MS Society of Canada

President & CEO
Posted Date: 
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Closing Date: 
Friday, July 14, 2017

The Opportunity

The MS Society of Canada is seeking a new President & Chief Executive Officer to lead the organization as it moves forward with its renewed strategic framework to accelerate research while continuing with the provision of services to those affected by MS. Reporting to the MS Society Board of Directors, the President & CEO will assume ultimate operational responsibility for programs & services as well as research and financial management accountability of a $53 million budget.  The primary focus will be on raising, allocating and spending funds, leading a nation-wide bilingual team of almost 300 staff, and marshalling the resources of an expansive volunteer base of thousands. The President & CEO will serve as the public face and spokesperson of the MS Society domestically and internationally with external groups including donors, policymakers, key influencers in government, corporations, news media, doctors and scientists.

The President & CEO will play a key leadership role in major gift fundraising, as the MS Society continues with its $75 million “endMS: Whatever It Takes” campaign. The President & CEO will be an ex-officio director of the MS Scientific Research Foundation which is closely associated with the Society and has the role of supporting innovative and transformative research in multiple sclerosis beyond the scope of the MS Society of Canada’s regular granting program.

About the MS Society of Canada

Since its founding in 1948, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has stayed true to its mission - to be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life, as well as true to its core values, most notably - to keep people living with MS at the centre of its work.

The MS Society mission has kept focused on activities that will move closer to a world free of multiple sclerosis. The MS Society provides services to people with multiple sclerosis and their families, funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease, and works to influence government policy at all levels on issues to enhance the quality of life of people affected by MS. It is the only national voluntary organization in Canada that supports both MS research and services. With 100,000 Canadians living with MS and the highest per capita rate in the world, the stakes are high, giving the MS Society the impetus to constantly look for ways to deliver on its mission as effectively as possible.

The Society receives almost no funding from government. Of the approximately $53 Million in gross revenues which the MS Society raises annually, over 95% of those revenues come from charitable contributions and other fundraising revenues.

The core support of the MS Society has been from tens of thousands of dedicated individuals, companies and foundations in communities across Canada.

The MS Society has a membership of 17,000. Some 1,500 volunteers serve on MS Society national, division and chapter boards and committees. Another 13,500 women and men are volunteers for service programs, fundraising events, public awareness campaigns and government relations activities. Along with these committed volunteers, more than 120,000 Canadians participate in MS Society fundraising events, and approximately one million donors support the MS cause annually.

The MS Society of Canada is a member-based organization. It is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada and a registered charity under the Income Tax Act (Canada). The MS Society of Canada comprises seven divisions, which are Alberta and the Northwest Territories, the Atlantic Provinces, British Columbia and Yukon, Manitoba, Ontario and Nunavut, Quebec and Saskatchewan, and all of the Chapters within their divisional boundaries. We operate as one single organization that works toward the same mission, embraces the same values and is driven by the same vision and strategic plan. Overall, the MS Society of Canada is structured in three levels: national, regional (7 divisions) and local (90+ chapters). The MS Society is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 14 volunteer members elected annually. For financial and historical reasons, Quebec Division and its chapters are governed by their own boards of directors.

The MS Society works closely with its affiliated MS Scientific Research Foundation which was established to support innovative MS research that extends beyond the scope of the MS Society’s regular granting program.

The MS Society is currently implementing a strategic framework to accelerate research; the framework directs shifting the research to services expenditure ratio from 50:50 to 60:40 by 2019. This framework outlines the strategies that will allow the MS Society to accelerate research by shifting financial resources within the organization to achieve the desired ratio. The board’s decision does not signal a decrease of the importance of the MS Society’s role in providing programs and services to people affected by MS. Our service delivery model strives to ensure that we do not duplicate services within our communities and that we work in collaboration with community partners across the country.

The head office of the MS Society is located in Toronto. Division offices are located in Dartmouth, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, and Vancouver. The MS Society team works from coast-to-coast in a collaborative way with a high level of connectivity using extensive technology and digital resources to remain effective and efficient.

The Ideal Candidate

Keeping the momentum while shifting comfortably between vision and operationalization, the new President & CEO will take an active lead in driving the MS Society forward. With an eye to continuous improvement and innovation, the ideal candidate will skillfully affect any necessary changes, as the MS Society moves towards its strategic framework. The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker able to assess options and actions based on trends and conditions in the environment, and the vision and values of the MS Society.

Energetic and empathetic, the ideal candidate will be a respected sector leader excelling at providing strategic direction, fundraising operations management, and matrix structure team leadership. The new President & CEO will understand the complexities of a large national organization with many constituents - from those living with MS, grassroots volunteers, donors, researchers, doctors and government policy-makers.   The successful candidate will be culturally competent and will comprehend the unique nuances that exist in the various regions and communities of our country.

The President & CEO will be collaborative and respectful, building strong and effective working relationships with peers and colleagues across the organization and MS community.  Motivating and inspiring, the new incumbent will care deeply about the team, appreciating the unique talents and contributions of each team member. The new CEO will use exceptional leadership skills to build unity around the vision, and to rally team members to meet and exceed goals.

Confident and credible, the new CEO will provide exemplary support, motivation and partnership to, and will foster trust and mutual respect within, the MS Society’s Board of Directors, the medical and research sectors, and the MS community at large. Possessing strong emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, the new incumbent will have demonstrated experience engaging with senior volunteers, volunteer committees and grassroots supporters, recognizing their importance and commitment both in enhancing the lives of those affected by MS and in their contributions to raising funds for the cause and the cure.

A results-oriented and accomplished fundraising professional, the new CEO will apply strategy and rigour along with innovation to further build on the MS Society’s successes in revenue generation. Skilled at identifying opportunities and anticipating trends, the CEO will draw on a successful record of achievement with campaigns and major gift fundraising, and will bring experience with corporate donors and direct marketing.

Combining exceptional listening skills with an impactful communication style, the new CEO will effectively guide multiple stakeholders, each with their own unique needs, strengths and perspectives in achieving a common goal. Both persuasive and politically aware, the successful candidate will play a convening and advocacy role, navigating with ease among government, media, regional members, alliance partners and other stakeholders. The ideal candidate will be able to quickly grasp the medical and institutional research model, and will have the ability to form close relationships with influential leaders within this space.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Development: Beyond day-to-day operational leadership, provide vision as it relates to ensuring that the Society is best positioned to fulfill its mission by investing in research that will provide the greatest benefit to individuals affected by MS, offering the best possible programs and services to people affected by the disease and seeking to improve government legislation and policies, private industry practices and/or public attitudes. This will include, but will not be limited to, contributing to the new capital campaign in partnership with the MS Scientific Research Foundation.
People Leadership: Provide hands on, open and accessible leadership that is decisive yet based on collaboration, and a balanced appreciation for the individual and collective importance of the agendas and priorities of a varied constituency.
Fundraising: Champion the cause through leadership of the overall fundraising strategy, as well as become deeply involved in soliciting major donors, both individual and corporate, and inspiring continued action through grass roots volunteerism.
Board Relations: Be alert to new trends in governance; effectively “manage up” to and leverage the Board’s collective assets to drive momentum for the MS Society’s mission, partner with the Board and its committees to ensure uninterrupted and effective operational leadership.
Internal/External Relations: Serving as the chief representative of and spokesperson for the MS Society in Canada and internationally to policymakers, corporations, donors, physicians and neurologists, scientists, news media, and volunteers, as well as the divisions, chapters, and international affiliates, he/she will be expected to effectively communicate the MS Society’s strategies and progress in order to create a sense of urgency and call to action for key constituencies.
Operational Management: Ensure that the organization continues to operate with the highest levels of discipline and accountability both at the national and regional levels to support the key drivers of the MS Society’s mission: research, fundraising, services and advocacy. Continuously strengthen and improve processes and procedures where required.

Key Competencies

Experience & Credentials

• Significant and progressively more responsible senior leadership and philanthropy experience within a national organization of comparable scope and complexity, in the not-for-profit, public or related private sectors, preferably within the health care sector.
• Proven record of success as an exceptional fundraiser/sales and skilled marketer, ideally encompassing both major gift and campaign fundraising, and broad-based marketing and mass philanthropy, special events and volunteer fundraising engagement.
• Strong national profile and demonstrated success building and influencing relationships across multiple stakeholders such as community partners, senior volunteers, medical researchers, government and key stakeholders.
• Well versed in change management, government, media and community relations.
• Knowledge of or experience with the research landscape.
• Proven successful operational and program/services leadership background with extensive people management and team building experience.
• Solid finance and administrative management skills with experience setting budgets, financial forecasting and reporting, and business planning, including working knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements for a not-for-profit organization.
• Experience working with a Board of Directors and strong knowledge of governance principles.
• Experience with, or knowledge of, new and emerging technologies, social media and digital platforms is an asset.
• A university degree, and ideally additional graduate level education in a related field (Health, Science, Medical, Business Administration, Public Policy).
• Fluent bilingualism in French and English would be a significant advantage in this role.

Additional Information
• About the MS Society of Canada:
• MS Society of Canada Leadership Team:
• MS Information:
• Financial Information - audited statements:
• MS Society Annual Impact reports and information:

• MS Society Board of Directors:
• MS Scientific Research Foundation Trustees:
• MS Society By-laws:
• MS Society Policies and procedures:


• About the MS Society’s research program:
• Research Priorities Infographic and summary:
• 2015 MS Research summaries:
• Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation:


The MS Society collaborates with many other organizations in its work to end MS and enhance the quality of life for people affected by MS. The following are some of the organizations that the MS Society works with:

• HealthPartners:
• Imagine Canada:
• Health Charities Coalition of Canada: 
• Canadian Medical Association: 
• Episodic Disabilities Network:
• National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA):
• MS International Federation:

Application Process

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the MS Society of Canada. For more information about this exciting and challenging leadership opportunity, please contact Tara George, Senior Vice President, David Laws, Vice President or Sylvie Battisti, Senior Consultant by email at

To view the full Executive Brief, please click here:

Interested candidates should submit their resume and a cover letter of interest no later than August 11th, 2017.  All enquiries and nominations will be kept in strict confidence.

The MS Society has a bold vision for the future. We have a team of dedicated professionals who share a common goal to end MS and to improve the lives of those affected by MS. We strive to be an employer of choice and provide a working environment that values diversity, team work, and professional development. The MS Society of Canada embraces diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply.