Executive Director

Oregon, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
May 19, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time


Summary Statement of the Position

The Executive Director is a collaborative, visionary and strategic systems thinker who leads strong advocacy efforts, provides excellent organizational, staff and fiscal management and follow through. They both lead and facilitates college leaders to work together to amplify the importance of community colleges at the local and state level.  They are the primary voice for Oregon’s 17 community colleges on legislative, policy and regulatory issues at the state and federal level. The Executive Director models integrity, respect, caring, a future focus, and is a proven problem solver with a passion for the community college mission. They demonstrate emotional intelligence through active listening, ability to form and nurture relationships, empathy and is culturally fluent with a proven commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Executive Director serves as Oregon Community College Association's (OCCA/Association) chief executive officer and reports to a 34-member Board of Directors through the Board President. The Board of Directors establishes policies and programs; and the Executive Director is responsible for their implementation and administration, as well as organizational performance.

About OCCA

OCCA represents the seventeen publicly chartered community colleges and their locally elected board members. Founded in 1962, OCCA is an ORS 190 council of governments whose purpose is to support and advocate for the colleges before policy-makers and partners whose actions affect the well-being of community colleges across the state. OCCA plays a dynamic role in helping presidents and board of education members shift and shape colleges to meet the needs of the students and communities they serve.

Position Responsibilities

Leads and Advocates on Behalf Community Colleges

  • Collaborates with college presidents and locally elected board of education members to develop a shared, strategic and actionable vision for Oregon community colleges grounded in national, state, and local trends and policy frameworks
  • Serves as the primary voice for colleges by advocating to, and coordinating with, state agencies such as the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development; represents community colleges to the media, Oregon State Legislature and Congressional delegation, the Governor’s Office, and other state agencies and associations
  • Sets organizational strategy and implementation plans to advance policy, budget appropriations (including capital funding) and legislative goals
  • Oversees the Oregon Student Success Center and aids in engaging the OCCA Board and membership in equity-minded student success reform
  • Provides a strong state-level voice for diversity, equity, and inclusion as foundational principles in all of our collective community college efforts

Oversees OCCA Staff, Operations, and Budget

  • Leads OCCA as a working manager by promoting a sustainable and positive work culture that supports the OCCA staff in meeting Association goals and in their development as professionals
  • Hires, empowers, motivates, organizes, and coaches staff
  • Develops strong personnel systems that provide clarity on work plans, performance expectations and accountability measures to advance the work of the Association
  • Oversees finances and budget to assure the highest level of fiscal and operational integrity and transparency through a system of operational and fiscal policies and internal controls
  • Ensures that the OCCA promotes and exhibits diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

Empowers and Supports OCCA Board and College Leadership 

  • Facilitates the work of the OCCA Board, including elected board member leadership, and college presidents in regular meetings, retreats and committee work
  • Ensures the OCAA Board is aware of national and state trends and facilitates the development of strategic priorities for the Association
  • Implements strategic priorities with appropriate monitoring metrics and reports
  • Develops a robust program of Professional Learning for elected board of education members, board of education chairs, and presidents including the Annual Conference and membership development events, with strong emphases in diversity, equity, inclusion and student success
  • Provides clear and consistent communication to the OCCA Board, presidents and other stakeholders
  • Understands and promotes policy-based board governance and the role of locally elected board members vis-a-vis college administration.
  • Engages and develops elected board members and others involved with community colleges in statewide issues and advocacy to continually build advocacy capacity and advance the OCCA statewide agenda
  • Fosters partnerships/coalitions to further community college interests
  • Develops relationships with students, business, and labor and workforce organizations, and community college groups to advance OCCA’s mission and goals

Advocates for State-Level Leadership of Student Success Efforts

  • Provides leadership for statewide student success grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Deepens and strengthens the integration of student success work in the Association, its membership, and its policies
  • Collaborates with national and state partners to identify equity-minded and student-centered practices and engage with colleges to make necessary changes to better serve students
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Minimum qualifications

  • At least 5-year work history demonstrating senior-level leadership, general management experience, policy development and advocacy
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and effectively with a board of directors
  • Skill in team building and collaborating with stakeholder leaders to develop a common agenda leading to the achievement of desired outcomes
  • A proven commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and social and economic justice with evidence that demonstrates achievement of positive outcomes.
  • Ability to lead strategic planning processes at the organizational and fiscal level and assure shared ownership to fulfill the strategic priorities
  • Ability to balance diverse interests and work successfully in a changing political environment
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and proven relationship management experience with a board of directors, with multiple and diverse internal/external constituencies and government policymakers
  • Skill in effectively interacting and communicating, both orally and in writing, with staff, management groups and other stakeholders, including experience in presenting to boards, commissions, and the legislature

Preferred qualifications

  • Knowledge and background that includes a deep understanding of higher education, particularly community colleges and policy-based governance
  • Experience with and knowledge of state and nationwide student success efforts such as guided pathways and how to position the Association as a continued catalyst for those efforts
  • Ability to conceptualize ideas and make decisions quickly and under pressure
  • Mental agility, emotional intelligence, flexibility, and entrepreneurial mindset
  • Significant leadership experience in a collaborative environment
  • Knowledge of state-level agency and regulatory processes
Education and Basic Skills

Minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Basic computer skills including proficiency in Word, Outlook, Excel, and presentation software

Preferred qualifications:

  • Masters or higher degree
Transferrable or Equivalent Skills

Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet every one of the qualifications listed.  We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background.  If you have strong written communication skills, a passion for political and policy work, and proven leadership experience, we encourage you to apply, even if you do not meet every one of our qualifications listed.  If you are unsure whether you meet the qualifications of this position, please feel free to contact our consultants Greg Hamann ghamann5853@gmail.com or Mary Spilde spildem@lanecc.edu to discuss your application.

Physical Requirements  

In this position, the employee must have the ability to lift 10 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus. While performing the responsibilities of the position, the employee is regularly required to sit, stand, walk and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms. The employee is occasionally required to stoop, kneel, or crouch.

Other Requirements

This is a full-time, salaried, non-exempt position. The individual in this position will occasionally be required to work outside of normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), including evenings or weekends.  Overnight travel will be required. The employee is required to drive and travel throughout the state. There will also be occasional out-of-state travel to attend national conferences and meetings.

Working Conditions

Typical office environment. Work is conducted in an office environment with frequent interruptions. Simultaneously working on multiple tasks on a continual basis. Daily team interactions. Requires extensive computer use. May require work in excess of normal scheduled hours to meet high-volume and/or time sensitive workload and organization priorities. Requires physical activity normally associated sitting for extended periods, occasional bending, stooping, and lifting.

To Apply

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact our search consultants Dr. Mary Spilde spildem@lanecc.edu or Dr. Greg Hamann ghamann5853@gmail.com.

Please submit the following materials electronically to occajobs@gmail.com:

  1. A cover letter not-to-exceed three pages that clearly outlines the manner in which you meet the qualifications and are able to fulfill the responsibilities as presented in the Position Description.
  2. A resume detailing relevant experience, work history, education and accomplishments.
  3. A written statement not-to-exceed two pages and in a form suitable for public distribution, that responds to the following question:

In what ways can a state-level organization such as OCCA foster and support the equitable achievement of student success across multiple dimensions of diversity?

  • Professional and personal references will be requested of candidates who are selected as semi-finalists.
  • Evidence of degree attainment, such as unofficial transcripts, will be required of semi-finalists.
  • For more information, please visit our website: https://occa17.com/executive-director-search/


    Closing date: July 23, 2021


    Anticipated start date: November 1, 2021


    Please direct inquiries and questions to:


    Dr. Mary Spilde                           spildem@lanecc.edu


    Dr. Greg Hamann                       ghamann5853@gmail.com


    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

    OCCA is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate based on upon race, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other legally protected characteristics.

    American Disability Act (ADA)

    OCCA complies with Title II of the ADA where it prohibits all public entities, regardless of the size of their work force, from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities.

    Veterans Preference

    OCCA complies with Oregon law requiring public employers to provide preference to veteran and disabled veteran applicants throughout the recruitment process.