Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)

Executive Director Search

About RAPS

RAPS is the largest global organization of and for those involved with the regulation of healthcare and related products, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biologics, and nutritional products. Founded in 1976, RAPS helped establish the regulatory profession and continues to actively support the professional and lead the profession as a neutral, not-for-profit, non-lobbying organization. RAPS offers education and training, professional standards, publications, research, knowledge sharing, networking, career development opportunities and other valuable resources, including Regulatory Affairs Certification (RAC), the only post-academic professional credential to recognize regulatory excellence. RAPS is headquartered in suburban Washington, DC, with chapters and affiliates worldwide.

As an employer, RAPS encourages dedication to quality and member service. We support innovation and creativity, respect, and high ethical standards. We value learning and professional development and strive to maintain a safe and enjoyable work atmosphere that promotes collegiality.
RAPS is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to cultivating and preserving the culture of inclusion and connectedness. We can grow and learn better together with a diverse team of employees. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, innovation, self-expression, and talent that our employees invest in their work represents our culture. We take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity for all applicants regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or other legally protected characteristics.

Executive Summary

The Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) is looking for an entrepreneurial, dynamic and inspirational leader to lead the society. This individual will have a strong appreciation of the regulatory affairs environment, will understand the key challenges faced by individuals in the profession, and should be able to engage effectively with key leaders in global regulatory bodies and organizations.

If you have a demonstrated record of setting priorities as well as leading and inspiring an executive team and staff to achieve results, we encourage you to apply at Alternatively, if you know of someone that you would like to recommend, please propose them to RAPS’ headquarters is in Rockville, Maryland. 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. The ED 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. The ED 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. 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. The ED will serve as an extension of RAPS’ membership in the external market as appropriate, particularly with key regulatory bodies and policy makers. Further, the ED 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 50+ 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 innovative programs, certifications, and other educational offerings.
  • Foster a fantastic workplace culture – one of service, innovation and commitment to diversity and inclusion, whereby the staff will rate RAPS as 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 critical position, RAPS is looking for an entrepreneurial, dynamic, and inspirational leader within the regulatory affairs arena. The ED will excel at collaborating with a diverse volunteer membership and an effective and creative executive team. The ideal candidate will be results-oriented with a history of demonstrated success in leading organizations through strategic growth and constructive change. Further, the ED 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. The ED 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 diverse 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 should be able to engage effectively with key leaders in global regulatory bodies and organizations. The ED 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. The ED 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 ED will have a demonstrated record of setting priorities and leading and inspiring a Board, executive team, 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. The ED 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 ED should have a strong understanding of and/or experience in the regulatory profession. The ED should be well regarded for their experience and will be called upon regularly to serve as a spokesperson for RAPS and for the profession. If someone does come from the regulatory community, it is important that they be viewed as a neutral figure – not someone favoring one product sector (e.g., medical devices, biologics, etc.). If the ED does not come from the profession, they should have a demonstrated ability to quickly come up to speed on complex issues and have a high degree of intellectual curiosity. Further, the ED must possess the willingness to accept input from those who have experience and expertise in the many varied sectors of the regulatory affairs arena and assure these competencies are built into RAPS work.

Leadership Style:

The ED must carry the mantle of leadership with dignity, humility, and respect, embracing diversity and remembering that everyone is important. The ED 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, they 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 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. The ED 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, the ED must possess outstanding leadership skills that will enable effective oversight of 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 they are willing to be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the society. Further, it is imperative that they keep the Board informed on important developments on a regular basis.

Servant-Leader Mentality:

RAPS’ ED 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. 

RAPS provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, veteran, or disability status.