Collaborative Strategies Inc.

  • Director of Strategic Partnerships

    # of Openings
    Non-Profit Management
    American Optometric Association
    US-MO-St Louis
  • Overview

    AOA - Logo resized

    Director of Strategic Partnerships

    Position Announcement


    Are you a visionary change agent with expertise in crafting mutually-beneficial sponsorships or sponsorship packages?


    If so, come lead our efforts as we develop new and innovative ways to collaborate

    with our valued industry sponsors!


    At the American Optometric Association (“AOA”), you’ll be part of an organization dedicated to driving the success and serving as a voice for over 44,000 optometric professionals, including the doctors (O.D.) and students of optometry and paraoptometric team members who deliver more than two-thirds of primary eye care in the United States. Since 1898, the American Optometric Association (“AOA”) has set standards for quality vision care, served as a positive and unifying force for the doctors of optometry, and advocated for our nation’s health. 


    As a nationally-recognized leader in our field, the AOA is advancing the profession of optometry in the most constructive and far-reaching ways, including innovative educational opportunities, tools and practice resources, and related advocacy. Our growing team of employees, based in St. Louis, Missouri, provide oversight for all operations, educational opportunities and programs, technology, marketing, finance, and member events. Together with a committed House of Delegates and an 11-member National Board of Trustees, along with dedicated community and industry sponsors, the AOA is well-poised for even greater success ahead. To learn more about us, please visit us at


    In alignment with strategic goals, the AOA is now seeking a creative, innovative, and high-energy individual to take the helm as its Director of Strategic Partnerships. This role will serve as a familiar face to AOA’s valued industry sponsors as well as a key leader within the AOA. Developing strategic opportunities for key sponsors that align with AOA’s mission and membership while meeting the necessary funding goals for the organization is the mission-critical task at hand for the Director of Strategic Partnerships. 



    Reporting directly to our Associate Executive Director in Saint Louis, Missouri, AOA’s new Director of Strategic Partnerships will . . .


    • IDENTIFY & DEVELOP MISSION-ALIGNED STRATEGIES – Develop and implement a strategy to attract and retain mutually beneficial relationships with key companies at various levels who align with AOA’s mission, vision, and values. Proactively identify, cultivate, and solicit a diverse base of potential sponsors. Build a steady pipeline of prospects in multiple industry verticals while developing and vetting unique opportunities with AOA’s leadership.
    • SERVE AS AOA’s FACE TO INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS – Serve as the face and voice of AOA, consistently and positively presenting the organization and its mission to stakeholders. From initial contact through final contracting stage, serve as AOA’s primary contact with key contacts within the industry. Ensure professionalism and a high-level of customer service in all aspects of relationships and engagement with industry sponsors or companies.
    • MODEL INNOVATIVE & CROSS-ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP Partner with AOA leadership and lead across internal departments to develop innovative programming for key companies, including marketing, advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Foster buy-in for new and innovative ways to engage AOA’s industry base. Manage competing priorities both internally and externally while evaluating prospective companies and securing final sponsorship agreements. Leverage internal AOA resources to generate fresh ideas for unique sponsorship programming opportunities. Ensure sponsor satisfaction and track compliance with external requirements.
    • CREATE UNIQUE SPONSORSHIP, EXHIBIT, & ADVERTISING PROGRAMS – Evaluate and grow AOA’s current sponsorship opportunities. Reinvent opportunities to meet the needs of both long-tenured companies as well as newly-acquired companies. Develop innovative means for companies to gain exposure to AOA membership and to add value to AOA’s annual meetings and member events. Create opportunities to attract a diversified base of corporate sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers at all levels.
    • INSPIRE A HIGH-PERFORMING TEAM – Provide oversight for team of three (3) employees that secures sponsorships, exhibits, and advertising for Optometry’s Meeting® which is the AOA’s Annual Congress and the American Optometric Student Association Annual Conference as well as seasonal, advocacy, and membership events. Manage, coach, and inspire team members. Inspire out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to developing unique sponsorship opportunities. Provide meaningful feedback and identify professional development opportunities. Recruit new talent as necessitated by AOA growth and needs.
    • COMMUNICATE SUCCESS & SOLICIT FEEDBACK Develop metrics, track results, analyze internal data, and develop a formalized system to communicate success and ROI for sponsors. Develop ways to continuously engage sponsors and to showcase AOA’s opportunities for sponsor success through programmatic opportunities. Proactively solicit feedback and work to ensure a high level of sponsor satisfaction.
    • MANAGE BUDGET AND DRIVE REVENUE Manage departmental budget and meet AOA-specific goals for non-dues revenue through a combination of new sponsorship relationships and existing sponsor renewals. Prepare financial reports and industry forecasting for board and senior leadership.


    Key qualifications include:

    • Minimum of 10-12+ years professional experience with at least 5+ years at a senior leadership level with responsibility for a team of direct reports. Experience within optometry, healthcare, and/or member-based organizations a plus, but not required.
    • Must offer proven experience of prior budget management and/or P&L responsibility. 
    • Must offer strong relationship-building skills. A proven track record in securing funds and/or in developing unique opportunities for companies to engage in sponsorships, exhibits, events, advertising and/or marketing programs.
    • Demonstrated analytical experience in developing, collecting, analyzing, and reporting on key metrics to represent ROI for sponsor participation.
    • Passion for AOA’s mission, including its role as an advocate and a resource for all practitioners, students, and related staff in the field of optometry.
    • Experience managing a team and actively developing talent; an ability to inspire and motivate others as well as manage conflict.  Ability to foster a healthy organizational culture through teamwork and collaboration.
    • Bachelor’s degree is required; MBA or related graduate degree highly desirable.
    • Eloquent and compelling written and verbal communication skills. Solid public speaker with equal confidence and comfort in one-on-one conversations and in negotiations with high level corporate contacts, board and committee members, volunteers, internal colleagues, and large groups of passionate constituents.
    • Ability to travel for work-related meetings, including 6-8 annual AOA events.
    • Big picture thinker with a strong business acumen.
    • Superior problem solving and critical thinking capabilities.
    • Attentive listening skills and an ability to react to stressful situations with diplomacy and tact.
    • An ability to work at a fast pace while staying focused and attuned to details.




    This position must be based in AOA’s corporate headquarters in Saint Louis, Missouri. Relocation assistance may be available, and relocation would be expected upon hire.


    Compensation Package:


    AOA offers a competitive compensation package with a base salary and a discretionary bonus opportunity. AOA’s employee benefits package includes health benefits (dental, medical and vision), life insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability, healthcare flex spending account, 401k, vacation and holidays, adoption assistance, educational assistance, and more.


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