Chief Executive Officer - American Epilepsy Society (AES)

Req Number: 4VTEC4
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Posted: 6/12/2024
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Not-For-Profit
Job Type: Permanent

Position: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Company: American Epilepsy Society (AES)
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Reporting Relationship: The Chief Executive Officer reports to the Board of Directors.

Organization Background/Culture
The American Epilepsy Society (AES) is a non-profit professional society dedicated to supporting providers who care for individuals affected by epilepsy through research, education, and advocacy. Epilepsy is a group of disorders characterized by episodes of uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain. The American Epilepsy Society is a community of physicians, scientists, advances practice providers, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, engineers, pharmacists, advocates, and other professionals engaged in the understanding, diagnosis, study, prevention, treatment, and cure of epilepsy. Established in 1936, the American Epilepsy Society, one of the oldest neurological professional organizations in the United States, currently consists of approximately 5,728. members including clinicians, scientists investigating basic and clinical aspects of epilepsy, and other professionals interested in seizure disorders. The Society offers a variety of services including providing information on the latest pharmaceuticals and technologies; offering special interest groups to allow for networking and sharing of specialized interests; providing programs for Continuing Medical Education (CME) and nursing credits; offering funding sources for member-sponsored educational programs and member-initiated research; and conducting an annual meeting featuring symposia, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions. Educational materials include publications on specific topics with scientific focuses and conclusions, the medical journal “Epilepsy Currents,” brochures, pamphlets, a regular newsletter, audiovisuals, and more.

  • We are dedicated to improving the lives of people with epilepsy.
  • We embrace innovation as a foundation for a better future.
  • We prioritize inclusivity, diversity, and equity as an interprofessional community.
  • We value collaborating with other organizations that are aligned with our mission to achieve greater results.
  • We operate with fairness, transparency, and integrity, and strive for excellence in everything we do.

To eradicate epilepsy and its consequences.

To advance research, education, and practice for all professionals engaged in the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and cure of epilepsy.

Strategic Framework
The fundamental ways that AES supports its mission are through education, research, and clinical practice support for our membership. The foundational elements that drive our work are a Society-wide commitment to member engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion; cross-disciplinary collaboration; and organizational effectiveness.

Goals and Objectives
The AES strategic plan directs the AES Board, Councils, Committees, and staff to pursue four goals, each of which has multiple objectives:
Talented Professionals: Attract, develop, retain, and enhance the careers of diverse and talented professionals in epilepsy.
  • Expand trainee and early career investigator programs to continue to attract, develop and retain early career professionals and encourage them to engage in AES and the profession.
  • Strategically and proactively ensure full diversity in the specialty from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds.
  • Create focused resources to develop and retain mid-career professionals, inclusive of providing opportunities for professional collaboration and actively cultivating leaders.
  • Provide career development opportunities appropriate for all professionals in the epilepsy ecosystem.
Inclusive Community: Nurture inclusive engagement across the AES multi-disciplinary community.
  • Remove barriers and improve access for all members to programs and volunteer pathways through policies, procedures, and practices that create a more inclusive society.
  • Create cross-disciplinary programs that appeal to all audiences.
  • Effectively incorporate the patient voice in AES’s work.
  • Define and foster successful collaboration with the patient advocacy community and other epilepsy-related organizations.
Latest Information: Enable all engaged in epilepsy to effectively understand and apply the latest information to improve best practices.
  • Create meaningful cross-disciplinary interactions between researchers and clinicians to drive innovation.
  • Continuously identify gaps in knowledge and practice and share evolving information and guidance in these areas as evidence becomes available.
  • Leverage all avenues of communication, including digital platforms and social media, to reach a broader community with the latest knowledge and discoveries.
  • Identify and implement tactics that convert evidence-based guidance into practice by delivering them in compelling new ways.
Financial Capacity: Cultivate sustainable resources to expand financial capacity for a vibrant society.
  • Leverage existing assets and programs to reach new audiences, develop new products/markets, and expand revenue and reach for AES.
  • Diversify and grow revenue streams from new contributors.
  • Allocate resources to activities with the highest strategic priority and value.

The Opportunity
The AES is seeking a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the organization. The CEO will partner with the Board of Directors to renew the strategic plan, oversee annual operations, and provide effective leadership to staff to advance and implement AES’s goals and objectives. The CEO is a key representative, voice, and advocate for AES with several diverse internal and external stakeholders.

The CEO will also ensure that the programs, activities, advocacy, and services of the organization provide significant value and relevancy for current and prospective members.

The CEO is responsible for managing nearly $11 million in annual revenue and 29 full-time employees. Through effective leadership and management, the CEO fosters high performance, impact, and growth consistent with the mission, vision, strategic plan, and values of the organization.

Key Responsibilities
Among the specific accountabilities are the following:
Governance and Leadership:
  • Provide leadership in planning and implementing AES’s mission and goals, develop strategies, propose plans and budgets to achieve goals, and set the standards and conditions of operating excellence.
  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors in developing and communicating an organizational strategic vision, and in facilitating the strategic planning and governance processes.
  • Advise and assist the Board in the formulation of policies governing the organization and implement all policies and directives of the Board.
  • Update the Board regarding current operations and short-term plans for AES. Inform the Board of new ideas, trends, and issues that may influence AES’s success.
  • Demonstrate skill in influencing individuals and teams to perform at a high level and to embrace change. Negotiate persuasively to achieve a fair outcome or promote a common cause. Inspire others and build a motivated, high-performing Executive Team.
  • Manage complex constituencies and stakeholders, including the ability to effectively manage internal and external conflicts.
  • Serve as a principal liaison between the staff and the Board of Directors.
Administrative and Staff Management:
  • Create, foster, and support a positive, proactive organizational environment of innovation, cooperation, and integrity. Maintain AES accreditation and encourage achievement of goals and objectives.
  • Develop, lead, attract, inspire, retain, and manage a diverse, talented, and high-performing team, to ensure that the mission and values of AES are put into practice by holding everyone accountable for quantifiable high-quality, timely, impactful, and cost-effective results.
  • Build a strong leadership team by attracting, retaining, and developing key executives. Empower staff to achieve desired goals and foster a culture of openness, collaboration, and teamwork.
  • Identify and evaluate opportunities for international growth.
Strategic Leadership:
  • Enable a future for the organization through strategic visioning, leadership, and collaborative dialogue (internal and external). Work with the Board of Directors to advance AES and the membership.
  • Sustain strategic direction through environmental scanning, strategic thinking, planning and management of AES’s people and financial resources.
  • Incorporate relevant effective practices from non-profit management and association governance, philanthropy, fund development and trends to advance the strategic plan.
  • Develop and further a robust digital strategy, social media presence and technology platform to engage membership and foster innovation and discovery.
Fiscal Management:
  • Maintain financial stability for AES; develop a financial plan that supports a growth strategy focused on measurable outcomes such as: revenue, cost savings, quality improvements, membership retention and growth, new product/program/service innovation.
  • Develop credibility and authority for the finance leadership team by providing accurate analysis of budgets, reports and financial trends and operational procedures to assist the Board and executive team.
  • Evaluate AES’s financial and operational structures to plan for continual improvements and a continual increase in operating efficiencies.
External Relations:
  • Act as a key representative and spokesperson for the AES.
  • Develop and maintain strategic professional organizational relationships.
  • Ensure strategic alignment of marketing, public relations, and communication efforts.
  • Define and execute on future advocacy strategy to support the accomplishment of short and longer-term organizational objectives.
  • Prioritize philanthropy growth to support funding basic and clinical projects that identify and deliver answers to both treating and curing epilepsy and improving the lives of people with epilepsy.

Professional Experience/Qualifications
The ideal candidate for the CEO role will possess the following background, experience, and skills:
  • Minimum of ten years of experience in association management and/or senior leadership with proven business, financial and technology acumen.
  • The ability to work effectively and collaboratively with staff and Board to advance AES’s mission and strategy. Success in working with boards to resolve issues, develop consensus, and effect growth.
  • A record for building and leading a highly professional, knowledgeable team in a performance driven, dynamic, and results-oriented environment. Demonstrated leadership style of identifying, developing, and engaging staff and fostering a culture of trust, collaboration, and empowerment.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through all aspects of leadership.
  • Experience participating in the development of advocacy strategies with particular emphasis on the healthcare sector.
  • Ability to support increased philanthropic growth to bolster funding of epilepsy research.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, influence, and relationship building skills, key to forging strong relationships, establishing trust, and engaging diverse stakeholders internal and external to AES.
  • Polished verbal communication skills, including interpersonal, presentation, writing and public speaking skills. Ability to communicate complex professional and advocacy issues.
  • Experience in organizational fiscal management including budgeting and forecasting, long-range financial planning, investment management, and audit compliance. Experience developing and administering organizational budgets and identifying and directing outside resources to maximize their contributions to strategic results.
  • Demonstrated ability to consistently measure and gauge performance of programs and make course corrections, as necessary. Experience in developing an effective strategy for the organization that protects existing revenue and identifies opportunities for inorganic growth that meet membership needs.
  • Practical knowledge of technology to ensure AES offers superior service, tools, and efficiencies to support its mission and objectives in a cost effective and timely manner.
  • Experience developing proposals to extramural funding agencies.
  • Track record of developing and implementing a digital, social media and technology presence and strategy to support membership engagement.
  • Effective at anticipating trends and leading organization change to address market dynamics and opportunities.
  • A record of accomplishment of building alliances with other key organizations and skilled in managing diverse relationships and stakeholders within and outside the organization.
  • Strong diplomatic skills and political savvy. Courage and confidence to focus, prioritize, and make tough decisions.
  • A high degree of emotional intelligence, humility, and personal and professional ethics beyond reproach.
  • A proactive listener who seeks diverse viewpoints.

A bachelor’s degree is required. An advanced degree is highly desirable. CAE certification a plus.

A competitive compensation package will be provided to attract outstanding candidates.


Korn Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.