Chief of Staff, Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs

Duke University
North Carolina, United States
Competitive Salary
Posted Date
May 2, 2022

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Position Type
Executive, Other Executive
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The Organization: The Duke Office of Durham and Community Affairs (DCA) forges purposeful partnerships with its neighbors in the region, with a particular focus on Duke’s home — Durham, NC. DCA connects area community partners and local governments with the people, research and institutional resources of Duke University and Duke Health. It also supports community partnerships through scholarship, service, and collaboration including volunteerism and philanthropic activities. DCA focuses on housing, health, education, employment, and community with priorities in affordable housing and infrastructure, food security and nutrition, early childhood and K-12 school readiness, college and career-readiness, and nonprofit/community-based organization capacity-building. Throughout this work, Duke commits to antiracism, health equity and engaged scholarship.


The Opportunity: Reporting to the Vice President for Durham and Community Affairs, the Chief of Staff is a high-visibility strategic partner that supports the Vice President with project management and strategic implementation across Duke University and Duke System. The newly created position manages critical priorities, initiatives, and activities and represents the office's interests through effective collaboration, communication, coordination, and integration of objectives. Most notably, the new leader will operationalize the inaugural Duke Strategic Community Impact Plan (SCIP), which has laser-focused the work of the Office, and the University as a whole, on forging purposeful partnerships with Duke’s neighbors for the greatest positive impact.


This position requires balancing and influencing multiple priorities and individuals. The Chief of Staff is responsible for the central coordination of all functions and activities of the office, serving as a coach and advisor to the Durham and Community Affairs team. They will provide leadership and direction for change management initiatives, project management, and program development on behalf of the Vice President. The Chief of Staff will play a critical role in developing and sustaining meaningful, collaborative relationships with external partners in the Durham community as well as internal partners within Duke University and the Health System.


Essential Responsibilities:

Operations and Organizational Development


  • Assist the Vice President in leading a growing team, including change management and organizational development and effectiveness.


  • Oversee day-to-day functions of the DCA office, having authority for day-to-day decisions, i.e., budgetary, personnel.


  • Consult and coach team members in their work to offer programs and services.


  • Convene and lead regular meetings of the DCA leadership team.


  • Help lead and guide initiatives that are focused on coordinating and streamlining university/community partnerships and relationships.


  • Develop and oversee the strategic deployment of DCA resources (financial, intellectual, and research/scholarship) within the community.


Network / Partnership Development


  • Establish meaningful working relationships with key stakeholders, including community members, students, alumni, and colleagues within academics, health, and administration.


  • Build strong bridges and connections between DCA and the core enterprise of the university.


  • Support implementation of university community engagement, both through strategic initiatives and community relationships.


  • Work between university and community to build mutually beneficial relationships.


  • Help shape and deliver communications (written and oral) related to DCA’s work and story to internal and external constituents.


  • Play a key role in elevating the mission and work of DCA within the university.


  • Represent the Vice President at university meetings when Vice President’s attendance is not required; attend select university meetings with the Vice President and ensure those action items arising from these meetings are executed in a timely fashion.


Strategic Implementation


  • Serve as a thought partner and strategic advisor to the Vice President, standing in on meetings, challenging ideas and offering a different perspective, and following up on action items with the team accordingly.


  • Regularly advise the Vice President regarding key constituencies (internal and external, public and private), providing context and background information on issues and coordinating research, projects, meetings and initiatives.


  • Operationalize the current strategic plan and implementation of institutional initiatives related to community engagement (such as task force recommendations).


  • Guide future planning processes and special projects for the office.


  • Develop a keen understanding of current issues (particularly university issues) and provide related timely advice to the Vice President.


  • Elevate community issues and challenges (including crisis situations) to the surface for consideration, ensure appropriate action, and communicate results throughout DCA and/or the university.


Essential Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree in business administration, public sector administration, public policy, or other related field strongly preferred.


  • Minimum 8 years of experience in a highly complex, matrixed organization such as a research university.


  • Track record of building meaningful, mutually beneficial community partnerships, preferably within a university context.


  • Experience serving as a strategic thought partner to executive leadership.


  • Solid leadership, management, and human relation skills; must also employ a collaborative style when working with internal and external colleagues and partners.


  • Demonstrated experience developing and delivering written and oral communications for a range of stakeholders and audiences.


  • Ability to convene, support, coach, and grow a team of talented professionals including experience recruiting, hiring, and retaining team members.


  • Passionate about the mission of the Office of Durham Community Affairs and demonstrated experience and commitment to advancing antiracism, health equity and engaged scholarship.


  • We are committed to cultivating a workplace in which diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, political ideology, or membership in any other legally protected class. We strongly encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds to apply.




    Please submit a cover letter and resume to Duke’s Applicant Portal: CLICK HERE


    Applications will be considered as they are received and accepted until the position is filled. You are encouraged to apply promptly and no later than June 1, 2022.


Elinvar has been retained to conduct this search. If you have any questions, please email

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