The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada (MS Society) is seeking an enthusiastic, energetic and experienced executive to join our team as Executive Director, Quebec Division (ED).
Under the direction of the President and CEO of the MS Society of Canada, and with the support and guidance of the Board of Directors of the MS Society of Canada, Quebec Division, the Executive Director is tasked with leading the Quebec Division and ensuring that its activities have a tangible impact on the MS community in Quebec.
Moving seamlessly from strategy to operations, the ED is actively involved in community engagement, fundraising, program delivery, research advancement, and advocacy. As an accomplished networker, the ED will build positive relationships within the sector, as well as with key individual donors, corporate partners and foundations.
The ED's mandate is to guide all of the Quebec Division's initiatives, with a focus on innovation, improvement, and value creation. As an experienced and effective leader, the ED will excel at offering strategic direction, managing fundraising activities, and providing leadership and coaching to a high-performing team. In addition, the ED will continue to expand reach across the province by supporting and collaborating with the Quebec chapters to ensure alignment with MS Society strategies, directions, and activities.
As a member of the executive team of the MS Society of Canada, the ED helps drive our bilingual/one team commitment and strategically contributes to the Society’s overall direction, ensuring an integrated approach to, and alignment with, the Society’s mission, vision, and values. The ED will deftly navigate the complexities of a large national organization with many constituents, including people living with MS, volunteers, donors, researchers, physicians, and government policy makers, while considering the unique nuances that exist among the various regions and communities in Quebec and across Canada.
Possessing strong emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, the ED will be a collaborative and empathetic team player who is able to build solid working relationships with peers and colleagues across the organization and within the MS community. An active listener with a powerful communication style, the ED will be an inspirational and motivational leader who boldly guides multiple constituents with unique needs, strengths, and perspectives toward common goals in our vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis.
About the MS Society of Canada
This is an exciting time to join the MS Society as we move forward with our bold vision of a world free of MS. With a mission to connect and empower the MS community and to create positive change, the MS Society provides essential services to people with MS and their families, and funds research to find the cause and cure.
Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, with more than 90,000 people estimated to be living with the disease. While MS is most commonly diagnosed in young adults aged 20-49, it also occurs in children and older adults. Health sector costs for MS are expected to reach $2 billion by 2031.
The MS Society is proud to be part of a community of people with MS, their families and friends, volunteers, donors, researchers, clinicians, and others who are committed to funding MS research, providing support to people living with MS, and advocating for support mechanisms and systems that enable people with MS to live as full and integrated a life as possible.
We are privileged to be part of a determined group of change agents who are working tirelessly to create a world free of MS. The MS Society is governed by a board of 14 volunteers elected annually and has approximately 1,500 volunteer leaders affected by MS who serve on its various division and local chapter councils and committees. We also have an estimated 13,500 volunteers who work tirelessly delivering programs, fundraising events, public awareness campaigns, and social action activities.
Together, we will foster discovery, innovation, and collective action to alleviate the uncertainty caused by MS and to help provide accessible options for disease management, while working with our partners to help remove physical and social barriers in our communities.
In 2019, we released a strategic plan that builds on all that has been accomplished by the MS community as a whole since 1948 and begins a new chapter in which we advance our mission of connecting and empowering the MS community to create positive change that helps realize our vision of a world free of MS. We hope it also provides inspiration for all members of the MS community to connect and collaborate in order to advance treatment and care, enhance well-being, understand and halt disease progression, and prevent MS from happening.
Discover. Innovate. Act.
About Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Since that includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve, MS can affect vision, memory, balance, and mobility. It is considered an episodic disability meaning that the severity and duration of illness and disability can vary and are often followed by periods of wellness. It can also be progressive.
The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is substantial and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.
MS is unpredictable and may cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment, and mood changes. Its effects can be physical, emotional, and financial. Currently there is no cure, but each day researchers are learning more about what causes MS and are zeroing in on ways to prevent it.
No one needs to face MS alone. We are here to help. In communities across Canada, the MS Society provides information, support, educational events, and other resources for people living with MS and their families. https://mssociety.ca/support-services/programs-and-services
Researchers funded by the MS Society are working to find the cause of MS, develop better treatments with fewer side effects, and ultimately cure the disease for everyone who is affected by it.
The MS Society of Canada in Action
Since its founding in 1948, the MS Society has been supported by donations from tens of thousands of individuals, corporations, and foundations across Canada. Unlike many charitable organizations, the Society receives less than 8% of its revenues from the government. In 2021, we raised more than $45 million through a variety of fundraising events, our major gifts programs, and other fundraising campaigns. We all know the urgency of the situation as Canadians learn every day that they have MS.
Thanks to the generosity of the many individuals who donated to and volunteered with the MS Society, people affected by MS were able to access the connections and care they needed. While many Canadians were unable to see their general practitioner, our MS Knowledge Network provided access to helpful resources and expert advice. Moreover, through technology, we were able to reach out to remote communities across the country and, despite transportation barriers, communicate and connect with people who had never had the opportunity to attend our events or join one of our peer support groups.
We also advocated for priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine for people with MS and worked to disseminate information from experts about the impact of vaccination on people living with MS. With the commitment and compassion of our partners and donors, we have been able to maintain our momentum in advancing MS research. While most charities stopped investing in research during the pandemic, we committed more than $2.6 million to fund MS research in 2021.
MS Society, Quebec Division, and Chapters
The Quebec Division of the MS Society of Canada is the main source of information about multiple sclerosis in Quebec. It also offers a wide range of services to the 20,000 Quebecers living with MS and their families through its network of local chapters throughout the province.
Hundreds of volunteers, in collaboration with healthcare professionals, are involved in member and family service programs, advocacy, public education, and fundraising.
The Quebec Division and its chapters make a significant contribution to the research program managed by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. In Quebec, our researchers are among the most eminent specialists in MS research, both nationally and globally.
Every day we work in unison to improve the quality of life for our valued community members. Every action taken, every dollar spent, and every project implemented is a way to support members of the MS community and their families.
Since 2020, we have had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, solidarity and resilience were certainly the two defining characteristics of 2021. Virtual fundraising events attracted a larger number of committed participants, financial targets were surpassed, and some new initiatives were also developed! Thanks to the hard work of our community, we were able to allocate over $1 million to research in 2021 and our Chapters made an impressive contribution to these results.
In 2021, the vast majority of our fundraising events were held in virtual mode, while some of these events have returned to in-person mode in 2022. In spite of all obstacles, the resiliency of our community and the generosity of our donors allowed us to achieve unprecedented results in both fundraising and participant registrations. Not only did participants raise funds vital to the advancement of MS research, but many also recruited new volunteer fundraisers.
Due to the public health measures in effect in Quebec, the MS Walk remained in virtual mode in 2021. More people participated in the event, fundraising increased compared to the previous year, and a new event was offered to Abitibi residents. More than $750,000 was raised thanks to the 1,543 highly motivated walkers. In 2022, the amount raised for this event in-person was $640 000.
MS Bike was also held virtually in 2021. However, with the relaxation of public health measures prior to August, some teams were able to hold rides to highlight their fundraising efforts. Three livestreams were broadcast on the MS Society's Facebook page to honour the commitment of three major teams, including the Medavie Blue Cross team. MS Bike’s 277 participants raised close to $310,000. In 2022, the MS Bike was back in person and raised $600 000.
Tri-Défi SP (MS Triple Challenge)
Returning after a one-year break, Tri-Défi SP (MS Triple Challenge) in 2021, organized in collaboration with Novartis, offered everyone the opportunity to take part in a home triathlon for the benefit of people with MS. The participants, who swam, cycled, and ran at a location of their choice, raised a total of $23,000 for the MS Society.
Journée provinciale de golf SP (Provincial MS Golf Day)
Thanks to the efforts of the hundred or so participants and the sale of exceptional items during the virtual auction in 2021, more than $120,000 was raised for the MS Society.
Ultra-Trail Harricana of Canada
The Ultra-Trail Harricana™ of Canada (UTHC) was undoubtedly the most amazing event of 2021, as many of its records were broken thanks to the 193 participants who managed to raise $150,000. Established ten years ago, the UTHC brings together over 3,000 participants from around the world each year. The MS Society's presence at the event helped educate runners and spectators about the cause of people with multiple sclerosis throughout the weekend of September 10-12.
Le Défi Vélo de montagne SP (MS Mountain Bike Challenge)
The very first mountain biking event to benefit the cause of people with MS was a huge success in 2021. A total of 127 participants in the MS Mountain Bike Challenge hurtled down the slopes of Mont Sutton with a sense of doing their part. Thanks to them, nearly $94,000 was raised for the MS Society.
A&W Burgers to Beat MS
A&W Burgers to Beat MS lets us give back to the community in a fun way: by enjoying a TeenBurger.™ In 2021, A&W Food Services of Canada donated $2 to the MS Society for every TeenBurger™ sold that day. More than 140 restaurants across Quebec participated in this initiative. A total of $1.4 million was raised across the country in a new “take-out” version of this traditional day.
Toqué! For MS
Toqué! for MS is a gastronomic event organized by the Quebec Division of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada in partnership with Normand Laprise, chef-owner of restaurant Toqué! and recently named one of the 100 best chefs in the world. This exclusive, colourful, and flavourful event takes place in a delightful setting every year. As the guests take their seats to show their support for the cause of multiple sclerosis, they enjoy an exceptional opportunity to discover Normand Laprise’s latest culinary creations, judiciously paired with outstanding wine.
Research at the MS Society
Canada remains at the forefront of MS research around the world. Through generous contributions from donors, corporate sponsors, and fervent fundraisers, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has invested over $190 million dollars in research since its inception in 1948. This investment has led to significant results for people affected by MS. More specifically, MS Society funded studies have gone the distance in areas such as imaging, diagnosis, genetics, tissue repair, rehabilitation, and disease-modifying therapies. With each passing year research continues to reveal new knowledge around the cause of MS, as well as the mechanism by which MS impacts the central nervous system.
Although much progress has been made, many questions regarding MS remain unanswered. As a result, Canadian researchers with diverse scientific backgrounds and expertise are turning their attention to MS and working together to uncover important knowledge and develop treatments that will effectively manage symptoms and slow progression.
To ensure that momentum in MS research continues, the MS Society administers an annual research competition that provides support for researchers whether they are in the early stages of graduate school or conducting research as independent investigator. Funding researchers across the academic and clinical spectrum enables education and training for the next generation of MS leaders, while reinforcing their passion for the field.
In addition to supporting research, the MS Society engages young researchers in education and training programs, mentorship initiatives, and networking opportunities which aim to stimulate interest in MS research and encourage collaboration amongst the future generation of MS experts.
The overarching goal of the MS Society is to invest in research that will provide the greatest benefit to individuals who are deeply affected by MS. Each year the organization is hopeful that its commitment to research will bring the MS community one step closer to finding a cure for this complex and often unpredictable disease.
For more information about the MS Society of Canada: www.mssociety.ca
Key Areas of Impact of the Executive Director
The Executive Director will possess the following qualities and skills:
Working effectively with constituents in a cooperative and positive manner to achieve shared goals, using good political sense. Valuing and encouraging diverse perspectives to achieve results.
Embracing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Contributing to the creation and maintenance of an environment in which everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute freely with a sense of belonging.
Strategic Leadership and Implementation
Applying vision beyond the present and exploring multiple potential paths. Investing time in planning, discovery, and reflection to strengthen decision making and increase effectiveness in implementation. Managing change and developing strategies to ensure the annual business plan and impact goals are realized.
Coaching, motivating, and empowering staff to strengthen their impact, the employee experience, and organizational impact.
Developing trusting professional relationships with constituents. Actively participating in building networks that will foster collaboration and the achievement of results.
Focusing on internal and external constituents in ensuring an exceptional experience for the MS community.
Effectively and appropriately interacting with others to build relationships, influence others, and facilitate the sharing of ideas and information. Using tact and diplomacy to navigate difficult situations. Relaying key messages or content, targeted to specific audiences.
Donor and Sponsor Relations
Seeking out and approaching new donors, sponsors, and partners, and seizing every opportunity to secure new philanthropic and sponsorship support for the organization.
Influencing thinking, decisions, and behaviour of others through the use of inclusive practices and the ability to build and maintain relationships.
Thinking beyond the confines of traditional ways of doing things to recognize opportunities and find new and better approaches. Encouraging experimentation and accepting failure as a driver of innovation.
Applying knowledge and skills to ensure compliance with processes and practices of organizational administration and control.
Financial Decision-Making and Risk Management
Advising and assisting with financial planning, budgeting, reporting, and coding of financial transactions to ensure optimal allocation of financial resources to organizational objectives.
Adjusting thinking and behaviour to face change with resilience and using experience to fuel growth. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity for self and others. Enabling the process of change and transition while helping others deal with the effects of change.
Understanding the actions that are being taken and ensuring alignment with the organization's goals, core functions, needs, and values.
Organizational Impact Analysis
Collecting and analyzing internal and external data to achieve the organization's value proposition and maximizing impact while minimizing risk.
Key Knowledge and Qualifications
For more information
KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the MS Society. For more information about this exciting leadership opportunity, please contact Sylvie Battisti, KCI Vice President, Search + Talent at MSSocietyQC@kcitalent.com.
All applications and inquiries will be kept in strict confidence.
Interested candidates should submit their resume and a cover letter by October 13, 2022 to the above email address.
To view the full Executive Brief, please visit: www.kcitalent.com
The MS Society is dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive culture amongst the whole workforce where people from all backgrounds can thrive.
The MS Society is also committed to ensuring that employees, volunteers, and individuals who wish to join the MS Society team are given equal opportunity and that the organization is representative of all sections of society. The MS Society invites applications from all qualified individuals.
We are committed to accommodating applicants’ needs throughout the selection process. Should you need accommodation, please let us know by emailing MSSocietyQC@kcitalent.com.
Please note that a background and criminal check process is a condition of employment with the MS Society.
To protect the health and safety of its employees and members of the MS community, the MS Society requires that staff members be appropriately vaccinated against COVID-19 or obtain an approved exemption. Upon hire, the organization will require the submission of official proof of vaccination or a valid exemption.
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