Organization: Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Location: Chicago, IL

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About the Chicago Council on Global Affairs:   

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (“the Council”) is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business and governments engage the world.

The Council’s work deepens public understanding of, and shapes US decisions on, critical issues that extend beyond national borders — from global security to trade, global agriculture to immigration, global cities to energy and water. Through original research, renowned opinion polling and world-class events featuring top global leaders, the Council turns often abstract and complex policy ideas into tangible and clear insights for the public, business leaders and policymakers.

For nearly a century, the Council has been connecting the world to Chicago and Chicago to the world. Each year, the Council hosts roughly 200 events featuring leaders, policymakers and other experts from around the world, discussing the most important global issues of the day. Additionally, the Council’s in-house experts and fellows produce high quality research and insightful commentary on a wide range of global issues. Looking to the future, the Council also drives initiatives designed to help develop the next generation of global thought leaders and influencers.

Under the leadership of Ivo H. Daalder, former US Ambassador to NATO, the Council is on an ambitious path of growth and expansion. Since Ambassador Daalder became President in July 2013, the Council successfully launched the Chicago Forum on Global Cities, a high-level, multi-faceted three-day international forum held annually in Chicago; extended the breadth of Council programming; expanded research, resident expertise and foundation relationships; and revamped the Council’s work in developing future global leaders.

The Council, much like the city it resides in, makes connections and shapes perceptions beyond our borders. With half of the world’s population already living in cities – a share that is expected to grow to two-thirds by 2050 – global cities like Chicago have an increasingly important role to play in framing and ultimately helping to solve the common challenges faced by communities here in America and around the world. As it has done for well over 90 years, the Council on Global Affairs will continue to lead the way.

In July 2016, the Council will be moving its headquarters into Chicago’s Prudential Building. The new offices will include a conference center that can accommodate up to 300 guests as well as state-of-the-art studios for creative, digital programming. The new venue offers the Council the opportunity to enter a completely new phase of engagement – with the branded space in an iconic location firmly planting a permanent Chicago footprint for the Council on Global Affairs while creating a contemporary, dynamic and modern platform for its growing global reach, reputation and ambitions.

For more information on the Council, please visit

The Opportunity:

The Vice President of Programs & Strategic Content (“Vice President”) is a newly developed senior leadership role that will help drive, integrate and engage key constituencies with the Council’s expanding global portfolio of issues. Engaging directly with leaders from multiple sectors and all corners of the globe, the Vice President works with Council leadership and issue experts, as well as external individuals and entities, to develop dynamic platforms for Council stakeholders to connect with world leaders, policymakers, business executives, journalists and other leading global experts. The Vice President will develop and execute a strategy – building on the strong foundation of programming, engagement and outreach that the Council has solidified in recent years – that creates content to align with and amplify the Council’s body of work on a myriad of global issues and challenges of the day. In this respect, the Vice President will work with her/his counterparts to establish the strategic nexus between Council research, engagement and programming. The Vice President will have the opportunity to evaluate and rethink the Council on Global Affairs’ stakeholder engagement strategies and program content – especially how to best leverage the Council’s new branded, multimedia venue at the landmark Prudential Center.

Reporting to, and collaborating directly with, President Ivo H. Daalder, the Vice President will create Council-wide strategic goals around multi-faceted engagement, outreach and programming. S/he will lead the programs and strategic content team in the development, implementation and evaluation of content specific strategies and tactical programs to carry out those goals.

The overarching objective of the Vice President will be to oversee the development and execution of all Council engagement through program content, signature forums and digital / multimedia events. The platforms are broad and diverse, including public, corporate, and government and diplomatic programming, panel discussions, conferences and studies-related task forces, roundtables and conferences – and the digital means to engage a global audience.

Fundamentally, the Vice President will be responsible for developing and curating content and programs to help establish, build and maintain relationships on behalf of the Council on Global Affairs. Working closely with the Council’s senior leadership team and managing a highly skilled staff of 14 dedicated professionals, the Vice President will conceptualize content and develop strategies to increase the visibility and expand the scope, impact and reach of the Council as an innovative thought leader on global issues.

The Vice President will also oversee the annual Chicago Forum on Global Cities and the Global Food Security Symposium:

The Chicago Forum on Global Cities brings together international leaders in commerce, civics, culture and education to discuss the challenges confronting global cities around the world. It is a three day event co-hosted by the Council and the Financial Times, involving many hundreds of participants and dozens of world-renowned speakers in an international dialogue on global cities.

The Global Food Security Symposium is an annual conference in Washington, DC attended by 500+ people to discuss global agriculture and food security.

Specific responsibilities of the Vice President will include:

  • Working as part of a collaborative and energetic senior management team that oversees the overall direction of the Council, carries out strategic initiatives and ensures that all Council activities are integrated and communicated effectively;
  • Serving as a spokesperson for the Council to enhance its local, national and global visibility and stature, and serving as a moderator at high-profile events;
  • Developing approaches to engage key constituencies and well-respected thought leaders to inform, lend credibility and enhance the visibility of the Council’s programs and engagement;
  • Working in close collaboration with Board leadership and the Council’s team to identify, approach and cultivate partners and donors to help advance the institution’s objectives;
  • Conceptualizing and implementing creative strategies with the Communications team to increase and broaden audience participation through live streaming, radio/video interviews, blogging and other digital outreach platforms;
  • Leading and mentoring the programs and strategic content staff to ensure ongoing success of all content execution, including internal and external collaborations, budgeting, protocol, outreach, programs-related communications and sponsorship implementation; and
  • Managing all major forums and symposia, including the Chicago Forum on Global Cities and the Global Food Security Symposium.

Candidate Profile:

The Vice President of Programs & Strategic Content will be a strategic and innovative thinker. The Vice President will have the character and confidence to work comfortably in a highly visible role and effectively with a range of constituents, globally and within the Council.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal qualities and characteristics:

A Strategic & Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Vice President will be a strategic and results-oriented leader who, along with the President, will excel at setting and articulating a vision for the Council’s next chapter. S/he will have a consultative approach to evolve the vision of engagement for the Council. The Vice President will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. S/he will be comfortable serving as a partner to a strong leader and able to support a culture of collaboration among senior leadership and staff to advance an agenda. S/he will set and deliver on ambitious performance targets at every level.

A Relationship Builder and Communicator

The Vice President will be skilled at building and sustaining relationships at multiple levels with varied constituencies including civic and global leaders, the Council’s Board of Directors, senior leadership team and staff. S/he will be a confident and articulate communicator with the ability to work fluidly across all levels. S/he will be a high-energy leader who can talk with all constituents and successfully convey the Council’s objectives. S/he will have a strong working relationship with key leaders and will be a proactive communicator at all times. Fearless about approaching and involving others globally on behalf of the Council, s/he will have an inspirational approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support and engagement from global thought leaders.

An Ambassador for the Council

The Vice President will be comfortable expanding and enhancing the organization’s brand, recognizing the importance of connecting people to the work. S/he will be skilled at developing relationships with global leaders, guests of the Council, editors, publishers and donors. The Vice President will be a confident public speaker and a strong and dynamic communicator who can represent an institution effectively to all constituents across global communities. S/he will be comfortable working in partnership with the President to advance the goals of the organization.

An Action-Oriented Leader with Strong Management Acumen

Working with a highly skilled and professional team, the Vice President will have the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results. With the ability to engender trust, honesty and integrity, the Vice President’s management style will be organized and efficient while at the same time inclusive, allowing for the building of consensus and supporting an innovative environment. S/he will offer creative, yet practical, ideas to achieve the strategic direction of the Council. The Vice President will mentor and retain a talented team that embraces the mission. S/he will be a detail-oriented individual who functions well in a fluid environment.

A Passion for the Mission of the Council

The Vice President will embody the values and mission of the Council and as a result, will inspire and motivate others. On the most fundamental level, s/he will be committed to educating the public on global affairs and will promote that passion throughout the organization and well beyond. S/he will embrace the history and culture of the Council while having an eye consistently focused on the future and how to continue to be a global thought leader, increasing the range and depth of substantive contributions by the Council in each of its program areas. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

The ideal candidate would benefit from experience in developing and expanding multi-faceted, high-volume, engagement strategies and programs, including thought leadership.

A knowledge of, and passionate interest in, global affairs, is required. Possession of an advanced degree with a focus on international affairs, foreign policy, international business or other related field is a distinct advantage.


Alison P. Ranney and Marissa Martin of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Alison and Marissa directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit