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Executive Director, Athletics & Recreation

Simon Fraser University

Salary $170,600 - $208,500

Posted 3 weeks ago



Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Job Type

Job Description

The Executive Director, Athletics and Recreation (“ED”) provides executive-level leadership to lead the
transformation of SFU’s Athletics and Recreation programs, creating alignment with institutional goals and the academic mission, and ensuring long-term sustainability through revenue generation. The ED develops and implements strategic plans and policies that enhance SFU’s reputation and impact as a
university of choice for varsity sports and represents the university nationally and internationally. The ED advises the Provost &VP, Academic and other senior administrators, and provides university-wide strategic leadership in the development, integration and promotion of Athletics and Recreation initiatives, programs, and services. The role oversees the physical, human, and financial resources across all athletics and recreation units and works with the VP, Advancement & Alumni Engagement to lead the strategy
around donor relations to ensure departmental sustainability and longevity.

SFU’s Athletics and Recreation Division has experienced well-publicized tumult recently, and this role signals the institution’s recommitment to ensuring the success of the full breadth of the portfolio. Bringing exceptional strategic planning, leadership, and transformation skills, the ED will lead the department through broad community consultation and re-visioning that will lead to an operating model,
organizational culture, and accountability framework that will position it for long-term success and sustainability, ensuring that athletics and recreation fit squarely within the SFU’s mission, mandate, and culture of well-being.

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Qualifications Required

Provides executive leadership to SFU’s Athletics and Recreation programs to ensure alignment with institutional goals and the academic mission and to transform and ensure long-term sustainability

of the department:

  • Leads the transformation of Athletics and Recreation programming and services, overseeing the design, development, implementation, and evaluation, ensuring student needs are addressed and met;
  • Provides direction, structure, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and evolve the impact of Athletics and Recreation programs or initiatives on university priority areas;
  • Develops and directs the strategic planning and operational planning processes for SFU’s Athletics and Recreation department;
  • Optimizes financial, operational, physical, and human resources to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programs and department including financial optimization and revenue generating opportunities;
  • Oversees the operating and capital budgets for Athletics and Recreation; determines financial metrics;
  • Embeds and advances Equity, Diversity and Inclusion into practices, operations, decision making and culture, leading transformation across Athletics and Recreation;
  • Ensures alignment with the University’s commitments to Reconciliation by advancing the support, mentorship, and recruitment of Indigenous students;
  • Provides strategic leadership to the implementation of multi-million-dollar facility upgrade projects, in collaboration with University Administration and Central Facilities;
  • Works with senior leadership within the Vice President, Finance and Administration portfolio to provide ongoing stewardship of A & R facilities;
  • Oversees compliance with athletic association regulations and reporting requirements;
  • Provides leadership to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student athletes under University care, including mental health, international travel, concussion management and injury prevention;
  • Negotiates and authorizes athletics and recreation-related contracts / guarantees and facility contracts in keeping with standard university policies;
  • Oversees travel policies and procedures to provide consistent, equitable and safe practices for all teams;
  • Recruits, mentors, and develops successful leaders and high performing teams by ensuring employees remain productive, motivated, informed, and harmonious in the workplace;
  • Positions SFU as a university of choice in varsity sports and acts as the “face” of the department;
  • Leads the development, implementation, and ongoing review of communication plans (media, public relations, marketing) for a broad range of partner groups; acting as principal public spokesperson;
  • Provides leadership to the resolution of critical Athletics & Recreation related issues impacting reputation, image, and public relations;
  • Works with Advancement and Alumni Engagement on developing the donor relations strategy;
  • Set’s targets and fundraising efforts, including major giving and annual giving priorities;
  • Ensures the department enhances effective strategic operations and continues to grow endowments;
  • Ensures the needs of student athletes are met through centralized services provided by Student Services;
  • In collaboration with Student Services, strategically aligns student athlete services and recreation programming in support of SFU student wellbeing;
  • Monitors key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the impact of Athletics and Recreation programs or initiatives on university priority areas, identifying areas of inefficiency and implementing solutions; and,
  • Partners with wide circle of contacts and involves them in generating mutually beneficial opportunities and achieving agreeable outcomes, including internal /external connections (NCAA, GNAC, etc.).


The ideal candidate should be a visionary, values-driven leader, skilled in developing and executing a holistic set of varsity and recreation programming to enhance student life and SFU’s institutional goals. A strong communicator and listener, they harness the passion and dedication that exists across the division to create a cohesive, team-based culture focused on success. The ED should balance strong leadership

skills and business acumen with the ability to genuinely connect with SFU’s array of partners and communities. The ideal candidate is a natural relationship builder who understands the ED’s role in a complex institution.

Professional & Personal Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Education, or a relevant discipline and at least ten years of related executive-level experience leading the delivery of services to students in a post-secondary environment, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience;
  • Deep experience in marketing, public relations, and fundraising with the ability to engage a wide range of partner groups in diverse environments;
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate staff, manage high-performing staff including coaches, and the ability to set and achieve strategic objectives;
  • Excellent knowledge of, and sensitivity to, diversity, gender, race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, sexual identity, and socio-economic issues; needs of a diverse student body, including the needs of students with disabilities and multi-faith communities;
  • Demonstrated success with intercollegiate athletic programs with an understanding of the administrative, financial, and personnel-related responsibilities of an athletics department, including the dynamics of a shared athletics and recreation department;
  • Excellent problem solving, conflict resolutions skills including sound leadership judgement and discretion;
  • Excellent analytical skills including needs assessment and program evaluation methodologies;
  • Excellent organizational, project management, budget, and financial administration, interpersonal, and communication skills exhibiting a high level of tact, professionalism, and diplomacy;
  • Demonstrated success in dealing with and cultivating relationships with governing bodies, sponsors, major donors, community leaders and senior leaders across campus; and,
  • Excellent ability to interpret and implement policies; committed to fair and transparent processes.

Competencies and Personal Characteristics:

Leadership – Achieves desired organizational results by encouraging and supporting the contribution of

others; a proactive and positive team player who acts with a sense of urgency and leads by example; sets and communicates clear goals. Accountable – Holds self and others accountable for responsibilities; focuses on results and measuring attainment of outcomes in a business focus.

Strategic – Develops a plan in support of organizational strategic direction. Demonstrates an understanding of the link between one’s job responsibilities and overall organizational goals

and needs, and performs one’s job with the broader goals in mind.

Integrity and Honesty – Demonstrates a resolute commitment to and respect for the spirit behind the rules and core values of the organization, setting an example of professionalism and ethical propriety.

Influential and Collaborative – Has an open and consistent approach to working with others and possesses strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to build relationships and develop/maintain

partnerships, obtaining stakeholder agreement.

Creativity and Innovation – Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages new ideas; designs and implements new or cutting-edge programs/processes.

Effective Working Relationships – Treats colleagues, and stakeholders with respect; resolves conflicts in a timely manner, negotiates effectively, and provides effective feedback to colleagues/employees.

Communication – Clearly presents written and verbal information; writes with clarity and purpose; communicates effectively in both positive and negative circumstances; listens well.

People Development – Fosters learning and development of others through coaching, managing performance and mentoring; has a genuine desire to develop others and help them succeed; formally and

informally recognizes deserving staff and colleagues.

Student Focused – Anticipates and attends to the needs of students, and other internal and external partners of the institution; keeps student interests in the forefront.

SFU is an equity employer and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, Indigenous Peoples, visible minorities, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, persons with disabilities, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of the university. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, however Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be

given priority.

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Inclusive Note

The employer is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.

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