University of Guelph

Director, Engagement Services
Posted Date: 
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Closing Date: 
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Are you a senior strategic leader with a track record of creativity and innovation in communications, marketing, donor relations and/or events? Do you know how to implement cross-functional initiatives to drive philanthropic support and lifelong alumni and donor relationships? Do colleagues and team members want to perform their best when working with you? If yes, yes and yes, then you are a candidate for an exciting leadership role working in a re-imagined department of Alumni Affairs & Development (AA&D).

The Alumni Affairs & Development team supports the University of Guelph’s mission to improve life and has been charged with the ambitious goals of raising unprecedented annual philanthropic support and to be one of Canada’s most sought-after advancement organizations. You are a talented strategist motivated by measurable outcomes, who leads with humility and has a collaborative approach to achieving shared goals. As a senior leader in AA&D, you will exemplify the department’s values of respect, empowerment, integrity, appreciation and forward focus.

Reporting to the Associate Vice-President (Advancement), you will advise the AVP on strategy, best practices and resource development, and act on behalf of the team by serving as a senior representative on task forces and pan-University committees. You will provide inspired leadership and strategic direction for the overall Engagement Services unit comprised of communications, marketing, digital engagement, events, donor relations, and annual, major, principal and planned gift stewardship.

Not only will you set direction and establish priorities for externally facing events, communications and stewardship initiatives, but you will also personally build strong connections and creatively steward donors (with a focus on $1 million+ donors).

You will work collaboratively with all units in the department to direct, implement and measure a strategic multi-media alumni and donor communications plan (e-communications, video, web, social media, and publications) to promote lifelong relationships and philanthropic support among the University’s growing population of alumni and donors. In essence, you will serve as the architect to journey map the ‘life-cycle’ of communications/engagement between the University and its constituents.

You will develop and implement a robust stewardship strategy for donors of all sizes – annual, major, principal and planned. In particular, and again, in collaboration with all units, you will create a systematic annual giving stewardship program utilizing technology and AI to provide a personalized donor experience. You will work closely with the President, Vice-Presidents, Deans and other senior administrators in delivering stewardship initiatives for the institution’s top donors.

Administratively, you will be responsible for strategic planning; staffing, multi-year budgeting and financial management to meet longer term commitments; and operations, services, and activities. You will have supervisory responsibilities for a talented team of both direct and indirect reports, as well as work-study and co-op students.

If the following experience, attributes and competencies describe you, you are encouraged to apply for this amazing opportunity as Director, Engagement Services:

  • A university degree and 6-8+ years of senior leadership experience in a university or comparable institution;
  • 6-8+ years’ experience setting and implementing strategy and plans for donor stewardship, events, and/or communications/marketing;
  • High energy with a positive attitude and the ability to provide ‘wow’ customer service;
  • Highly motivated and results-driven individual, able to set high standards and ambitious goals;
  • A strong champion of ‘team’ who prefers others to receive accolades and credit for great work and goal achievement;
  • Proven track record of being strategic, creative and innovative in a high-pressure work environment;
  • Superior strategic planning, people management and administrative skills to lead a team with disparate functions, skill sets and requirements;
  • Ability to coach and develop team members as well as influence colleagues and peers;
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills to work in a complex environment, demonstrating tact, good judgement, diplomacy, self-awareness and adaptability;
  • Ability to deal effectively with diverse groups of people, including senior administration, colleagues, donors and alumni; and to anticipate, identify, and respond to needs and interests of varied audiences;
  • Demonstrated experience building consensus and influencing direction and priorities;
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with an ability to compile and interpret data from a variety of sources, select appropriate methods of analysis, monitor emerging trends and issues, and disseminate information;
  • Dynamic self-starter with entrepreneurial spirit who can think and lead strategically with imagination, and possesses a good sense of humour with the ability to challenge and inspire;
  • A background developing creative communications, and presentations that allow success both within the campus environment and externally;
  • Ability to make difficult and complex decisions with good judgment and with acute sensitivity to the political environment and to the reputation of the University;
  • Inspiring leadership and motivation skills, with proven ability to lead groups towards completion of long-term goals in dynamic environments; and
  • Significant experience in business management and development, including budget planning and analysis.


The University of Guelph ( is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive comprehensive institutions, with a record of outstanding scholarship in the arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, physical and engineering sciences, agriculture and veterinary sciences. This is your chance to join us in our endeavour to improve life.

To view a detailed posting for the role of Director, Engagement Services, please go to our website at Applications, quoting Hiring #2019-0448, must be sent to: Closing date: Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

At the University of Guelph, fostering a culture of inclusion is an institutional imperative. The University invites and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in employment, who may contribute to further diversification of our Institution.