National Communication Association (NCA) is conducting a search
for its next Executive Director. NCA is one of the preeminent
learned societies for people in the communication discipline with a
stated mission to advance communication as a discipline that
studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication
through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry.
The Executive Director will report to the 11-member Executive
Committee. In addition to overseeing administrative, financial, and
operational functions of the society, the Executive Director will
play a lead role in raising the visibility of NCA and advancing
issues that support the mission and its membership.
The field of communication is broad and diverse, and NCA
members, Executive Committee, and staff members reflect that
diversity. With deep roots in academia, the organization does not
reside “in the ivory tower.” NCA members value the opportunity to
participate in, and facilitate, crucial national conversations at
this key moment in history. NCA is innovative and responsive to
changes with a strong volunteer leadership that is eager to
continue building NCA’s capabilities and strengths on not just a
national but worldwide stage.
NCA strives to be a leader in anti-racism. Diversity, equity,
access, and inclusion are core principles at NCA. The Executive
Director will be tasked with implementing the Inclusion, Diversity,
Equity, and Access (IDEA) Council’s plan to actively work against
systemic racism and discrimination. This plan guides the
organization’s efforts to celebrate diversity, foster equity and
continually strive for inclusion in its membership, administration,
planning and programming.
With the pandemic, NCA has seen many changes this past year. It
reimagined educational programming, yielding valuable progress in
online and virtual offerings, but also opening an awareness of the
digital divide. The next Executive Director has an exciting
opportunity to lead the organization’s transition from pandemic to
post-pandemic in programming, membership, and structure. There is a
tremendous opportunity for a new leader to help the Executive
Committee strategically plan through a post-pandemic lens.
Looking ahead, NCA is seeking a leader who is committed to the
short and long-term success of the organization, dedicated to
enhancing the experience of all members, someone who takes a
servant-leadership approach to governance and who views
decision-making as a partnership, and who sees inclusion,
diversity, equity, and access as strategic priorities.
This position is based at the organization’s headquarters in
Washington, DC. The Executive Director will represent NCA at the
annual convention, sponsored events, and Executive Committee
meetings. Some travel is required.
NCA: An Overview
NCA serves the scholars, teachers, scholar-activists, and
practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their
professional interests in research, teaching, practice, and
translating scholarship to the broader public. Dedicated to
fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA
promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of
communication in public and private life, the application of good
communication to improve the quality of human life and
relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to
solve human problems.
A 501(c)(3) organization with a $3.7 million budget and a staff
of 13, NCA offers programs in a variety of formats addressing
current topics in communication. The organization also offers an
online career center for those in communication. By offering grant
opportunities for members and help for doctoral seekers in the
communication field, NCA fosters success in research and maintains
close ties with the academic community.
NCA hosts an annual convention for more than 4,000 communication
teachers, scholars, and practitioners. At this event and through
in-person and online programs, NCA offers seminars, workshops, and
classes. It supports the research of its members by offering use of
an online data portal and publishes 11 scholarly journals which
include: Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies,
Communication Education, Communication Monographs, Communication
Teacher, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication and
Democracy, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of
International and Intercultural Communication, Quarterly Journal of
Speech, Review of Communication, and Text and Performance
The Executive Director Role
The Executive Director of NCA is responsible for the
administration and success of the organization. Responsibility for
keeping the elected officers of the Executive Committee and staff
fully informed of all issues influencing and impacting the
organization resides with the Executive Director. The Executive
Director attends to and reports at all Executive Committee
meetings. The Executive Director will work to establish positive
relations with all governing parties, cultivate a culture of
inclusiveness, diversity, access, and equity, and be accountable
for driving excellence across the association’s programs, policies,
procedures, and standards.
Strategic Priorities for the Executive
The Executive Director is tasked with addressing the following
Promote the Mission
- Enhance the visibility of NCA within society, the communication
industry and academia.
- Maintain NCA’s reputation as a well-respected leader in
scholarship and research.
- Advocate for issues that enhance the profession and its
Contribute to Member and Organizational
- Cultivate the pipeline of future academics and professionals
working in the field of communication.
- Identify and secure new and continued funding sources and
revenue streams for NCA.
- Provide value and engagement for members.
- Explore and develop collaborative partnerships that support the
- Build and maintain relationships within the communication
Implement Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Plan
- Implement strategic processes and policies to increase
inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.
- Demonstrate respect for the members’ and volunteers’ wide range
of cultures, belief systems, and experiences.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Plan, lead, and oversee day-to-day activities and
- Ensure the organization is in full compliance with all local,
state, and federal rules governing research and program
- Manage risk, including assuring compliance with applicable
laws, regulations, and governing documents.
- Facilitate updated and relevant policy and procedure making
that improves the overall governance of the organization.
Staff and Volunteer Leadership
- Engage, train, and manage all staff, applying Executive
Committee-approved employee policies and benefits in accordance
with federal and state requirements.
- Recommend increases or decreases in staff to the Executive
Committee as needed.
- Determine roles, duties, and responsibilities of the office
staff, including promotions or terminations.
- Serve as the liaison and administrative resource to the
- Oversee and facilitate administrative support for volunteers
and volunteer committees.
- Facilitate the engagement of volunteers to achieve the
Strategic and Financial Leadership
- Work with the Executive Committee to formulate a strategic plan
that will employ innovation and creativity to further the mission
of the organization.
- Develop, oversee, and monitor NCA’s annual budget.
- Invest the organization’s reserves with the advice and consent
of the Executive Committee and in accordance with established
- Oversee all financial management responsibilities.
- Implement the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA)
Council’s plan and recommendations, and develop and enhance NCA’s
commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access.
- Develop and oversee the annual conference, academic and
professional resources, administrative support, internal
communications, publications, and other direct member
- Perform essential duties to plan and execute the annual
- Evaluate membership structures and programs to ensure member
needs are being met efficiently and effectively.
- Develop relationships with peer organizations to keep abreast
of emerging issues of significance to scholarly societies.
Communications and Marketing
- Oversee efforts related to media and public programming.
- Oversee all communication and outreach efforts including
publications, journals, educational materials, website content, and
- Serve as a spokesperson and represent the public face of the
organization at events and meetings.
- Maintain and develop positive and effective relationships with
staff, the Executive Committee, and organizational members.
- Actively network with executives of associations, colleges and
universities, businesses, and industries related to
Required and Preferred Skills, Experience, and
- A Bachelor’s degree is required. A degree in communication or a
related field is preferred. An advanced degree in
communication or a related field is desirable. Certified
Association Executive (CAE) designation is a plus.
- Eight years of senior level organizational management
experience is desirable. Experience in the association or
communication environment preferred.
- Strong communication skills, experience communicating, and
expertise in excellent communication approaches and
- Knowledge of publishing academic papers and journals
- Experience building and strengthening strategic partnerships
for both fundraising and programmatic purposes.
- Experience managing budgets of $2M or more.
- Exceptional budget development and management skills including
budget forecasting, preparation, analysis, decision-making,
monitoring, and reporting.
- Experience raising money and implementing industry-accepted
- Strong organizational abilities including planning, program
development, and facilitation.
- Strong collaborative team building and strategic management
- Exceptional written, digital, and oral communication
- Command of association-related IT tools and management
- Capacity to travel to the annual conference and other sponsored
events and Executive Committee meetings.
- Capacity and willingness to work a flexible schedule with
periodic evening and weekend hours to participate in events,
committee and Executive Committee meetings, and other
In addition to the qualifications listed above, the Executive
Director must have these characteristics:
- Thinks strategically and takes an innovative approach to
managing resources and developing opportunities.
- Passion for and long-term commitment to excellence in
- Committed to the long-term success and progress of the
- Dependable, emotionally intelligent, and self-aware.
- Open-minded, collaborative, and inclusive, seeking and
encouraging idea-sharing and engagement from stakeholders before
- Manages change using a transparent partnership approach that
boosts staff, member, and volunteer morale.
- Personable, approachable, and available to staff, Executive
Committee, members, and other stakeholders.
- Positive attitude, inspirational personality, and
‘servant-leader’ approach to the job.
- Resilient, adaptable, and able to respond to a rapidly changing
- Demonstrates commitment to continued professional growth and
development for staff, volunteers and members.
- Able to handle complex challenges in an effective, professional
A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an
To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé
(Microsoft Word® format preferred) to https://jobs.crelate.com/portal/sterlingmartin/.
The cover letter should outline how your experience fits the
requirements of the position as this will be an important factor in
considering your candidacy. Accommodations can be provided upon
NCA is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer
committed to inclusion and cultural diversity in the workplace.
Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard
to sex, race, color, age, disability, religion, national origin,
sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other protected
For more information, contact:
Sterling Martin Associates
Connecticut Avenue | Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
David S. Martin | CEO and Managing
Karen Lombardo| Vice President, Search
firstname.lastname@example.org | (540)
Susan Scott | Senior Executive, Recruiter
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