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Executive Officer

Date: July, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Vice-President, University Relations
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Administrative Assistant, University Relations
Department: Office of the Vice-President, University Relations


Waterloo, Main Campus


35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

General Accountability

Reporting to the Vice-President, University Relations (VPUR), the Executive Officer (EO) is responsible for the direction and management of administrative, financial, human resources, facilities and operational planning functions, health and safety adherence, and data management oversight for the Office of the Vice-President, University Relations which includes Marketing & Strategic Initiatives, Community Relations & Events, University Communications and Government Relations.




Primary Purpose

As the senior administrative staff member, the Executive Officer provides continuity in the absence of a vice-president and supports the VPUR to achieve his/her priorities which includes the execution, monitoring and communication of the University Relations (UR) strategic objectives as guided by the University’s strategic plan.  

The EO is expected to have an excellent understanding of priorities and issues affecting the internal and external communications, relationships and advocacy efforts of the university.  He/she will provide sound direction to the Office and act as a proxy for the VPUR on administrative matters during absences from the campus.  The incumbent will be responsible for administration and will ensure sound organization to the day-to-day and long term operation of the Office of the VPUR.


This position is accountable to work closely with stakeholders on a variety of organizational-wide projects that require expertise in areas of project execution, control and successful delivery.  This position works across all areas of the institution and including where appropriate the offices of the President and other Vice-Presidents/Deans and provides direction, at the Vice-President’s request, to the Vice-President’s direct reports, UR team and across the University and to external stakeholders.

This position is responsible to lead the overall planning, management, and coordination and financial control of assigned projects, using project management skills to define deliverables, identify resource requirements, manage roles, provide customer satisfaction and ensure the quality of deliverables.    




Nature and Scope

The VPUR is a key member of UWaterloo’s senior executive leadership team working to achieve the goals and directions set-out in the University’s Strategic Plan.  The VPUR’s areas of responsibility include collaboration with the office of the President and all key constituents associated with University Relations, the VPUR formulates, recommends and executes strategic and annual operating plans to advance the positive profile of the University of Waterloo. The VPUR ensures University Relations priorities, strategies, plans and programs are aligned with the priorities of all faculties and departments across campus.  The VPUR oversees local, provincial and national government relations programs and works with other key leadership team members to identify key policy and funding issues of strategic importance to UWaterloo.


It is the responsibility of the Executive Officer to carry out a wide variety of activities at a high level of performance and to ensure the Office operates in an efficient and professional manner. On behalf of the VPUR, the EO may also give direction to and provide support to other senior leaders under University Relations.  This role is crucial in the provision of excellent client service and acts as an ambassador to the campus community as well as to members of the external community.


This position requires a high degree of acumen, integrity, tact, diplomacy and time-management skills; the flexibility to adapt to changing executives and priorities; the ability to work as part of a team; an in-depth knowledge of the university environment, including university structure, policies and procedures. The incumbent must be able to work independently in terms of daily management of the office, and yet recognize the emergence of problems and issues which require the attention of the VPUR.


Other positions reporting to the Vice-President, University Relations include the Associate Vice-President Marketing and Strategic Initiatives, the Associate Vice-President Government Relations, the Associate Vice-President University Communications and the Senior Director Community Relations and Events.

Key Accountabilities:

Administrative Leadership



Information Management




Advisory and Planning




Financial Management:




Space/Facilities Management

Human Resources Administration





Health & Safety

Position Requirements


University degree, business administrative field preferred or equivalent experience and education.


Considerable and extensive administrative experience (at least 10 years) implementing innovative administrative processes with the ability to provide strategic, administrative and operational management at a senior level in a large institution or corporation.  Experience with process and project development with an eye to continuous improvement after implementation.  Strong organizational and analytical skills in the gathering and manipulation of data.


Strong project management skills and demonstrated ability to drive multiple high level projects simultaneously with multi-stakeholder involvement in a complex environment.  


Strong financial reporting skills including budget development and allocation with demonstrated ability to successfully operate in a multi-stakeholder and complex environment.


Proven ability to build strong relationships and influence individuals at all levels of an organization, as well as external constituents.  Collaborative team player comfortable executing and taking constructive input from multiple sources


Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and independently and thrive in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment.


High level of maturity and empathy; highly developed interpersonal and influencing capabilities.


Strong technological skills along with excellent organizational skills and ability to manage complex detailed work.

Familiar with University governance systems, policies and procedures and knowledge of Waterloo web design standards/guidelines.


Ability to adapt to varying management styles.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Advanced Advanced Advanced
  • Outlook – Advanced
  • Raiser’s Edge (the University’s electronic database used as a fundraising and alumni relations management tool to help cultivate relationships, communicate with constituents, and to make informed decisions through better data analysis and reporting capabilities.It contains highly confidential individual (all alumni, students, staff, faculty & many other ‘friends’ of the University), corporate and foundation records.
  • experience with my HRinfo as it relates to recruitment and performance management
  • extensive experience using web-based user interfaces

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

This position works independently and collaboratively and requires outstanding customer service, sound judgment, a strong work ethic and an ability to work under challenging time constraints with competing priorities. 


Highly complex issues are involved which may bring in different levels of government, media, corporate leaders, opinion leaders, faculty, staff and students – often high risk of impact on institutional reputation if not handled well.


Collaborative team player comfortable leading as well as executing and taking constructive input from multiple sources.  Ability to provide unobtrusive support to the VPUR and their team by earning the trust and confidence of them.  Communicates effectively, precisely and professionally with internal and external sources.  Proactive in anticipating the needs of the VPUR and team members and the ability to manage tight deadlines and stressful situations.

Level of Responsibility:

Often manages highly confidential issues for the VPUR.


The Administrative Manager is responsible for providing support, advice and assistance to the VPUR’s team in all areas of their work.  This position is responsible for the direction and management of the day-to-day administrative, supervision and working order of facilities. 

Decision-Making Authority:

Makes decisions on behalf of the VPUR and seeks expert advice when required.  Makes decisions on timelines, budget spending and recommendations on administrative staff and resources.

Makes decisions that can have significant impact on the reputation on the Office of the VPUR and/or of the University. 


Ensures that key issues are brought to the attention of the VPUR with the goal of ensuring minimal escalation of matters.


Provides guidance and problem-solving support to the VPUR and other senior leaders on a wide range of issues involving strategic and operational matters, which may include interpretation of policies and procedures, or which may require decisions for which no known precedent exists.

Provides solutions to administrative and operational problems, as appropriate; and may respond to these issues on behalf of the VPUR.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of a position operating within an office environment; periods of extensive sitting and concentrated use of visual senses; physical effort that may result in moderate fatigue, strain or injury, as a result of repetitive keyboard/mouse movement.  Use of a mobile phone allows the incumbent to be accessible to the VPUR and their team at all times and beyond normal business hours as required. 

Working Environment:

Physical Risks – no significant risk. 


Psychological Risks – Minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions typical of a C-level office and of a supervisory position.