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Become An Executive Director

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Working As An Executive Director

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $111,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Executive Director Do

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Duties

Top executives typically do the following:

  • Establish and carry out departmental or organizational goals, policies, and procedures
  • Direct and oversee an organization’s financial and budgetary activities
  • Manage general activities related to making products and providing services
  • Consult with other executives, staff, and board members about general operations
  • Negotiate or approve contracts and agreements
  • Appoint department heads and managers
  • Analyze financial statements, sales reports, and other performance indicators
  • Identify places to cut costs and to improve performance, policies, and programs

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the private sector:

Chief executive officers (CEOs), who are also known by titles such as executive director, managing director, or president, provide overall direction for companies and organizations. CEOs manage company operations, formulate and implement policies, and ensure goals are met. They collaborate with and direct the work of other top executives and typically report to a board of directors.

Chief operating officers (COOs) oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.

General and operations managers oversee operations that are too diverse and general to be classified into one area of management or administration. Responsibilities may include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. They make staff schedules, assign work, and ensure that projects are completed. In some organizations, the tasks of chief executive officers may overlap with those of general and operations managers.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the public sector:

Mayors, along with governors, city managers, and county administrators, are chief executive officers of governments. They typically oversee budgets, programs, and the use of resources. Mayors and governors must be elected to office, whereas managers and administrators are typically appointed. 

Most educational systems, regardless of whether they are public or private school systems, also employ executive officers. The following are examples of top executives working in the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational school systems:

School superintendents and college or university presidents are chief executive officers of school districts and postsecondary schools. They manage issues such as student achievement, budgets and resources, general operations, and relations with government agencies and other stakeholders.

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How To Become An Executive Director

Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience. 

Education

Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

College presidents and school superintendents are typically required to have a master’s degree, although a doctorate is often preferred.

Although many mayors, governors, or other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many top executives advance within their own firm, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies may prefer to hire qualified candidates from outside their organization. Top executives who are promoted from lower level positions may be able to substitute experience for education to move up in the company. For example, in industries such as retail trade or transportation, workers without a college degree may work their way up to higher levels within the company to become executives or general managers.

Chief executives typically need extensive managerial experience. Executives are also expected to have experience in the organization’s area of specialty. Most general and operations managers hired from outside an organization need lower level supervisory or management experience in a related field.

Some general managers advance to higher level managerial or executive positions. Company training programs, executive development programs, and certification can often benefit managers or executives hoping to advance.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.

Decisionmaking skills. Top executives need decisionmaking skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.

Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead an organization successfully by coordinating policies, people, and resources.

Management skills. Top executives must shape and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.

Problem-solving skills. Top executives need to identify and resolve issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.

Time-management skills. Top executives do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.

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Executive Director jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Vice President 4.3 years
Executive Director 4.0 years
District Director 3.9 years
President 3.9 years
Service Director 3.8 years
Area Director 3.7 years
Director 3.7 years
Division Director 3.5 years
Regional Director 3.5 years
Associate Director 3.5 years
Center Director 3.5 years
State Director 3.5 years
Housing Director 3.3 years
Education Director 3.3 years
Branch Director 3.3 years
Program Director 3.3 years
Deputy Director 3.2 years
Project Director 3.1 years
Country Director 2.9 years
Campus Director 2.8 years
Acting Director 2.2 years
Top Employers Before
Director 11.6%
Consultant 4.9%
Manager 4.7%
President 4.2%
Internship 3.9%
Teacher 3.3%
Top Employers After
Consultant 9.2%
Director 8.7%
President 6.5%
Owner 4.6%
Principal 3.6%
Manager 3.2%

Executive Director Demographics

Gender

Female

54.2%

Male

43.4%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

82.2%

Hispanic or Latino

8.7%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.1%

French

13.8%

German

5.6%

Italian

4.7%

Portuguese

4.7%

Russian

3.2%

Chinese

3.0%

Arabic

2.9%

Japanese

2.7%

Mandarin

2.5%

Hebrew

1.1%

Korean

1.0%

Greek

1.0%

Hindi

0.7%

Dakota

0.7%

Cantonese

0.6%

Carrier

0.5%

Turkish

0.5%

Polish

0.5%

Swedish

0.4%
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Executive Director Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.1%

New York University

6.3%

Harvard University

5.9%

Michigan State University

5.8%

Capella University

5.4%

George Washington University

5.3%

Liberty University

4.9%

Walden University

4.6%

West Virginia University

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

Temple University

4.0%

Florida State University

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.6%

University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

Cornell University

3.5%

Ohio State University

3.5%

American University

3.4%

Arizona State University

3.4%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.4%

University of Georgia

3.4%
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Majors

Business

29.2%

Management

6.3%

Psychology

5.6%

Education

4.8%

Communication

4.7%

Social Work

4.6%

Political Science

4.4%

Nursing

4.1%

Law

4.0%

Public Administration

3.9%

Marketing

3.8%

Health Care Administration

3.6%

Finance

3.5%

Accounting

3.2%

Educational Leadership

3.0%

English

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.2%

Human Resources Management

2.2%

Elementary Education

2.1%

Sociology

2.1%
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Degrees

Masters

35.8%

Bachelors

32.5%

Other

16.1%

Doctorate

7.1%

Certificate

3.8%

Associate

3.8%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Executive Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Executive Director, Infrastructure IFM Investors (Us) LLC New York, NY Feb 22, 2016 $640,790
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. New York, NY Nov 10, 2016 $550,000
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. Houston, TX Jan 08, 2016 $450,000
Executive Director Virtual Educa Foundation San Juan, PR Jan 10, 2016 $444,000
Executive Director Virtual Educa Foundation San Juan, PR Jan 09, 2016 $444,000
Executive Director Virtual Educa Foundation San Juan, PR Jan 08, 2016 $444,000
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. Houston, TX Jul 09, 2016 $425,000
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. New York, NY Oct 12, 2015 $425,000
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. New York, NY Feb 11, 2015 $425,000
Executive Director, Infrastructure IFM Investors (Us) LLC New York, NY Feb 25, 2016 $410,790
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. New York, NY Nov 14, 2016 $400,000
Executive Director MacQuarie Holdings (USA) Inc. New York, NY Aug 13, 2015 $400,000
Executive Director Renovatio Clinical Consultants, LLC Houston, TX Jan 15, 2015 $229,570
Executive Director, Custody & Fund Services Jpmorgan Chase & Co New York, NY Jul 07, 2016 $228,000 -
$280,000
Executive Director, Emerging Markets Fixed Income Solutions JP Morgan Chase & Co New York, NY Jul 07, 2016 $227,178
Executive Director Nomura America Services, LLC New York, NY Oct 06, 2016 $225,000
Executive Director Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC New York, NY Apr 17, 2015 $225,000
Executive Director Morgan Stanley Services Group Inc. New York, NY Oct 03, 2016 $225,000
Executive Director Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Feb 01, 2015 $225,000 -
$400,000
Executive Director Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Feb 09, 2016 $225,000 -
$350,000
Executive Director Morgan Stanley Services Group Inc. New York, NY Apr 15, 2016 $179,000
Executive Director, Portfolio Analytics Investor Reporting, Regulatory Reporting & Valuation Team Morgan Stanley Fund Services Inc. New York, NY May 05, 2015 $175,000
Executive Director, Healthcare Investment Banking Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. New York, NY Dec 23, 2016 $175,000 -
$185,000
Executive Director, Senior Sector Specialist (Analyst) Nomura Securities International, Inc. New York, NY Jul 07, 2016 $175,000 -
$275,000
Executive Director, Head of Premier Coverage and Flow Struct UBS Financial Services Inc. Weehawken, NJ Jan 10, 2016 $175,000 -
$400,000
Executive Director, Leasing Westfield LLC CA Dec 08, 2016 $175,000 -
$675,000
Executive Director G4 Alliance Chicago, IL Jan 05, 2016 $175,000
Executive Director, Model Risk and Development Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Apr 26, 2015 $175,000

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Top Skills for An Executive Director

FinancialManagementEnsureComplianceProceduresNon-ProfitOrganizationFacilityOversightCommunityMembersPolicyAnnualBudgetCommunityOutreachHumanResourcesPayrollStrategicPlanSuperviseSafetyDailyOperationsSpecialEventsAdditionalCustomerServiceProgramDevelopment

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Top Executive Director Skills

  1. Financial Management
  2. Ensure Compliance
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed the daily operations of organization: financial management, grant management, community partner outreach, research and advocacy.
  • Provide guidance and counsel to ensure compliance with laws, as well as, federal customer regulations, policies and processes.
  • Developed and implemented first detention center policy and procedures.
  • Developed strategic plan; identified and acquired resources to create a sustainable statewide non-profit organization formed after merger of two organizations.
  • Assessed the suitability of individuals for placement in an assisted living facility

Top Executive Director Employers

Executive Director Videos

NRA executive director responds to Obama's challenges

So you want to be Executive Director?" What it Really Takes to Lead a Nonprofit Organization"

A Day In The Life: Marketing Manager

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