USATF CEO search update, job description


Jill Geer
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field

USATF CEO search update, job description

USA Track & Field's Personnel Committee, in collaboration with its third-party search firm, has developed the job specifications and ideal qualities for USATF's next CEO. Candidates from a large pool of applicants for the position currently are being evaluated by the Personnel Committee. A handful of finalists will be interviewed by the USATF board, with the new CEO likely to be hired by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Position Summary

Title: Chief Executive Officer

Reports to: USATF Board of Directors

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate is an accomplished executive / business leader with proven ability and success in growing revenue, managing a staff of professionals and working productively with a strong, diverse board of directors. He/she will be a passionate, responsive leader and diplomat, skilled at business management, collaboration, evangelizing, and a team player. They must be an excellent communicator who is skilled at building consensus, issue management and dispute resolution. Will work effectively with the board of directors and across a complex, diverse and at times politically charged volunteer organization to accelerate the realization of the USATF vision and strategic plan. They will have the courage, personal drive, passion and enthusiasm to both understand and successfully navigate a dynamic and highly political environment striving toward improved relations with all USATF constituencies in the USA and globally, while inherently understanding what empowers the volunteers and how in turn they are empowered by them.

It is vital that they are someone who is either in or has a long history with the sport of track and field who possesses true passion for the sport and has an intimate knowledge of how the sport is organized and operates from the grassroots to the World Championships and Olympic Games to gain immediate trust from the key stakeholders. It is a given that this person has deep experience in the nuts and bolts of marketing, broadcasting and media/sponsorship sales; what sets them apart is their strengths in both disciplines and ability to deliver unprecedented results and elevate the USATF brand.

Willing to take actions to inspire and energize others around the vision for USATF's future while demonstrating primary concern for leading and motivating others to achieve the organizations goals. This individual must respect and be highly respected by subordinates, peers, and superiors and builds a culture of "for the athletes" that permeates the National Office. A leader with integrity who inspires loyalty, trust and following and can influence and energize people and teams, and make cross-region, cross-organizational cooperation happen. Possesses the intellect and executive presence to paint the big picture and become a collaborative partner who is capable of contributing to broader sports conversations beyond their functional expertise.

Candidate Specifications

Role and Responsibilities:

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and staff of USATF work to carry out the policies set forth by the organization's volunteer constituency and administer the day-to-day duties of the organization. The CEO is the spokesperson and will lead all aspects of USATF with integrity and in accordance with the USATF 2009 Strategic Plan, and Board policies while giving appropriate consideration to the rules and policies of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF - the world governing body), and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Core Competencies:

A Passionate Leader. Dynamic personality who knows how to motivate, inspire and empower to drive the team for results. Conveys a sense of urgency that fosters a culture of consistently meeting if not exceeding expectations. Has the emotional intelligence to rise above the noise and frustrations that arise from change to see their actions through to positive conclusions for al

Innovative Marketing and Sales Professional. Savvy in marketing and building a business while being passionate about selling the sport to the fan base, sponsors and television. Knows how to leverage their own connections and the connections of others to open doors and drive revenue. Continuously developing new ways of "creating events and buzz" that will allow USATF to exceed sponsors activation expectations and contribute to harnessing the growth of running, building the fan base and everyone's engagement in the sport at both the grassroots and professional level.

Supporter of Athletes and Volunteers. Knows that USATF exists because of and for the athletes. Recognizes that the athletes and volunteers will embrace a leader who embraces them and understands their value and deals constructively with their idiosyncrasies with compassion. Speaks to them and for them in a way that demonstrates they understand them and gives them voice. Fights for and protects their interests.

Skilled Team Builder. Enjoys building and leading teams with diverse perspectives and talents while creating a great place to work for their people where individual and team victories are celebrated and everyone is held accountable for delivering results. Highly effective at collaborating, builds alliances and rapport within the organization from the board level to the grassroots and with partners. Respects and gets along easily with people; will develop and mentor the team.

Specific Responsibilities:

Strategy. In conjunction with the Board and other senior management, is responsible and accountable for growth and development of USATF and track and field as a major sport. Develop USATF's short and long-term operating plans consistent with the overall strategic plan and designed to grow revenues and move USATF on an accelerated growth path.

Communication. Operates with an open door and an open mind. Solicits input and perspective on key issues and projects and is an active listener who builds consensus and finds the common ground in resolving issues. Keeps the board, volunteer constituencies and staff informed and up to date on important issues and developments in a productive give-and-take manner and follows through on commitments. Deals effectively with the media.

Revenue. Responsible for leading the sales effort and the team in the acquisition, maintenance, and retention of sponsors. Sell at high levels; coordinate the advertising, promotion, and public relations activities to assure growth of the USATF brand and the sport of track and field. Develop marketing strategies that consider USATF as a whole as well as the promotion of specific events and athletes.

Performance. Event management and innovative presentation of track and field not just athlete "relations" but programmatic support of athlete development (training centers, summits, sports science, etc.) - and the expectation of creating/supporting an environment that maximizes athlete performance, and brings results on the world stage (the USOC might list this as the #1 responsibility of the role).

Development. Programs and event management support for non-professional athletes & participants of all ages (particularly youth, but also for adults of all ages) skillful, strategic support and leveraging of the USATF Foundation entity.

Innovation. Translate fresh ideas, innovative new thinking and conventional best practices from various industries into USATF's context to ensure that USATF stays on the leading edge of marketing and develops a powerful brand presence for USATF across America and the world. Experienced with "new media" (internet, webcasts, social networking, virtual communities, etc.)

Culture. Strengthen and maintain a can-do, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial environment that stresses employee performance, responsiveness, teamwork, management credibility, success and a servant-leader culture. Develop the National organizational focus on the customer service and athletic excellence in a way that gains and maintains the confidence of all constituencies.

Resources. Directs and coordinates business activities, costs, operations, and forecast data to determine progress toward stated goals and objectives. Sets and meets budgets that reflect tough choices and financial constraints. Knows how to creatively use all the talent available to leverage the staff and volunteers alike.

Experience Requirements:

* Previous CEO / President / COO or equivalent leadership experience preferred.

* Minimum 10 years executive level corporate executive experience and a track record of growth and success where best practices are utilized with significant business management and strategy development experience.

* Minimum 5 years sports marketing, joint venture, licensing, sponsor relationship experience whereby the person understands the way the sports industry operates today as well as in the rapidly changing new media world.

* Candidate could well have been a world-class track and field athlete. Person is competitive in daily life but not at the expense of others and knows that accomplishing this mission comes with an attitude that failure is not an option.

* Experience with developing a strategic and visionary plan in tune with a dynamic environment that will be universally accepted and executed with measurable success.

* Has established relationships with business CEOs, media moguls, and sports leaders that can be leveraged.

* Has experience and insights in both the business world and the non-profit world coupled with negotiation skills (re: TV deals, sponsor contracts, meet director deals, athlete demands, etc.)

* Joint Venture experience and the ability to work with multiple parties and constituents to accomplish goals and objectives.

* Ability to convey a passion for track and field and be a natural spokesperson who embraces and represents the heroes of yesterday and tomorrow

* Ability and understanding of how to make track and field more relevant in the hearts and minds of a domestic and global audience in the highly competitive sports industry

* Understanding of today's youth and next generation in order to attract, relate and promote the future audience as well as track and field athletes of tomorrow.

* The political instinct and acumen with skills in issues management and dispute resolution as well as the maturity to operate on many levels intellectually while bringing diverse groups to consensus, always knowing the overall success of USATF in serving the athletes so that they can excel is the most critical and essential outcome.

* The ability to build positive relationships with the board, the staff and the volunteer leadership.

* Person has a sense of humor and can handle pressure, crossfire and operate in a challenging environment where not everything is always completely under their control.

* A strong reputation of authenticity, integrity, and accomplishments with peers and other industry executives that will garner instant credibility within the USATF, USOC, and sponsor families.

* The CEO should be a master of resources who will draw upon both staff and volunteer leaders in successfully selling USATF to external partners to increase participation and build spectator / viewer / reader interest in the sport at all levels.

* Excellent communication skills, including written, verbal, and presentations. Excels in presenting the athletes and the sport in the media.

* A proven record of hiring exceptionally talented individuals who work as a team.

* The proven ability to build on the organization's financial stability, as well as maintain growth.

* Experience with successfully and strategically addressing controversial topics with the media.


Compensation includes competitive base salary, bonus tied to results.