The Society of Surgical Oncology

SSO logo

Chief Executive Officer 

The Opportunity

The Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) is seeking a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the organization. SSO is the premier surgical oncology organization in the world. The mission of SSO is to improve multidisciplinary patient care by advancing science, education, and cancer surgery care worldwide. SSO is a dynamic, global community of cancer surgeons dedicated to delivering the highest quality surgical care for cancer patients. SSO champions leading-edge education and research in surgical oncology and cancer care.

This position will provide the right candidate with the opportunity to think strategically and drive innovation. The next leader will help lead the organization as the SSO steers the transformation of cancer care into the next decade. The new leader should excel at bringing people together and advocating in a way that strengthens partnerships and relationships. SSO seeks a candidate with a leadership background in associations or medical nonprofit organizations. Experience working with healthcare professionals on a volunteer board or executive council would translate well into the role as well. SSO’s next leader should be a visionary problem-solver who is an innovative and creative thinker who can work to advance the profession and the organization.

This position is based in Rosemont, IL in the Chicago metropolitan area. The CEO will be the administrative leader of the organization and will work in close partnership with the SSO physician leaders to organize events, such as the annual SSO international meeting and specialty conferences. Travel is required.

SSO: An Overview

A 501(c)(3) organization with an operating budget of $5.6 million and a staff of 19 members, SSO champions leading-edge education, research and quality impacting the full spectrum of surgical oncology and cancer care.

Since its founding in 1940, SSO has provided support and resources to help cancer surgeons at all stages of their careers strengthen their skills, increase their proficiency, and drive increasing levels of excellence in practice. The International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care, the annual meeting, is recognized worldwide as the leading event that covers research developments, clinical trials, new technology, and future trends in cancer care and prepares cancer surgeons with evidence-based approaches to effective, multidisciplinary surgical treatments, including surgical techniques.

SSO advances leading-edge research and education related to cancer treatment. The SSO hosts an annual International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care and is responsible for the publication of the Annals of Surgical Oncology, a high-quality peer-reviewed journal. Additionally, the SSO funds lectureships and research grants – such as the Clinical Investigator Awards, and Young Investigator Awards – and offers educational opportunities such as the Fellows Institute and various virtual events such as tumor boards and symposia.

SSO emphasizes quality measures and evidence-based outcomes by promoting research, providing educational resources, and collaborating on the development of guidelines that keep cancer surgeons on the leading edge of best practices for effective cancer care. Most importantly, SSO helps surgeons evaluate the appropriate therapeutic treatment for each patient. SSO stimulates debate and collaboration and encourages members to broaden their perspectives for assessing therapeutic approaches. Through these candid conversations, SSO helps members make thoughtful decisions about specific treatments that improve patient care.

SSO recognizes optimal patient care requires well-coordinated, multidisciplinary teams where each participant serves a critical role. SSO members build, support, and lead these teams to create skillful practices that drive better outcomes for patients. Unique to SSO is its ability to attract cancer surgeons across the entire spectrum of disease sites. As a result, SSO members gain valuable insights that enable them to challenge assumptions, assess alternative treatments and make refinements to their own approaches to cancer care. Equally as valuable, SSO members enjoy a high level of camaraderie in a global community of cancer surgeons.

The CEO Role

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SSO serves as the chief staff executive responsible for the management of SSO and its staff members. Reporting to the SSO Executive Council, the CEO provides strategic leadership, has fiscal, program, and administrative responsibility, and advises and makes recommendations to the SSO Executive Committee and Executive Council. The CEO oversees strategic and tactical initiatives, operations, governance, financial management, revenue generation, Executive Council, and SSO leadership support.

The CEO is responsible for effectively communicating the organization’s purpose, plans, goals, and objectives to internal and external stakeholders, including members, industry, and the public. The CEO has regular contact with the leaders of the Society, the Executive Council and the Executive Committee of the SSO, and maintains appropriate relationships with other associations, industry, government, and advocacy organizations to enhance the image of the SSO.

Strategic Priorities for the CEO

The CEO is tasked with addressing the following priorities:


  • Enhance the visibility of the surgical oncology profession with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Position SSO as a leader in the interprofessional healthcare community.
  • Explore, develop, and maximize partnerships that support collaboration and innovative approaches to healthcare.
  • Advocate for issues that impact the surgical oncology profession and its members.

Contribute to Member and Organizational Success

  • Drive innovation in surgical oncology education and practice.
  • Identify and secure new and continued funding sources and revenue streams for SSO.
  • Provide value and engagement for members.

Maintain and Strengthen Trust

  • Advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and be respectful of a wide range of cultures, belief systems, and experiences.
  • Establish and maintain strong professional relationships within the community.
  • Integrate a personal understanding of, respect for, and commitment to the history and values of SSO.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

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


  • Serve as primary liaison with SSO Executive Council and Executive Committee; responsible to the Council for the effective conduct of all SSO affairs.
  • Consistent with the Society’s Bylaws, serves in an ex officio non-voting capacity as a member of the SSO Executive Council and Executive Committee.
  • Provide advice/counsel to President, Officers, and Executive Council members.
  • Plan, design, and recommend to the Executive Council policies and programs that are appropriate to the mission and objectives of the Society.
  • With the President and Executive Committee, plan and administer all meetings of the Executive Council, the International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care, and all other functions of the Society.
  • Communicate, advocate, sell, and advance SSO’s positions, decisions, strategies, future direction, views, etc. to those who interact with the Society – members, vendor partners, media, and affiliated organizations.
  • Advise on policy, bylaws, and organization structure. Serve as an advisor in the ongoing improvement of Society governance.
  • Develop and maintain, along with the SSO Executive Council, collaborative relationships with relevant organizations and corporations that are involved in surgical oncology.
  • Represent the Society at appropriate forums necessitating the presence of the CEO.
  • Monitor and keep the Executive Council informed of trends, challenges, and opportunities that could affect the SSO and/or its members. Remain alert for any event/issues that may affect the surgical oncology profession in general.
  • Coordinate an annual review of the Society’s strategic plan for the Executive Council and direct implementation of the plan based on Council-approved priorities and timelines.
  • Maintain professional status and involvement with Executive Management Associations as appropriate.


  • Assure high quality, efficient and cost-effective headquarter operations. Establish headquarter structure and related staffing structure.
  • Hire, manage, evaluate, compensate, and discharge all SSO staff, contract staff, and those vendors operating in the service of the organization within the guidelines set by the annual budgets; execute a regular process of engagement, evaluation, and review for those providing services to the SSO.
  • Oversee the outsourced functions of the organizations. Maintain relations and accountability with organizations and companies providing outsourced services.
  • Develop contracts with service providers and business partners (including IT and web site services, Journal publisher, etc.), working in conjunction with the Society’s Legal Counsel.
  • Ensure the required management, administrative, and technical support of all SSO committees, work groups, and member/constituent programs.
  • Develop and implement Council-approved and budgeted programs to increase SSO membership and retain current members.
  • Serve as a resource for program concepts and design/development of current or new programs and offer recommendations for new products, programs, or relationships that could provide non-dues revenue sources.
  • Participate in an annual review using a mutually agreed to evaluation process with the SSO Compensation Committee.

Financial Leadership

  • Direct and be responsible for the fiscal operations of SSO, including relations with the Finance Committee and Treasurer.
  • In collaboration with the Finance Committee, develop the annual operating budget for Executive Council approval.
  • Develop and prepare the strategic plan annual budget with the Finance Committee for Executive Council approval.
  • Oversee the maintenance of accurate financial records and best practices related to financial management and controls.
  • Maintain oversight of assets and investments and interact with the investment advisor as required.
  • Provide strategic assistance and direction to the SSO staff in the development and implementation of corporate partnership and individual giving programs to support the Society’s Research and Education Fund.

Required Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in a senior position at a national nonprofit, volunteer professional association preferred, especially one in a health or medical field.
  • Experience working with physicians and other medical professionals helpful.
  • Senior management experience with direct reports required.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree or Certified Association Executive (CAE) is preferred.
  • Must have a demonstrated, sustained ability to advocate across healthcare disciplinary boundaries.
  • Must have a track record of innovation and success leading change.

Personal Qualities

  • Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal skills.
  • Adaptable, resilient, and highly motivated.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, manage people, and respond effectively to requests.


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) 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.

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

Brian J. Glade| Vice President
[email protected] | (917) 751-3632

Karen Lombardo| Vice President
[email protected] | (540) 751-9612