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Executive Director Position Specification
Executive Summary
The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) is looking for an entrepreneurial, dynamic and inspirational leader with extensive experience in the regulatory affairs arena to lead RAPS.  This individual will have a strong appreciation of the regulatory affairs environment, will have an understanding of the key challenges faced by individuals in the profession, and, ideally, existing relationships with key leaders in global regulatory bodies and organizations.
If you have a demonstrated record of setting priorities and leading and inspiring a Board and staff to achieve results, we encourage you to apply at hr@raps.org.  Alternatively, if you know of someone that you would like to recommend, please propose them to hr@raps.org.  RAPS’ headquarters is in Rockville, MD.  Onsite and/or flexible work arrangements will be considered.  Additional details for this role and the qualifications we are seeking follow.
The Role
The Executive Director (ED) reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for providing leadership and direction for RAPS’ activities in the Medical Product Regulatory field. S/he works closely with the Board and the regulatory community to develop the strategic direction of RAPS, to assure the operating and fiscal integrity of the organization, and to represent RAPS externally with government regulatory agencies and related communities, globally. The ED will work with the Board to help set the global direction and priorities for RAPS and lead the staff and volunteers to achieve the designated goals and objectives. Over its 40-year history, RAPS has developed an outstanding reputation and enjoys strong member support. As the organization looks to the future, the ED must lead the staff and the membership as they seek to continue to evolve and innovate. S/he will inspire the team to embrace new ways of thinking, identify opportunities to reach new audiences, and engage more actively in national and international discussions related to regulatory affairs, including serving in an advisory capacity as new regulatory systems are being put in place around the world. Importantly, and in accordance with the priorities set by the Board, the ED will work to foster the continued internationalization of RAPS and will work to deepen the society’s relationships with key stakeholders in the targeted markets, as well as representing RAPS with its chapters.
The successful candidate will be called upon to act as a spokesperson and ambassador for RAPS and its vision, mission, values, and strategic imperatives to a wide body of key constituents and the public, and will be actively engaged in issues facing the membership. S/he will serve as an extension of RAPS’ membership in the external market as appropriate, particularly with key regulatory bodies and policy makers. Further, s/he will maintain a continual awareness of and contact with public officials, including key leaders in the regulatory arena.
The Executive Director will be responsible for the overall management of the organization, including a 40+ person staff. The RAPS staff provides an outstanding member and customer experience, creating maximum value for the membership, and the ED will provide leadership and guidance to ensure they are able to continue to develop outstanding professional development and education programs, content and experiences. The Board will expect the ED to manage RAPS’ resources, both personnel and fiscal, in an efficient and responsible manner, thereby protecting the organization and ensuring its long-term vitality.
The RAPS Board of Directors has identified several areas where the Executive Director must guide the board, staff, member leaders, and broader membership:
  • Continue to grow the membership of RAPS, attracting new members, expanding the global footprint and retaining existing members.
  • Work closely with subject matter experts, volunteer leaders and staff, evaluate existing RAPS programs and content, make recommendations for potential opportunities that the society could pursue, and oversee the implementation of new programs, certifications, and other educational offerings.
  • Build a fantastic workplace culture – a culture of service and innovation whereby the staff will rate it a “best place to work”.
  • Excel at building mutually beneficial relationships with members, member leaders, volunteers, staff, and potential partners interested in regulatory affairs.
  • Advise the Board on strategy and vision; collaborate with the Board and senior staff to develop and fine-tune the existing strategic plan, and build a new or updated multi-year strategic plan annually
  • Analyze membership data: recruitment, integration, retention, renewal and attrition. Collaborate across staff and senior volunteer leadership to provide the best strategy to ensure growth in all areas.
  • Engage with RAPS’ staff, Board, and broader membership via open communication, person-to-person contact, local meetings and more.
  • Provide leadership on global thinking with local strategy in RAPS’ growth markets.
  • Enhance internal operations and drive a culture of efficiency and transparency within the team.
  • Monitor financial results and analyze data for impact. Assure stewardship of all funds, contracts, physical assets and other RAPS property is safeguarded and efficiently administered.
  • Build non-dues revenue strategies and implementation processes to further expand RAPS’ revenue base beyond membership dues.
Candidate Profile
For this important position, RAPS is looking for an entrepreneurial, dynamic and inspirational leader with extensive experience in the regulatory affairs arena. The new ED will excel at working with a diverse volunteer membership and an effective and creative executive team. The ideal candidate will be results-oriented with a track record of demonstrated success in leading organizations through strategic growth and constructive change. Further, s/he must exhibit the ability to develop operational plans and inspire others to act towards the implementation of ambitious goals.
The successful candidate will be skilled at generating consensus and priorities, and will be a charismatic and inspiring leader to implement and execute on the goals and objectives of the society. S/he should welcome brainstorming and forward thinking, and support an environment where all voices can be heard. Further, the ideal candidate must possess a truly global perspective, with demonstrated experience dealing with people of different cultures and perspectives.
This individual will have a strong appreciation of the regulatory affairs environment, will have an understanding of the key challenges faced by individuals in the profession, and, ideally, existing relationships with key leaders in global regulatory bodies and organizations. S/he should have outstanding executive presence and possess the ability to represent RAPS and its members before a broad range of external audiences.
We seek a candidate capable of leading a dynamic organization, and who will embrace providing value to the members and work to motivate, develop, leverage, and retain an outstanding staff. The successful candidate will value talent and inspire and motivate teams to work together with a clear direction and purpose. The ED must have a reputation for valuing the opinion of others and encouraging respectful dissent in the spirit of fostering creative dialogue. S/he must also have prior experience successfully managing a budget and people.
In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
Strategic Vision:
The next leader will have a demonstrated record of setting priorities and leading and inspiring a Board and staff to achieve results. Given the complexity of the regulatory affairs industry today, as well as RAPS’ ambitions to further expand, it is imperative that the next leader of RAPS be a strategic thinker who can identify key issues for the regulatory profession and prioritize those issues. S/he will be an innovative leader with a demonstrated track record of creative thinking who will work with RAPS’ Board, leadership team, and external stakeholders to develop plans and methods to realize its goals.
Regulatory Knowledge:
The regulatory affairs industry is complex and evolving, and the next ED should have extensive experience as a regulatory affairs professional. The ED should be well regarded for his/her experiences as a thought leader in the regulatory affairs arena and will be called upon regularly to serve as a spokesperson for RAPS and for the profession. If someone does come from the community, it is important that s/he be viewed as a neutral figure – not someone favoring one area or group of RAPS. If s/he does not come from the profession, the candidate should have a demonstrated ability to quickly come up to speed on complex issues, and a high degree of intellectual curiosity. Further, s/he must possess the willingness to accept input from those who have experience and expertise in the regulatory affairs arena and assure these competencies are built into RAPS staff.
Leadership Style:
The next ED must carry the mantle of leadership with dignity and humility, who is respectful, who embraces diversity, and who remembers that everyone is important. S/he will have strong people management skills including experience leading, managing, and retaining high-performing, collaborative teams. The successful candidate must be comfortable with ambiguity, and unafraid to take calculated risks. Although the candidate must be an approachable figure, s/he must also have a proven ability to hold a team accountable to defined goals and objectives. Most importantly, the ED will be able to inspire, motivate staff, and lead through influence.
Building Relationships and Using Influence:
The next ED of RAPS must be a diplomat, collaborator, motivator, and relationship builder. This leader will be able to develop positive and productive relationships, effectively build coalitions and consensus, and engage others in achieving RAPS’ goals. The successful candidate will have outstanding interpersonal, communication, and presentation skills. The candidate will be able to interface effectively with RAPS’ diverse stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, staff, members, corporations, other relevant organizations, and key political leaders at all levels. S/he will be a dynamic and energetic leader but is also down-to-earth and approachable.
Operational Experience
In addition to the critical, externally focused competencies, s/he must also possess outstanding leadership skills that will enable him/her to oversee the management of an accomplished staff and efficiently manage the budget. Ideally, the successful candidate will have a demonstrated track record of effectively running complex organizations, both from a fiscal and personnel standpoint. While the ideal candidate needs to be a manager and leader, it is also essential that s/he is willing to be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the society. Further, s/he should keep the Board informed on important developments on a regular basis.
Servant-Leader Mentality:
RAPS’ next leader must be an outstanding listener who will encourage constructive dialogue among the society’s broad base of constituents, which includes the Board, Chapter Leaders, Fellows, and an active committee structure. S/he will prioritize reinvigorating the organization’s
membership base, including adding new members, as well as refreshing relationships with current members. The next ED will open communication channels to improve the organization’s outreach and will listen attentively in order to effectively erve current members and attract new members.