About Nathaniel Koloc.

Nathaniel Koloc is an entrepreneur, a people executive, a seasoned recruiter, and an avid outdoorsman.

Before founding Formidable, Nathaniel chaired his wife’s insurgent campaign for New York State Senate, was founding SVP People at Future Laboratories, built & sold ReWork, a purpose-centric recruiting firm, and served as Director of Talent Acquisition & Development for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The common thread through all of his experiences has been combining insightful strategy, high-output operating principles, and effective tools to create powerful talent engines. Nathaniel’s roots are in ecology, economics, and resilience.

He holds a B.A. in Global Human Impact Studies from the University of Vermont and an M.S. in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola in Sweden.

Current Work.

Expertise.

Executive Search
Org Design
Team Performance
Recruiting Operations
Strategy

Operating Experience.

Founder
Formidable helps ambitious companies win by combining best-in-class org design, talent methodology, and executive search. Formidable searches draw on the experience of building & selling a purpose-centric recruiting company, designing talent systems at the scale of a presidential campaign, and extensive research into top-performing creative companies, professional service firms, and executives at high-growth startups. Formidable’s client portfolio includes industry-leading firms in public relations & crisis communications, real estate development & urban resilience, philanthropy, cellular agriculture, venture incubation, fintech, and political reform. Formidable was founded in January 2019 by Nathaniel.
Campaign Chair, 2018
I chaired the Committee to Elect Alessandra Biaggi, State Senator for New York's 34th Senate district (the Bronx & Westchester). I oversaw campaign strategy, team structure and hiring, as well as budget. Alessandra won the Democratic primary on September 13, soundly defeating a 14-year incumbent who outspent us by factor of 10:1. She went on to win the general election with 77% of the vote. During the campaign Alessandra was endorsed by 80+ grassroots groups, labor unions, elected officials, community boards, the NYTimes, the Daily News, and US Senator Gillibrand.
SVP People, 2017 - 2018
An entrepreneurial R&D org dedicated to inventing bold new companies, policies, ideas, and movements to improve quality of life for people in the US. The company was an experiment by The Future Project. As founding SVP People, I led org design, people ops workflows, and recruiting, growing the team to 35 people in a year. The team included analysts, designers, strategists, entrepreneurs, and operators. I also oversaw our pilot public policy research - Enough - which was an examination of economic insecurity in the US, including a feasibility assessment of cash transfer programs (e.g. basic income) as a viable intervention.
Director of Talent, 2015 - 2016
I oversaw the recruiting operations & performance management systems for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The $1B campaign operation hired over 4,500 staffers between our Brooklyn HQ and our 500+ field offices across the country. We had a particular focus on hiring a diverse staff, and were successful in creating the most diverse campaign team in history.
Cofounder & CEO, 2011 - 2015
I cofounded ReWork, a mission-driven recruiting firm, to make it easier for talented people to build careers worth having while working on society's most pressing challenges. Since its founding, ReWork has supported tens of thousands of talented professionals with career design and job transitions, and has helped hundreds of mission-driven hiring managers make mission-critical hires for their teams. ReWork was acquired by Koya Leadership Partners in 2017.
Career Experiments
Misc. Projects, 2008 - 2010
I spent the years after graduating college doing a wide range of work projects and activities, as I explored what types of work I found to be meaningful. During these years I did research and wrote business plans and for new ventures, secured $1.5M in grant funding for a few nonprofits, installed rain barrels and home energy efficiency upgrades, did construction work, led backcountry trail crews in US National Parks and ecotourism trips in Latin America, sold fudge at a CostCo in Florida, produced a coupon book featuring socially conscious companies in Pittsburgh, and started a moving company.

Background & Network.

1
On Deck Fellowship
In 2019, I was one of 100+ founders who joined together over 8 weeks to support each other in building new companies.
2
NYC Venture Fellows
In 2015, I was one of 33 NYC startup entrepreneurs selected for the NYC Venture program, and was paired with mentors, peer-learning opportunities, and investor introductions.
3
New Leaders Council
In 2015, I was one of 20 NYC millennial leaders selected for a 5 month program designed to introduce us to the world of progressive policy, politics, campaigns, and organizing.
4
Singularity University
In 2012, I took a 10 day course on tech networks & computing systems, renewable energy, nanotech & molecular assembly, robotics & AI, neuroscience, & 3D printing.
5
Unreasonable Institute
In 2011, I spent 6 weeks living in a house with 24 other entrepreneurs and 60+ mentors - specialists in branding, startup finance, team building, operations, fundraising, communications, and more - learning how to build a mission-driven startup.
6
Masters of Science
I went to Karlskrona, Sweden to study sustainable development under Karl-Henrik Robert, focused on a strategic planning methodology that orgs and govs can use to improve their competitive advantage while addressing social and environmental challenges. Thesis: Embedding socio-economic sustainability into impact investor due diligence.
7
BA, Global Human Impact
At University of Vermont, I studied the interconnected complications that our society has faced over the past century, from climate change & pollutants, to ecological collapse & biodiversity loss, to preventable diseases & structural inequality. Thesis: Ecological wastewater treatment in Stonetown, Zanzibar: A feasibility analysis.
8
SIT Study Abroad
As part of the School for International Training study abroad program, I lived with a local family in Stonetown, learned Swahili, and studied marine and coastal ecosystems including whale shark migration patterns and population dynamics of large mammals in Saadani National Park.
GUIDANCE

Career Advice for Young Professionals.

I very frequently get asked some very of the question "How can I advance my career?" from folks who are graduating college, or realizing they aren't happy in their first jobs. There's a lot written on this topic - most of it not especially insightful, so here is my advice...

You should see your career as a grand experiment, where you're testing combinations of which work situations, roles, companies/organizations let you a) enjoy yourself, b) do things you are very good at, and c) get paid well. You can read more specific guidance of mine in Harvard Business Review from a few years ago (How to Build a Meaningful Career and Build a Career Worth Having) - most of what's in these articles I still agree with. What I would update has to do with pushing harder on the experiments aspect: get really clear about what you think you know about the work you want to do (and in what setting), and then try to do that - but try to do it with as fast learning cycles as possible, i.e. side projects, side hustles, volunteering, even talking to people in another field - these are all underrated I think. They are much smarter ways of testing what you may want to do than interviewing and taking a new job in a new situation without having done preliminary "testing" and seeing promising results from that. Run this cycle of learnings and testing - don't forget to learn how to negotiate salary and charge what you're worth! - and never stop.

Here are a few pieces of content that I think are smart and worth considering:
This series of essays by Mark Andreessen (pages 2-5) are pretty insightful, in my view.
This post by Elad Gil, which has similar themes, is also smart and worth reading.
This tweetstorm by Naval Ravikant is more philosophical, but full of insight.

For more musings related to entrepreneurship, politics, ecology and more, follow along on Twitter @nathanielkoloc.