Executive Director

Korn Ferry
Arlington, Virginia
A competitive compensation package will be made available to the qualified candidate.
Sep 05, 2019
Oct 05, 2019
Field of specialization
Job Type
Full time

Position Executive Director

Organization American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)

Location Arlington, Virginia

Reporting Relationship Board of Directors

Website https://www.aaps.org/home


Organization Overview

Founded in 1986, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) is a professional scientific membership organization of approximately 7,300 individual members, who are the world’s leading pharmaceutical scientists, and over 10,000 actively participating stakeholders employed in industry, academia, government, and other pharmaceutical science related research institutes worldwide.  AAPS is incorporated as a not-for-profit organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code, §501(c)3 in the District of Columbia. 

The AAPS’ mission is to advance the capacity of pharmaceutical scientists to develop products and therapies that improve global health.  Their vision is to advance the pharmaceutical sciences to drive prevention and cures.  Additionally, AAPS’ five core values include: Learning, Innovation, Service, Inclusiveness and Integrity.  The Association’s goals include: (1) Advance scientific discovery, exchange and learning; (2) Expand professional and public outreach; (3) Enhance member services; and (4) Foster AAPS’ global community.

Among AAPS’ significant offerings are its annual meeting, PharmSci 360, in-person conferences, journals, public education and outreach.  AAPS provides numerous venues to share a full spectrum of research findings, technology advances, and applications of pharmaceutical sciences across the continuum of drug discovery, development, manufacture, and regulatory sciences of pharmaceutical products and therapies.  

AAPS publishes four journals: AAPS Journal, AAPS PharmSciTech, Pharmaceutical Research, AAPS Open. The AAPS Journal publishes novel and significant findings in the various areas of pharmaceutical sciences.  The AAPS PharmSciTech publishes work related to pharmaceutical dosage forms and delivery systems, including drugs derived from biotechnology.  The Pharmaceutical Research presents papers about innovative research on drug discovery, development, evaluation, and regulatory approval.  AAPS Open provides a global forum for the rapid and barrier-free publication of reports of original research and other significant scientific work access the breadth of pharmaceutical sciences.

AAPS has recently implemented Communities to serve and unite members with a common interest in a specific topic in a web-based, always-available, virtual environment.  Members who participate in communities can access and develop learning opportunities that fit their specific scientific or career development needs; to build relationships with others who work in specialized areas; and to participate in open dynamic conversations about challenges, opportunities, and trends.  AAPS offers more than 40 communities, for a full list please view.    

AAPS career development education allows members to have a chance to grow their career through many different avenues, including education, professional networking and volunteer opportunities.  Members primarily come from pharmaceutics, biopharmaceutics, chemistry, biology, engineering or a pharmacy-related field of study, and work in industry, academia, government, and other pharmaceutical science related institutes worldwide.


The Executive Director (ED) works collaboratively with the President and Board of Directors, providing overall “servant” leadership and direction for all aspects of the organization. S/he is responsible for effectively advancing AAPS’s mission and implementing its strategic plan to ensure the organization’s relevancy and value to members.  The ED manages all day-to-day operational activities, including a team of nearly 30 professionals and a $9 million annual budget.

Specific responsibilities include the following:

·      Guides and executes the vision for the future of AAPS in collaboration with the Board of Directors and members, and implements long-range strategic plans for the AAPS that will achieve its goals and assure its relevancy.

·       Leads AAPS’ operations and staff to assure the development and implementation of successful programs that achieve AAPS’ broader purpose and board-approved strategic goals, including the recruitment, engagement, and retention of a diverse membership.  Strategies to attract and engage next generation professionals will also be developed and implemented.

·       Interacts extensively and regularly with membership to listen to their needs, maximize engagement, and ensure member satisfaction. Ensures member communications are timely, relevant, and accurate.

·       Assures the board’s financial objectives are achieved, and the appropriate level of financial resources are available to fund AAPS’ objectives. The ED works with the AAPS senior management team to make sound financial decisions and recommendations based on a thorough understanding of the organization’s overall financial health, allocates financial and human resources to achieve the organization’s goals and objectives, and implements appropriate internal controls to protect the organization.

·       Represents AAPS and the pharmaceutical scientist profession to key audiences and stakeholders to build AAPS’ brand, public image and that of its membership, in conjunction with the AAPS President and Board.

·       Forges and maintains an effective, collaborative, and transparent working relationship with the Board of Directors. Works with the President of AAPS to focus board meetings on topics of highest priority and provides board members with appropriate information in a timely fashion. S/he engages board members collectively and individually in communicating the key challenges, opportunities, and trends affecting the organization and facilitates consensus among board members on key issues.

·       Leads the organization’s senior management team, inspiring and empowering them in their roles.  Cultivates cross-division collaboration and a culture of integrity, respect, teamwork, innovation, and results. 

·       Understands the value of pursuing new initiatives to enhance organizational effectiveness, including leveraging technology, to further AAPS’ priorities.

·       Forges and cultivates partnerships with other key organizations that share a common set of objectives, in conjunction with the Board and staff.



The ideal candidate will be a forward-thinking, seasoned “servant” leader with an outstanding record of accomplishment in leading organizations, as well as possess a strong understanding of the pharmaceutical sciences. S/he will have a passion for advancing the pharmaceutical sciences to improve global health, capable of inspiring internal and external stakeholders, and communicating the importance of the discipline to the association and other key audiences.  The ED will be a collaborative partner to the Board of Directors, staff, and stakeholder communities and will play an important role in taking AAPS to its next stage of growth and impact.  Experience working in close collaboration with a diverse volunteer Board of Directors and staff is strongly desired.

The ideal candidate should possess the following qualities and experience.

  • Knowledge in pharmaceutical sciences and/or health sciences; an understanding of life sciences sector developments is strongly preferred. 
  • A results-oriented leader who has strong organizational, business, and financial acumen.  Senior leadership and management experience including strategic planning, membership services, financial management, marketing, professional conferences, programs, and publications. 
  • Track record building and leading a highly professional, knowledgeable and empowered staff team in a performance driven and results-oriented environment.  Track record of identifying, developing, and engaging staff.
  • Experience leading change in a dynamic environment.  The ability to anticipate pharmaceutical and biotechnology trends and developments during a time of rapid scientific advancements and change and convert these to opportunities for AAPS.
  • Reputation for high integrity and ethical behavior.  Transparency and accountability to cultivate trusting relationships at an organizational and external level.
  • Outstanding communications and interpersonal skills, including the ability to relate well to a wide range of constituencies. S/he should be effective at clearly articulating the AAPS message and earning the respect of his/her audience.
  • A history of successful engagement, strategic partnering, and alliance building with a broad range of diverse constituencies, including industry, academia, government, regulatory bodies and other pharmaceutical related sciences. 
  • Servant leadership qualities, working collaboratively with the President and Board to advance AAPS’ mission and strategy. Strong diplomatic skills and political savvy.


A minimum of a Master's degree is required, as well as more than 10 years' experience working in a scientific discipline or association.  An advanced degree such as PhD in pharmaceutical/biological sciences or chemistry is preferred. 


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