Founded in 1948, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is the primary professional membership organization for human genetics specialists worldwide. The Society’s nearly 8,000 members include researchers, academicians, clinicians, laboratory practice professionals, genetic counselors, nurses, and others who have a special interest in the field of human genetics. Its members work in a wide range of settings including universities, hospitals, institutes, and medical and research laboratories.
ASHG’s mission is to advance human genetics in science, health, and society through excellence in research, education, and advocacy. Members of ASHG embrace a commitment to become fluent in the language of the genome, understand human variation, and promote the public health. As new knowledge is transferred to the next generation of genetics professionals and the public, new ideas are translated into improved clinical practice.
Among ASHG’s significant offerings are its annual meeting and conferences, the American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG), academic and professional genetics education, public education and outreach, and policy/advocacy efforts. ASHG provides numerous venues to share the newest basic research findings, technological advances, and applications of human genetics in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions.
The Executive Director (ED) works collaboratively with the President and Board of Directors, providing overall leadership and direction for all aspects of the organization. S/he is responsible for effectively advancing ASHG’s mission and implementing its strategic plan to ensure the organization’s relevance and value to members. The ED manages all day-to-day operational activities, including a team of 20 professionals and a $6 million annual budget.
Specific responsibilities include the following:
- Guides and executes the vision for the future of ASHG, in collaboration with the Board of Directors and members, and implements long-range strategic plans that will achieve its goals and assure its relevancy.
- Leads the Society’s operations, staff, and committees to assure the development and implementation of programs that achieve ASHG’s mission and broader purpose and Board-approved strategic goals, including the recruitment and retention of a diverse membership. Strategies to attract next generation professionals will also be developed and implemented.
- Interacts extensively and regularly with members to listen to their needs, maximize engagement, and ensure member satisfaction.
- Assures the Board’s financial objectives are achieved and the appropriate level of financial resources are available to fund objectives. The ED works with the Director of Finance and Operationsto make sound financial decisions and recommendations based on a thorough understanding of the organization’s overall financial health, allocates financial and human resources to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives, and implements appropriate internal controls to protect the organization.
- Represents ASHG to key audiences and stakeholders to build ASHG’s brand and public image, and that of its membership, in conjunction with the President and Board.
- Maintains an effective and collaborative working relationship with the Board of Directors. Works with the President to focus Board meetings on topics of highest priority and provides Board members with appropriate information in a timely fashion. S/he engages Board members collectively and individually in communicating the key challenges, opportunities, and trends affecting the organization and facilitates consensus among Board members on key issues.
- Leads the organization’s senior management team, inspiring and empowering them in their roles. Cultivates cross-division collaboration and a culture of integrity, respect, teamwork, innovation, and results.
- Understands the value of pursuing new initiatives to enhance organizational effectiveness, including leveraging technology, to further the Society’s priorities.
- Forges and cultivates partnerships with other key organizations that share a common set of objectives, in conjunction with the Board and staff. This is especially critical given the pace of growth and change in the genetics ecosystem.
- Fosters key organizational relationships with relevant policy makers, consumer organizations and media as appropriate.
YEAR ONE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
- Forges strong working relationships with the Board, staff, members and key partners.
- Evaluates ASHG’s strategic and operational plans, goals and organizational effectiveness in close collaboration with the Board, and effectively implements action plans to advance their objectives. Establishes internal metrics across the organization and communicates progress to the Board.
- Communicates a strong value proposition for the membership and builds strategies to deepen and strengthen relationships with current and prospective members.
- Builds trusting relationships with the ASHG staff, ensuring a positive, results-oriented working environment and cohesiveness around operational goals and objectives.