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Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel

NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Washington D.C.
Salary Range: $190,000 - $210,000
Closing date
Oct 3, 2023

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Position Type
Director, Other
Employment Type
Organization Type

Job Details

Position Summary


Reporting to the Executive Director & CEO, the Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel will join the association’s senior leadership team and provide executive leadership for human resources, association governance, and legal matters to ensure the association is fully leveraging its human talent and meeting the various regulatory practices. The position serves as the principal legal advisor for the association; serves as the primary liaison with outside legal counsel on association business; and reviews and approves contractual obligations related to the work of the association.


This position is responsible for workforce development and management, overall strategy for legal matters, including policies. Primary areas of responsibility include oversight of human resources and association risk management.


This role provides executive leadership for human resources, workforce development, and legal matters pertaining to the association’s work, and works closely with the CFO and Deputy Executive Directors to ensure the human resources and financial health of the association. The position is responsible for providing legal guidance on a range of association affairs, contracts, external vendor relations, etc. Provides day-to-day oversight of human resources functions, supports the governance functions (bylaws and governing documents), and business operations of the association.


Major Functions and Responsibilities

Strategic Management & Legal Counsel (45%)

  • Provides leadership to the development of the strategic plan with senior management and the Board.
  • Advises leadership team on risk management and industry best practices in a variety of fields including intellectual property, contract management, dispute resolution, nonprofit governance, regulatory compliance, and employment matters.
  • Addresses risk management and advises the association’s leadership on the regulatory climate and best practices in which to most effectively manage the day-to-day governance and operations of the organization.
  • Oversees matters related to intellectual property assets (trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, personal property rights, etc.)
  • Directs risk management strategies, insurance, and planning including assisting with managing leases for office space.
  • Advises marketing and communications teams on branding, marketing law, internet law and social media.
  • Advises staff on contract negotiation and relationship management, i.e., talent management.
  • Negotiates and drafts complex legal agreements.
  • Controls risk and costs and contributes to organizational profitability and success with a focus on print and digital publishing and related media; the negotiation and drafting of publishing, licensing, and distribution agreements; general business and corporate counseling and contract preparation, compliance and enforcement; and litigation process management.
  • Advises on grant compliance and RFP preparation.
  • Negotiates and drafts complex agreements including technology acquisition and strategic business partnerships.
  • Establishes and implement HR efforts that effectively communicate and support the association’s strategic plan.
  • Leads the coordination, administration, and implementation of existing HR programs in a timely, accurate and consistent manner. Researches and analyzes HR policies and programs, seeking best practices and continuous improvement in HR activities.
  • Interprets policies and provides professional advice and guidance to staff and senior management.
  • Prepares strategies for conflict resolution, advises executive leadership on dispute resolution, and negotiates resolutions to complex legal disputes.
  • Determines when external legal counsel’s engagement is warranted and manages those relationships.
  • Insures appropriate regulatory reporting, and full compliance with all federal laws and regulations that apply to 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • Oversees the administration of and ensures compliance with NAFSA’s policies and federal, state, and local employment laws.
  • Retains and manages outside counsel. Serve as primary liaison with outside counsel on a range of association’s matters. Consults with outside counsel as necessary on complex legal issues.
  • Advises governance staff on board policies, constitutional changes and board operating protocols.
  • Develops strong relations with the Board and serves as primary liaison to Governance Committee of the Board and provide legal guidance to other committees of the Board as needed/necessary.


Workforce Planning, Management & Employee Relations (25%)

  • Work with the CEO and Senior Management Team to ensure appropriate workforce and structure to accomplish organization-wide strategic and operational goals. Oversees administration of human resource programs including, but not limited to, compensation, benefits, and leave; disciplinary matters; disputes and investigations; performance and talent management; productivity, recognition, and morale; occupational health and safety; and training and development.
  • Oversees the recruiting process and establishes policies and practices to ensure fair employment and attracting a diverse applicant pool; identifies strategies to fill staff vacancies through direct recruitment; and works with external resources and agencies. Conducts and analyzes exit interviews; provides feedback and recommendations to senior management and managers. Manages workforce technology to improve efficiency and standardize operations; reviews systems and upgrades as necessary. Manages paper and electronic employee records retention and compliance with HIPAA, ADA, and record retention requirements.
  • Conducts research and analysis of organizational trends including review of reports and metrics from the organizations human resource information system or talent management system.
  • Collaborates with the executive team and assists and guides departments and offices in the resolution of conflicts and implementation of new and revised laws and regulations.
  • Guides and manages the overall delivery of human resources services, policies and functions for the association.
  • Oversees the administration of the association's benefits programs, including health and welfare plan compliance. Selects and manages benefit broker relationships to ensure high quality, competitive services are provided to NAFSA and its employees. Monitors and evaluates benefit plan design, services, and costs, and recommends changes as needed to ensure offerings are competitive, inclusive, and support recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Formulates and administers personnel policies, procedures, and association standards as approved by the CEO. Ensures employees' adherence to policies and procedures. Evaluates the HR policies and procedures for recommendation to the CEO for changes and/or updates. Serves as a resource for management on best business practices as they relate to managing employees. Provides employee counseling on personnel matters and/or serves as a mediator for employee relation matters. Facilitates conflict resolution and conducts investigations of all HR claims.
  • Develops and implements departmental budget.


Compensation & Performance Management (15%)

  • Ensures compensation and job design is appropriate and aligned with strategic needs of the organization; selects and manages external compensation consultants to assist with maintaining a compensation and salary structure in accordance with NAFSA’s compensation philosophy.
  • Conducts position reviews as necessary to support job, departmental, and organizational changes. Establishes measures to ensure fairness and consistency in classification, compensation and job descriptions including analysis, specifications, and organizational structure.
  • Oversees performance management and the annual performance appraisal process, provides education and assistance to managers to support fairness and consistency.


Executive Leadership (10%)

  • Serves as a key member of the association’s senior management team. Participates in executive level and senior level leadership meetings and executive sessions to develop risk management strategies and protocol in support of organizational mission.
  • Establishes strong working relations with members of the senior management team and staff throughout the association. Works collaboratively to resolve problems and build consensus across the association.
  • Serves as primary liaison with corporate attorneys on all matters related to contracts, personnel, and protection of corporate identity.
  • Serves as a role model in supporting the association’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Supervises two staff: Human Resources Associate and the Office Administrator.


Office Management & Facilities (10%)

  • Supervises Office Administrator to ensure effective functioning of office services, purchasing, mail room, equipment, and maintenance.
  • Works closely with the CFO to oversee the administration of the current and future space and equipment needs of the association, including managing leases for office space, build-out, furnishing, and assignment of space.


Other Duties as Assigned (5%)

  • Works on projects or strategic initiatives as assigned by the Executive Director & CEO.



Required Education and Experience

  • A law degree from an accredited institution and license to practice in the District of Columbia are required.
  • A minimum of 15 years of experience with demonstrated success in a senior level role in a nonprofit, or higher education organization. Experience as an attorney with involvement in writing and managing contracts; developing legal protocols for an organization; advising senior leaders; and developing relationships across a multi-disciplinary organization to meet the organization’s mission.
  • Experience with a professional or nonprofit organization or comparable experience.
  • Sophisticated legal and technical background and knowledge in employee relations, contract review and legal risk management. Various aspects of law (e.g. contractual, governance, employment).
  • Substantial knowledge of contract management, strategic partnering, or other highly complex arrangements. A working knowledge of employment laws and regulations. An understanding of contract and intellectual property. Experience in trademark and copyright matters.
  • Litigation experience; proven track record of success in handling and settling legal matters.
  • Demonstrated experience working in a leadership role managing the work of others.
  • Experience working in Human Resources. Experience working through employment issues including hiring and termination procedures as well as mediation/disciplinary strategies.


Other Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Personal Characteristics

  • Strong analytical skills and the ability to analyze and reduce risks, negotiate terms, and make logical decisions.
  • Ability to establish, implement and enforce contract management procedures consistent with organizational goals and objectives.
  • Proven communication, organization, entrepreneurial, and management skills.
  • Ability to execute strategy and supervise direct reports while aligning their work to organizational priorities.
  • Excellent editing, legal research, analysis, and writing skills.
  • Strong leadership and analytic skills
  • Strong executive presence, professional and personal confidence and maturity.
  • Open, accessible leadership style encouraging free exchange of ideas and full discussion of differing points of view.
  • Collegial and able to work effectively in a consultative environment and with teams.
  • Results-oriented and creative problem solver.
  • Comfortable working with a high degree of autonomy and responsibility.
  • Flexible and adaptable.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Strong negotiating skills.
  • Doing what it takes to get the job done.
  • Highest degree of ethics and integrity.


Leadership Characteristics

  • Working Relationships: Works toward the greater good of the association and doing what is right for the organization and employees. Ability to be a strong contributor to the senior leadership team, and develop an outstanding working relationship with senior management, the Board, and peers.
  • Managing People Effectively: Demonstrated success in managing people, building strong and effective teams, mentoring and delegating, retaining staff, and attracting new talent. Ability to build a culture of superior customer service.
  • Leading Change: legal acumen with the ability to lead and support change initiatives, develop innovative ways of doing business, re-engineer business processes for greater effectiveness or cost savings, and plan for long-term needs.
  • Communicating Effectively: Excellent written communication and presentation skills. Ability to effectively communicate financial, statistical, and other complex information to diverse audiences.
  • Commitment to Transparency: A strong commitment to transparency and willingness to share information and to educate the staff on finances and budget management.
  • Decision-Making: Proven ability to make difficult decisions informed by data and input from a variety of constituencies.
  • Support of International Education and the Business of NAFSA: An interest in and support of the mission and understanding the business model.


Scope of Supervision

This position oversees two direct reports, and is one of five executives comprising the CEO’s senior management team.


Work Relationships

As representatives of a membership organization with a broad and diverse range of activities related to education and training, NAFSA staff possess more than simply specialized capabilities. Each individual is expected to take the initiative to become knowledgeable about the organization as a whole. Association members and other staff expect colleagues to be accessible and responsive, to convey a positive attitude, and to exhibit a high degree of professionalism.


This position regularly works with staff across the organization on human resources, talent development, finances, and legal matters; participates in meetings related to decision making and strategic planning; and meets with vendors, Board members, building owners, outside legal counsel, etc.


Office Environment

The workday is generally 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The week after Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.


Travel is required occasionally related to job responsibilities, especially for the annual conference, regional meetings, and other leadership meetings. Participation in the NAFSA annual conference the week of Memorial Day, including the holiday itself, is a job requirement. The annual conference is held in varying cities.


Total Compensation, Benefits


The hiring range for this full-time, 35-hour per week Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel position is $190,000 - $210,000. Total compensation for employment at NAFSA entails a competitive employee benefits package including:

  • Competitively priced medical and dental insurance plans with CareFirst and MetLife
  • 403(b) retirement plan with eligibility for a 7% employer contribution
  • Generous paid vacation, sick, personal, and parental leave plans
  • Thirteen paid holidays
  • Fully paid group life and disability insurance coverage
  • Health and dependent care flexible spending account plans
  • Pre-tax parking and transportation plans
  • Opportunities for professional development and partial tuition reimbursement
  • Free onsite fitness center and secure bicycle parking



About NAFSA: Association of International Educators

NAFSA: Association of International Educators is an organization of people dedicated to building a global community and fostering a more peaceful world through advancing international higher education. With approximately 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world’s largest professional development and advocacy organization committed to international learning and creating a more globally engaged, welcoming, and educated United States.


NAFSA believes that international education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals, and builds leadership for the global community. We believe that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security, and well-being for all.


NAFSA is a workplace that not only appreciates diversity but believes it is our strength, and we strive to create an inclusive culture for all our team members. NAFSA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. Learn more about NAFSA at



NAFSA: Association of International Educators is an organization of people dedicated to building a global community and fostering a more peaceful world through advancing international higher education. With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world’s largest professional development and advocacy organization committed to international learning and creating a more globally engaged, welcoming, and educated United States. We are an organization of individuals who believe that: international education advances learning and scholarship; strengthens America’s diplomatic ties with countries across the globe and is an integral part of national security; and is essential for developing globally competent individuals. We believe that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security, and well-being for all. NAFSA is a workplace that not only appreciates diversity but believes it is our strength, and we strive to create an inclusive culture for all our team members. NAFSA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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