Washington D.C.
Commensurate with experience
Jul 09, 2021
Aug 13, 2021
Executive, Chief
Full Time

The President is the chief executive officer of American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. S/he proposes to the Board of Directors organizational strategy and goals and bears overall responsibility for execution of strategy, implementation of programs, and the effectiveness of administrative and financial structures and processes to advance and support AF’s mission and objectives. The President is an ex officio member of the organization’s Board of Directors and works in partnership with the Board and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.  S/he represents the organization in public fora and vis-à-vis senior members of the US science and science policy community. The President leads the senior management team of American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. S/he ensures that the organization is compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements for US nonprofit organizations and that American Friends programs, services, and publications advance the organization’s mission and achieve key goals, including:

  • Sustained activation of the US Humboldt Alumni Network through the development and implementation of creative and effective engagement strategies;
  • Sustained efforts to secure the future of the Humboldt network through strategies to sustain the participation of US scholars, scientists, engineers, and professionals in AvH programs;
  • Enhanced visibility and standing of the organization, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the US Humboldt Alumni Network in the United States in the US science, science policy, and science funding communities;
  • Sustained and robust scientific, scholarly, and professional exchange between the United States and Germany to advance knowledge, foster transatlantic cooperation, and facilitate international collaboration on shared societal challenges.

To advance these goals, the President:

  • Determines and adapts organizational strategy, as necessary, to changes in the transatlantic relationship and the factors that shape German-American cooperation in research and scholarship, and in science and science policy.
  • Leads the organization’s advancement, through recommendations to the Board on governance, strategic planning, programmatic and partnership opportunities, and as a result of ongoing evaluation of the organization’s programs and activities.
  • Stewards the relationship with the AvH, advising the Foundation on developments in US science and higher education, emerging opportunities in the United States to raise the profile of the AvH and German research, and strategies to sustain and raise the participation of US scholars, scientists, and engineers in AvH programs and to engage and activate the US Humboldt Alumni Network in the evolving transatlantic political and scientific landscape.
  • Through participation in senior level activities, meetings, and events, promotes the visibility of American Friends, the AvH, and US Humboldtians as resources on international research collaboration and international science policy.
  • Represents the organization at the highest level, building positive relationships with senior representatives of key stakeholders, partners, affiliates, associations, professional societies, funders, prospects (both institutional and individual), and the US Humboldt Alumni Network.
  • Leads exploration and identification of opportunities and strategies to expand public support and enhance long-term fiscal sustainability.
  • Ensures that the organization meets the requirements of a US nonprofit charitable organization as well as of contracts or grants that fund American Friends work and programs.
  • Ensures an integrated alignment of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and organizational objectives, which include hiring, recruitment, and retention of staff and board members; the strategic engagement of alumni and vital partners, and in the development and execution of all activities and programs.


Alumni Engagement Program (30% of time)

  • Ensures the successful execution and evaluation of a Board-led, multi-year alumni engagement and communications plan to activate the US Humboldt Alumni Network, comprising over 5,400 Humboldtians:
  • ensures appropriate alignment of AF’s alumni engagement activities with the Foundation’s alumni programs and initiatives;
  • supports the Board’s involvement in alumni engagement;
  • determines strategic direction of alumni engagement plans of the Director of Advancement and policies approved by the Board; and
  • reports regularly to the Board and AvH on key results of AF engagement efforts, including information and insights about US Humboldt alumni and the US alumni network, and responses to engagement tools and strategies.
  • Proposes programmatic initiatives to meet the needs of key constituency groups in the alumni network (academics, legal and medical professionals, corporate leaders, and young professionals in public policy and administration) as well as the demands of different career stages.
  • Provides strategic guidance for a comprehensive communications strategy to inform and engage Humboldtians:
  • leads joint efforts with the AvH to develop and adapt a cooperative narrative to convey key messages to US alumni in a consistent fashion;
  • works with COO/Communications Director to ensure that the cooperative narrative, core messaging, and standards are incorporated into the AF website and development and production of communications materials; and
  • Creates opportunities to leverage the substantive expertise and international experience of US Humboldt alumni in AF programs and those of partners.

Public Outreach and Education about the US Humboldt Network and International Research Collaboration and Science Policy (20% of time)

  • Represents AF in high-level professional events or activities, contributes to publications on relevant issues, and interacts with senior members of the professional community in scientific and transatlantic policy to raise the visibility of the AFAvH, AvH, and US Humboldt Alumni Network as resources on international research collaboration and as assets in German-American relations.
  • Informs partners and other stakeholders in US science about the experiences and insights of AvH and Humboldtians with and into international collaborations and in science policy and diplomacy.
  • Creates new partnership opportunities related to international science policy, global research collaboration, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in science.

Stewardship of Joint Objectives, Activities, and Initiatives with the AvH (20% of time)

  • Strengthens the joint objectives and initiatives with the AvH in strategic and operational terms:
  • advises the AvH about US models in higher education alumni stewardship, philanthropy, and institutional advancement, and nonprofit best practices.
  • proposes concepts and approaches to the shared stewardship of the US Humboldt Alumni Network, and the shared purpose of attracting future generations of US scholars, scientists, engineers and professionals to AvH programs; and
  • reports regularly to the AvH on the results of AF alumni engagement efforts, including the impact on AvH goals for the US Alumni Network and in the United States.
  • Serves as senior contracting officer for agreements with the AvH:
  • leads negotiation and implementation of multi-year funding contract with the AvH; as appropriate, negotiates modifications and extensions of renewals of contracts with the AvH; and
  • ensures effective implementation and administration of contracts with the AvH, including compliance with procurement requirements, the provision of timely and accurate narrative and financial reports to the Foundation, and other contract terms.

Development and Support of the American Friends Board (15% of time)

  • Drives organizational progress through intensive Board meeting preparation according to long-range strategic plans and objectives. Uses time between meetings through standing calls and other means to introduce, discuss, and advance critical steps and determinations. With the Executive Committee, develops meeting agendas and oversees preparation of supporting materials for Board meetings.
  • Assists and supports the Chair and Board Committee Chairs to ensure effective and efficient Board committee structure and function between and at Board meetings.
  • Introduces strategic opportunities associated with Board travel to support alumni outreach and/or development events.
  • Advises the Board on matters of policy and provides information and reports to the Board on operation of the organization. Assists the Board in carrying out strategic planning and evaluating progress toward achievement of the organization’s goals and mission.

Financial Management and Institutional Advancement (10% of time)

  • Fulfills the functions of a CFO, managing budgets, funding requests, and forecasts; reviewing and presenting financial reports; and overseeing execution of the annual audit and preparation and submission of required financial filings with federal and state agencies:
  • leads the staff to develop a realistic annual budget and makes financial decisions consistent with the budget as approved by the Board;
  • ensures that project performance meets budgetary objectives and adjusts project activities based on fiscal analysis and changes;
  • presents all financial reports (monthly, quarterly, annual) to the Board to compare performance to budget and to agreed AF-AvH Financial Plan, and to other benchmarks;
  • directs the preparation of the annual IRS Form 990;
  • supports the Board Audit Committee to oversee execution of the annual audit; and
  • submits funding requests and financial and narrative reports to the AvH; ensures accuracy of all disbursement requests and accounting, as well as compliance with procurement requirements and other contract terms.
  • Oversees implementation of a multi-year plan to grow the AF “start-up” operation for institutional advancement into a fully scaled, highly professional operation adhering to best practices and standards for transparency and compliance:
  • oversees execution of institutional advancement plans and work of Board and staff in alumni engagement and, over time, cultivation roles;
  • represents AF at the highest professional level in cultivation of individual and institutional prospects and donors; and
  • introduces and strategically moves forward approved programmatic objectives to increase public support and financial sustainability and to strengthen and leverage the US Humboldt Alumni Network.
  • Organizational Development and Compliance (5% of time)


    • Sets strategic goals for alumni engagement and institutional advancement; evaluates the performance of the Director of Advancement on implementation of the alumni engagement initiative, including governance actions and communications and marketing strategies to support activation of US Humboldt alumni.
    • Advises the COO on implications of organizational vision and sets strategic goals; evaluates the performance of the COO on implementation of vision and goals, including through operational procedures and staffing structure to support continued efficient implementation of programs and activities and effective overall management.
    • Anticipates the strategic needs of the organization for expertise beyond current staff capacity and brings for Board approval proposals for appropriate longer- and short-term consulting and vendor services.
    • Envisions cost-saving and opportunity-enhancing ways to foster organizational growth and revenue, within the context of the AvH partnership.
    • Uses best practice resources to benchmark program introduction and progress.
    • Advises Board on and proposes appropriate actions or changes to AF operations to remain compliant with relevant US local, state, and federal, and European legal and regulatory developments;


    • Master’s degree required; advanced degree(s) strongly preferred.
    • Fluency in German; experience with German-based institutions, transatlantic organizations, or US think tanks, resulting in acquisition of intercultural competence and understanding of policy and transatlantic issues and organizations, and familiarity with German language and culture.
    • A minimum of 5 years of professional experience in areas related to higher education, the sciences, humanities, medicine, law, or government, with international and nonprofit experience highly desirable.
    • Experience with nonprofit board relations and strategic planning.
    • Experience in nonprofit financial management and accounting; experience should include legal, audit, compliance, budget and resource development. Knowledge of budgetary and financial principles and practices.
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
    • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders and partner organizations at the highest level of professionalism and sophistication.
    • Knowledge of academic career paths and major issues in higher education and research or alternative career paths taken by academics.
    • High comfort level with technology: electronic communications, databases, online portals, and office software including Microsoft Office Suite, SalesForce, and QuickBooks.



    • Proven strategic thinker and project manager.
    • Strong writing skills.
    • Demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities and proposing new ways of creating efficiencies.
    • Flexible and a self-starter; able to multitask while also being highly detail-oriented.
    • Passion for knowledge, the sciences and humanities, and the promise of the individual.
    • Proven professional commitment to values exemplified in AF mission and program priorities.
    • Vision and leadership ability.
    • Ability to work with a small team, multiple professional service providers, and key stakeholders in Germany and the United States.
    • Evidence of maintaining highest levels of confidentiality and discretion.
    • Understanding of and commitment to nonprofit principles of ethics and best practice.
    • Well-developed public presentation and public speaking skills.

    Salary/Benefits: American Friends offers a competitive compensation package, including a salary commensurate with experience and a comprehensive benefits package. American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to the belief that each individual is entitled to equal employment opportunity.

    Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States.


    The President is expected to work primarily from the office in Washington, DC.

    To apply: Email a cover letter describing your interest in the position, relevant experience, and qualifications; a resume; a one-to-two-page writing sample (in English) and three references with contact information to No phone inquiries, please.

    Application Deadline:  5 p.m., August 6th, 2021

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