The Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Executive Director

Client Overview

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) located in Washington, DC, is conducting a search for the position of Executive Director. SPSP is the world’s largest organization of social and personality psychologists. With an operating budget of $2.7M and over 7,000 members, SPSP strives to advance the science, teaching, and application of social and personality psychology. The core focus of SPSP is to serve its members through educational events, networking opportunities, resources, science funding, publication and promotion of research, and mentoring the next generation of social and personality psychologists. Sterling Martin Associates has been retained to assist with this search.

SPSP’s Core Values are:

  • Innovation, rigor, transparency, and integrity in our science, education, and application.
  • Constructive scientific discourse.
  • Diversity and inclusiveness of people and ideas.

For more information on the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, please visit www.spsp.org.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for providing strategic leadership and oversight of Advocacy, Development, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Meetings & Events, Membership, Operations, and Public Relations/Media functions.  In collaboration with staff, the Executive Director cultivates and maintains strong working relationships with key internal and external stakeholders to advance the science, teaching, and application of social and personality psychology.

Strategic Leadership 

  • Provide direction and leadership toward the achievement of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s (SPSP) strategic goals and budget
  • Lead the development of the strategic vision for the annual convention

Management and Administration

  • Provide day-to-day leadership and management to the organization in alignment with the mission and core values of the SPSP
  • Oversee the development, spending, and reporting of a $2.7M annual operating budget to ensure organization operations are within budget guidelines
  • Responsible for building an office culture that attracts, retains, develops, and motivates a diverse team  

Programmatic Oversight

  • Direct SPSP’s programmatic vision
  • Oversee and manage the bi-annual Summer Institute for Social and Personality Psychology (SISPP) and corresponding $400K grant-based funding from the National Science Foundation


  • Meet regularly with the Board and discuss progress and report on performance
  • Serve as ex-officio member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee
  • Liaise with the Publications Committee and Awards Committee

External Affairs

  • Develop and build sound working relationships and coalitions with partner organizations to include attending meetings of American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Society for Experimental Social Psychology
  • Represent and promote SPSP within the social science community and on Capitol Hill to include but not limited to serving on the Governing Board of Coalition of Social Science Associations

Requisite Qualifications, Characteristics, and Experience

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, or related field required; Master’s Degree in related field preferred; Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation preferred
  • Minimum of ten years experience including five years of senior management experience to include financial oversight (budget planning and management of complex fiduciary responsibilities) and fundraising

  • Experience working with a professional association in the social sciences or academia highly desired

  • Strong oral, written, interpersonal skills with the ability to represent SPSP both internally and externally
  • Demonstrated success leading professional staff and establishing a sense of common direction and vision
  • Demonstrated cross-cultural competencies, including strong emotional intelligence, influencing skills, and the ability to proactively engage and build relationships among Society members; sensitivity to all constituencies served by the Society with a demonstrated commitment to building a climate of inclusiveness.
  • Demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity of people and ideas in the field of social psychology and personality psychology

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Ability to travel up to 20%


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.

The Society for Personality and Social Psychology 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 race, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, 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]

Manmeet Singh Fox | Senior Consultant
[email protected]