Chief of Staff

Birmingham, AL
Hybrid âś…
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Apply before: 
Jun 12, 2023


We are looking for a senior Chief of Staff to work directly with our CEO and very closely with the Executive Leadership Team. The Chief of Staff will serve as a thought partner and coordinator to the entire leadership team. They will also act as a communications partner, supporting internal and external communications between the CEO and key stakeholders. In this leadership role, the Chief of Staff will also work across Southern Research and external partners to create shared context, drive clarity, and appropriately prioritize time, mindshare, and resources towards Southern Research’s key areas of focus. We are looking for an energetic and nimble executer who thinks critically, relishes details, effectively collaborates with leadership to achieve mission-critical outcomes, and has demonstrated a commitment to research, discovery, and commercialization.

Essential Duties And Responsibilities

  • Lead strategic project management for high-profile, enterprise-wide priorities with high external impact, such as (a) Southern Research’s partnership with the City of Birmingham and UAB to create a biotechnology innovation corridor; (b) Southern Research’s expansion in to precision medicine; and (c) Continued fundraising and investment activities to support continued investment in new capabilities and facilities.
  • Partner with the CEO and Executive Leadership Team to build and maintain high functioning teams and culture - both within the various leadership teams and throughout Southern Research, with a focus on core values and operating behaviors
  • Support external stakeholder relationships by shaping narratives, drafting communications, and driving priorities for key principals, including Southern Research’s board of directors, advisory boards, university leaders and principal investigators, policymakers, peer institutions, and civic partners.
  • Whether as a proxy for the CEO or with them in the room, prep for-, lead, and follow up on leadership and team meetings at an expert level, facilitating healthy debate, arriving at shared context as a team, managing meeting outputs and holding other leaders accountable for their deliverables
  • Escalate and help to resolve mission-critical challenges and developments
  • Manage the rhythm of business at Southern Research, ensuring that the CEO and the leadership team are focused on the right topics at the right time, both optimizing within the week and looking at horizons many months out.
  • Serve as a thought partner to the CEO on cross-functional operational and strategic topics including but not limited to -- long-term vision, issues of execution, areas for operational improvement, brand, internal and external communications, and stakeholder management
  • Produce high-impact internal and external communications, such as memos and presentations, for the CEO, in partnership with internal and external comms leaders for major events, along with other cross-functional teams as relevant
  • Cultivate and develop collaborative working relationships with the internal team across all levels of the organization
  • Communicate context to leaders and teams within Southern Research - often as an ambassador to the CEO - so that they are empowered to make good decisions and solve problems at their level, reducing information cycles or escalations to the leadership team when it can be avoided
  • Use internal data and your own analytical skills to guide goal setting and tracking for your work streams and shared leadership initiatives
  • Support cross-functional shared services teams at a strategic level to better optimize Southern Research’s rhythm of business and back-of-house operational efforts
  • Championing objectives and key results, including leading a cross-departmental team to drive performance management, provide regular status updates, and act as the connective tissue between big goals and day-to-day efforts and time management

Qualifications And Personal Characteristics

  • Highly collaborative -- You care less about who did it than how it got done. You take deep pride in shared outcomes and you really believe the whole is greater than the sum of the parts when it comes to team efforts.
  • Embraces process refinement – We believe strongly that “getting it right is more important than being right.” If you observe details to continuously improve processes, look for opportunities to create regular feedback loops to refine, and love measuring what matters, we are looking for you.
  • Shares a passion for teams and teamwork – Team building, including identifying and drawing out unique strengths and capabilities of Southern Research’s people, is integral. You will be expected to help build community within and across teams to imbue SR’s culture
  • Nimble executor – translating goals and objectives into actionable business priorities and work streams for the team to execute is second-nature for you.
  • A love of driving alignment -- Great chiefs of staff leave their personal agenda at the door. They serve as an ambassador for the CEO, and aim to facilitate great conversations and decision-making processes to drive alignment amongst the senior leadership team and the broader company.
  • Change management chops - Known for driving the operational and communications efforts needed to help move hearts and minds from one state to the next.
  • Excellent written communication skills -- Highly skilled in writing great emails, an expert in shorter vs longer summaries, and known for making amazing PowerPoint decks
  • Equally excellent verbal communication skills -- First and foremost, you’re a fantastic facilitator and excel at leading conversations and meetings in a way that draws out great insights and points towards great outcomes. You’re also a master in the art of business storytelling, and you’re known to align the message to meet the needs and prior context of the listener.

About Southern Research

Southern Research (SR) represents a bold vision for an enduring industry-university partnership that advances research and discovery in life sciences and engineering. As we celebrate our 80 th anniversary, we are making transformational decisions to reinvigorate the institute by focusing our efforts to attract, retain, and develop top talent, and ultimately create jobs through translating ideas into innovation, and innovation into economic opportunity.


Strategic Decisionmaker – Obtains information and identifies key issues relevant to achieving a long-range goal; commits to a course of action after developing alternatives based on logical assumptions, facts, constraints and resources

Strategic Relationship Builder – Uses appropriate interpersonal styles to work effectively with others to meet mutual goals and objectives; understands the role & interrelationships of each organizational function; possesses skill in managing across functional and organizational lines

Mission and Community Driven – Has an authentic desire to help steward Southern Research’s culture, guard of our values, and champion our mission of innovation-driven economic development through translation of excellent scientific research

Impactful Communicator - Expresses thoughts and ideas effectively in individual and group situations; adjusts language to the needs of the audience

Results Oriented – Establishes stretch goals and manages to focused outcomes; demands excellence and demonstrates a strong commitment to organizational success; works to do what is best for all stakeholders

Coaches / Develops Others – Uses appropriate interpersonal style to guide direct reports to action, create a sense of ownership, and encourage individuals to stretch beyond their own capabilities

Inclusive – Holds a strong conviction that inclusion and innovation go hand-in-hand

Highly collaborative – Cares less about who did it than how it got done; takes pride in shared outcomes and believes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts when it comes to team efforts

Deeply curious – Recognizes that “innovation requires not knowing long enough to learn new things” and that “being actively open-minded involves searching for reasons why we might be wrong—not for reasons why we must be right—and revising our views based on what we learn”

Action oriented – Translates goals and objectives into actionable, metrics focused priorities and work streams for the team to execute

Process Refiner – Observes details to continuously improve processes, looks for opportunities to create regular feedback loops to refine, and loves measuring what matters; believes strongly that “getting it right is more important than being right”

Physical Demands

  • Ability to work in an office setting using a computer for extended periods of time
  • Ability to sit for extended periods of time
  • Some travel required
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