The Forum Executive Director and Executive Director of External Relations (âœExecutive Directorâ) leads and manages the high-profile programmatic function of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. This position reports to the The Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies and Faculty Director, The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts (âœInstitute Directorâ). The Executive Director designs, plans and executes events that highlight the Instituteâ™s mission, engages its stakeholders, and enhances its reputation as a leading research institute.
In particular, the Forum Executive Director and Executive Director of External Relations will focus on the Instituteâ™s outward-facing, externally-focused portfolio of programming that highlights the research of the Institute and engages Pearson Faculty and Faculty Affiliates with policy makers and practitioners. Chiefly comprising this portfolio is the Pearson Global Forum and other high-profile events. As the leader of the Pearson Global Forum, the Executive Director will produce an outstanding conference that is well-attended and which attracts widespread positive awareness and interest from the public policy and academic communities and the international news media. The Forum Executive Director will be a critical member of The Pearson Institute and will help highlight the tremendous work being done at the Institute and share it with external audiences.
The Forum Executive Director and Executive Director of External Relations will oversee the external relations strategy of the Institute, spearheading the effort to increase awareness in the public policy arena of The Pearson Institute and The Pearson Global Forum by building relationships with policy experts, targeting media engagement, and producing public events. This might include, but is not limited to, establishing formal partnerships with other academic institutions, government agencies, NGOs, and others.
This Forum Executive Director will work closely with the faculty and staff of The Pearson Institute to advance the research of the Institute and increase visibility of the Institute in the greater Chicago area and around the world.
Lead the strategic planning of major Pearson Institute externally-facing events, mainly the Pearson Global Forum:
Work with Pearson faculty and staff to understand and solidify the objectives of the events, provide strategic plans to execute the event
Establish goals of events and provide input or feedback on content and types of programming based on needs
Facilitate planning sessions, when needed, to solidify event programming, establish event details, and identify and engage stakeholders
Advise on program format to ensure events are engaging and effective
Provide leadership, direction and approval in performance of the details of event production, with emphasis on high standards, attention to detail, protocol, and etiquette
Create contingency plans and implement solutions for any unexpected changes or issues that arise
Ensure seamless coordination with Harris Public Policy, the Office of the Provost, and other key partners across campus
Manage relationship with communications partners and contract staff, ensuring seamless coordination of media relations and coverage of Forum-related events
Develop and track project plans for event preparation and day-of execution and provide operational direction to ensure all aspects of events remain on track
Create a detailed timeline for each stage of the event and preparation
Communicate with Pearson faculty and staff frequently during event planning and execution in order to understand and meet the needs of all stakeholders
Facilitate discussions and decisions about key event requirements to ensure all key stakeholders align to event details and plans.
Track and compile all information and analytics from events to produce outcomes and best practices reports
Oversee the external relations function of The Pearson Institute:
Identify and develop key partnerships for The Pearson Institute, building key relationships to be leveraged for The Pearson Global Forum
Partners may include: other academic institutions, think tanks, government agencies, NGOs/non-profit organizations, research institutes, etc.
Pursue strategic media engagement opportunities for Pearson Faculty and other stakeholders as part of The Pearson Global Forumâ™s mission to unite research with policy
Ensure the execution of a communications strategy designed to grown and engage external stakeholders
Direct relationship management strategy of Institute, guiding staff in CRM and other data usage
Facilitate opportunities for students to connect with and learn from policy practitioners who have worked on conflict and peace issues and/or in active conflict zones
Liase with Harris and University development teams on identification, cultivation and stewardship of donors to The Pearson Institute
Oversee execution and day-to-day operation of all major externally-facing Pearson events :
Guide the Assistant Director of Events, who is responsible for executing smaller, internal or student-facing events for the Institute
Ensure development of timelines for planning and day-of-event activities, and oversee the planning and execution of logistics (e.g., facility selection, menu planning, transportation arrangements, and audio/visual equipment) for organization meetings and special events.
Track and review event preparation activities that include but are not restricted to:
Review and approve marketing and communication materials such as brochures, booklets, invitations, and website and social media announcements
Oversee management of RSVPs and other attendant responses as well as post event follow-up (thank- you notes, audio-visual recording distribution, etc.)
Oversee venue selection and development of appropriate floor plans
Ensure transportation and parking arrangements, as necessary
Ensure high-quality check-in procedures and attendance tracking options
Resolve any issues and/or conflicts that arise during the planning stages or the course of the events
Monitor and evaluate the performance of the vendors
Ensure implementation of event objectives follow University policies, procedures and standards
The Pearson Institute seeks a highly skilled professional with excellent credentials and experience, such as experience organizing academic, public policy, or other large conferences; colloquia; symposia; awards programs; or similar activities. This position also requires knowledge of the research and policy areas of The Pearson Institute demonstrated through past experience and education.
Professional demeanor, including tact, discretion, and a customer service-oriented approach to the job
Experience working with faculty members, senior executives, dignitaries, and/or public officials required
Strong verbal and writing skills, high attention to detail and follow-up, and excellent organizational skills
Ability to multi-task and handle multiple priorities and constituents simultaneously and demonstrate grace under pressure when handling challenging or unexpected situations
Keen sense of building and maintaining partnerships and relationships with external stakeholders
Ability to deliver high quality results in a dynamic environment
Ability to work collegially and collaboratively in a team setting
An exceptional work ethic and track record of personal initiative
Willingness and ability to travel, work some evenings and weekends required
Education, Experience or Certifications:
Master's degree or higher required
Ten years of progressively responsible experience in external relations and/or international programming/event planning and management required
Experience managing events with international delegates and executive-level participants preferred
Familiarity with higher education and experience working with faculty and students preferred
Technical Knowledge or Skills:
Working knowledge and experience with Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, CRM software, email marketing platforms
Understanding of the research areas of peace and conflict studies and foreign policy and international development fields
Multiple languages a plus
Familiarity with higher education environment and knowledge of the University of Chicagoâ™s unique culture is a plus
NOTE: When applying, all required documents MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application.
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