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Executive Director, Community Relations - Upper Canada College

Application Deadline : 2020-01-03
Institution : Upper Canada College
Description :

POSITION PROFILE: Executive Director, Community Relations

About Upper Canada College

Upper Canada College is one of North America’s oldest and most renowned independent schools. Founded in 1829, UCC has educated the next generation of leaders and innovators, inspiring them to make a positive impact on their world. 

UCC”s renewed strategic directions, launched in 2017, set the course for the school’s next decade, and provides a framework for growth as the school prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2029. The plan connects UCC’s history of bold and progressive thinking with its renewed vision and mission: to inspire boys to be their best selves, and to provide transformational learning experiences.  

Located in central Toronto, the College has more than 1,150 students from Senior Kindergarten through Year 12, including 88 boarding students representing 25 countries. With 10,000 alumni in more than 75 countries, the school will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2029.

Office of Advancement at UCC

UCC’s Office of Advancement enhances the College’s mission by engaging its global community of alumni, parents, students and friends in philanthropic support of its strategic directions and priorities. With an Advancement team of over 20 staff, new leadership, and the learnings from a recently achieved $100M campaign, UCC is poised to mark its bicentennial with several significant initiatives that will fulfill its aspiration to be a global leader in the education of boys. 

UCC is a collaborative and supportive environment that encourages staff development and education. 

Vision, Mission, Values

Vision - UCC values each boy and inspires him to be his best self. A UCC experience reflects the pluralism and promise of Canada and identifies the College as a global leader in the education of boys. Mission - UCC provides transformational learning experiences that foster the development of head, heart and humanity, and inspire each boy to make a lasting and positive impact on his world. Values - UCC's values build on our rich history and traditions and serve to inform how we interact with each other and with our world. At UCC we value: learning, pluralism, service, community, and

The Role

UCC thrives on and succeeds by the investment of our community of parents, alumni, students and volunteers. The strategic, timely and effective engagement of our community is vital to the successful achievement of strategic priorities.

The Executive Director, Community Relations, reporting to the Vice-Principal, Advancement, is responsible for several key deliverables: 

  • Elevating, organizing, and prioritizing the involvement of volunteers to maximize their impact and satisfaction;
  • Providing strategic and creative thinking to the design and delivery of UCC’s community relations and engagement programs, aligning the activities, experiences, and services of key stakeholder groups with the College’s Strategic Directions and Advancement priorities;
  • Maximizing the effectiveness and satisfaction levels associated with alumni engagement programs -- using feedback, analytics, and management insights;
  • Serving as an ambassador and key representative of the school to a variety of constituencies and stakeholder groups.

Key Responsibilities

Leadership and Strategy

  • Work with the Vice-Principal, Advancement, and collaborate with the Advancement leadership team, to develop integrated programs and strategies for stakeholder engagement.
  • Work closely with the Director, Marketing and Communications, to ensure alignment and integration of communications objectives with engagement programs.
  • Work closely with the Associate Vice-Principal, Advancement, to ensure alignment and integration of fundraising priorities and programs with volunteer and engagement programs.

Alumni & Parent Relations

  • Develop and oversee a modern, innovative, creative and vibrant community engagement program designed to connect alumni, parents, past parents and friends with the life of the school through volunteer opportunities, and targeted events and programming, in alignment with and support of the College’s strategic directions.
  • Use market research to identify the needs and interests of alumni, parents and other constituents, and to design thinking methodologies and use research to help develop solutions to fit the identified needs.
  • Serve as the senior staff support to a variety of volunteer bodies and committees, including the parents’ organizations, delegating action items to team members appropriately while maintaining mutual accountability to stated goals and objectives.
  • Oversee programs for recruitment, training, recognition and stewardship of alumni and parent volunteers.

Association Council

  • Provide leadership to the Association Council in the development of short- and long-term strategic objectives for the Association and College staff that enhance the relationships between alumni, parents, students, employees and the College.
  • Serve as the Chief Administrative Officer of the UCC Association, supporting the President, Council, and its sub-committees and task forces.
  • Develop and oversee strategies to enhance the awareness and impact of the Association in the UCC community.

Broader Community

  • Participate and lead, where appropriate, in the development and execution of plans to engage UCC with the broader community.


  • Provide strategic guidance to events, overseeing the team providing creative and logistical support for community engagement events.
  • Engage and support event suppliers and external suppliers and partners.
  • Develop frameworks for assessing the effectiveness of events and return on investment, allocating resources, and adjusting event schedules and strategies accordingly.
  • Provide support, encouragement and advice to volunteer event organizers.


  • Provide expertise and management support to the VP, Advancement; Advancement Committee; Board of Governors; and faculty and staff in relation to Advancement activities and campaigns.
  • Oversee the budget and fiscal management of the community relations office.
  • Lead a team of 4-5 direct reports.

The Opportunity

The role gives the incoming Executive Director, Community Relations the opportunity to be on the ground floor for the next large capital campaign, setting in place the strategy and best practices for community engagement at the College. The Executive Director will work with a wide range of stakeholders on a daily basis and interact with some of Canada’s most impressive business, cultural, public service and civic leaders while working within a strong and community-driven advancement team. 

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate is a seasoned engagement professional who has a track record of engaging and leading large and diverse stakeholder groups, whether that be in the not-for-profit or private sector. They have built successful engagement programs and activities by understanding the priorities of their organization and setting strategies that align with these priorities. A history of using creative and critical thinking in their work will need to be demonstrated as well as the ability to communicate their vision and plan to a large audience in a clear and concise manager. The ideal candidate will have managed a team of engagement professionals (event, alumni, analysts) showing that they are able to hire, train and motivate a team of staff. And while revenue is not one of the overall metrics for the role, the Executive Director will have experience supporting revenue generating groups such as fundraising and/or sales through their program and engagement strategies.

Personal Attributes

The Executive Director, Community Relations possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence, allowing them to work successfully with a wide range of stakeholders with varying personality types. They bring with them great relationship management skills with attributes such as respect, kindness and positivity. They build trust through understanding of others, delivery of results, and tact when navigating complex issues. Naturally confident and polished, the Executive Director always presents with a high degree of composure, regardless of the situation. Excellent listening skills are essential in the role, to ensure that everyone involved in the process is valued and heard, and the best solutions are formed with the benefit of stakeholder input.

Core Competencies

  • 10 plus years of relevant experience in the areas of external relations, stakeholder engagement, volunteer management, alumni/parent relations, education administration, and/or other related fields.
  • Has demonstrated managing senior level volunteers, strategic planning, large-scale event management, program management and budget management.
  • Experience leading and managing the Consistency Relations team (professionals and support staff), including the full management scope (i.e. recruitment, training/development, performance evaluation, and employee engagement). Sets clear expectations, promotes high levels of accountability, and supports staff in optimal achievement.
  • Track record working in partnership with the fundraising/sales team to grow revenue.
  • Has developed, maintained and enhanced alumni outreach and engagement programs and initiatives.
  • Ability to manage change and align people to an organizational strategy or objective.
  • Ability to build and maintain effective networks and relationships with students, alumni and parent groups.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with College senior leadership team, Parents’ Organizations, faculty, staff and students to optimize alumni outreach and engagement activities.
  • Knowledge of marketing principles and methodology, to develop engagement and fundraising campaigns directed to alumni.
  • Knowledge of current and emerging trends and issues in alumni relations, especially as related to fundraising, and engagement, in order to identify and optimize opportunities for networking and messaging, including current technology applications.
  • Knowledge of evaluation techniques and processes, in order to evaluate the success of engagement programs, identify areas in need of improvement, and develop remedial changes.
  • Ability to identify and evaluate trends and best practices in other sectors, and determine applicability to the College. 
  • Post-secondary graduation in a relevant program (e.g. management, marketing, communications).

How To Apply

We thank all candidates in advance. We will, however, contact only those selected for an interview. To apply, please submit, in confidence, a resume along with cover letter which sets out your interest in the role and highlights the experience you have relevant to the role. The preferred method of application is on-line at

Contact Details

Sandra Paquette

Vesna Markovic