motivating and inspiring others to achieve impact through creativity and teamwork, and of leveraging individual strengths to meet organizational goals.  

Ability to Leverage the Institute’s Unique Structure and Placement in an Academic Setting 

The Executive Director’s role is unique in that it is not a teaching or academic position but offers the ability to leverage the weight of GW's expertise, resources and student body in support of the Institute’s mission. The ideal candidate will have a strong vision for how to best leverage these strengths and assets.

The GFI’s approach is additive to the work of existing food and agriculture programs across other public and private universities. The GFI will focus on incorporating and translating knowledge about the intersection of food, public health, climate change, and the economy into education and training across all GW degree programs. One aspect of the Institute’s core mission is to ensure that future generations of diverse leaders spanning many disciplines will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to approach their professional and academic pursuits through the lens of food, and will help create the food solutions of tomorrow. As noted by Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Christopher Bracey, “GW has a 200-year track record of exceptional academic collaboration and interdisciplinary research and teaching. Our location in the heart of our nation’s capital makes it the ideal place for the brightest minds across disciplines to convene, develop innovative research and solutions, and educate the next generation of advocates to drive the food systems change we need.”    


Located blocks from the most influential organizations and government institutions in the world, The George Washington University (GW) is the largest institution of higher education in the nation’s capital. With two of its three campuses located in Washington, D.C. at Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon, and the third located in Loudoun County, Virginia, GW has a well-established presence in the region as a leader in academics and medicine.

The University is a private institution consisting of approximately 2,600 full-time faculty members. Its approximately 11,600 undergraduate students and 15,000 graduate and professional students presently come from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 130 countries. Among the finest public and private research universities, GW is a comprehensive university with broad responsibility for education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. As a preeminent urban research university in the nation and the world, the University is recognized for its excellence in teaching and scholarship, including more than $200 million (FY 2021) in externally funded research across the disciplines.

GW has a proud and long tradition. The concept of a large, urban institution began to evolve early in the University’s history with the addition of schools of medicine, law and business. Today, GW maintains a $2.4 billion endowment (FY 2021) and consists of the following schools and colleges: the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (which includes the School of Media and Public Affairs, the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration); the Elliott School of International Affairs; the Milken Institute School of Public Health; the School of Nursing; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the School of Business; the Law School; the Graduate School of Education and Human Development; the School of Medicine and Health Sciences; and the College of Professional Studies (which includes the Graduate School of Political Management). Few universities of this size have the diversity and breadth of educational opportunities, including internships with local and international organizations, and the well-connected faculty that GW offers.

The George Washington University is proud of its ongoing commitment to the education of citizen leaders. Through a variety of partnerships, GW students have research opportunities with nearly every federal agency in the United States. Engagement and service are common values shared by the entire University community. In a single year, students, faculty, and staff have completed more than 700,000 service hours in DC and around the globe. The Aspen Institute’s Impact Careers Initiative reported that GW produced the second-highest number of professionals entering government, education, and nonprofit fields among national universities. The University is also the #1 provider of Peace Corps volunteers among medium-sized universities in the U.S.; more than 1,200 graduates have served since the Peace Corps’ founding, making GW among the top 30 highest all-time Peace Corps volunteer producers. In addition to members currently serving in Congress, noted public servants among GW alumni include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro.


As leader of the Global Food Institute, the role of Executive Director requires an on-campus presence. This is a full-time, in-person position, with flexibility and remote-work opportunities provided to accommodate expected travel. It is anticipated that approximately 25 percent of the Executive Director’s work will occur outside of GW’s campus.


All candidate applications should be submitted to the following email address: [email protected].

The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that does not unlawfully discriminate in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law.


Rosa Morris
Senior Client Partner and Education Practice Leader
Telephone: (202) 577-7926
Email: [email protected]

Dayna Keene
Senior Associate, Global Nonprofit, Philanthropy & Social Enterprise Practice
Telephone: (570) 877-0614
Email: [email protected]

Ashley Slayden
Project Coordinator, Global Nonprofit, Philanthropy & Social Enterprise Practice
Telephone: (865) 455-0542
Email: [email protected]