Director, Alumni Relations & Executive Director, Alumni Association

  • Posted:Jun 20, 2024
  • Apply by:Jul 24, 2024
  • Job Type
  • Full Time
  • Job Level
  • Other
  • Location
  • Edmonton, AB
  • Impact Area
  • Other
  • Impact Category
  • Other
  • Company Type
  • Other

About this position

Reporting to the Associate Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations, the Director, Alumni Relations is responsible for providing vision and strategic leadership to ensure the University is successful in inspiring and engaging the alumni community to maintain a lifelong connection with the university.

A highly visible leader and relationship builder, the Director will foster pride and support for the university, inspiring giving, advocacy, and volunteerism. The incumbent will be an experienced leader and will represent the University of Alberta locally and internationally, effectively managing the reputation of the University with alumni audiences and ensuring the alumni body is strongly positioned as a key institutional stakeholder.

Cultivating a shared vision for strategic alumni relations at all levels throughout the University, the Director will lead a talented and committed team of alumni relations professionals and ensure the successful creation, execution, and evaluation of high-quality engagement initiatives aligned with the University strategic plan, Shape. This includes providing leadership and oversight of numerous alumni programs including the alumni affinity program, the ThresholdImpact Venture Mentoring Service; Alumni Career Support and Mentorship; Lifelong Learning; Alumni Travel; Alumni Recognition and a variety of other programs and events (such as U of A Days and the annual Alumni Awards).

Bringing significant knowledge and expertise in reaching diverse audiences, the new incumbent will work with senior leaders, alumni relations professionals and campus partners across the university to develop programs that engage alumni through digital, traditional, and emerging channels. They will be experienced in leveraging analytics, comparative data, and benchmarks to set goals, measure progress and evolve strategies for maximum effectiveness.

The Director is responsible for implementing business models and programs that measurably result in alumni actively supporting the teaching, research and community engagement mission of the university, across all life stages and levels of involvement with the institution. The Director will seek ways to meaningfully engage cohorts across various life stages and among groups that are strategically important to the university.

As the Executive Director of the Alumni Association, the incumbent will have expertise in volunteer management and board governance and will be responsible for ensuring an excellent experience for up to 40 alumni council volunteers, including recruitment, retention, and management. This position oversees Alumni Council leadership transition and leads the Alumni Association’s strategic planning in consultation with Alumni Council executive members.

As a leader at the University of Alberta, the incumbent will interact with leaders at all levels on a wide variety of University initiatives and programs. As a member of the Development and Alumni Relations senior leadership team, the Director will provide leadership and contribute to the overall advancement strategy.

In all facets of this role, this position endeavours to integrate and advance the University’s commitments to equity, diversity and inclusivity.

The University of Alberta is one of the top teaching and research universities in Canada, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering and health sciences.

With 5 campuses in two cities - Edmonton and Camrose, the U of A offers over 200 undergraduate programs and over 500 graduate programs attended by over 40,000 students from 156 countries around the world.

The U of A economic impact report released in April 2023, demonstrated that the University of Alberta generates $19.4 billion a year for the province’s economy, contributing more than five percent of Alberta’s GDP. This means that every year, the U of A and its grads combined add up to $155.8 billion to the provincial economy.

In recent years, the University of Alberta implemented a new university-wide operating model, allowing for a significantly higher proportion of the university’s resources to go directly into the university’s core mission of teaching and research. With a more dynamic, agile, and aligned academic structure, the university is now positioned to be an even stronger driver of economic growth, innovation and creativity in Alberta and beyond.

As reflected in the university’s new strategic plan, the University of Alberta is now poised for ambitious enrolment growth and even greater research impact. Through these changes, the university has continued to advance in international rankings, including rising 15 spots among the world’s top 100 in the 2024 QS rankings. The University of Alberta ranked sixth globally and first in North America in the 2024 Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, which assesses universities’ impact in relation to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

MISSION: Within a vibrant and supportive learning environment, the University of Alberta discovers, disseminates, and applies new knowledge through teaching and learning, research and creative activity, community involvement and partnerships. The U of A gives a national and international voice to innovation in our province, taking a lead role in placing Canada at the global forefront.

VISION: To inspire the human spirit through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery, and citizenship in a creative community, building one of the world's great universities for the public good.

There are currently over 300,000 University of Alberta grads around the world, each making an impact in their community. Every year around 9,000 students receive their degrees and make the transition to the alumni community, each one ready to make a tangible difference in the world.

U of A alumni have started companies with annual revenues of almost $250B, employing nearly one in every five Albertans. They give back by volunteering, and by starting organizations with social, cultural, and environmental missions. At the U of A, alumni give their time and talent through active participation in a variety of alumni and student engagement programs, as well as through support of University governance, and ambassador opportunities.

Alumni Relations proudly supports Alumni Council in representing the body of graduates who make up the Alumni Association. Alumni Council provides advice, determines programming, and works closely with the University of Alberta to strengthen the relationship alumni have with their alma mater and with each other. All members of Alumni Council apply through a competitive process to serve as advisors, without remuneration.

The Alumni Association involves 18 active regional and 7 local with 150 chapter volunteers, as well as 40 Alumni Council volunteers. There are over 300 programs, events, and services delivered, engaging all alumni across five campuses, 3 colleges and 18 faculties.  As the U of A prepares to grow its student population from 40,000 to 60,000 over the next decade, the potential for future alumni impact is unlimited.

Alumni Association Priorities

A: High Impact Outreach - Inspire the alumni community, elevate the university brand, and reinforce the impact of the U of A and its graduates.

B: Cohort-Based Engagement - Focus and refine alumni strategies to build relationships with cohorts based on differing needs.

C: Supportive Community - Create an inclusive, supportive network of alumni giving back to students, the alumni community, and the university.

D: Truth and Understanding - Take intentional and conscientious steps to acknowledge the ongoing impacts of colonization on First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and to foster understanding and respect.


Reporting to the Associate Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations, the Director, Alumni Relations, Executive Director Alumni Association will be an established leader and will be accountable for leading and managing the following:

Strategic Leadership
  • Translates the University’s vision and strategic plans into understandable and achievable goals and objectives for area of responsibility, advises the AVP Alumni and Development on Alumni Relations strategy.
  • Leads, motivates, inspires, and recognizes a team of high-performing alumni relations professionals.
  • Leads the development of integrated alumni plans (both short- and long-term). Makes the connections for staff between the role of the alumni relations and the success of the University.
  • Monitors and ensures compliance with legislative, regulatory, policy and procedural requirements in the area.
  • Understands the strategic consequences of emergent trends, barriers and opportunities in the internal and external environment and synthesizes and integrates information from multiple internal and external sources in order to develop an effective organizational response.
  • Ensures the availability of resources for key area objectives and makes adaptations to resource plans in response to changing organizational priorities. Seizes opportunities to leverage resources between area units.
  • Sets clear performance standards and expectations. Critically analyzes and evaluates the area’s performance against the strategy and makes changes as required. Holds self and area accountable for meeting performance objectives.
  • Provides leadership for the University of Alberta Alumni Association of over 300,000 alumni worldwide, in collaboration with Alumni Council volunteers.
  • Leads Alumni Council, an advisory committee of over forty volunteers that provides strategic advice towards the alumni relations strategy for the university. Responsible for volunteer recruitment, leadership transition and strategic planning.
  • Develops an Alumni Association strategic plan, in coordination with Alumni Council volunteers, which articulates clear goals for greater engagement of alumni, donors and the community with the university, and the strategies, tactics and messages to reach those goals.
  • Ensures alignment between the Alumni Association's strategic plan, the university’s strategic plan, the Office of External Relations goals, and the goals of colleges and faculties. Responsible for alumni relations activity driven from the university, as well as strategies uniquely created at the faculty level.
  • Leads Alumni Association programs, including the ThresholdImpact Venture Mentoring Service, alumni career services and the alumni awards program.
  • Represents the alumni body on university committees and acts as an advocate for alumni matters, ensuring the opinions, positions and issues of alumni remain integral to university planning.
  • Ensures Alumni Relations strategies are implemented in partnership and alignment with Development strategies and goals.
  • Oversees affinity partnerships with revenue generation with a goal of growth to continue subsidizing Alumni Relations’ programming and contribute to External Relations priorities for the University.
Relationship Management
  • Leverages existing networks and builds strategic relationships both internally and externally with the university. Identifies potential stakeholders/allies and actively seeks partnerships and collaboration for the long-term benefit of the U of A.
  • Ensures strong relationships and connections exist between the university and alumni.
  • Proactively seeks out opportunities to integrate with other Directors on key initiatives, strategies, and priorities. Promotes the sharing of expertise.
  • Builds strong, collaborative relationships with University leadership, faculty, staff, colleagues, volunteers, alumni and other leaders.
  • Leads Alumni Council volunteers, coordinating input and advice on alumni relations strategy and direction.
  • Leads the recruitment, orientation, engagement and recognition of an international network of active alumni through volunteer work in various capacities, including Alumni Council, associated alumni chapters, mentorship programs, the ThresholdImpact Venture Mentoring Service, advisory initiatives and more.
  • Cultivates corporate partnerships in collaboration with campus partners and on behalf of the Alumni Association to provide value-added services and benefits for alumni and essential revenue to run programs and services.
Decision Making
  • Leverages past experiences and an in-depth understanding of both the University, the higher education sector, and professional best practices to make sound decisions.
  • Balances multiple, competing requirements; makes decisions to advance some over others.
  • Understands the broader, long-term impacts of strategic decision making. Anticipates the impacts of these decisions on the University, other areas or individuals. Plans for impacts.
  • Keeps the AVP Development and Alumni Relations and other senior leaders involved and informed in decision making.
  • Delegates or escalates decision making where appropriate.
  • Manages the budget of Alumni Relations. Advocates for needed resources, balancing resources across programs, and balancing the immediate and future directions of an effective engagement program.
  • Acts as a key collaborator with faculties on programs and initiatives related to engaging their alumni, donors and community stakeholders. Leads a team of Alumni Relations faculty engagement partners to lead and execute alumni relations strategies in the faculties and units across campus.
  • Keeps up to date on emerging trends in alumni relations and disseminates key information to the Executive Team.
  • Supports and partners with Communications, Marketing, Government Relations and Community Relations colleagues within the External Relations portfolio.
  • Works with the AVP Development and Alumni Relations and campus partners to ensure alumni relations are as impactful as possible.
  • Shapes the future of the University through leadership of key strategic initiatives.
  • Promotes innovation in Alumni Relations and broadly across campus. Builds, maintains and supports networks for staff or stakeholders to share ideas.
  • Encourages and rewards initiative and innovation, while learning from failures.
  • Recognizes the need for change. Champions change which may mean disrupting traditional delivery. Continually assesses the University’s cultural readiness and capability to adopt proposed changes.
  • Proactively develops policies, processes and practices that remove systemic barriers to success.
  • Sponsors key area initiatives both within and outside area of responsibility. Provides input, advice, or direction into project development (e.g., scope, performance indicators).
  • Benchmarks against industry-leading programs and continually evaluates, refines and develops the portfolio’s programming and service based on cost, return on investment, effectiveness and outcomes.
  • Develops and delivers vibrant, relevant programming that encourages lifelong alumni engagement with the university.
  • Develops programs and initiatives to connect current students and young alumni to campus and alumni traditions and memorable places, to foster ongoing attachment to those traditions.
  • Collaborates across internal and external boundaries to meet common objectives, improve outcomes and support work beyond one’s own unit.
Talent Management
  • Works to shape the future of the University by creating an environment which engages current talent, as well as identifies and develops future leaders.
  • Promotes a culture which encourages development, innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement.
  • Fosters a diverse, inclusive, and respectful work area that promotes opportunity without discrimination or harassment.
  • Provides an appropriate level of autonomy to staff. Encourages staff to take the lead on issues, thereby developing leadership potential. Supports development opportunities for staff.
  • Recognizes the achievements and contributions of staff.
  • Supports open, meaningful, positive and useful internal and external communication. Uses a variety of communication mediums to get key messages across.
  • Builds confidence in the area and the University through personal actions and communications.

  • A minimum of ten 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 of progressively responsible leadership experience with a significant portion in direct management of programs, staff, and budget in a complex organization.
  • Previous demonstrated experience with board governance, including participating on and managing volunteer boards and committees is preferred.
  • Significant experience in volunteer management, marketing, communications, program planning, development and delivery.
  • In-depth knowledge of programs and services which have proven to enhance alumni engagement and experience.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills.
  • Significant experience with the role of new and emerging technologies and social media in reaching diverse audiences with targeted calls to engagement and action.
  • Significant experience leading communications, marketing and audience engagement activity at the strategic, tactical and practical levels.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain relationships with, and inspire, diverse stakeholders.
  • Able to employ integrity, diplomacy, discretion, and sound judgment while navigating sensitive or confidential issues.
  • Able to develop and implement policies, programs and strategies to support achieving a vision.
  • Able to travel domestically and internationally.
  • An undergraduate degree is required, and being a University of Alberta graduate is an asset.

KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of University of Alberta. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Sylvie Battisti, Senior Vice President, KCI Search + Talent, or Mia Gardiner, Senior Consultant, KCI Search + Talent via email at

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Interested candidates should send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by July 24, 2024.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. If you require any accommodations, please notify the Search Consultants.

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.

The University of Alberta, its buildings, labs, and research stations are primarily located on the traditional territory of Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, and Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe nations; lands that are now known as part of Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and homeland of the Métis. The University of Alberta respects the sovereignty, lands, histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations.

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