Executive Director, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
University of Waterloo
Posting Date:
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

RIA invites applications (cover letter and curriculum vitae) by November 30, 2020. Please submit your application in one document by email to Josie d’Avernas at davernas@uwaterloo.ca.

The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable non-profit organization that partners with the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, and Schlegel Villages to enhance the care and quality of life for older adults. Through collaborations with key partners and stakeholders, RIA supports practice-relevant research and knowledge mobilization. Research evidence is used to inform programs, education and training, and influence practice and policy. The RIA operates its own building with several tenants, research labs, meeting rooms and office space. The RIA supports 10 research chairs, 4 specialists, affiliate researchers, and 28 team members (staff) with a commitment to improved quality of life and care across the continuum of care. For more see www.the-ria.ca.

This is a full-time position for an initial five-year term, renewable.

ACCOUNTABILITY: The Executive Director is responsible for operationalizing the overall vision and strategic direction of the RIA, with ultimate accountability to the Board of Directors for the work of RIA, through the Board Chair. This includes

  • being aware of and working within executive limitations set by the Board
  • providing leadership to the RIA staff team, Schlegel Chairs, specialists and affiliate researchers, and consultants that are retained from time to time
  • maintaining and building positive relationships between RIA and its many partners/collaborators, including especially its core partners University of Waterloo, Conestoga College and Schlegel Villages
  • ensuring good stewardship of RIA funds, including revenue generation via donations, contracts and dissemination/commercialization of products
  • building RIA profile locally, provincially, nationally and globally
  • overseeing development, updating and implementation of RIA’s strategic plan and operational plans; monitoring progress on strategic aims and operational targets; and reporting successes, challenges, risks and risk mitigation strategies to the Board.


1. Organizational leadership:

  1. Recruit, empower and support a top-notch staff and scientific team
  2. Monitor external environment for trends and opportunities
  3. Play a significant role in fundraising, cultivating relationships with partners and donors
  4. Lead by example in promoting a positive culture
  5. Lead core partnerships with University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, Schlegel Villages

2. External leadership:

  1. Position RIA as a global asset that promotes collaboration to enhance collective impact in improving care and quality of life for older adults
  2. Represent RIA at community events, conferences, meetings, committees at local, provincial, national and international level to build RIA profile
  3. Influence policy decisions at high level tables at the provincial and national level
  4. In addition to the Chair of the Board, act as spokesperson for the RIA. 

3. Research leadership

  1. Bring researchers together to advance programs of research highly relevant to seniors’ care and quality of life
  2. Monitor, and evaluate annually the research programs of the Schlegel Research Chairs and Research Specialists
  3. Facilitate development of “living research environments” within Schlegel Villages and beyond

4. Governance

  1. Support the Board Chair and Directors to enable effective and efficient governance
  2. Oversee development and renewal of strategic plans and governance policies
  3. Present an annual plan and budget to the Board for approval
  4. Provide quarterly financial updates to the Board
  5. Report progress on annual targets to the Board
  6. Identify, assess and inform the Board of internal and external issues that affect the organization
  7. Work with the Board to develop appropriate risk mitigation strategies.

5. Operational Planning and Management.

Work with the Senior Director of Operations to ensure the operations of RIA meet expectations of the Board, partners, collaborators and stakeholders:

  1. Develop annual operational plans and targets
  2. Determine staffing requirements for organizational management and program delivery
  3. Oversee implementation of HR policies, procedures and practices
  4. Prepare, review and refresh organizational policies and procedures
  5. Establish a positive, safe and healthy work environment in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulations
  6. Ensure appropriate management of all information
  7. Ensure privacy/confidentiality of information is maintained
  8. Coach and mentor staff as appropriate to optimize performance. Oversee discipline and release if and when needed using accepted HR guidelines
  9. Participate in annual reviews of staff and researchers. 

6. Financial Planning and Management.

Work with the RIA Accountant to:

  1. a. Prepare budgets and monitor expenditures
  2. b. Establish and oversee contracts and collaboration agreements with partners
  3. c. Approve expenditures within authority delegated by the Board
  4. d. Administer the funds of RIA according to the approved budget
  5. e. Monitor monthly cash flow of the organization.


Education: Masters, PhD, MD or comparable credential

Experience and Skills:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Administration and management
  • Deep understanding and familiarity with research in aging
  • Ability to critically review programs of research for relevance, integrity, collaboration and impact
  • Ability to inform and influence high level decision-making through engagement in provincial and national research panels, policy groups, government and non-government organizations
  • Knowledge mobilization science and practice
  • Relationship-building with external partners and donors
  • Facilitative and hands-on leadership style
  • Interest and passion for enhancing quality of life and care for older adults.