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A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

PLEASE NOTE:  Actual salary commensurate with experience, education and equity factors.

Department Summary

Conference and Event Services at The University of Michigan is seeking applications and nominations for the Associate Director of Sales.  This position includes a campus-wide approach to recruiting conferences and events, including summer conferences, and events in multiple facilities across campus.

The Associate Director will promote the Conference and Event Services department as the recognized University resource for conferences & events; to develop plans to aggressively seek and grow conference related business, including catering sales generated for Michigan Dining; to facilitate services in a consistent professional manner; and to standardize a high level of guest experience during contracting.

The University of Michigan is unmatched for its student life capital improvements. Since 2004 the University has implemented an aggressive housing and dining facility renewal program called Residential Life Initiatives. Approximately $800 million in residence hall, apartment, and dining construction and renovation has been completed. In addition, the University recently approved $175 million in construction and renovation for unions and recreation facilities. Planning is underway for an $85 million renovation to the iconic Michigan Union. The Pierpont Commons recently completed a $5 million renovation to its main dining area.

Student Life Auxiliary Overview
Student Life auxiliary operations includes Capital Projects, Conferences and Events, Marketing, Michigan Dining, Recreational Sports, University Unions, and University Housing. Student Life is committed to student learning and the development of the whole student in a diverse campus community. Through its programs, services, facilities and partnerships, Student Life facilitates students' transformation and enriches their education. 
The Student Life auxiliary organization endeavors to be student focused and financially assertive, requiring the ability of its leadership to fulfill the Student Life mission while managing entrepreneurial and business-savvy enterprises.

 Job Summary

Serving as both an advocate for the client and the University of Michigan, the Associate Director exists to generate revenue of at least $12 million in combined auxiliary revenue annually through external sales, marketing, and contract negotiation; provide daily oversight for Michigan Dining sales; and hire, train and provide supervision to full-time and student staff as a part of the Conference & Event Services team.  The Associate Director, Sales position requires enterprise to achieve growth in new and current markets and is responsible for meeting and holding staff accountable to sales action plans and performance targets.  Reporting to the Director, Conference and Event Services, the Associate Director provides innovative thinking, visionary leadership and a comprehensive strategic sales and marketing plan for continued significant growth of programs and revenue. High quality Michigan Dining food and service and recent and planned major renovations to Housing, Recreation, and Union facilities provide an excellent opportunity for increasing the number of conferences sponsored on-campus and improving the conference experience for attendees.  Capitalizing on the strong brand of the University of Michigan allows for strong recruitment of potential clients looking to host a conference at a world class university. A key responsibility of this position will be to develop and implement a prospecting and sales plan and staff culture.  The Associate Director, Sales will be responsible for expanding “one-stop shop” services as part of the contracting experience.


ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Event, Conference & Catering Sales (50%)

  • Responsible for oversight of and providing strategic leadership to sales and sales team. 
  • Manage overall department sales process to achieve market penetration and market development for University facilities and services; develop sales programs that will generate profitable margins and meet performance targets within key market segments.
  • Design and implement yield management strategies to maximize use of University resources.
  • Provide timely and professional response to all sales leads and inquiries including returning clients, those from trade shows, web inquiries and other referral sources.
  • Initiate and maintain contact with current and potential planners, maintain portfolio of accounts to achieve retention of business.
  • Document sales tracking, ROI, and projected internal allocation of revenue resulting from sales (i.e. catering, meeting space, conference housing revenue etc.)
  • Produce contract sales status and conversion reports at least monthly.
  • Lead or participate in site tours, site selections, sales meetings, outside sales functions, community involvement groups, and various functions for potential and current clients.
  • Partner effectively with service providers to secure necessary services and facilities on campus; work with service providers on behalf of client; negotiate with service providers on behalf of client.
  • Maintain a close positive and professional relationship with internal and external stakeholders, such as Housing, Michigan Dining, Athletics, Risk Management, Academics, Public Safety, University Relations, Public Affairs, other school, college and division event planners, and the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau.
  • Initiate contact with University faculty, staff, and their affiliated professional organization to identify opportunities for business growth.
  • Establish and maintain lost and new business record keeping including logs of groups not previously accommodated.
  • Attend industry trade shows to promote and sell University of Michigan facilities and services and expand the University’s reputation as a premier conference venue, research and initiate client meetings for trade shows.
  • Build and maintain community network for the purpose of referral based business.
  • Make cold calls.
  • Assist in responding to RFP’s from multiple avenues, draft bid proposals, create reservations, budgets and contracts for new and returning business.
  • Oversee all full service contract negotiations while ensuring University policies and procedures are upheld.
  • Mentor, train and advise Michigan Dining and Conference and Event Services staff on returning clientele needs, negotiations, contracting and other areas.
  • Ensure exceptional customer service during each step of interaction with clients and prospective clients with a goal of providing one-stop shop service.

Marketing and Promotions (25%)

  • On an annual basis create and implement a comprehensive marketing and promotional campaign that will showcase facilities and services offered by the University of Michigan and Conference & Event Services that maximize revenue, utilization and exposure.  
  • Marketing campaign includes both print and web based media, including but not limited to website management, e-newsletter oversight, social media, and mass communication to potential clients and maintaining current information in marketing packets.  This plan should focus both on immediate fiscal year goals and suggest long-range sales goals.
  • In conjunction with Student Life Marketing, oversee the design and edits and presentation of all Conference and Event Services marketing materials with final approval from Director. 
  • Develop and deliver presentations to large and small audiences.
  • Research and recommend advertisement in new markets; develop new programs and campaigns designed to increase sales for various market segments.
  • Attend trade shows to showcase University of Michigan facilities and services and cultivate new business. 
  • Assess return on investment (ROI) for all marketing and advertising, including trade shows; modify priorities, goals and processes if necessary.
  • Develop annual marketing budget, adhere to department budgets.

Personnel Management & Operational Leadership (20%)

  • Provide a well-trained, customer-oriented staff that focuses on providing exceptional service while keeping the University’s best interest in mind.
  • Provide direct and daily supervision to full-time and student staff, serving as model of professionalism.
  • Hold staff accountable to performance and sales targets and high customer service standards.
  • Provide both positive and constructive feedback.
  • Address and manage conflict.
  • Ensure that all staff know and understand applicable policies and procedures as they relate to their role on the team. 
  • Promote and support individual and team staff development. 
  • Provide at least bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with full-time staff.
  • Hire, train, supervise and evaluate Professional staff (2-5) and student staff (1-3).
  • Assess urgency and respond accordingly to client and service partner requests for services and information.
  • Create sales action plan to support acquisition of new clients, internal and external.
  • Contribute to the development of departmental long-term goals and strategic planning based on client feedback and projected needs.
  • Optimize space utilization in meeting and Conference Housing facilities.

Other (5%)

  • Perform event management duties as necessary.
  • Act in absence of the Director.
  • As a member of Conference & Event Services and the Division of Student Life, serve on various committees and work teams as requested.
  • Attend and participate in staff training and professional development opportunities.
  • Assist in and perform other duties as assigned or as it may be related to Conference and Event Services.

Additional responsibilities include moderate in- and out-of-state travel, ability to work nights and weekends as needed and making recommendations to the Director for policy and procedure implementation.  

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 6 years of event and conference management experience in a university or corporate hospitality setting.
  • Minimum of 2 years’ experience in supervision of full time professional staff.
  • Experience managing complex vendor relationships and effectively negotiating contracts.
  • Must be willing to travel, staff exhibits at trade shows, and meet with potential clients.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft applications including Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, and PowerPoint.
  • Valid driver’s license.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s degree in Hospitality, Business Administration, Higher Education Administration or related field.
  • Catering sales and operations experience highly desirable.
  • Experience in or a strong familiarity with higher education is highly desirable.
  • CMP or other meeting and event professional certification.
  • Familiarity with technology/social media and how to leverage these media to more effectively reach constituents.
  • Proficiency in EMS, Event Master, Meeting Matrix, Social Tables, Conference Programmer and/or other event and catering management and client management databases.

Additional Information

Position Criteria:

  • Evidence of conference, event and catering sales management, growth, and staff training.
  • Strong supervisory skills and excellent interpersonal, organizational, planning, communication and problem solving skills, with an emphasis on commitment to customer service.
  • Ability to work with and appreciate a wide diversity of people.
  • Ability to communicate University and department policies and procedures, including Children on Campus guidelines, in a manner that is clear and comprehensible to clientele.
  • Ability to work under pressure and handle multiple tasks requiring a high degree of attention to detail.
  • Ability to work autonomously within a team of skilled professionals.
  • Ability to represent the University of Michigan and Conference and Event Services with confidence, professionalism and positivity at all times.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively one-to-one, in small groups and in public speaking contexts.
  • Willingness to facilitate open and effective communication, cooperation and teamwork within and outside of one's own team.
  • Ability to prioritize competing demands and supervise/direct the work of professional and student staff.
  • Ability to establish and maintain professional relationships with student and professional staff, Division colleagues, and the University community.
  • Consider the political environment when solving problems and implementing change.
  • Friendly and out-going personality.
  • Ability to create an environment of understanding and acceptance and challenge organizational policies and practices that may be exclusionary.
  • Experience with budgeting and financial decision making, including forecasting and calculating return on investment.
  • Ability to plan, organize and schedule in an efficient, productive manner and target projects or initiatives that require special attention and focus on key tasks when faced with limited time and/or resources.
  • Ability to work effectively in an environment in which the parameters may change daily and to adjust behavior to meet the needs of different people and situations.
  • Demonstrate success following through on commitments while incorporating courage, objectivity, trustworthiness, honesty, respect and fairness in daily actions.
  • Ability and willingness to explore alternatives to existing products and services and identify opportunities to improve procedures and practices.
  • Ability to develop and implement procedures, methods and operations required for efficient service operations.
  • Demonstrates energy and desire to achieve and ability to take action that no one has requested to improve or enhance job results and avoid problems.
  • Possess strong administrative and organizational skills.
  • Knowledge of contract development with service providers/vendors, negotiations and execution.
  • Ability to demonstrate creativity and flexibility in working on various projects with a variety of constituent groups.
  • Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with a diverse student and staff population.
  • Ability to write precise, well-organized emails, letters and proposals while using appropriate vocabulary and grammar.
  • Ability to work autonomously and manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Ability to analyze situations and develop solutions.
  • Ability to plan, implement and evaluate goals and objectives.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a diverse group of employees, the University Community, and non-university related clients from across the nation and the world.
  • Ability to work in a dynamic environment and engage problem solving methods.
  • Maintain agreed upon levels of confidentiality.

Working conditions

  • Must be available and willing to work flexibly in an environment where extensive early morning, evening, and weekend hours are customary.
  • Occasional presence at evening, weekend, and off-hours programs and events will be required.
  • Occasional work outdoors as a representative of the Conference & Event Services department.
  • Working with clients who may have high and impractical expectations to meet their needs while working within University policies and procedures.

Physical requirements

  • Ability to move and transport equipment and supplies weighing up to 30lbs for tradeshow exhibits, marketing materials and event venues for event execution.

Direct reports

  • 1-2 Assistant Directors
  • 2-3 Managers

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.