The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP)


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The Opportunity

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 approximately $4M to $6M and a staff of approximately 17, 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.

About IASP

Founded in 1973, the IASP is governed by an international Council and Executive Committee that is nominated and elected by members. With more than 7,000 members representing 125 countries, 96 national chapters, and 25 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 management of pain.

The CEO Role

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 determined by the IASP Council. The CEO is employed by and reports to the IASP Council through the Executive Committee.

Governance and Volunteer Relations

  • Supports the Council to promote high-functioning, effective, ethical, and self-sustaining governance according to best practices and due diligence.
  • Develops and maintains a strong internationally focused ethos befitting a global Association.
  • Implements the decisions of Council or its designee; communicates decisions and directions to staff and others.
  • Works collaboratively with the Council and volunteer leaders to plan and develop strategies and policies designed to move the Association’s priorities and goals forward.
  • Coordinates with the President to develop agendas and materials for governing committees and Council.
  • Informs the Council of all significant activities, operations, and conditions relating to the Association and staff.
  • Coordinates with volunteer leadership to oversee volunteer recruitment, orientation, training, recognition, and accountability.
  • Leads internal and external stakeholders collaboratively to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • Builds an inclusive culture that is sensitive to and responsive to the needs, interests, and values of global stakeholders.
  • Fosters collaboration and synergy between staff and volunteer leadership.
  • Ensures the highest level of ethics and reputational diligence with particular regard to finances and relations with external funders especially industry and donors.
  • Maintains positive, productive relationships with Editors in Chief of IASP journals and editorial boards.

Strategic Support

  • 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.

Contribute to Member and Organizational Success

  • 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.
  • Works cooperatively with leadership and staff in entrepreneurial thinking with the goal of developing and implementing new member benefits and services that are aligned with the IASP mission and that enhance the membership value proposition.
  • Oversees all programs, services, products, and activities to ensure program objectives are met, including production of journals and conferences.
  • Fosters a strong staff ethos that values and delivers excellence in customer service to members and implements policies and procedures to ensure staff understands and meets expectations for prompt, courteous customer service.
  • Plans, organizes, and directs membership promotion and retention programs; evaluates and recommends actions to achieve membership goals.

Relationship and Alliance Building

  • Identifies, establishes, and maintains strategic partnerships to support IASP’s mission at a global level including governmental, regulatory, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Provides international leadership in developing and improving relationships with chapters and organizations that align with the Association’s mission and strategic direction.
  • 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, and globally sensitive, and appropriate approach to all stakeholders.

Communications and Public Relations

  • Ensures a strong and coherent brand that is clearly reflected 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 its field.
  • Serves as IASP spokesperson in collaboration and consultation with the President.

Staff Management and Leadership

  • Develops and leads a high-performing, efficient staff with a strong and sensitive customer service ethos to all IASP stakeholders.
  • 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 the 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 that there is an accessible, accurate, enduring and up to date archive of IASP activities and papers.
  • Ensures the development of staff at all levels, including mentoring and training, as appropriate.
  • With transparency to the Council, 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.

Management and Financial Administration

  • 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.
  • Supports long-range financial planning in conjunction with the Treasurer, Executive Committee, Chief Operating Officer, and other stakeholders.
  • Oversees development of an annual budget for presentation to the Council or its designee; implements annual budget.
  • Develops revenue sources, especially non-dues income. In collaboration with the Council develops and delivers a plan for philanthropic donations and other income.
  • Implements an efficient and effective system for delivering conferences and educational programs.
  • 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, including ethical and reputational, to protect and advance IASP (e.g., intellectual property, insurance).


  • 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.

Desired Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

  • 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.
  • Management experience with a global membership organization, a scientific or medical professional association, large meetings (especially international meetings), and scientific publishing.
  • Track record in working effectively and collaboratively with governmental bodies, regulators, and non-governmental organizations (e.g., World Health Organization) is a plus.
  • Demonstrated track record of developing revenue streams through a variety of funding opportunities. Experience in working effectively with industry sponsors a plus. Demonstrated experience in volunteer management and engagement.
  • Excellent English communication skills (written, verbal, and public speaking). Ability to communicate in another non-English language is a plus.
  • Demonstrated success in staff development, including a commitment to staff professional development and building effective staff teams/organizational culture.
  • Travel domestically and internationally required, approximately 20 percent.
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification a plus.

Personal Qualities and Competencies

  • Demonstrated evidence of initiating and implementing organizational change and maintaining operational excellence to achieve stated goals.
  • Able to work effectively and sensitively on a global level across different cultures and societies.
  • A visionary leader who can conceptualize long-term strategic goals and translate them into a succinct, understandable, and actionable framework.
  • Uses an open-minded, flexible, and collaborative approach to problem solving.
  • An authentic, transparent, approachable communicator who builds trusting relationships and fosters open dialogue with all stakeholders.
  • The emotional intelligence, cultural awareness, listening skills, and coaching skills needed to unite a diverse group of members into a community with a shared purpose.
  • A lifelong learner who demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement in pursuit of operational excellence.
  • 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.
  • Candidates from historically underrepresented and marginalized communities 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.