Job Posting 102118

Executive Director
The Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University
Vancouver & Lower Mainland
Burnaby, BC, Canada
closing today (Tue, 23 Jul)
full time  •  $75,000 - $85,000

The Graduate Student Society at SFU

The Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University (GSS) is the student society and governing organization of all graduate students at SFU. We represent over 4,000 students in 38 academic programs in Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver. As a dynamic, non-hierarchical, and member-driven organization, we support our members to achieve their personal, professional, and academic goals at SFU and beyond. The Society is committed to receptive stewardship and anti-oppressive practices in order to provide relevant representation, advocacy, and services to our membership.


Job purpose

The Executive Director (ED) is the operations manager of the Graduate Student Society at Simon Fraser University (GSS), and acts as a trusted advisor for all of the Society’s student leaders and staff. They play a key leadership role within the Executive Committee and other governing bodies of the Society by, among other things, providing professional advice and mentoring to student directors, councillors, and staff. They oversee and manage the day-to-day functioning of the GSS, including its services, internal governance and financial operations. They also ensure that the society adheres to all relevant not-for-profit and other legislation, and play a central role in the society’s risk management. In addition, they play a key role in determining if and when to renew and implement multi-year strategic plans.


The ED reports to the Graduate Council and is excluded from all collective bargaining units. As per the society’s bylaws, the Executive Director is a permanent, non-voting member of the Graduate Council and Executive Committee and, by custom, chairs the Executive Committee.


The ED manages the society’s human resources and fosters strong positive relationships between the unionized staff and Executive Committee, in a small office environment.


Duties and responsibilities


Leadership and Strategic Planning:

  • Provides advice to the GSS on all aspects of the organization’s activities
  • Fosters effective team dynamics and teamwork with and between members of Executive Committee and staff
  • Conducts official correspondence and representations on behalf of the GSS as appropriate and jointly with Graduate Council or Executive Committee
  • Works with Graduate Council, Executive Committee, and staff to update and implement the society’s strategic plan (as needed)
  • Oversees the programs and services offered by the GSS, to ensure that they contribute to the organization’s vision and mission and reflect the priorities set out in the Bylaws and strategic plan


Human Resources Planning & Management:

  • Ensures adherence to BC employment laws and regulations, including establishing a positive, healthy and safe work environment
  • As per the Collective Agreement, serves as the Staff Liaison Officer of the organization, liaising with Union representatives as required
  • Determines and fills the organization’s staffing requirements, and serves as chair of the hiring committee, as stipulated in the Collective Agreement
  • Oversees the implementation of the organization’s human resource policies, procedures and practices
  • Oversees staff performance, coaching, mentoring, and progressive discipline up to and including release, as needed and in accordance with the collective agreement


Financial Planning & Management:

  • Approves expenditures within the authority delegated by Graduate Council
  • Oversees bookkeeping and accounting procedures to ensure that best practices are followed
  • Administers the funds of the organization according to the approved budget and monitors the monthly cash flow of the organization
  • Work with the Director of Finance to provide Council with comprehensive, regular reports on the revenues and expenditures of the organization
  • Ensure that the organization complies with all legislation covering taxation and withholding payments
  • Develop strong positive and productive working relations with the GSS account managers and investment bankers
  • Oversees cheque requisition procedures to ensure their timeliness
  • Ensure the timely processing of cheque requisitions and sign off on cheque requisitions


Revenue Generation:

  • Works with the Director of Finance, Executive Committee and Graduate Council to ensure that the organization’s operations, services and programs are adequately funded and identify the need for additional funds
  • Works with Executive Committee to research and pursue relevant granting, donation and sponsorship opportunities


Risk Management:

  • Ensures that the Executive Committee and Graduate Council have the tools required to fulfill their duty to identify, mitigate and monitor the risks facing the organization. These risks include, but are not limited to: harm (to staff, student leaders, volunteers, members or the public), reputational, financial, regulatory, governance, operational, strategic, external, technology, natural or human-caused disasters.
  • Ensures administrative continuity, especially with regard to leases and contracts
  • Prepare a succession plan for the organization, with the Executive Committee and staff


Program and Services Management:

  • Oversees the planning, implementation and evaluation of the organization’s programs and services, as well as special projects
  • Monitors the delivery of the organization’s programs and services to maintain or improve quality or reduce costs


Working conditions

  • Work week is 35 hours, but unpaid overtime may be required on occasion, including on evenings or weekends
  • Work will usually take place at SFU’s Burnaby Mountain campus
  • Travel may occasionally be required to SFU sites in Vancouver and Surrey, or to other locations in the Lower Mainland
  • On rare occasions, travel outside of Greater Vancouver may be required
  • A compressed work week could eventually be considered


Direct reports and close working relationships

  • Reports to the Graduate Council
  • Collaborates with the Executive Committee


Desired qualifications (please read carefully)

  • Graduate degree, preferably in Not-for-Profit Management, Communications, Administration or other relevant discipline
  • Multi-year work experience in a not-for-profit or social enterprise management or executive position, as an active member on a board of directors (preferably with experience as an officer or committee chair), or in a related position with progressive responsibilities
  • Experience in a non-hierarchical organization or unionized office environment (or both) highly desirable
  • Strong understanding of university governance, and advanced education and graduate student issues
  • Knowledge of the BC Societies Act and University Act
  • Project and program management skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Experience negotiating and managing contracts

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