Chief Executive Officer

Posted 3 months ago

The Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), established in 1955 as a 501 (c) (3) organization, raises funds to support research aimed at building a scientific base for orthopaedic practice. During its 63 year history OREF has provided nearly $145 million in research grants thanks to support from individual orthopaedic surgeons, grateful patients, and corporate industry donors. As a result, OREF holds a unique place in supporting basic, clinical, and health services research within the field of orthopaedic surgery.

The grants process at OREF is rigorous and modeled on NIH protocols. Such OREF-funded research enhances clinical care, leading to improved health, increased activity, and a better quality of life for orthopaedic patients.

Governed by a volunteer Board of 23 trustees, OREF has an Executive Committee of seven and serves as a convener of research programs with over 50 orthopaedic partner organizations. It has a staff of fourteen, a budget of $2.8 million, and an endowment of $9 million. Located in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois, OREF has office space in the AAOS Building where other national medical/surgical specialty societies are located.

Position Summary: The CEO is a respected and engaging leader, responsible for the financial success and effective and efficient operations of the organization. The CEO is responsible for working with the Board of Trustees to create a vision for the organization and aligning resources to move the organization in that direction. The CEO will lead by example; demonstrate professional communications and management skills that empower and motivate the staff; provide oversight of day to day operations and; establish strong and effective working
relationships among staff, trustees, volunteers, stakeholders, and various partner organizations, within and outside the field of orthopaedics.

Reporting relationships: The CEO reports to the Board of Trustees and supervises all staff and

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
1. Together with the Board of Trustees, establishes the mission for the organization and creates a vision for the organization for the future. Ensures that all daily operations of the organization are effective, efficient, and consistent with that mission and vision.
2. Responsible for hiring, development, and retention of all staff and creating a strong operating team. Empowers staff to achieve shared goals through communication, coaching and team building skills. Establishes compensation levels for the Executive Team and through them, for all staff in the organization.
3. Serves as chief fund-raiser, demonstrating knowledge of the industry and understanding of the revenue sources and how they fund the organization.
4. Works with the Controller to prepare and adhere to the operating budget for the year.
5. Establishes with the Sr. Vice President for Development and the Vice President, Business Development, the goals for development for both individual and corporate supporters.
6. Works with Sr. Vice President for Development to establish the year-long plan for both annual and major giving and ensures that steps are taken to accomplish that plan.
7. Works with Vice President, Business Development, to establish the year-long plan for corporate donations. Develops specific approaches to corporations and other partner organizations and visits corporate offices to negotiate gift arrangements.
8. Together with the Sr. Director of Marketing Communications, establishes the message for OREF to communicate to all of its various constituent organizations, using all media available including print media, public speaking engagements, and web-based communications. Determines the mix of stories and media types to convey the story of OREF.
9. Works with the Vice President of Grants to insure all protocols are followed.
10. Is responsible for determining prospects for and cultivation of prospects for major gifts to support OREF and its constituent organizations. Serves as a primary contact for individual major gift prospects, and in many cases for communications with senior executives in corporate sponsors’ organizations.
11. Ensures that OREF has all the appropriate policies and guidelines in place, including a human resources manual, conflict of interest policy, Board bylaws, investment committee guidelines, and similar documents.
12. Serves as the primary contact between the CEO of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and with his/her counterparts at other orthopaedic organizations.
13. Represents OREF at orthopaedic meetings to present reports on OREF, meets with the Boards of other organizations, and maintains contact with individual donors.

1. Works closely with members of the Executive Team, which consists of the SVP for Development, VP of Business Development, the VP of Grants, and VP of Communications.
2. Works with the Executive Assistant to manage day-to-day operations of the organization and to oversee human resource policies for the organization.
3. Works closely with the President of the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, and the Board at regularly scheduled meetings throughout the year and on a more regular basis as needed.
4. Serves as staff liaison to the Executive Committee, the Governance Committee, and, in partnership with the Controller, the Finance and Audit Committees.

1. Works with the staff leaders of various other orthopaedic organizations, as well as their volunteer leadership, to develop collaborative grant-making opportunities and to present OREF information.
2. Identifies and cultivates major gift prospects for OREF.
3. Works with executives of various corporate supporters to negotiate, develop and complete corporate giving.
4. Serves as OREF representative to various AAOS Councils and committees.


The CEO of the OREF will lead a complex and vital foundation that has offered long-standing programs and services alone, and in connection with, its orthopaedic partners. The foundation has a 63 year track record, a recently updated mission and strategic plan, and the potential for significant growth. Staff members and trustees are committed to the mission and grants process. Fundraising is the cornerstone of OREF. Challenges include maintaining trusted relationships with OREF leaders and partners; expanding and energizing the orthopaedic donor base, including an increase in unrestricted giving; expanding the non-orthopaedic donor base to appeal more to the public and other industries; and encouraging innovation, creativity and collaboration among long-standing staff.

The successful candidate has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (an advanced degree preferred); at least ten years of experience in non-profit management leading high performing teams, preferably in the healthcare arena; a demonstrated track record in fundraising; exceptional communication and interpersonal skills; sound business acumen; and the ability to travel. Must be willing to demonstrate a personal commitment to the mission and vision of OREF. Also required are strong organizational skills, the ability to think strategically, and a familiarity with newer avenues of social communication.

Effective communicator, respected leader with strategic vision; skill in marketing; ability to think out of the box; collaborative and engaging personality; decisiveness; entrepreneurial and risk-taking skills; transparency; tact and diplomacy; skill in consensus building; technological savvy; high integrity; and strong mentoring/leadership skills and presence.

Search Process: How to Apply

This search is being conducted by Tuft & Associates .
To apply for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter electronically, using one of these options:

  • Complete the resume submission form below, and include your resume and cover letter.
  • Email your resume and cover letter to Catherine Babjak, Manager, at; 312.642.8889

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Job Features

Job CategoryOpen
LocationRosemont, IL