Director, Affinity Networks

Posted on 01/17/2023

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

The Director for Affinity Network Engagement is responsible for strategy development, board/council management, and broad engagement efforts around Vanderbilt’s diverse alumni community. This highly visible member of the DAR team is focused on fulfilling Vanderbilt’s EDI objectives as they relate to the alumni community, working very closely with the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and VU’s identity centers. In this capacity, the Director seeks to strengthen Vanderbilt’s diverse alumni communities and their direct ties to the institution that play an important role in supporting students, creating a sense of belonging, and giving back to the institution through volunteerism, philanthropy, and involvement at every level. This role will also facilitate connection points for DAR student and parent program areas with EDI and VU identity center initiatives.

This role directly manages four alumni advisory councils including the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni (AVBA), the AAPI Association of Vanderbilt Alumni (AAVA), the LGBTQIA Association of Vanderbilt Alumni (LAVA), and the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic and Latinx Alumni (VAHLA). Through this management, this position is responsible for developing council engagement plans; strengthening a pipeline of diverse alumni volunteers for roles across the institution; collaborative creation of community-specific engagement; programming and outreach plans; and fundraising campaigns through perspective, insight, and coordination across campus identity centers. This position reports to the Senior Director for Reunion, Class, and Community Engagement and is part of the broader team of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving professionals.

About the Work Unit: 

The Department of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) assists Vanderbilt University in securing the resources, both human and financial, that are required to achieve its mission and goals.  The Department is responsible for the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individuals and organizations whose charitable objectives are consistent with those of Vanderbilt University’s teaching and research programs.

Key Functions and Expected Performance: 

  • Serves as a liaison and strategy partner with the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and Vanderbilt’s identity centers to build diverse alumni community engagement that directly supports the university’s mission and student success. Also serve as liaison for related DAR student and parent initiatives to build community and support students.
  • Directly manages and supports the AVBA, AAVA, LAVA, and VAHLA alumni councils through robust volunteer management: maintaining active rosters, facilitating council outreach plans, assisting and connecting fundraising initiatives to DAR, and keeping active connections between the councils and the Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board.
  • Curates high-touch communication and identifies engagement opportunities for members of AVBA, AAVA, LAVA, and VAHLA to participate in university events, communicate with respective alumni communities, and affirm the university’s EDI objectives.
  • Develops and maintains a robust pipeline of diverse alumni volunteers for roles across DAR and the university; collaboratively creates volunteer materials for recruitment, onboarding, and professional development and EDI with fellow volunteer managers in the department.
  • Assists fellow volunteer managers with identifying and recruiting diverse alumni volunteers for roles and opportunities within school areas, Admissions efforts, reunions, regional chapters, class/community agents, career center, and other types of roles.
  • Collaborates closely within DAR and campus partners to support the creation of events and programming that align cross-institutionally and thoughtfully reach diverse alumni communities.
  • Works as a key partner and community lead for robust diverse programming and presence during Family Weekend, Reunion and Homecoming, and Giving Day to elevate diverse alumni communities and offer targeted engagement and fundraising opportunities.
  • Assists with and coordinates planning with the Senior Director for Annual Giving on campaigns related to AVBA, AAVA, LAVA, and VAHLA as well as select initiatives with the Office for EDI, identity centers, and other partners.
  • Assists with partners across the department in triaging requests for additional alumni communities and new initiatives (i.e. First Gen engagement, Alumnae initiatives) as needed and facilitates a vetting process for establishing new alumni identity engagement opportunities.

Education and Certifications: 

  • A Bachelor’s Degree, or the equivalent, is necessary.

Experience and Skills: 

  • Three or more years of experience, or the equivalent, is necessary; Prefer experience with higher education development
  • Strong organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently but also collaboratively in a team environment
  • Goal-oriented mindset and innovative thinking
  • Interpersonal skills and judgment suitable for exercising appropriate discretion and demeanor when dealing with alumni, parents, friends, and employees
  • Ability to exercise good judgment in the handling of confidential information
  • Ability to use current computer technology, such as Windows, Excel, Word, and Vanderbilt’s donor management system
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work independently, take initiative, manage multiple projects simultaneously, meet deadlines, and adapt to ever changing priorities
  • Values the importance of equity as an organizational operating principle and is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Some evening and weekend work, as needed

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit: 

  • Holds oneself accountable; takes responsibility for failures as well as successes; and recognizes that trust is required to hold a team together.
  • Shares information; communicates proactively; transmits knowledge; asks for advice and considers it thoughtfully.
  • Genuinely values teamwork and co-workers.
  • Expects and delivers excellence. Is proactive and focused on creative problem solving. Welcomes input to making things better. Places a high value on learning and improving.
  • Is motivated. Manages time, activities and outcomes well so that progress stays on track. Balances multiple, competing priorities simultaneously without becoming overwhelmed.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification

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