Vice-President, Advancement & External Relations

To review the full Executive Brief, please visit:


Wilfrid Laurier University is seeking a strategic and innovative leader to join our Executive Leadership team as Vice-President, Advancement & External Relations.  Reporting to the President & Vice-Chancellor, the Vice-President will provide strategic leadership to advance the University’s priorities in the areas of brand and reputation building, fundraising and donor relations, and government & community relations. The Vice-President, Advancement & External Relations will strengthen and enhance capacities through strategic planning and prioritization, and by implementing the appropriate structures, systems and processes to meet University and stakeholder needs.

The Vice-President, Advancement & External Relations will lead a multi-campus integrated team of 80 staff across several units including development, alumni and community engagement, advancement services, and external relations, marketing, communications, web services and government relations. As well, the Vice-President will work collaboratively with academic and administrative units to ensure an integrated approach across all faculties and campuses that aligns with the University’s strategic plans and priorities.


  • Substantial and progressive senior-level leadership and management experience in a multi-faceted, multi-stakeholder external relations and/or advancement portfolio, in a large and complex organization (ideally a university).
  • Some combination of experience in each of the Advancement and External Relations portfolios, which should include:
  • Demonstrated success in leading teams in the development and execution of comprehensive communications, government and external relations strategies aimed at building brand and reputation, and engaging key stakeholders and partners.
  • Demonstrated leadership of and involvement in institutional campaigns and securing major or transformational gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations.
  • Strong issues management experience, with proven ability to develop and execute effective communications plans and strategies to preserve brand and reputation.
  • Experience engaging alumni, donor, community, and other parallel stakeholder groups, and integrating engagement initiatives with fundraising strategies and goals.
  • Strong staff and volunteer leadership experience and the ability to lead by example, mentoring, building the skills and competencies of others, and gaining respect and credibility at all levels.
  • Experience leading teams from multiple disciplines and diverse backgrounds who are based in different locations and/or communities.
  • Knowledge of and experience with the nature and dimensions of philanthropy, ethics, motivations for giving and volunteering.
  • Knowledge and ability to develop and implement marketing and communications plans as well as community, government and external relations strategies.
  • Operational experience, including budgeting, forecasting and fundraising operations.
  • Proven ability to develop relationships of trust and respect with faculty, volunteers, donors, community partners, government colleagues, alumni and colleagues.
  • A university degree is required for this position, or a combination of other post-secondary education and professional experience. Additional accreditation or credentials in the advancement and/or external relations field is considered an asset. 

Abilities, Qualities, and Attributes:

  • Proven ability to plan and operate at a strategic level with a demonstrated creative, entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact with a diverse range of leaders and to navigate and be effective within a complex organization that values collaboration and teamwork as well as individual initiative and creativity.
  • High level of initiative, tact and diplomacy; excellent judgement and discretion.
  • Proven ability to engage community members with demonstrated capacity to engender trust and build lasting relationships internally and externally.
  • Commitment to creating an inclusive environment that respects and promotes equity and diversity.
  • Superb organizational skills and the proven ability to meet deadlines and deliver on goals and commitments.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Strong analytical and creative problem solving skills.



Wilfrid Laurier University is a leading comprehensive Canadian university known for academic excellence, a student-focused educational experience, and a culture that inspires lives of leadership and purpose. Laurier possesses a deep commitment to integrated and engaged learning, supporting and enhancing high quality undergraduate, graduate and professional education, and emphasizing co curricular development of the whole student. With more than 20,000 students, across nine faculties, Laurier has campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, and locations in Kitchener, Yellowknife and Toronto and an office in Chongqing, China. The university also continues to explore various options for the development of a new campus in Milton.

Laurier is designated as an Ashoka Changemaker campus, a prestigious external recognition of student and faculty commitment to making the world a better place. Laurier has been recognized as one of Waterloo Region’s Top Employer for 2019 by Canada’s Top 100 Employer competition. For three years in a row, Wilfrid Laurier University has received the #1 ranking by Maclean’s in student satisfaction among comprehensive universities and was voted the #1 Most Sustainable Campus in Ontario by Corporate Knights in 2017.


KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this executive search on behalf of Wilfrid Laurier University. For further information about this leadership opportunity, please contact Tara George, KCI Senior Vice President, by email at

Interested candidates are invited to send resume and letter of interest to the above email address by February 8, 2019. Nominations are also welcomed for this position. All inquiries, applications, and nominations will be held in strict confidence. 

Diversity and creating a culture of inclusion is a key pillar of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Strategic Academic Plan and is one of Laurier’s core values. Laurier is committed to increasing the diversity of faculty and staff and welcomes applications from candidates who identify as Indigenous, racialized, having disabilities, and from persons of any sexual identities and gender identities. Indigenous candidates who would like to learn more about equity and inclusive programing at Laurier are welcomed to contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Candidates from other equity seeking groups who would like to learn more about equity and inclusive programing at Laurier are welcomed to contact Employment Equity & Accessibility at

We have strived to make our application process accessible however if you require any assistance applying for a position or would like this job posting in an alternative format, please contact Human Resources at 519-884-1970 ext.2007 or

Members of the above designated groups must self-identify to be considered for employment equity. Candidates may self-identify, in confidence, by filling out a Self-Identification Questionnaire, which will be provided by KCI to all applicants.

Similar searches: Marketing & Communications