The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research


Executive Director

The Opportunity

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research and the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR/AEVR) are seeking an Executive Director (ED) to serve as the chief staff executive for the two organizations. NAEVR, the advocacy organization, and AEVR, the educational organization, are the leading national voices for cutting-edge ideas, technology, and investment in eye and vision research.

This position will provide the right candidate with the opportunity to strategically drive policy and public support for increases in federal funding for vision research. Such research is the cornerstone of meeting the national public health goal of reducing blindness and restoring vision.

With a 15-member governing Board of Directors (Board) and over $700,000 in annual revenue, the new ED will work strategically to ensure the success of the organizations’ advocacy and educational programs. The selected candidate will work in concert with a Board and a membership that are dedicated to advancing eye and vision research.

The ED will be responsible for managing a staff of one and nearly fifteen external consultants who provide support in the areas of accounting, auditing, graphic design, database and website management. NAEVR/AEVR’s offices are located within The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) offices in Rockville, MD. Through a management agreement ARVO provides such services as payroll processing and IT support. The NAEVR/AEVR Executive Director also receives a full benefits package provided through ARVO. The position is based in Rockville, MD but there will be some flexibility to work virtually, at least part of the time. The ED will represent NAEVR/AEVR at Capitol Hill events, trainings, and Board meetings. Some travel is required.

NAEVR/AEVR: An Overview

Eye and vision research is a fast-growing, dynamic scientific field with unlimited potential to improve human health and quality of life. For more than 20 years, NAEVR/AEVR have represented a broad coalition of organizations and industry groups that advocate for and educate about the value of eye and vision research and its contribution to achieving the national public health goal of reducing blindness and restoring vision. NAEVR has led a highly successful, multi-year effort to increase National Eye Institute (NEI) funding. The organization has also been able to expand eye and vision research programs elsewhere at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes, as well as other federal entities, such as the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

NAEVR is a 501c4 non-profit advocacy organization with 50 professional, patient, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research and focused on increased federal funding of eye and vision research. AEVR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to increasing policymaker awareness of the benefits of federal funding of eye and vision research.

These organizations work independently of each other but share an overarching mission – to support the eye and vision research community.

The Executive Director Role

The ED is the chief staff executive of both organizations and reports to each organization’s Board. The ED provides input and guidance to the Boards in its formulation of the associations’ missions, goals, objectives, and related policies. The ED manages the staff, systems, allocated resources, and infrastructure to carry out activities required to fulfill these missions. Within the limits of the bylaws of the associations and policies established by the Boards, the ED is an ex-officio member of both Boards.

The ED is expected to dynamically lead strategic initiatives and build critical relationships that will assure the associations’ long-term growth and sustainability. This position provides opportunities to deploy and build skills on many fronts and work with key public and private leaders in the vision and broader health fields.

Strategic Priorities for the Executive Director

The Executive Director is tasked with addressing the following priorities:


  • Enhance the organizations’ visibility and prominence as vision research leaders, communicating the benefits of eye and vision research to policymakers, advocacy groups, the media, and the public.
  • Position eye research on legislative and funding agendas.
  • Provide a frequent physical presence on Capitol Hill and the NIH campus, as well as at other relevant federal agencies.

Contribute to Member and Organizational Success

  • Drive innovation in vision technology.
  • Identify and secure new and continued funding sources and revenue streams for NAEVR/AEVR initiatives.
  • Provide value and engagement opportunities for members.

Maintain and Strengthen Relationships

  • Explore, develop, and maximize partnerships that support collaboration and innovative approaches to NAEVR/AEVR’s development.
  • Promote policies and activities that bring the entire eye and vision research community together — academia and industry; basic and clinical scientists; researchers, patients, and foundations; and ophthalmology and optometry.
  • Demonstrate a personal understanding of, respect for, and commitment to the history, values, and progress of vision and eye research.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The ED is responsible for the oversight of the following areas:

Public Affairs and Communications

  • Manage, and direct all staff, volunteer, and coalition participation in promoting the value of eye and vision research to Congress and other federal agencies that fund eye and vision research.
  • Oversee all communication and outreach efforts including publications, educational materials, website content, and social media.
  • Serve as a spokesperson in public and represent the public face of the organizations at events and meetings.
  • Maintain and develop positive, effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders including development of coalition and alliance partners when such arrangements will serve NAEVR/AEVR goals.

Member Services

  • Oversee live and virtual programming, professional resources, administrative support, internal communications, publications, and other direct member services.
  • Develop relationships with peer organizations to keep abreast of emerging issues of significance.
  • Recruit new and retain existing NAEVR/AEVR members from the ophthalmologic and optometric professional societies, consumer, and patient advocacy community, private- funding foundations, academic institutions, and industry sources.

Staff and Volunteer Leadership

  • Ensure the Boards are informed of the conditions of the organizations’ programs and activities, and important factors that influence them.
  • Serve as staff to the Officers and members of the Boards, anticipating and meeting their needs for materials, information, and the support they might need to fully manage their roles and responsibilities as volunteers.
  • Ensure the organizations are appropriately represented to members, staff, and other constituency groups.
  • Execute the decisions of the Boards and its committees in a timely manner, and in accordance with bylaws.
  • With the Boards, recommend goals that support the organizations’ missions, and ensure staff and consultants establish objectives that support the organizations’ goals.
  • Provide for the optimum staffing and utilization of competent personnel who are delegated appropriate authority and compensated commensurately.
  • Execute full and exclusive authority to hire, compensate, and terminate staff and consultants within the framework of the approved budget and in accordance with established personnel policies.
  • As necessary and helpful, and in consultation with the Boards, appoint consultants.
  • Ensure appropriate compensation structures are developed and maintained.

Strategic and Financial Leadership

  • Ensure the organizations maintain sound organizational plans and that major additions or alterations to operating departments are properly controlled.
  • Work with the executive committees of the Boards to develop new strategic plans.
  • Invest the organizations’ reserves with the advice and consent of the Board and in accordance with established policy.
  • Oversee all financial management responsibilities.
  • Perform all functions required to ensure the collection of dues and grants from entities that financially support the organizations.
  • Seek out additional prospects to financially support the organizations.
  • Work with the Finance Committee to ensure a consolidated annual operating budget is recommended to the Boards.
  • Assure that all assets are soundly administered, based on an intensive and comprehensive understanding of all aspects of fiscal management.


  • Plan, lead, and supervise day-to-day activities and programs.
  • Ensure the organizations are in full compliance with all local, state, and federal rules governing program activities.
  • Manage risk, including assuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and governing documents.
  • Authorize and execute contracts and commitments in accordance with the organizations’ bylaws and policies
  • Ensure all funds, physical assets, and other property are properly safeguarded and administered.
  • Ensure NAEVR/AEVR has established objectives and standards of performance for all major key result areas, including marketing, operating efficiency, innovation, physical and financial resources, public responsibility, ethical behavior, profitability, pricing strategies, and quality of member services.
  • Approve performance standards for operations and ensure appropriate action is taken when deviation from standards occurs.
  • Adhere to organizational policies of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all external and internal activities of NAEVR/AEVR, in compliance with both organizations’ explicit, published policy statements.

Candidate Profile

Required Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree is required. Advanced degree and/or Certified Association Executive (CAE) is desirable.
  • Minimum of 10 years in positions of increasing responsibility within organizations.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability.
  • Demonstrated experience and success maintaining advocacy coalitions or directing educational programs for policymakers.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in government relations, advocacy, communications, or non-profit management. Federal-level experience preferred; similar state-level experience will be considered.
  • Familiarity with non-governmental organizations, Members of Congress, congressional staff, federal agency leadership, and the media.
  • Experience in advocacy for research, especially health or biomedical issues, and familiarity with eye and vision research are desirable but not required.

Personal Qualities

  • An energetic and results-oriented leader with exceptional people and coalition-development skills.
  • Collaborative communication style that builds consensus.
  • A strategic leader able to speak effectively about the future of vision research.
  • Technologically savvy.
  • Skilled in working with volunteer leadership and able to maximize organizational resources.


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

To Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter and current résumé (Microsoft Word® format preferred) to Sterling Martin Associates. 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.

Additional Information

For more information, contact:

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

David S. Martin | Managing Partner
[email protected] (202) 257-1627

Sharon Beatty| Senior Executive Recruiter
[email protected] | (971) 322-7658