Alumni Association President and Chief Executive Officer
- University of Michigan
- Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Category: Executive-President and Chancellor
- Posting Date: 05/11/2022
- Application Deadline: Open until filled
How to Apply
Russell Reynolds Associates has been exclusively retained for this search. Given the need for confidentiality throughout this process, prospective candidates are invited to reach out directly to our search consultants at AAUM@russellreynolds.com with a resume and brief explanation of interest.
Reporting directly to the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, the President and CEO will set the Alumni Association’s mission and strategic direction. In addition, the President and CEO will direct and oversee the day-to-day activities of the Alumni Association including alumni engagement, finance, and university relations to ensure the strongest bond between the University and its alumni.
The President and CEO will be accountable for the overall strategic, operational, and financial success of the organization. They will work with the Board of Directors to shape the Alumni Association’s vision, mission and strategies to better connect alumni to the University. Central to the CEO’s success will be their ability to improve the quality, effectiveness, and reach of the programs – including digital initiatives and programs – and services the Alumni Association provides to more than 300,000 engaged Michigan alumni globally. The CEO will be responsible for defining, strengthening, and managing engagement activities of the Alumni Association. In addition, the CEO will foster increased collaboration across the University and its leadership to prioritize and clearly communicate shared goals and priorities. The President and CEO will maintain a commitment to the core values and mission of the Alumni Association, providing a high level of programs and services to Alumni as well as respecting and valuing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the President and CEO oversees more than 70 full-time employees who provide programs and services to University of Michigan alumni.
Who We Are
The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM) is an independent and worldwide organization that nurtures lifelong relationships with and among Michigan alums and the University. Governed by the Board of Directors, the Alumni Association is a committed partner and supporter of the University of Michigan and offers many programs and services that are relevant to alums and the university community.
The University of Michigan combines a scale that exceeds all but a handful of American universities, with a level of scholarly excellence that is equally rare. It consistently ranks among the top three U.S. public universities, including first among publics in the QS World University Rankings, and U.S. News and World Report ranks 110 of U-M’s graduate programs in the top ten. With over 65,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students on three campuses, the breadth and scale of intellectual strength is something that few public or private institutions can match. The University has built one of the most successful fundraising programs in higher education, through a decentralized model and global impact.
AAUM enriches the University of Michigan’s impact by serving as an independent gateway for alums of all identities, backgrounds, and experiences – across the globe and in our neighborhoods – in order to create and deepen belonging to the Michigan Family, the Leaders and Best. Through the Alumni Association’s inclusive communications and opportunities for engagement, AAUM strives to be an organization where every alum feels that the Association is a place intended for them — a place where they belong. More information about AAUM’s work around diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice can be found here.
The Association facilitates services to approximately 640,000 alumni across 181 countries. There are approximately 100,000 current members of the Alumni Association, with an additional 200,000 alumni who are actively engaged and participating in AAUM’s events and programs. University graduates feel overwhelmingly positive about their experience at the University of Michigan, and the Alumni Association’s translates this experience into actively engaged alumni.
The Association’s success comes from a strong and active Board of Directors and the creativity of staff who have been hired because of their expertise in key areas. The 22-member Board includes accomplished leaders (C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, financial, human resource, and digital experts, etc.) from across the nation, who provide a broad diversity of perspectives (e.g. 45% women and 68% racial diversity). This roster (https://alumni.umich.edu/about/board-of-directors/) provides more information about the makeup and quality of the Board.
The 75-member staff team is also diverse and consists of individuals who were hired because of their unique expertise in key areas that support the complexity of Association activity. Important to their success is an internal culture based on core values of “All In”, “Serving Heart”, and “Solution Seeking” and an absolute commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.
Over the past six years, AAUM has completed a large-scale “strategic transformation” to become an organization positioned to remain relevant to alumni and the University for the foreseeable future. Almost every existing program was overhauled or eliminated, and many new programs were developed to respond to the changing needs and interests of Michigan alums and the University they love. Most importantly, AAUM created systems, processes, and a culture of support for ongoing change in order to remain relevant.
The strategic transformation was built on four pillars that define the Association’s efforts:
- Alumni Connections: Opportunities through which alumni are able to build and maintain connections with each other and the University of Michigan.
- Alumni Success: Michigan alumni are already successful, but desire continued growth and recognize that the University has myriad resources to help them do so.
- Support for the University: The Association was founded by alumni who wanted to ensure that the University continues to thrive and provide opportunities for future generations.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice: Creating an organization in which every alum, regardless of identity, background, experience or perspective feels that they belong.
A few of AAUM’s signature programs include:
- Completely renovated in 2020, the Alumni Center is the Association’s home on campus that showcases the important role of alumni in the life of the University and the impact they have in their communities and for society.
- Alumni Communities: There are 114 geographical alumni clubs around the world. Alumni can also use the Alumni Directory and the Wolverine Forum to start or join discussions in virtual communities (86 and growing) based on interests or issues that matter most to them.
- Alumni Career Programs: Through a growing portfolio of programs like the Leaders of Industry Series and Preferred Career Coaches, alumni can find new ways to move ahead at every stage of their career.
- Alumni across the globe can access the timely topics, current events, resources, seminars, research, and expertise of the University digitally through the Alumni Education Gateway.
- Alumni Volunteer Management: Through a robust online platform, Michigan alumni can engage as volunteers to support the work of the Association or individual University units in myriad ways.
- As one of only a handful of alumni association-owned family camps in the nation, AAUM’s Camp Michigania is located on 400 acres along the shores of Walloon Lake in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. For sixty years, the camp has provided unique experiences for about 4,000 alums and family members, supported by nine full-time AAUM staff and over 100 seasonal employees. As part of the transformation effort, the resource is being enhanced to support year round engagement opportunities.
- Another first for AAUM, Michigan Alumni Educational Travel started in the 1960s with an around the world tour for alumni. Through unique offerings, targeted marketing and customization, the program has grown immensely since it was first created.
- In the late 1800s, the Alumni Association purchased and began to publish what is now the quarterly Michigan Alum magazine. In addition, about a dozen e-newsletters and a robust social media strategy have resulted in increased alumni engagement.
- LEAD Scholarship Program: In 2006, Michigan voters passed Proposal 2, which banned, among other things, preferential treatment based on race or ethnicity in college admissions. In addition, universities could no longer accept donations for race- or gender-specific programs. The following fall, one of the least diverse freshman classes in recent history enrolled on the Ann Arbor campus. For these reasons, the Alumni Association established the LEAD Scholars program for those who embody leadership, excellence, achievement, and diversity. The scholarship is available to accepted underrepresented minority students to help the best and brightest make their way to Michigan. The Alumni Association — independent from the University — takes full financial and administrative responsibility for this program. Since its inception in 2008, LEAD has provided merit-based, 4-year, renewable scholarships of up to $15,000 a year for Black, Latino/a, and Native American students across all three campuses.
For more information about the University of Michigan Alumni Association, please visit: https://alumni.umich.edu/.
- Strategic Planning and Management: shape and manage the organization’s strategic plan; design and implement new initiatives and approaches to achieve it. Drive transformational efforts within the organization to grow impact, resources, and membership, in close collaboration with the Board of Directors.
- Programs & Services: oversee all aspects of the development, planning and execution of the Alumni Association’s engagement activities – both in-person and virtual. Continue to drive increased engagement and participation across existing and new programs.
- Fundraising: work with the Alumni Association Development staff, in close collaboration with the University’s development team, to identify and cultivate donors.
- Leadership and Team Management: promote a culture of high performance, inclusion and belonging, and continuous improvement that values learning, collaboration, and commitment to quality and impact and a commitment to embodying AAUM’s core values. Hire, retain, and develop top talent.
- Financial and Risk Management: ensure the continued financial viability of the Alumni Association through sound fiscal management; align capital expenditures successfully with enterprise risk tolerance and growth needs. With the Chief Financial Officer, oversee financial and risk management functions for the organization and its assets.
The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM) seeks an entrepreneurial, experienced, and global leader of unquestioned integrity, intellectual breadth, convening power, and notable achievement in the non-profit, academic, government, and/or business sectors to be its next President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The ideal candidate will be a thoughtful and inspiring leader and manager able to act as a strategic partner to the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association. They will bring a global perspective and will be skilled in leading a comparably scaled organization or complex department of highly talented professionals. They will have a track record of success leading a nonprofit, academic, private, or public enterprise with a diverse constituency and broad scope. As a steward of Alumni Association resources, this individual will be adept at listening, informing, and defining a strategic vision, coupled with a willingness to be accountable for the oversight of implementation.
The President and CEO must possess the business acumen, management and leadership skills necessary to lead the organization through a time of evolution and change. The ideal candidate will have experience working closely with a board, staff, partners, and other constituents to achieve ambitious goals in a fiscally responsible manner, outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to represent the Alumni Association effectively with a diversity of audiences, including current students and Alumni themselves.
The candidate will foster an environment of creativity and innovation, lead an exceptional team with deep content expertise, and also provide the overarching leadership necessary to advance new initiatives. Through constructive dialogue, they will establish strategic partnerships and relationships around the world, while honoring the legacy and history of the Alumni Association and respecting and promoting its culture and values. The candidate will bring a deep appreciation for the global community of Michigan alumni and will demonstrate intercultural and international sensitivity and understanding.
The President and CEO will be a seasoned professional who leads through influence rather than hierarchy and has demonstrated their ability to achieve real impact across a complex organization; a collaborative leader able to provide clear guidance and to act decisively when necessary; someone skilled in translating vision and strategy into reality. The ideal candidate will be a confident executive who is comfortable working at both a high level as well as in the details to ensure direct reports are achieving metrics, meeting budgets, and providing exceptional support to the Michigan Alumni community.
A global mind-set and true interest in working with the Michigan community is essential for this role. Extensive knowledge of the University of Michigan is highly desirable. In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
- Strategic and Inspirational Leadership: The candidate will be a strategic thinker who will work with the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors and senior leadership team to inspire and cultivate vision. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated record of identifying needs, setting priorities, strategic planning, and leading organizations to success. They will be capable of working with and convening others to develop different strategies to address disparate audiences and international contexts. The candidate will have a strong understanding of the value in digital engagement through the effective use of big data, data analytics and social media.
- Building Relationships and Using Influence: The candidate will be a natural relationship builder who can navigate the University’s complex organizational structure and global alumni network. The candidate will feel comfortable cultivating relationships through influence rather than through positional authority. This individual will have the relationship-building skills necessary to lead the fundraising efforts, including a team of fundraising experts, on behalf of the organization.
- Communication Skills: As the most visible, active, and accessible relationship-builder at the Association, they will have the ability to connect with and engender trust from the Board, staff, University faculty and administration, and the global alumni community. The individual will feel comfortable articulating the Alumni Association’s vision and direction to large audiences, often in international settings, as well as be effective in one-on-one meetings and interactions.
- Demonstrated Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice: The candidate will bring a demonstrated personal and professional commitment to DEIJ; displaying cultural competence while operating in an environment with a wide range of constituents and communities. Furthermore, they will have experience translating an organization's diversity and inclusion and core values and commitments into specific strategies and actions.
- Leading, Managing, and Inspiring Teams: The candidate will have demonstrated skills in organizational development, with the ability to champion digital technology and initiatives, and bring in and empower staff. The candidate will build an open working relationship with an engaged Board of Directors and collaborate with the senior leadership team to develop an overall strategy, allocate resources, and set high-level implementation goals and priorities. The ideal candidate will have the interpersonal skills, charisma, and intellect needed to recruit, retain, motivate, and inspire a diverse and inclusive team, board members, Alumni, and partners. They will be an active listener, demonstrate AAUM’s core values including respect for others and, in turn, gain their respect.
- Executing for Results: The ideal candidate will demonstrate the ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance. They will lead with passion, humility, courage intelligence, energy and respect. The candidate will foster a culture of engagement and empowerment, convening and leading diverse constituencies from across the organization and country to achieve excellence. The candidate will have the ability to identify and discern issues and opportunities, set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, inspire both staff and Alumni, assure accountability, and allocate resources to ensure results.
Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.
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The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
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