Vice President for Alumnae Relations

February 2019 | Northampton, MA Download PDF

About Smith College

Smith College building Smith College was founded in 1871 after Sophia Smith, a local woman with a world view, bequeathed her personal fortune to establish a college that would “right society’s wrong” by providing women with an education equal to that of men. Since its founding, Smith College has offered an education of unmatched quality to smart, talented and ambitious women from around the world. A world-class faculty engages students in their own intellectual development. An open curriculum encourages each student to pursue her passions, while highly accomplished alumnae serve as mentors, modeling leadership and achievement at all levels of society.

Located in picturesque Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College boasts a 147-acre campus that is not only breathtaking in its beauty but also impressive in its form and function. Designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted as a thriving botanic garden, the grounds are often used in classroom research and in the study of plant species and ecosystems. Smith’s participation in the Five College Consortium provides students with unique opportunities to take classes at nearby Amherst, Hampshire, and Mount Holyoke colleges and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The college’s proximity to the Holyoke Range, bike paths and wooded trails inspires an array of outdoor activities, from skiing to hiking to rowing along the Connecticut River.

Today, Smith is a college of and for the world. Its 2,500 undergraduates come from 47 states and 68 countries and embody the college’s commitment to diversity and providing access to women of all backgrounds. Throughout its history, Smith has remained nimble, introducing programs, courses and areas of study that respond to what the times require, including engineering, design thinking and data sciences. What has endured is Smith’s commitment to academic and intellectual freedom; an attention to the relationship between college education and the larger issues of the world and human dignity; and a concern for the rights of women.

Smith College - Ivy Day chainPresident Kathleen McCartney became Smith’s 11th president in 2013. She has led new strategic priorities resulting in important new academic and co-curricular programs that expand opportunities for women. Highlights include a major renovation of the main campus library designed by Maya Lin; the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center; comprehensive student leadership development programs; innovation grants for students, faculty and staff to work on complex problems such as diversity and inclusion; and an alumnae business network.

President McCartney recruited Beth Balmuth Raffeld, formerly Executive Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at MIT, who joined Smith in 2013 and now serves as Senior Vice President for Alumnae Relations and Development. Together they led Women for the World: The Campaign for Smith to successful conclusion in 2016, raising a total of $486 million and setting a record as the largest and most successful campaign ever undertaken to date by a women’s college.

About the Opportunity

Smith College takes great pride in the achievements of its alumnae. Among the college’s most notable graduates are Julia Child, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Sylvia Plath, Pakistan Ambassador Sherry Rehman, advertising executive Shelly Lazarus, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Firsts among alumnae include the first female mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts; the first woman to fly a jet plane; and the first woman physician in Kenya.

Smith College Ivy Day flowersSmith’s current alumnae relations program is robust. From reunions that attract thousands of alumnae to intellectual programming to popular travel and continuing education programs, alumnae have numerous opportunities to connect with the college and fellow classmates. Guiding the alumnae program is a deep respect for long-standing traditions coupled with a commitment to innovation and meeting the needs of contemporary women. The Alumnae Association of Smith College (AASC) formed in 1931 and is today an independent 501(c)(3) of over 50,000 alumnae. The AASC supports the college by enhancing its:

  • Reputation—through exceptional alumnae achievements, volunteer leadership, admission support, and ongoing engagement in the rich intellectual life of the college;
  • Community—through promoting and encouraging lifelong connections to the college, its students, alumnae clubs, classes, interest and affinity groups, and the vast alumnae network;
  • Philanthropy—through lifelong investments in Smith that support annual operations, financial aid and other strategic initiatives.

The Vice President for Alumnae Relations will be a strategic partner and an experienced manager of staff, volunteer leaders and committees. Exceptional candidates will recognize and respond to evolving alumnae interests; the rapidly changing use of technology to connect alumnae-to-alumnae and alumnae-to-students around the world; and the increasing diversity of the alumnae community.

About the Position

Reporting to Senior Vice President Beth Balmuth Raffeld and serving as a member of the President’s Cabinet, the Vice President for Alumnae Relations will be instrumental in leading the evolution of a dynamic, innovative and exceptional alumnae relations program that engages with more than 50,000 diverse alumnae around the globe. The Vice President will work in close partnership with the volunteer leadership of the Alumnae Association of Smith College, as well as with an integrated senior advancement management team. As a member of the president’s leadership team, the Vice President for Alumnae Relations will be involved with developing the future vision and course of Smith College.

Smith College - studentsIn addition, the Vice President for Alumnae Relations will partner with the board of the Alumnae Association of Smith College to provide visionary leadership and encourage collaboration across Smith’s programs and centers. The Vice President will engage alumnae with compelling programs infused with strong intellectual content that reinforce Smith’s standing as a thought leader for women’s issues. Other responsibilities include enhancing professional and volunteer leadership networks among alumnae; overseeing clubs, affinity groups, and a robust travel program; and managing an operating budget.

This position offers an exciting opportunity to lead a respected organization and strengthen an already powerful alumnae relations program.

Key Responsibilities

Leadership and Strategy Development

  • Provide strategic direction and lead change for alumnae engagement globally and across the generations.
  • Provide strategic partnership and direction for Smith’s leadership volunteer network, including the Alumnae Association Board of Directors.
  • Demonstrate strategic leadership to engage and empower Smith’s 50,000+ global women’s network – one of the strongest in the world.
  • Represent the college at events and as a public figure for the college and the alumnae body.
  • Serve as a member of President’s Cabinet, representing alumnae perspective and resources.
  • Serve on the collaborative senior staff team for Alumnae Relations and Development.
  • Lead the strategic direction for the broad-based efforts of the Smith Alumnae Business Network.

Staff Management

  • Demonstrate skilled management expertise and deep commitment to collaboration across the advancement departments, college leadership and volunteer networks.
  • Supervise a team of ~8 staff.
  • Manage Alumnae Relations budget, including annual endowment income.

Volunteer Leadership

  • Provide direction for staffing the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, Nominating Committee, Medal Committee and other alumnae volunteer groups, modernizing the mission and role of the board, board ambassador program, evolution of board administrative support and regional club leadership.

Program Development

  • Propel participation activities and strategies, broadly and inclusively defined: philanthropic, volunteer, event attendance and social media/virtual.
  • Catalyze regional engagement through a modern approach to clubs and club leadership, regionally based fundraising volunteers and other regional networks.
  • Connect alumnae with current students through career mentoring, shared affinities and other points of connection.
  • Broaden engagement of diverse alumnae and diversify volunteer leadership.
  • Revitalize affinity groups (Alums of Color, LGBTQ, professional groups and other).
  • Oversee reunion, mini-reunions and provide overall oversight with direct collaboration with events, communications, technology teams and other campus partners.
  • Advance collaborative opportunities to expand Smith travel programs and continuing education for alumnae.
  • Imaginatively spearhead activities that engage graduates of the last decade and current students.

Communication and Technology

  • Provide active leadership for technology transformation, best practices, trends and priority setting, including digital engagement/online community, volunteer portal, web presence, event and marketing tools.

Front-Line Fundraising and Alumnae Cultivation

  • Manage a portfolio of leadership volunteers and select donor prospects.
  • Present at alumnae events, serving as a lead connector and face for Smith.
  • Travel to foster alumnae relations, attend events, meet individually with volunteer leadership, board members and prospects.

Key Qualifications

  • A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in alumni relations or a relevant field, with increasing responsibility throughout.
  • Demonstrable ability to be a strong, creative, strategic thought partner at the highest levels of leadership.
  • Experience in developing new strategies – and leading inspiring plans for their implementation and evaluation.
  • Knowledge of up-to-date digital strategies to enhance alumnae engagement.
  • Sensitivity to and respect for issues of diversity, women’s issues and liberal arts education.
  • Strong management skills, with a desire to build and motivate a collaborative alumnae relations team.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Outstanding presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated collaborative, team player.
  • Commitment to Smith College’s rich history and current global vision for women’s education.

Diversity and a culture of inclusion among students, faculty, administration, staff, and curriculum are crucial to the mission and values of Smith College. Smith welcomes applicants from a range of backgrounds including, but not limited to, those based on ability, age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation and veteran status.

Smith is committed to providing an accessible application process for individuals with disabilities and encourages applicants to request any needed accommodation(s).

EEO/Affirmative Action Statement: Smith College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or veteran status in the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of any of its programs and activities, as specified by all applicable laws and regulations. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

 

Smith College - convocationPlease email your cover letter and resume in confidence to:

SmithVPAR@developmentguild.com

Lorraine Sahagian
Senior Consultant
Development Guild DDI

 

Development Guild DDI is a proud member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Council.

To learn more visit the AESC website and read Our Search Standards.

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