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Identifying essential job functions and qualifications

Do you need a job description for an executive director or chief executive? Use this sample template to get started. Simply open the attachment below, fill in the blanks using the suggested prompts, and save to your own system. Feel free to use the sample wording or adapt as needed for your organization.

Sample Job Description: Executive Director or Chief Executive

Employee name: Full name Job Title Executive director/chief executive

Direct supervisor: Full name Job Title

Classification ☐ Nonexempt ☒ Exempt (U.S. only)
Position type ☒ Full-time ☐ Part-time ☐ Temporary

Working hours Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.

Compensation List salary, salary grade and pay range (minimum and maximum salary).

Supervisory responsibilities: The executive director/chief executive manages the executive team and is responsible for the overall direction, coordination and evaluation of the organization. The executive director/chief executive also directly supervises nonsupervisory employees as needed.

Job summary or purpose

In partnership with the board of directors, the executive director/chief executive is responsible for providing strategic leadership and managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Ultimately, the executive director/chief executive is responsible for the success of the organization. Together, the board of directors and the executive director/chief executive assure the organization's accomplishments and financial sustainability are aligned with the organization’s mission, vision and goals. The executive director/chief executive strategizes, directs and organizes operational activities with the highest level of the executive leadership team, who then engage the support of the rest of the staff.

Essential functions

Essential functions of the executive director/chief executive include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Conducting all board of director meetings and serving as board president

• Providing strategic leadership to the entire organization by working with the board of directors and the executive leadership team to promote the organization’s philosophical framework

• Guiding the strategic planning, growth and development of the organization's mission, values and goals for overall success

• Establishing credibility and fostering a success-oriented environment throughout the organization

• Directing, supervising and evaluating the job performance of executive leaders and other staff members, as needed

• Providing overall direction and leadership for all major departments of the organization on how to achieve financial sustainability, cash flow, and business goals and objectives

• Conducting public and private business relationships on a local, statewide, national and/or international basis to promote the organization’s positive reputation and desired necessary collaborations

• Leading the development, communication and implementation of effective growth strategies and processes to ensure growth objectives are met by the organization

• Presenting the organization's overall mission and goals to stakeholders and interested parties of all types

• Serving as the primary spokesperson and public face of the organization


• Excellent financial and performance management skills

• Excellent leadership skills

• Communication proficiency, including excellent verbal and written communication skills

• Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills

• Strong collaboration skills

• Personal effectiveness and credibility, including composure under stress

• Integrity

Qualifications and requirements

• Master's and/or bachelor's degree in business or related field (master's degree preferred)

• Five or more years of experience as chief executive officer or chief operating officer/vice president in one or more major business or nonprofit functions (such as operations or business development), demonstrating business acumen, strategic thinking and a strong operational focus

• Five or more years of industry-specific experience, preferably in the organization's area of service (or a related area of service)

Work environment

This position operates in a professional office environment with moderate noise and many unscheduled interruptions. Sitting for long periods of time is typical in this position but brief periods of walking or standing may occur.

Physical demands

This position requires speaking and hearing. Frequent typing and writing is customary. Bending and twisting could occur regularly. The employee must be able to lift up to 10 pounds at certain times.

Travel requirements

This position requires up to 40 percent travel. Travel is often outside the local area and overnight. Some travel may be international, depending on current business goals.

Affirmative action plan or equal employment opportunity

This organization is fully committed to equal employment opportunity, maximum utilization of all employees, and employment and advancement regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by state, federal or local law. Discrimination of any type will not be tolerated.

Other duties and functions

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities required of the position. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.Sample executive director or chief executive job description



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