Executive Director, Advancement Operations, VP Advancement

Executive Director, Advancement Operations, VP Advancement

Position Overview

The Office of Advancement is currently seeking a Full-time Limited Term Executive Director, Advancement Operations for approximately 2 years with a strong possibility of extension.

Reporting to the Vice-President (Advancement) (VPADV) the Executive Director is a member of the Vice-President's leadership team, responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership to the Vice-President and his/her office. The role requires complex and varied skills including organisational development, budget development and management, operational, talent and project management, decision-making, executive communication and relationship development.

As the operational lead for the Office of Advancement, the Executive Director initiates and manages a wide range of internal and external matters on behalf of the Vice-President, many that are high profile and require diplomacy and discretion. The Executive Director is accountable for the design, implementation and direction of systems and structures within the Office of the VPADV. As a key member of the Advancement leadership team, the Executive Director builds consistency and continuity within the portfolio, between portfolios and institutionally, and provides background and strategic advice to the Vice-President on issues and operational / administrative management, policies, and institutional initiatives.

In consultation and collaboration with the Vice-President, this position resolves issues and leads initiatives with positive impact and minimal institutional disruption/delay as well as works closely with the Associate Vice-Presidents, Senior Directors, Directors, and senior administrators across campus. Specific accountabilities include providing strategic counsel, critical analysis, coordination and alternative approaches and recommendations on a wide range of issues as well as developing, interpreting and updating related policies and procedures. In addition, the Executive Director is responsible for providing direction and oversight of the management of financial and human resources, talent management, facilities and planning functions of the Office of the VPADV. This includes oversight of two direct reports who will collaborate with the Executive Director on various projects and activities, and in various capacities.


Position Description

Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):

Operational Excellence

  • Design, develop and implement effective policies, procedures and systems that ensure best practices
  • Assess operational and administrative systems and controls for continuous improvement opportunities; demonstrate an awareness of key drivers for decision-making in the institution and attain buy-in of key stakeholders to change initiatives
  • Recommend and implement change to administrative systems, procedures, and processes, including evaluation and improvement implementation; able to process problems into solutions and new opportunities
  • Remain current on factors that would initiate change or the accountabilities of the role of Executive Director such as university policies and procedures
  • Resolve key concerns and ad-hoc issues in the Office of the VPADV, often when provided with limited identification of the issues, including researching, involving the multiple parties, making recommendations to solve and/or develop procedures and practices, implement tools, and test the results
  • Identify, assess, and inform the Vice-President of internal and external issues that affect the portfolio
  • Ensure the allocation of time, flow of information, and priorities for self and staff
  • Account for all aspects of workforce planning with a focus on supporting the short and long-term business objectives of the Vice-President
  • Act as a project manager, working in close partnership with various stakeholders to ensure accountabilities are met for a wide number of complex initiatives
  • Participate as a member of the VPADV Advancement Leadership Team

Strategic Planning / Project Management

  • Provide professional and expert guidance to the Vice-President and Advancement leadership in the development of operational, tactical and work force and talent management plans to address specific issues and emerging initiatives
  • In collaboration with the Vice-President and Advancement leadership, lead, develop, monitor and meet the business objectives, translate and interpret the university's strategic plans in order to develop business unit objectives, critical success factors and to implement appropriate performance measurements
  • Lead, develop and advance project management strategies for special assignments and projects

Financial Reporting and Budgeting

  • Under the leadership and direction of the Vice-President, the Executive Director leads and directs the planning and development of operating budgets and variance analysis for the Office of Advancement, as supported by the portfolio's dedicated Finance Partner
  • Identify cost recovery and cost sharing opportunities
  • Approve expenditures within the authority delegated by the Vice-President

Talent Management and Building Organizational Culture

  • Provide professional expertise and support in the design, development and implementation of a talent management program that helps Advancement achieve its business goals and makes us an employer of choice for top Advancement talent across the country
  • Develop, initiate and maintain effective programs for workforce retention, promotion and succession planning
  • Create and maintain a strategy to support an environment of equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and competitive advantage within the Office of Advancement
  • Ensure that portfolio-wide talent management and initiatives are focused and aligned on improving operational and program efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Develop and implement creative and innovative sourcing strategies and techniques to build a pipeline of qualified candidates
  • Ensuring the hiring, onboarding and off boarding processes within the Office of Advancement are effective for diverse groups
  • Ensure HR plans and goals are aligned with the mission and business objectives of the Office of Advancement

Communication / Relationships

  • Ensure communications are timely, informative and appropriately represent the Office of the VPADV and the university
  • Manage complex university issues and challenging interpersonal interactions with composure and diplomacy while maintaining confidentiality
  • Seek expert opinions and advice when appropriate
  • Proactively develop and maintain trustworthy, productive, problem-solving working relationships with colleagues and staff, across the university community and external agencies
  • Coach and motivate staff, team and project members to develop positive, high trust working relationships and operate effectively as a team including problem solving processes and conflict resolution
  • Create an environment where knowledge sharing, support, training tools, coaching and staff development ensure service levels meet or exceed expectations
  • Contribute information and expertise and keeps up to date on relevant current trends and developments with colleagues at other Canadian universities, professional organizations and government department and agencies

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • 10+ years of work experience at a senior management level at a large academic institution or within a large public sector organization
  • Degree in business administration or a related discipline or an equivalent combination of education/experience
  • Strong ability to provide operational excellence, recommendations for continuous improvement, and set organizational metrics and assessments
  • Experience in creating and leading operational planning and strategies
  • Experience with variance analysis, and management and oversight of budgets, including the ability to plan, develop, coordinate and consolidate multiple operating budgets within a multi-faceted setting
  • Experience in leading and developing talent management strategies, leading organizational change and developing a positive culture across a diversified team
  • Project management expertise and experience managing inter-disciplinary teams is required
  • Extensive knowledge of the university community and understanding of the university's governance, organizational structure and administrative policies and procedures
  • Demonstrated success as a strategic collaborator, facilitator, negotiator and mediator, and proven ability to work diplomatically with others
  • Ability to formulate and interpret policies and provide information and advice to Advancement leaders and other stakeholders as necessary
  • A calm, even and professional demeanor and absolute discretion, integrity and tact, in dealing with a high volume of confidential matters
  • Ability to communicate clearly, appropriately and efficiently
  • Ease in relating with the array of university constituents including board members, donors, government officials, community leaders, faculty members, staff, students, parents, and the public
  • Exceptional analytical and organizational skills
  • Well-developed teamwork capabilities

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

How to apply for this position: 

Please apply through the UCalgary careers website at:



Additional Information

The University of Calgary’s comprehensive benefits and pension program is designed to promote a productive level of health and well-being to staff members. This position is classified in the Management Career Band, Level M4 of the Management and Professional Staff Career Framework.  The salary range for this position is $132,000 to $211,200 and will be negotiated based on the candidate’s skills and experience.

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website.

The University strongly recommends all faculty and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit ucalgary.ca.

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy in line with the foundational goals of Eyes High, committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

As an equitable and inclusive employer, the University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their academic and professional success while they are here. In particular, we encourage members of the designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible/racialized minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, we offer accommodation at any stage during the recruitment process to applicants with disabilities. Questions regarding [diversity] EDI at UCalgary can be sent to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (equity@ucalgary.ca) and requests for accommodations can be sent to Human Resources (hrhire@ucalgary.ca).

We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.