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Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives

Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Ithaca, New York
Closing date
Aug 14, 2021

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The Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) seeks an outstanding candidate for the position of Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives (ED) who will be responsible to, and work collaboratively with, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean to define and implement the next generation of purpose-driven projects aimed at solving the most challenging global issues of our time. The ED will help establish the university-wide strategy, organizational structures, systems, and processes for a portfolio of strategic initiatives that includes the university-wide initiative “ClimateX,” a high-impact, cross-institutional program poised to launch in Fall 2021.The ED will also play a critical role in CALS’ new strategic planning initiative, which is also slated to begin in Fall 2021. 

The ED will be capable of communicating effectively across a range of audiences and will drive change with a holistic, collaborative approach to enhance partnerships, inspire collaboration, and motivate people to action. The ED will be a leader who can connect scholarship to action across the university and is able to develop and help manage large, complex collaborations with internal and external constituencies. The ED will work closely with colleagues in the Alumni Affairs and Development division to support and deepen current external relationships and help extend and transform them into longer-term, ever more impactful engagements.

Drawing on deep experience in communications, marketing, branding, and project management, the ED will work intensively with Cornell leadership and faculty, staff, and student experts to establish dynamic, effective collaborative connections across the university to translate strategy into action and impact. Preferred qualifications include: graduate or professional master’s degree in a relevant field; scientific background/orientation with sincere interest in global challenges, with domain focus on climate solutions; at least 5 years of work experience in project management, marketing, communications and/or business, and a minimum of five years of experience in executive roles, with financial management responsibility; proven record in leading trans-disciplinary projects, including international projects, and strategic planning; experience working with a broad range of stakeholders, with specific expertise in public-private partnerships.

The complete position profile can be found at

The Search Committee will begin a review of applications mid-August and continue its work until an appointment is made. To assure full consideration, application materials should be received by August 16, 2021. Candidates should provide: a letter of interest stating how the candidate’s experiences and qualifications connect with the required/preferred characteristics and priorities expressed in the position profile; curriculum vitae/resume; statement of contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion; five professional references with emails, telephone numbers, and a description of the candidate’s professional relationship with each reference listed (references will not be contacted without prior written authorization from the applicant).

Applications and nominations should be sent electronically (PDF or MS Word) to: We invite candidates to visit the Cornell EEO link to complete the University’s EEO survey for the position of Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, noting the requisition #WDR-00026292 and posting date of 06/08/2021 for this opportunity in the College of Agriculture and Life Science.

The search is being assisted by AGB Search Consultants:

Ms. Monica Burton | | 917-825-2961 

Dr. Nancy M. Targett | | 302-233-5202


Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. For the full Cornell University Equal Education and Employment Opportunity Statement, visit: Cornell EEEO.

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