The Chief of Staff to the President-Elect is instrumental in supporting the President-Elect in realizing Northwestern University’s vision and mission. The role is a trusted aide, thought partner, and advisor to the President-Elect, facilitates and guides university-level initiatives, and provides operational leadership to the Office of the President-Elect. The Chief of Staff reports to the President-Elect and serves on their cabinet.
The Chief of Staff liaises with university leaders to facilitate initiatives with university-wide impact. An important function of the Chief of Staff position is to be a key aide to the President-Elect in driving the effective communication and implementation of presidential decisions and initiatives. This includes providing follow-up, support, coordination, and guidance as necessary for presidential initiatives and highly complex strategic matters in close partnership with university leaders and their teams. This is especially critical for matters that involve many stakeholders across key constituencies and schools/units. The Chief of Staff collaborates in policy and strategy development with the President-Elect and the President-Elect’s cabinet. This position coordinates agendas for the President-Elect’s cabinet in consultation with the President-Elect and may lead or sit on university committees to represent the Office of the President-Elect.
The Chief of Staff is also a connector between the Office of the President-Elect and Northwestern’s community and its external stakeholders. In doing so, the Chief of Staff creates bandwidth and provides crucial support to advance the university’s goals. A core part of this role is exercising outstanding judgment in triaging issues, decisions, actions, and initiatives to determine which need to be referred to the President-Elect, other staff in the Office of the President-Elect, or other campus leaders. This position also manages proactive preparations and reactive follow-up on presidential initiatives, issues, and engagement. The Chief of Staff leads the development and collection of information to support the President-Elect and their response to key issues. The role must be able to effectively communicate with a wide range of stakeholders including trustees, alumni, donors, senior leaders, university groups, and students in order to serve as an effective resource in the Office of the President-Elect.
The Chief of Staff provides operational support to the president and to the Office of the President-Elect, including supervising administrative staff. The position manages internal operations for the office and has oversight over the office budget. Functions led by staff reporting to the Chief of Staff include the President-Elect’s schedule and travel, day to day financial activities, event planning on campus and at the President-Elect’s residence. The role also supervises operations and staff at the President-Elect’s residence. Overall office reporting structures may continue to evolve to best fit the needs of the President-Elect’s operations. The Chief of Staff works closely with other staff in the Office of the President-Elect with leadership over presidential communications/speechwriting and special projects.
Note-The title will be updated when the President-Elect takes office as President
Facilitate presidential initiatives and decisions
- Serves as a senior advisor and trusted partner to the President-Elect in pursuit of the vision and mission of the university
- In partnership with the President-Elect, identifies and prioritizes issues of strategic importance to the university. Works to advance strategic goals in close coordination with the President-Elect and the President-Elect’s cabinet
- Supports policy and strategy development with the President-Elect and the President-Elect’s cabinet
- Works closely with university leaders to support and facilitate initiatives on behalf of the President-Elect to ensure the coordination and execution of presidential objectives
- Provides follow-up, support, coordination, and guidance to university leaders and their teams in order to advance presidential initiatives and decisions
- Lead, facilitate, or participate in strategic initiatives as a representative of the Office of the President-Elect, particularly in highly sensitive or complex matters
- Prepare agendas and strategic topics for Presidential cabinet meetings in consultation with the President-Elect
- As needed, personally staff or arrange staffing for the President-Elect at major events
Connect the Northwestern community with the Office of the President
- Triage issues, decisions, actions, and initiatives to determine the most effective response and help prioritize the President-Elect’s time
- Manage proactive preparation and necessary follow-up for emergent issues and presidential engagement
- Lead the development and collection of information to support the President-Elect’s initiatives, meetings, and responses to key issues
- Interface with key internal and external partners, including but not limited to: trustees, donors, elected officials, business and civic leaders, provost, executive vice president, general counsel, deans, vice presidents, faculty, staff, and students
- Facilitate and support strong working relationships between the Office of the President-Elect and with academic and administrative units, schools, and other groups
- As requested by the President-Elect, serve as a delegate from the Office of the President-Elect with other university leaders to support and coordinate initiatives
- Serve on university committees on behalf of the President-Elect
Office of the President-Elect Support
- Provide leadership and operational support to the Office of the President-Elect as necessary, including directing staff who may be assigned from time to time in support of certain presidential initiatives
- Advise on the most effective and meaningful use of the President-Elect’s time, especially regarding the President-Elect’s engagement with key stakeholders
- Manage staff who have responsibility for the President-Elect’s schedule and travel, the office’s financial transactions, event planning, the presidential residence, and other operational duties
- Coordinate with staff in the Office of the President-Elect who lead presidential communications/speechwriting and special projects
- Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree; an advanced degree is highly preferred
- Seven or more years of advanced administration and facilitation experience
- Experience working with executives in a higher education, non-profit, or government organization
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