American Association for Laboratory Animal Science

Executive Director

The Opportunity

 The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) is conducting a search for its next Executive Director (ED). AALAS is a professional association that advances responsible laboratory animal care and use to benefit people and animals. Its members are professionals employed around the world in academia, government, and private industry who are dedicated to the humane care and treatment of laboratory animals, as well as the quality research that leads to scientific gains. AALAS aims to educate the world on the transformative value of the animal and human partnership in biomedical research. AALAS is a 501(c)(3) association with annual revenues of approximately $6M and net assets of $13.5M. AALAS’s headquarters is based in Collierville, just outside of Memphis, TN.

As the chief staff executive of AALAS reporting directly to the Board of Trustees (BOT), the Executive Director is responsible for the effective administrative operation of the Association. Under the direction of the BOT, the ED oversees AALAS’s staff and budget; directs daily operations and activities of the Association; implements AALAS policy; advises and makes recommendations to the Executive Committee (EC) and BOT with respect to these activities and policies; and serves as Executive Director of the AALAS Foundation. The ED serves as the public voice and face of AALAS and builds and maintains relationships with other organizations as appropriate to support AALAS’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.


AALAS established its mission in 1946 when five Chicago-area veterinarians began meeting to discuss issues related to the care of laboratory animals. The association was founded in 1950, and by 1998, AALAS had 48 branches, 19 affiliate organizations, and nearly 9,000 members.

Memberships fall into five categories: individual, institutional, commercial, affiliate, or global partner. Benefits the association’s members enjoy include:

  • Access to educational and professional development resources such as scientific journals, publications, educational meetings, certification, and online resources.
  • Opportunities to network with other professionals.
  • Increased impact through volunteering and public outreach.
  • Access to member-only discounts on meetings and educational resources.

Core Values Statement

The American Association for Laboratory Animal Science believes that the use of laboratory animals in scientific and medical research is essential to the improvement and protection of the quality of all life. The humane and responsible care of laboratory animals is vital to quality research and, as such, an essential aspect of AALAS endeavors. AALAS is dedicated to building and disseminating a knowledge base in laboratory animal science for the education and training of those who work in this field.

The Executive Director  Role

Strategic Priorities for the Executive Director

  • Establish, maintain, and grow strategic partnerships with BOT and Executive Committee.
  • Initiate and implement periodic strategic planning processes in collaboration with the BOT.
  • Build credibility and become the voice of AALAS to promote the association’s mission and vision.
  • Continuously evaluate and, where possible, improve operations, systems, processes, and programs and recommend changes.
  • Provide guidance, training, leadership, and supervision to staff, promoting professionalism and growth; includes hiring, firing, promoting, developing, and recognizing staff, as well as oversight and improvement of staff structure.
  • Foster and maintain a culture that is sensitive and responsive to the needs, interests, and professional development of AALAS’s membership while increasing membership and member engagement.

Key Relationships

  • Is directly responsible to the EC and BOT for the administration and fulfillment of AALAS’s programs and budget, within the parameters of the Bylaws, policies, and programs established or approved by the BOT.
  • Serves as an ex-officio member of the BOT and EC, without right of vote; attends all meetings of the EC and BOT; and prepares annual and interim status reports to the BOT.
  • Serves as an ex-officio member of the AALAS Foundation Board of Directors, attends meetings of the Board and has supervisory responsibilities for Foundation operations.
  • Supervises all AALAS staff, consultants, and contractors. Manages and secures the advice of staff and volunteers in formulating plans and programs. May delegate portions of his/her responsibilities, together with proportionate authority for their fulfillment, but may not delegate nor relinquish any portion of his/her accountability for results. Mentors staff in effectively performing delegated responsibilities, following up and documenting that those responsibilities are carried out as directed in a timely and satisfactory manner.
  • Provides consultation and assistance to the President as needed to facilitate effective leadership during the term of office. Provides regular reports to the President orally or in writing, as the President may request.
  • Ensures direct staff liaison is in place to committees specified in the President’s Annual Plan to implement the Strategic Plan. Maintains communications with the Chairs of all committees for mutual exchange of information.
  • Maintains open communication with association members and provides management consultation and information when necessary.
  • Maintains relationships with AALAS Branches or other associations, industries, government bodies, public service organizations, vendors and others as directed by the EC and BOT.

 Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Advises and consults with the EC and BOT on matters relating to the goals, programs, finances, and operation of AALAS, and provides recommendations as needed. Reports to the BOT at every session.
  • Thinks strategically about AALAS’s future, staying receptive to new ideas and opportunities to improve AALAS operations and services. Refers information to volunteer leaders, staff, branches, members, etc., for consideration and response.
  • Maintains contact with appropriate and significant organizations to further AALAS’ visibility and working relationships within the community and allow for better and more informed strategic planning for AALAS.


  • Monitors current legislation and keeps AALAS leadership informed of relevant issues.
  • Under direction of the BOT, conducts special programs in connection with local, state, and federal organizations promoting AALAS and the scientific care and use of laboratory animals.

Member and Organizational Success

  • Works cooperatively with leadership and staff to continually develop and implement new and better services and benefits for National AALAS members.
  • Provides oversight of AALAS’s public relations, promotions, and marketing programs.
  • Supervises the scientific affairs of AALAS in its important relationship with Branches, speakers, association members, and related societies, professions, and associations.


  • As one of the official representatives of AALAS, maintains professional conduct at all times. Along with the President and other designated volunteer AALAS leaders, deals with the press, the public, related organizations, governmental agencies, colleges and universities, legislators, etc.
  • Attends the annual AALAS National Meeting and, upon invitation, as many AALAS Branch and district meetings as schedule permits. Attends professional meetings of other organizations as necessary to achieve AALAS goals and objectives.
  • Provides staff support through committee liaisons to assist all committee Chairs and committees in every possible way. Decides, in consultation with the staff directors and the President (or, in his/her absence, the Vice President acting for the President), the priority of projects during peak work periods.


  • In consultation with the Associate Executive Director and National Office staff, develops and implements operating procedures for the AALAS office that facilitate implementation of programs and activities in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible. Implements policies and procedures that foster a congenial work environment for employees and that comply with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Serves as the Executive Director of the AALAS Foundation.
  • Provides recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding overall staffing needs. Is responsible for recruiting and training staff to accomplish the AALAS mission. Has oversight of the compensation of the AALAS staff (except for the Executive Director’s compensation, which is the responsibility of the Executive Committee).
  • In consultation with the AALAS staff and Secretary/Treasurer, prepares an annual budget for the association and presents it to the BOT at the Annual Session. Keeps the BOT informed of the financial status of the association through monthly income and expense reports.

Required Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

  • Experience as, and affinity for, being the spokesperson for an organization; public relations/advocacy experience that includes some crisis management experience.
  • At least 10 years of management experience at an executive level that includes responsibilities for budgets, strategic development, and presenting/working with a Board/volunteers.
  • Association management experience is preferred, especially a professional association within scientific or medical sectors. CAE credential is a plus.
  • A minimum of seven years of experience leading a staff of at least five, preferred.
  • Ability to identify and develop staff talents, looking for and capitalizing on opportunities to motivate, celebrate, and reward successful performance; ability to proactively pinpoint and address talent gaps and build high-performing teams that support the organization’s mission.
  • Bachelors degree required; preferably in life sciences or related area or business management; graduate degree a plus.
  • Experience directing membership and marketing activities is preferred.
  • Track record of success in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within an organization’s culture and practices.

Personal Qualities and Competencies

  • Mission-driven, passionate, and committed to AALAS’s vision.
  • Media savvy, skilled spokesperson.
  • Excellent organization, planning, and administrative skills.
  • Ability to build relationships with many types of people from all walks of life.
  • An authentic, transparent, approachable communicator who can build trust and foster open dialogue within an organization.
  • The emotional intelligence, listening skills, and coaching skills needed to unite a diverse group of members into a community with a shared purpose.
  • A courageous leader who can engage in thoughtful, difficult conversations while remaining calm.
  • A visionary leader who can conceptualize long-term goals and translate them into a succinct, understandable, and actionable framework.
  • A motivated—and motivational—leader who leads by example.
  • A lifelong learner who demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement in pursuit of operational excellence.
  • Ability to travel up to 20 percent, primarily within the US.
  • Diverse candidates are encouraged to apply.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

To Apply

 To apply, please send a cover letter and current resume (Microsoft Word® format preferred) here. The cover letter should outline how your experience fits the requirements of the position as this will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.

Sterling Martin Associates is committed to providing equal opportunity for employees and applicants in all aspects of the employment relationship, without regard to race, religion, color, age, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, political affiliation, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.