International Association for the Study of Pain

Chief Executive Officer

Client Overview

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), located in Washington, DC, is conducting a search for its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). With a revenue budget of about $8 million and a staff of 15, IASP’s vision is to work together for pain relief throughout the world. The organization brings together scientists, clinicians, health-care providers, and policymakers to stimulate and support the study of pain and translate that knowledge into improved pain relief worldwide. Sterling Martin Associates has been retained to assist with this search.

Founded in 1973, the IASP is governed by an international Council composed of Officers and Councilors elected by the membership. With more than 7,000 members representing 128 countries, 96 national chapters, and 24 Special Interest Groups (SIGs), IASP fosters the exchange of ideas and education to advance the field of pain science. Membership is open to all professionals involved in research, diagnosis, or treatment of pain.

For more information on IASP, please visit www.iasp-pain.org.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the chief staff officer responsible for leading and managing staff in implementing the IASP mission, vision and strategic priorities as approved by the IASP Council. The CEO is employed by and reports to the IASP Council through the Executive Committee.

Critical Competencies for Success


  • Leads internal and external stakeholders collaboratively to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes
  • Builds a culture sensitive and responsive to the needs, interests, and values of global stakeholders
  • Fosters collaboration and synergy between staff and volunteer leadership

Governance and Strategic Support

  • Supports the Council to promote high-functioning, effective, and self-sustaining governance according to best practices
  • Formulates and/or recommends policies to the Council or its designee
  • Implements the decisions of Council or its designee; communicates decisions and directions to staff and others
  • Coordinates with the President to develop agendas and materials for governing committees and Council
  • Coordinates with volunteer leadership to oversee volunteer recruitment, orientation, training, recognition, and accountability
  • Facilitates annual review of the implementation of the strategic plan and monitors related achievements
  • Reports regularly to the Council or its designee on operations relevant to the strategic plan, condition and operations of the association, and important factors or trends influencing the organization’s condition and operations, in accordance with agreed-upon metrics and timelines
  • Implements organizational strategy; develops and monitors operational plans to implement strategic plan
  • Collects and examines external data; creates plans and program proposals to respond to environmental changes, opportunities, and trends

Financial and Administrative Management

  • Manages resources with attention to cost-effectiveness and expends funds within budgetary and policy restrictions
  • Monitors and ensures compliance with IASP bylaws, IASP policies, and relevant laws and regulations
  • Oversees development of an annual budget for presentation to the Council or its designee; implements annual budget
  • Supports long-range financial planning in conjunction with the Treasurer, Executive Committee, Chief Operating Officer, and other stakeholders
  • Develops revenue sources, especially non-dues income
  • Oversees timely, regular, and accurate financial reporting to the Council or its designee according to policy
  • Facilitates an independent annual financial audit, and other audits and reviews as required
  • Reviews and executes routine contracts within parameters established by the Council or its designee Monitors and mitigates risks to protect and advance IASP (e.g., intellectual property, insurance)

Human Resource Management

  • Hires and supervises staff according to Council-approved budget, personnel policies, and best practices Develops office, personnel, and other operational policies and procedures
  • Establishes and reviews staff organizational structure to ensure greatest efficiencies possible and implements reorganizations as necessary
  • Builds an effective and cohesive senior leadership team; prepares for key staff successions
  • Proactively captures institutional knowledge (processes, practices, background/history)
  • Ensures the development of staff at all levels, including mentoring and training, as appropriate.
  • Conducts staff performance evaluations, salary and benefits evaluations and comparisons, promotions, and terminations according to the IASP employee handbook and relevant laws and best practices


  • Leverages technology (according to budget constraints) to advance the IASP mission and goals 
  • Maintains awareness of trends and knowledge about changes in technology and the benefits available to advance the work of IASP
  • Ensures IASP staff have the technological resources and training to fulfill IASP strategic goals and the responsibilities of their job descriptions 

Programs, Product, and Services

  • Develops, implements, oversees, and/or evaluates products, programs, and services to fulfill the IASP mission and strategy, and ensures continuous program monitoring for accountability and efficiency
  • Oversees all programs, services, products, and activities to ensure program objectives are met
  • Engages staff in entrepreneurial thinking with the goal of new member benefits and services that are aligned with the IASP mission
  • Ensures staff understand and meet expectations for prompt, courteous customer service

Communications and Public Relations

  • Ensures a strong and coherent brand that is clearly communicated in all communications
  • Maintains the necessary flow of communications among Councilors, members, staff, partners, and supporters
  • Promotes a positive public image and positions IASP as a leader in the field of pain
  • Serves as IASP spokesperson in collaboration and consultation with the President

Relationship and Alliance-building

  • Identifies, establishes, and maintains strategic partnerships to support mission
  • Ensures strategic interests are protected and relationships and risks managed
  • Ensures alliances have a clear purpose and a specific range of activities
  • Maintains a respectful, culturally sensitive, and appropriate approach to all stakeholders

Skills and Characteristics

  • Demonstrated evidence of initiating and implementing organizational change and maintaining operational excellence to achieve stated goals
  • Excellent interpersonal/social skills
  • Organizational, time management, and task prioritization skills
  • Desired characteristics: ethical, honest, dedicated, loyal, congenial, resourceful, intellectually curious, efficient, reliable, flexible, accountable, open to feedback, respectful and supportive of others

Requisite Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required – Advanced degree desired
  • At least 10 years of demonstrated success in association management in a senior executive role, including management experience with human resources, information technology, financial oversight, and association legal requirements
  • Excellent English communication skills (written, verbal, and public speaking)
  • Demonstrated success in staff development, including a commitment to staff professional development and building effective staff teams/organizational culture
  • Demonstrated experience in volunteer management and engagement
  • Management experience with a global membership organization, a scientific or medical professional association, large meetings (especially international meetings), and scientific publishing
  • Travel domestically and internationally required – approximately 20%
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification a plus


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

To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé (Microsoft Word® format preferred) to [email protected]. A well-written cover letter, outlining how your experience fits the requirements of the position, will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.

IASP is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to inclusion and cultural diversity in the workplace. Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard to sex, race, color, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual preference, genetic information or any other protected class.

For more information, contact:

Sterling Martin Associates
1025 Connecticut Avenue | Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

David S. Martin | Managing Partner
[email protected]