Executive Director Position Description

Duties and Responsibilities of the Executive Director, American Geosciences Institute

Leadership – The Executive Director(ED) needs to be able to assist the Executive Committee (EC) in developing a vision for the Institute.  This should be done on at least a 4-5 year basis.  The ED should be well acquainted with the challenges facing the geosciences, assess opportunities for strategic partnerships, and have a strong network of individuals that can be called upon for advice and guidance.  The ED needs to be considered a visionary leader by staff, the EC, volunteers, the geosciences community and the decision-making community.  The ED needs to have contacts and productive relationships with individuals from industry, government, and academia at all levels.  Given the global nature of AGI’s efforts, having an international reputation would be a strong asset.  A track record of proven leadership is necessary, particularly when dealing with individuals and groups that work with AGI.  It is important that the ED understand the role of the AGI Foundation, its leadership and its fundraising efforts.

The ED should be an effective leader for AGI staff.  The ED must be respected in terms of the directions that AGI pursues, the decisions that the ED makes, and the partnerships developed.  The ED is responsible for the implementation of the strategic plan.  Staff is responsible for implementing individual aspects of the plan but the ED must have the respect of the staff to accomplish this effectively.

Operational Management—The ED must be a good administrator and have a high level of management savvy.  The ED should have experience in personnel and human resource management, facilities and infrastructure management, program and operations management, and fiscal management and planning.  The ED should routinely track progress of the investments, and implementation of the strategic plan, and should develop and track success metrics.  An understanding of the research process and publishing are also very desirable traits.

Relationship building—AGI is unique in the geosciences in that it is a federation of member societies.  The ED must recognize the importance of developing productive relationships with each of the societies.  This is a challenging aspect of the ED role in that it requires the ED to foster collaborative relationships amongst organizations with different missions, goals, sizes, and resource and member bases. Understanding this landscape is critical to success.  The societies must see value in AGI.  It requires a constant and robust dialogue as well as strong personal relationships among the ED and leaders of the societies. 

The ED must also develop productive relationships with groups outside the geosciences community including government agency leaders, the K-12 community, congressional and administration leaders, the National Academies, museum community, publishers, media, etc. 

Entrepreneurship—The ED should be continually developing, evaluating and pursuing opportunities for revenue for AGI that are consistent with mission.  The ED needs to use the staff of AGI to develop new ideas for services, grants and long-term revenue streams.  Grants and new revenue should come from a wide array of sources including government, industry, foundations, individuals, and new product sales.  The ED must also seek funding for efforts outside the United States as appropriate.

Representation—The ED should be an effective representative of AGI and its programs and attend appropriate events both domestically and abroad.  The ED should seek to represent AGI at the highest levels possible both domestically and globally.  The ED should be comfortable and adept at public speaking and presenting to senior level individuals.  Travel is required and the ED should have a visible presence often involving leading a session, making a presentation, meeting with students or serving on committees at appropriate domestic and global events.