Executive Director

Reports to: Industry Practice Leader
Location: Chicago

The Company

This company is a profitable professional services firm with a market leadership position. Following is their Vision: To be the most trusted and sought-after solution for association management and professional services based on a distinguished and stellar reputation for doing great and important work for our client organizations and for providing uncompromised stewardship for their long-term prosperity.

The Position

Located in Chicago, the Executive Director will partner with a global client association to grow their business. He/she will provide strategic and operational leadership and management expertise, engage the appropriate resources, as dictated by the individual organizational needs of the client, and manage the client relationship. The goal is to help the client achieve their organizational goals, build a strong client relationship, retain and expand the client, and develop internal staff while supporting the client. Performance will be measured by Achievement of Client Defined Results, Client Evaluated Satisfaction Measures, and Adherence to internal Chosen Values. The position reports to the Industry Practice Leader. Responsibilities include:

  • Strategic & Operations Planning. Advise, guide and influence the association board in defining their long term strategy and goals and allocating resources including capital and people. Provide expertise, develop, present and recommend operational plans & programs to the association board and committees that can deliver their strategic goals in a given time frame. Includes allocating resources, setting budgets, determining operational, program activities, and establishing targets.
  • Financial Management. Plan, direct, monitor, and analyze association finances in order to achieve their financial objectives. Financial planning and decision-making to ensure funding is available and assets are used efficiently. Work with the association treasurer and board to develop annual operating budget, analyze, interpret and forecast financials. Coordinate internal resources and facilitate use of outside investment managers on behalf of the client. Recommend and ensure compliance to policies and ensure financial control processes are in place.
  • Governance. Provide governance support and leadership expertise to the Association Board of Directors and committees. Advise, guide and mentor association Directors. Develop association policy & bylaws. Actively engage in succession planning process, recruit and recommend potential association leaders. Establish board and committee agendas. Ensure that an effective, high performance, governance model is in place.
  • Operations Management. Provide administrative oversight of ongoing association operations. Monitor, evaluate and optimize performance of association programs against goals. Allocate internal staff and internal/external resources to meet association objectives. Act as the main liaison between the association leadership and staff, lead association committees or ensure that leadership is in place, coordinate and advise volunteers, report to and communicate with association board to obtain direction, establish objectives and implement strategies.
  • Client Relationship Management. Strategic and tactical management of the client. Manage relationship with client board and volunteers. Facilitate the establishment of positive relationships between internal executives and clients. Apply internal client stewardship principles. Identify client needs, present solutions, maximize use of appropriate internal capabilities where in client’s best interest, negotiate and close new business with existing clients. Provide regular client feedback to internal senior executives. Develop and retain the client’s business with the company. Annual review and updating of client’s general services agreement.
  • People Management. Manage a direct reporting team of business unit professionals. Assign and supervise work, evaluate performance, and develop individuals. Lead & direct the efforts of internal cross-functional teams of indirect reporting service unit professionals as needed to meet client goals. Coordinate, motivate and influence association volunteers to work towards client organizational goals.
  • Manage Association Growth. Oversee development, implementation, marketing and evaluation of programs and services designed to grow the association, create member value, advance association priorities, and grow non-dues revenue.
  • Oversee Messaging. Oversee the development of the association’s internal and external messaging and communicate with volunteers and staff regarding the association, including briefing association staff to act as spokespersons.
  • Develop Strategic Alliances. Identify industry partners that can help achieve client’s goals, develop and manage strategic partnerships, and coordinate association efforts on industry issues.
  • Manage Service Contracts. Recommend and review service provider selection (auditor, legal, investment advisor, journal publisher/editor, contractors). Manage service provider contract administration including setting performance metrics.

The Individual

This person will work closely with the assigned client Association’s Board of Directors and volunteer members to manage their strategic initiatives, policies, programs and services. He/she will lead the association’s strategy, financial management and operations to drive the client’s growth and build their competitive advantage. Candidates must be capable of running their own business with a high account management capability.  Qualifications include:

  • Working knowledge of product development and innovation on a national and global level.
  • Experience in an industry sector where the product development life cycle is a critical part of product management (e.g. technology, software, medical device, pharma, consumer durables, industrial engineered products).
  • A track record of executive management experience including demonstrated success with growing an organization, serving as an industry spokesperson, holding a leadership role.
  • Developing & executing strategic and operations plans.
  • Financial management & budgeting experience.
  • Managing operations, programs and projects.
  • Turn-around experience is ideal, both operational cost-cutting and revenue growth.
  • Managing marketing programs for fundraising, public relations, education and advocacy, trade shows or conferences.
  • Leading and developing staff & volunteers.
  • Business development skills, the ability to sell a new member on joining the association.
  • Client relationship management.
  • Willing to travel as needed (may include international and weekend travel).
  • Previous Trade Association experience, Association Management experience, not-for-profit or foundation experience is ideal. Previous experience working for a professional services, outsourcing, or consulting firm is helpful.
  • Experience as a Board member is ideal.
  • Global experience is ideal.

Key attributes include:

  • A strategist who can implement as well as communicate up, down and sideways.
  • A marketer who has the ability to sell the mission of the association.
  • A relationship builder and re-builder, very high persuasive skills.
  • An excellent communicator with solid platform skills.
  • A team player both within the company and the client.
  • A passion for running your own business.
  • Hands-on General Management and strong financial skills.
  • High emotional intelligence (Approachability, Composure, Informing, Integrity and Trust, Listening, Politically Savvy.)
  • Proficiency in results driven sales and negotiation skills.
  • Exceptional focus on customer services.
  • Strong proficiency in time management and organizational skills.
  • Other descriptors include: Action Oriented / Building Teams / Business Acumen / Conflict Management / Dealing with Ambiguity / Decision Quality / Directing Others / Drive for Results / Interpersonal Savvy / Managing and Measuring / Negotiating / Political Savvy / Presentation Skills / Sales Proficiency Cluster / Strategic Agility / Timely Decision Making / Approachability / Composure / Customer Focus / Informing / Integrity and Trust / Listening / Organizing / Time Management / Written Communication.

Please submit your resume to Martin Partners: