The System Dynamics Society Seeks Executive Director

To view/download the position announcement, please click here.  

Position Title: Executive Director

Start Date:      July 1, 2018 (Full search timeline can be found below.)

Position Description:

The System Dynamics Society seeks a capable and committed professional with experience and vision to serve as its next Executive Director.

The System Dynamics Society is an international, nonprofit organization devoted to encouraging the development and use of System Dynamics and systems thinking around the world. The Society provides a forum in which researchers, educators, students, consultants and practitioners in the academic, corporate and public sectors interact to keep abreast of current developments, build on each other’s work and introduce newcomers to the field. With members in more than 75 countries, the System Dynamics Society provides a strong, unified voice supporting the advancement of System Dynamics. Members value connecting and staying on top of developments around the world by reading the cutting-edge research and applications of System Dynamics published in the System Dynamics Review and attending the annual International System Dynamics Conference. Additionally, local Chapters and Special Interest Groups facilitate more frequent face-to-face and electronic meetings.

Primary Responsibilities:

The Executive Director’s role is to guide the System Dynamics Society in fulfilling its mission and advancing the cause it represents as well as overseeing and leading all aspects of the Society, from home office operations to expanding the System Dynamics field around the world. This includes the following responsibilities:

  • Lead the Society, including plan, coordinate, and direct the Society’s operations and resources to achieve the Society’s mission as well as report to the Administrative Committee, President, and Policy Council;
  • Make day-to-day management decisions and implement the Society's long and short-term plans. The Executive Director acts as a direct liaison between the Society’s Policy Council and the outsourced home-office management organization and communicates to the Policy Council on behalf of home-office management;
  • Support all Policy Council Officers, and confer with President and all vice presidents; 
  • Direct and coordinate the Society’s home-office management activities; 
  • Oversee financial functions, including accounting, budgeting, purchasing, taxes, and insurance issues; 
  • Oversee membership and services to members and other interested parties, including development of strategies to make membership more valuable, renewal and new member campaigns, and resolution of membership problems; 
  • Organize public relations campaigns to maintain goodwill towards the Society, create new relationships and increase global presence; 
  • Develop and direct campaigns for growth, Society Sponsorship, Conference Sponsorship, Membership, Chapter and Special Interest Group, Volunteer, Library, and Awards Endowment; 
  • Attend all Policy Council meetings and present biannual status reports; attend all Administrative Committee meetings; 
  • Maintain relationship with publisher regarding research journal and subscriptions for members;
  • Guide and focus web development and presence;
  • Direct and attend annual International System Dynamics Conference and provide guidance throughout all phases of conference planning;
  • Attend regional, national and international System Dynamics events to represent the Society; 
  • Attend training classes to learn more about the field of System Dynamics and/or maintaining a nonprofit organization. 


The successful candidate will be a highly organized, flexible, and effective executive who is able to work closely and effectively with many people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Additionally, the Executive Director must demonstrate the following qualifications:

Required Qualifications:

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s with experience, Master’s preferred, and three years of experience in overseeing a professional organization or other nonprofit organization;
  • A strong leader with the ability to build intellectual, social, and political capital required to inspire Society leaders at all levels, home-office staff, volunteers, and the System Dynamics community at large;
  • Demonstrated natural ease with building effective social networks and capital to rapidly become an effective point of contact within the Society as well as effectiveness in building relationships and partnerships outside of the organization;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Flexibility directing multiple work streams reliably and with grace under pressure; and the ability to respond promptly, clearly, and courteously to queries from members and other constituencies.
  • Ability to adapt an organization to the evolving needs of the constituencies it serves;
  • Demonstrated intercultural competence for leading an international organization, i.e., cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills that lead to effective and appropriate communication with people of other cultures;
  • Experience with planning and directing a scientific conference program rotating through international sites with 400 to 600 attendees;
  • Experience directing successful fund-raising activities as well as designing activities to cultivate and retain relationships with strategic donors;
  • Optimistic mindset and positive regard toward all people regardless of status, role, or competence; ability to demonstrate kindness and firmness;
  • Seasoned skill knowing what can and cannot be delegated to others and the ability to retain accountability while delegating responsibilities.

Beneficial Qualifications:

  • Working knowledge of the Society’s context and history;
  • Ability to imaginatively develop and evolve the position of Executive Director, making astute recommendations and taking on new responsibilities as appropriate to the needs of a changing Society;
  • Experience collaborating with an association management organization.

Search Timeline

February 20, 2018       Search opens.

April 4, 2018                Application deadline.

May 1-15, 2018           Interviews conducted.

June 1, 2018                Offer made to selected candidate.

July 1, 2018                 Start date of new Executive Director; begin 60-day transition with outgoing Executive Director.

August 6-10, 2018      New Executive Director introduced to members and supporters at the 2018 Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.

September 1, 2018     New Executive Director assumes operating authority. 


The new Executive Director will be the employee of Capitol Hill Management Services, the association management partner of the System Dynamics Society.

A competitive salary and benefits package will be offered to the selected candidate. 

Applying for the Position

Candidates should send cover letter, resume or CV, salary requirements, and three references (with contact information) via e-mail only to: [email protected].

Inquiries should be addressed via [email protected] and not the SDS Home Office.