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President and Chief Executive Officer



Company Information

CSAE is Canada’s only national organization with a primary focus on serving the needs of association professionals and the business members who provide vital products and services to support the sector.

Our mandate is to:

  • Promote excellence and professionalism amongst our members
  • Support association professionals in their work
  • Provide a bridge for associations to access quality services and products
  • Increase the effectiveness, image, and impact of associations to better serve their members and society

Established in 1951, Canada’s “association of associations” serves as a resource to Canada’s association community, with chapters in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. Members of the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) represent industry and professional associations, charities and issue-specific organizations across Canada.

Job Description

Canada’s association landscape is changing profoundly.  Shifting demographics, accelerating pace of change including technology and access to information, and increasing expectations of leadership are creating different demands for association professionals and decision-makers.  The CSAE has been thinking a great deal about this still-emerging future and has identified areas of concern in its existing business model created by shifts in the composition of its traditional audiences.  At the same time, CSAE’s decision-makers recognized some possible opportunities to create new value for different stakeholder segments.

CSAE identified three segments that are important for its future vitality:  1) growth-oriented associations; 2) association boards of directors; and 3) F10s, i.e., association professionals in the first ten years of their careers.  Members will continue to be essential, and CSAE will continue to invest in membership efforts.

At the same time, it recognizes that membership is only one possible relationship and CSAE wants to create mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders that focus on creating value, not just membership.

CSAE also recognizes the importance of a strong local experience for all stakeholders.  While its two largest chapters (Ottawa-Gatineau and Trillium) have enjoyed more consistent success, the five chapters/networks in other markets have had different experiences.  Recognizing that a “one-size fits all” approach to local experience no longer works, CSAE is investing in creating an equivalent experience for all stakeholders across the country.

Closely tied to all of this is the importance of strengthening capabilities around education and networks for members, boards and others, and to deliver meaningful and accessible content and service.

Lastly and importantly, CSAE is reviewing the fundamentals of its financials to ensure its revenue-sharing model with chapters/networks is in line with its new and emerging business model. 

The CSAE is two years in to a business model transition knowing that it does so not only to strengthen how it creates, delivers and captures value for its own stakeholders, but also to provide guidance, clarity and value to its members who are facing similar challenges.  Along with much consultation and engagement, there is a growing eagerness for the process to move forward.


The Board of Directors is seeking a President and Chief Executive Officer who will guide CSAE and its stakeholders forward into the future of association leadership.  The President and CEO will be accountable for all aspects of organizational management including:

  • The creation of strategic, tactical, and financial plans;
  • Development of revenue to ensure sustainability;
  • Developing goals and measuring performance to the approved goals;
  • Organizational development;
  • Being the ambassador for CSAE and a public face to the organization, augmenting brand reputation and visibility;
  • Liaison to the public, government, affiliated organizations, and other stakeholders;
  • Aiding volunteer development; and the development of CSAE’s staff.
  • Partnering with the Board and local leaders to actively support transition and a culture shift to become one integrated organization focused on collaboration and integrated planning to deliver exceptional value to members and stakeholders. 

For further details on specific job responsibilities, please see Appendix A.

The President and CEO will join at a time of significant change and will be tasked with addressing the following key priorities:

  • In conjunction with the Board of Directors, crystalize and clearly articulate the new vision, business model and strategy for CSAE, balancing the need for “followship” (seeking consultation and engagement) with “leadership” (providing direction) to build the consensus as well as the momentum required to evolve the organization from its current to its future state;
  • Engage and collaborate effectively with staff and chapter/network leadership to implement effectively the new strategy;
  • Align internal staff structure with future direction;
  • Ensure the strategy is well-supported by the organization’s financial model;
  • Build CSAE’s public profile so that the organization is well-recognized as the leading voice for Canada’s significant association sector;
  • Work with the Chair and Directors to continue to strengthen the skillset of the Board.

Canada has a rich community of associations and for the right leader, this is an opportunity to build on CSAE’s strong foundation to strengthen this critically-important sector across the country.  As the “association for associations”, CSAE will be seen as the model for the new type of association reality that is emerging during this period of change, and the new President and CEO will be instrumental in leading ground-breaking effort that will impact not only the CSAE, but will also significantly influence the work of 1000s of associations across Canada.


The ideal candidate will possess the following experience, skills, and attributes:

  • Experience – While senior leadership experience in an association is a benefit, more important will be the change leadership skills and business ability to effectively lead the organization through significant change.
  • Appreciation for the Organizational Context – Champion CSAE’s aspirations, strategies, and system transformations ensuring understanding and activation throughout the organization and with stakeholders.
  • Organizational Skills – Execute the goals of the organization by determining time, effort, and resource requirements, effectively responding to change, and delegating priorities.
  • Communication – Act as a spokesperson for the organization, both internally and externally. Deliver message clearly and effectively. Seek and collect information to drive organizational purpose.
  • Analysis and Problem Solving – Careful analysis of complex information and relevant options to identify proactive and innovative solutions and make high-impact decisions while mitigating risks. Support and stand by decisions that benefit the organization as a whole to drive the achievement of results.
  • Stakeholder Relations – Identify and cultivate long-term strategic relationships with members, partners and other stakeholders.
  • Co-Design, Rapid Prototyping and Business Design - Apply key principles and practices from the world of design to the enterprise challenges. Foster a distinctive human focus and sensitive approach to interactions within the enterprise.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration – Build and maintain long-term trusting relationships and coalitions in order to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals. Bring teams of experts together, as required. Encourage openness and conflict resolution among various working groups.
  • Professionalism – Champion the standard and expectation for professional integrity and credibility, as well as fostering the development of leadership throughout the organization.
  • Adaptability – Lead change and shift strategic focus as necessary while staying positive, flexible and timely.
  • Bilingualism – capacity in both official languages is an asset in a national organization.

The ideal candidate will also be/have:

  • A strategic thinker and effective implementer
  • A change agent who can move things along; able to balance the need for member input with the need for CSAE to have foresight, provide guidance, identify trends and issues for the sector as a whole
  • Able to harness a vision and create a following
  • Respectful of the past, focused on the future
  • Charisma, energy, presence
  • Trustful; transparent
  • A relationship builder who can connect and engage
  • A builder, collaborator and negotiator
  • Able to foster innovation; thought leader; current
  • Great communication skills; active listening; spokesperson
  • Self-assured yet humble; resilient
  • Friendly, approachable, enjoyable to be around
  • Able to make the tough decisions and support others to do so as well
  • Understanding of good governance principles

CSAE has developed its Competencies for Association Executives which is intended to provide executives with a guide to performance in senior leadership positions within the association sector.  While the size, objectives and budget of associations vary, the fundamentals of the role do not. These competencies are also the foundation of the Certified Association Executive® (CAE) program.


Should you have any questions regarding this important and meaningful opportunity, or wish to forward a cover letter and current resume for consideration, please contact:

Chris Sawyer, Principal
1 416 640 4312                   

Michelle Partipilo, Senior Consultant
1 416 928 4633 

Sherry D’Costa, Project Manager
1 416 928 4612                      

About Amrop Knightsbridge -

Amrop Knightsbridge is a leading executive search firm with offices across Canada and partner offices around the globe. Amrop Knightsbridge is an integral part of LHH Knightsbridge, a human capital management organization comprising teams of specialists with an integrated perspective across recruitment, leadership and organizational development, learning, and career and workforce management. Solutions are customized to fully meet client specific needs, maximizing investments in people and achieving optimal organizational and business productivity and performance.  Further LHH Knightsbridge information is available at



The President and CEO is the Chief Staff Executive and Officer, and has sole responsibility for the operations of the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE).

The President and CEO’s role is to propose policy direction to the Board or its designate (e.g. committees) and support policy through actions and operations to ensure results are achieved and, in partnership with the elected and appointed leadership of CSAE, achieve its goals and further CSAE’s mission and vision.

  • Accountable to the CSAE Board of Directors.
  • A Director, Officer and non-voting member of the Board.
  • A member of the Audit Committee, Nominating Committee and any other committees, councils or task forces as directed by the Board with accountability to the CSAE Board of Directors.
  • A member of such other groups, councils, committees or task forces as required.
  • The CSAE representative is the employer of paid staff and solely responsible for establishing compensation and benefits, and the hiring and release, of CSAE’s employees under general policy guidelines as established by the Board of Directors and in keeping with industry and legal standards.

Specific Duties:

The President and CEO shall:

  • In collaboration with the Board, provide leadership in the development of CSAE’s statement of mission, vision, strategic direction and goals.
  • Provide leadership and oversee the implementation of corresponding strategies, plans, and budgets to achieve agreed upon goals.
  • Ensure the development of priority plans, performance measurements, management controls and critical success factors.
  • Review approved plans and budgets as part of the annual planning and budgeting cycle and present recommendations to the CSAE Board of Directors and/or the appropriate committee.
  • Develop and provide appropriate policy recommendations for consideration by the Board or its appointed committee or task force.
  • Ensure that an annual plan and budget are prepared for and presented to the Board.
  • Propose agendas for the Board reflecting issues, opportunities, and priorities.
  • Present a written President’s report to all Board meetings.
  • Develop and maintain an effective staff organization which provides appropriate policy and program recommendations for consideration by the Board and its committees, and which delivers services, programs and information of benefit to all members.
  • Hire, reward, discipline, terminate and set the remuneration of, all association employees except for him/her, in accordance with policy and/or approved budgets.
  • Develop operating and human resources policies and accounting procedures that support the duties and directives of the CSAE Board of Directors.
  • Identify, document and articulate the needs of members and stakeholders to local networks, committees, and other forums which exist to serve member needs.
  • Promote collaboration with and among CSAE Networks to address member needs and advance the mission, vision and goals of the Society.
  • Maintain the necessary contacts to keep abreast of emerging issues of significance to the association sector.
  • Act as the principal CSAE spokesperson.
  • Serve as an ambassador for CSAE to relevant organizations in Canada and internationally.
  • Perform such other duties as are prescribed in writing from time to time by the CSAE Board of Directors and/or its designate (e.g. President’s Performance Review Committee).

Contact Information

Michelle Partipilo
Senior Consultant
Posting Date: 07-Mar-2017Executive Permanent, Full-Time Open 122-May-2017
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