Western University

Western University

Western has an impressive track record of success – achievements we take pride in and that have paved a road towards an even brighter, bolder future. But never settling for the status quo, Western seeks to maximize its potential as an academic community and increase the impact of its research, teaching, and community engagement. The University’s newly released Strategic Plan, Towards Western at 150, outlines a bold, inclusive vision for Western’s future, and outlines our priorities and aspirations while serving as the cornerstone of our public accountability. 

Combining academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social, and cultural growth, Western has been preparing future leaders for careers of impact in their communities since 1878. 

A vibrant centre of learning with nearly 45,000 students from 128 countries, we offer more than 400 combinations of undergraduate majors, minors and specializations offered through 12 faculties and schools, and three affiliated university colleges. This includes 88 different graduate degree programs, many of which are interdisciplinary, offered through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, as well professional programs in Medicine, Business, Law and Engineering. 

Ranked among the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide, Western is Canada’s third largest research-intensive university, and is a founding member of the U15 group of Canada’s most distinguished research universities. As one of the region’s largest employers, Western has an operating revenue of nearly $800 million, and more than 11,000 full and part-time staff and faculty. 

One of the oldest and most beautiful universities in Canada, Western is located on over 55 hectares (1,120 acres) along the banks of the Thames River in London, Ontario providing a unique community feeling. The main campus offers nine student residences, housing either first-year students or upper-year students, plus three on-campus three apartments on campus strictly for upper-year and graduate students. 

The University Community Centre serves as Western's student activity centre, with spaces for student government, social, cultural, entertainment and recreational activities. The University Students' Council recognizes more than 180 student organizations and clubs which cover a wide range of interests such as academics, culture, religion, social issues, and recreation.

Athletics at Western is managed by Sports & Recreation Services. The university's varsity teams, known as the Western Mustangs, compete very successfully in U Sports, the Ontario University Athletics conference.

As we look towards our 150th anniversary in 2028, we are energized and ready for greater impact. We will educate, support, and encourage leaders who think and act boldly in response to the grand challenges of our time – to serve the public good. As we chart an innovative path over the next 150 years, we will build a university more energized, more influential, and more inclusive than ever before.

Salary Range:$175 000 - $200 000

City:London, ON

Job description:

The Opportunity

Western University is seeking an Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations to provide strategic leadership and vision for the planning, implementation, management and evaluation of alumni engagement strategies. As a member of the University Advancement senior leadership team, the AVP, Alumni Relations will also provide executive leadership and be responsible, in collaboration with colleagues, for the overall strategy of University Advancement. This is a new position at Western, elevated to the AVP level when the previously amalgamated Alumni Relations & Development department was split to ensure continued strategic and operational excellence in both areas.

A highly visible leader, the Associate Vice-President will make alumni feel engaged and excited, and will mobilize their pride and loyalty to encourage philanthropic support and volunteer commitment. The Associate Vice-President will provide inspiration to the alumni staff team and volunteers at all levels throughout the University, and while representing Western locally and internationally.

The Associate Vice-President role will be a catalyst for excellence and innovation, and will leverage opportunities to implement change and new initiatives to maximize program delivery, efficiency and effectiveness within Alumni Relations and University Advancement. The Associate Vice-President will direct the development of a diverse alumni programming and events portfolio, which aligns offerings with each stage of the alumni life cycle and leverages a variety of engagement methods.

The new incumbent in this role will lead a strong and committed team of alumni relations professionals who are individually and collectively focused on ensuring the University is successful in its mission to inspire and engage alumni, while fostering meaningful and mutually beneficial life-long relationships between the University and its graduates. The AVP will oversee the successful creation, execution and evaluation of high-quality engagement initiatives, both centrally and within the faculties and divisions, to ensure that alumni engagement is broadened, deepened, and aligned with Western’s new strategic plan.

Reporting to and working closely with the Vice-President (University Advancement), the Associate Vice-President will serve as a member of the University’s leadership group, interacting with leaders at all levels, including the President, Deans, Chairs, Professors, all Vice-Presidents, AVPs and student leaders, on a wide variety of University Advancement initiatives and programs.

The Associate Vice-President, Alumni Relations will also work closely with and support Western’s Alumni Association, which was established in 1949 as a non-profit organization led by an all-alumni Board of Directors. Members of the Alumni Association give freely of their time and talent to deliver the best alumni experience through active participation in Alumni and student engagement programs, support of University governance, advocacy, and ambassador opportunities for Western.

The AVP will also work with the Alumni team to support other Alumni and community stakeholder groups. For instance, our team engages closely with 19 Regional Chapters, plus other world-wide activities through our Western Alumni Global Ambassador program. We currently have 11 Shared Interest Groups, including Black at Western and the Indigenous Alumni Chapter.

As well, the AVP will support the Alumni team in the delivery of programs and services such as Alumni Career ManagementPurple PerksLifelong LearningAlumni Travel, and Alumni Events such as Homecoming and Western Day.

This is a permanent, full-time position and will be based in Westminster Hall at Western University at 361 Windermere Road, London, Ontario, Canada.  The University is proud of its on-campus and in-person student and alumni experience, and therefore Senior leaders are expected to work on-campus. Flexible work hours are available if responsibilities can accommodate, as well as occasional work-from-home for added flexibility. There will be significant travel in this role (regionally, nationally, and internationally) and candidates must possess a valid passport. Western’s vaccination policy and mandatory masking requirement remain in place, and University employees are required to attest to having up-to-date COVID vaccinations.

University Advancement at Western University

University Advancement inspires loyalty, pride, engagement, support and lifelong relationships with our internal and external communities. We play a leading role in strengthening awareness of and support for the University’s mission and goals by leading the alumni relations and development efforts across campus and beyond.

The University Advancement team at Western consists of over 100 professionals and support staff involved with Alumni Relations, Development, and Advancement Operations.  This team leads the way in serving our alumni, donors, faculty, staff, students and volunteers Staff are deployed in a centralized/decentralized model whereby some team members worked centrally on overarching strategy and service delivery to colleagues, while others work in various University Faculties, alongside academic and administrative colleagues. University Advancement works in close collaboration with our Advancement colleagues at the Ivey Business School. 

Western University has more than 328,000 living alumni in 161 countries worldwide. The Alumni Relations department within University Advancement builds and strengthens alumni engagement within each stage of the alumni life cycle through creation and implementation of high-quality engagement activities that are a coordinated campus-wide effort.  

The key goal of Alumni Relations is to connect Western’s alumni, through strategies and programs that build long-term relationships, philanthropic support and volunteer commitment for the University. Western Alumni are offered a variety of in-person and virtual Lifelong Learning programs, global travel program, shared interest and affinity groups, Ambassador program, career and life management programs, regional events and activities, Alumni awards, and a wide array of Purple Perks.

Thanks to the generosity of our alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students, and volunteers, Western celebrated the conclusion of a multi-year capital campaign, Be Extraordinary, in 2018 which raised $805 million. This historic achievement would not have been possible without their support. Together, we have created a university with a sharpened focus, enhanced Canada’s best student experience and continued a legacy of exceptional teaching and research.

University Advancement is actively engaged in the early stages of the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in its history, a key priority outlined in Towards Western at 150:  Western University Strategic Plan.

Key Responsibilities & Accountabilities

The AVP, Alumni Relations will be responsible for the following key accountabilities:

  • Provides strategic direction and leadership to the Alumni Relations team (approximately 18 staff centrally), and related staff in the Faculties and Divisions across campus, in regard to Alumni Relations activities, processes, policies and best practices
    • Oversees operational teams to establish and maintain high and consistent levels of service and responsiveness
    • Ensures that training and instruction are provided to staff so that all areas of responsibilities are effectively, efficiently and productively completed
  • Collaborates with other senior leaders within University Advancement to develop and implement a strategic plan for the Division, and their portfolio, that is in line with Western’s strategies
    • Ensures Alumni Relations strategies are implemented in partnership and alignment with the development portfolio
  • Provides vision, direction and oversight in the development and implementation of a multi-year plan to engage alumni with the intent of achieving objectives set out in Western’s strategic plan (more than 328,000 living alumni in 161 countries worldwide)
    • Works with senior leadership across the university to set the strategic direction for alumni engagement that pushes beyond the status quo and engages alumni through digital, traditional and emerging channels
    • Ensures that annual and long-term goals for individual and team alumni activity and achievement are set, monitored and evaluated
    • Leverages analytics, comparative data and program information from peer and competing institutions to benchmark, set goals and assess potential strategies
  • Ensures the effective implementation of human resource processes for Alumni Relations, following best practices identified by central Human Resources and Advancement Operations
    • Regularly reviews the type of roles required to support the portfolio, and oversees recruitment into roles to meet current and future needs
  • Leads the Alumni Association board of directors (18 members) and its committees, through the role of Secretary, representing the University’s interests to the Board
    • Initiates discussions and programming decisions, identifies engagement strategies to be reviewed or investigated, and prepares research and recommendations for the Board to review and explore
    • Directs the development of reports that effectively present information on all alumni activities and programs
    • Participates in and leads the strategic planning process of the Alumni Association Board, and supports the establishment of an annual plan for alumni engagement
    • Works closely with the Alumni Association, its committees, branches and chapters to foster a collaborative and engaged volunteer group
  • Provides leadership for international foundations (e.g., United Kingdom Foundation, Hong Kong Foundation) and the International Advisory Committee, ensuring that the Foundations’ role and activities are collaboratively and positively integrated with the University’s work
  • Provides leadership in the development of strategies for regional activities for University Advancement, including participating in building strategies for development audiences
  • Oversees the management of affinity partnerships and other relationships to maximize revenue for Western
  • Develops strong partnerships with Western Communications colleagues, and provides guidance in the development of communications and marketing strategies for use in mass alumni engagement and outreach
  • Leads the budgeting process for their portfolio, ensuring resource allocations align to the strategic priorities of the unit
  • Presents on key performance indicators related to their portfolio, and prepares reports on the implementation of projects/programs, successes, areas of improvement and overall use of budgets
  • Participates as a senior leader within University Advancement, representing the department internally and externally

Candidate Qualifications & Experience

Required education and experience

  • A minimum of an Undergraduate Degree, though a Master’s Degree is preferred.  Ideally, candidates would have some formal education in Business Administration, Marketing, Communications, Public Relations or a related discipline
  • At least 10 years’ experience in a professional Advancement role, such as alumni and/or donor relations, event and/or program management, or related roles
  • A minimum of seven years’ experience leading and managing staff and projects
  • Previous demonstrated experience with board governance, including participating on and managing volunteer boards

Preferred Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Attributes

  • Leadership skills with the ability to inspire employees and develop a shared vision to lead a team to excellence
  • In-depth knowledge of best practices for building a strong collaborative team and leading people
  • Ability to establish effective routines for excellent communication with all members of the team to maximize productivity
  • Openness to recognize when change is necessary, and to develop, implement and lead effective change management strategies
  • Ability to anticipate new trends and identify opportunities to promote the long-term goals of the Division and University
  • Ability to collaborate across internal and external boundaries to meet common objectives, improve outcomes and support work beyond one’s own department
  • Ability to make decisions and recommendations that are clearly linked to the organization’s strategy and goals
  • In-depth knowledge of programs and services which have proven to enhance alumni engagement and experience
  • Ability to draw on diversity of skills, backgrounds and knowledge of people to achieve more effective results
  • Communication skills to engage audiences, with confidence interacting with individuals at all levels of an organization
  • Oral and written communication skills with an emphasis on proposal development and delivering presentations

For More Information

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this leadership search on behalf of Western University. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, KCI Search + Talent at Western@kcitalent.com.

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Please send a resume and letter of interest, to the email address above, and note that the deadline for submission is June 1, 2022.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit: www.kcitalent.com

This position is open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those legally able to work in Canada. Other individuals may also be considered, per Canadian immigration laws. Candidates should please include their status when applying for this position.

The salary range for this position is $175,000-$200,000 plus a comprehensive suite of benefits and pension.  Vacation will start at 15 days per year, plus the University typically closes between Christmas and New Year’s Day inclusive.

The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Western is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation, and persons of any gender identity or gender expression.

We are grateful to live, work and play on these lands.  Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Chonnonton peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom we recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors of our society.

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