Chief Development Officer

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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position, include your salary requirements and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

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Job Summary

About the Stephen M. Ross School of Business

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a diverse learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today’s dynamic global economy. The Ross School of Business mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.Ross is consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools. Academic degree programs include the BBA, MBA, Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend formats), Executive MBA, Global MBA, Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, Master of Management, and PhD. In addition, the school delivers open-enrollment and custom executive education programs targeting general management, leadership development, and strategic human resource management.The Office of Development and Alumni Relations drives the fundraising and alumni relations activities of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. This team of world-class professionals has a track record of success, most recently raising $415M towards the Victor’s for Michigan capital campaign and surpassing the schools fundraising goal. Accomplishments include expanding the number of professorships for the school, increasing scholarship and financial aid support for students and their families, and improving our campus facilities. We look forward to welcoming a new Chief Development Officer who will honor the legacy of the school, build on our successes, and take us to the next level of excellence.Job Summary/PurposeReporting to the Dean, the Chief Development Officer (CDO) is responsible for establishing the long-range strategies, goals and policies for the development and alumni relations functions at the Ross School of Business. As a member of the school’s leadership team and working with partners across the University, the CDO leads the planning, implementation, and management of all components of development and alumni relations for Ross, including capital giving, major and planned gifts, annual fund, foundation support, donor relations and engagement, alumni relations and engagement, stewardship, and corporate relations. The CDO will provide leadership and oversight for approximately 25 staff members consistent with the School’s commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and collaborative community where people learn from their experiences, take ownership and empower others, and deliver extraordinary results in service of our stakeholders.


Contributes to our positive and inclusive work community by building trusting partnerships across the school, continually learning, creating impactful experiences, and working with a sense of ownership for outcomes. Approaches this work with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind; treating others with respect, dignity, and in a manner where individuals feel they belong; listens, values feedback, and learns from the perspectives of others.

Strategic Leadership

  • Establish and implement a comprehensive development and alumni relations strategy with goals, practices, and policies that align with and support the mission, vision and strategy of the School.
  • Work with the Dean and other members of the leadership team on all strategic issues and their implications for fundraising and alumni engagement. Report on development activities regularly to the dean and as needed to the Leadership Team and various committees.
  • Support the School’s mission, strategy, and commitment to diversity and inclusion, and participate as a leader and/or active member of related Ross and UM leadership committees and working groups.
  • Identify and act upon opportunities to enrich and expand Ross’ relevancy to donors, the alumni base and corporate partners.
  • In partnership with the Office of University Development, plan, monitor and execute fundraising efforts for Ross consistent with and in support of University fundraising campaign goals.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of operating plans, objectives, and tactics so that:
    • The development and alumni relations team has clearly defined fundraising goals, objectives, and measures aligned with school priorities
    • Ross alumni are engaged and feel connected to Ross
    • The Dean is sufficiently prepared for all development and alumni events, activities, and engagements
    • Programs and activities are regularly assessed to identify opportunities for improvement
    • Results are regularly presented to the Dean and the leadership team
    • All development and alumni relations professionals comply with University policies and standards
    • Partner to help the school realize its commitment to provide lifelong value for Ross alumni.
    • Oversee the engagement and involvement of the Ross School Alumni Board and the Ross Alumni Board of Governors.
    • Communicate and bolster the Ross brand and awareness of key messages, priorities, and initiatives, in partnership with the Chief Marketing Officer, in particular with regards to alumni.
    • Development and Alumni Relations Management
    • Manage the day-to-day operations of the team. Provide broad direction to staff to align planning and activities with top-level objectives.
    • Manage gift production to annual and campaign goals.
    • Actively manages a portfolio of the schools highest-level donors (approximately 40-50 people) and volunteers by personally participating in their cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
    • Select, supervise, develop and evaluate staff; establish and model performance expectations and standards to foster a positive, high-service, and innovative culture; provide leadership for the training and motivation of staff that enables them to realize their full potential and meet the school’s goals; and advance the school’s efforts to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
    • Contributes to our positive and inclusive work community by building trusting partnerships across the school, continually learning, creating impactful experiences, and working with a sense of ownership for outcomes. Approaches this work with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind; treating others with respect, dignity, and in a manner where individuals feel they belong; listens, values feedback, and learns from the perspectives of others.
    • Actively engages in the Ross Mindful Performance process; providing guidance on priorities and expected outcomes and encouraging learning and growth through ongoing reflection and conversation.
    • Ensure sufficient and insightful reporting of all Ross School fundraising results, including all cash receipts, life income gifts, bequests and other expectancies, pledges, gifts-in-kind, and all other fundraising progress.
    • Provide oversight for the development and administration of the department’s operating budget.


  • Manage the interests of multiple and diverse stakeholders.
  • Builds strong and mutually beneficial relationships between the academic leadership, faculty, and staff of the Ross School and external audiences such as donors, alumni, business and community leaders and the University Alumni Association.
  • Establish and sustain partnerships with other departments within the school, other schools and colleges within the University of Michigan, key partners on campus (Office of University Development, Office of General Council, Business Engagement Center, etc.), corporations, foundations, and other universities working on related efforts.
  • Represent Ross within the network of leading business schools and peer institutions.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Ten or more years of progressively responsible experience leading major gifts, alumni relations and stewardship, including supervisory experience with a professional staff and the ability to manage performance
  • A record of success in developing and implementing fundraising (principal, major and annual gifts) and alumni engagement strategies
  • A demonstrated ability to use data and analytics to assess organizational effectiveness and promote learning and continuous improvement
  • Experience developing alumni engagement and/or donor retention strategies
  • Campaign planning and execution experience
  • Proven success in building productive, long-term relationships with key constituents such as organizational partners, institutional boards, volunteers, alumni, and donors
  • Proven success in working closely with senior leaders and providing the support necessary to ensure their success in development activities
  • Leadership experience and proven track record of managing a high-performing team
  • Proven ability to handle multiple initiatives simultaneously in a fast-paced environment
  • Must be available for U.S. and global travel as required

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s degree in business or related field
  • Familiarity with philanthropic regulations and best practices in a large research university context

Additional Information

Financial/Budgetary Responsibility

  • The CDO is responsible for the administration of a department budget of approximately $4MPhysical requirements
  • Requires the ability to travel to various locations to conduct work, facilitate fundraising, and deliver proposals
  • The person in this position routinely communicates with faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and corporate partners in relation to development and alumni relations
  • The person in this position routinely presents information at events
  • The person in this position occasionally moves through the facility to attend meetings/events and access files or information
  • Domestic and international travel is required
  • Will require work during early mornings, nights, and/or weekends

Direct reports

  • Sr. Director Major Gifts and Alumni Engagement (1)
  • Sr. Director of Stewardship and Development Operations (1)
  • Sr. Director Principal Gifts (1)
  • Executive Assistant (1)

Michigan Ross values a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are committed to the development of diverse and culturally intelligent staff who thrive and contribute to a positive and inclusive environment.

The statements included in this description are intended to reflect the general nature and level of work assigned to this classification and should not be interpreted as all-inclusive.

Application Deadline
Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven days. The job may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement
The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.