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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

Department Summary

Conference and Event Services at The University of Michigan is accepting applications and nominations for the position of Associate Director for Conferences and Summer Operations. Conference & Event Services provides expertise in conference and event management to U-M and external groups.  The department is responsible for coordinating over 17,000 events annually, over 230 summer conference groups, over 100,000 summer bednights and dozens of conferences (in-person, virtual and hybrid).  Overall department sales typically exceed $13 million.   As a member of the team you will lead operations and systems support for a department that recruits conferences and events, including summer programs and annual conferences, in multiple facilities across the U-M campus.  Conference & Event Services is committed to promoting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment.
Student Life Auxiliary Overview:
Student Life auxiliary operations includes Conference and Event Services, Facilities, Marketing, Design and Communication, 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

Under the general direction of the Director and with broad latitude for the exercise of independent judgment and initiative within established goals, the Associate Director (AD) will work with U-M and external customers and contracted service providers. The AD will supervise professional and support staff managing client event bookings and details to ensure complete customer satisfaction. The Associate Director will work collaboratively with the Associate Director for Sales and the Associate Director for Conferences and Summer Operations.


ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Operational Leadership (50%) 

  • Oversee team of 8-10 professional and support staff in managing conferences, seminars, special and social events
  • Execute and evaluate programs with a focus on customer service
  • Balance the mission of supporting the student experience and campus community building with the expectation to grow revenue.
  • In conjunction with the Assistant Director, distribute workload among staff.
  • Create and lead a service culture among staff towards a department goal of exceeding client expectations.
  • Contribute to the development of department long-term goals and strategic planning.
  • Actively manage the planning, development, and implementation of internal operating systems and procedures to facilitate delivery of conference and event management services for student organizations, U-M  internal campus, and external clients.
  • Update and refine departmental systems and strategies for increasing efficiencies and cost savings.
  • Serve as primary liaison to key internal partners including catering, facilities and setup to ensure client satisfaction and continuous process improvements.
  • Ensure that facility and scheduling policies are properly communicated and aid staff to ensure that clients adhere to policies.
  • Oversee the maintenance and updating of data within scheduling software. In addition to standard and on-line reservations, this includes resource details, building hours, room and pricing configuration, holiday information and client data.
  • Represent Conferences & Events to professional and academic clients.
  • Manage customer accounts with the objective of increasing revenue and ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Supervise tracking of staff time as allocated to each project/program for billing purposes.
  • Provide customer evaluations and manage compilation of results, as well as strategies for addressing areas in need of improvement.
  • Lead event operation software configuration, projects and implementation as applicable.

Event Operations (30%)

  • Foster clear and constructive communication between clients and service departments to ensure that service capabilities and client expectations are consistent and met.
  • Initiate program/event planning meetings with relative campus service providers.
  • Work independently to make decisions about event logistics, format, and guest participation.
  • Manage the planning and execution of selected special events, including the scheduling and monitoring of all logistical and support service arrangements (catering, set-up, facilities, parking, audio-visual, etc.). 
  • Lead the activities and responsibilities of outside event staff and office staff for pre-event needs and onsite duties.
  • Provide analysis and statistics on event management: pacing reports and key performance indicators.

Sales (10%)

  • Assist the Associate Director for Sales & Marketing in identifying and obtaining new business. This includes providing leads, assisting in sales presentations, and making suggestions for new products and marketing materials.
  • Lead strategic expansion of event services to new markets and service types.
  • Assist with development and implementation of yield management strategies to maximize use of University facilities.
  • Continually update information on campus meeting space and related pricing.
  • Respond to inquiries from prospective and returning clients regarding the use of facilities and services for conferences, symposia, seminars, workshops, and special events.
  • Lead University Unions’ meeting room/audio-visual sales and MCatering sales.
  • Increase year over year revenue generation.

Financial Reporting (5%)

  • Project event and catering related revenue.
  • Develop and manage the budget for office and equipment purchases necessary for meetings and event services.
  • Work with finance team to prepare final invoice in a timely manner.
  • Ensure accurate and timely invoicing for events.
  • Reconcile P-card statements on a monthly basis.

Other (5%)

  • Act in absence of the Director.
  • Assist in and perform other duties as assigned or as may be related to Conferences & Events.
  • As a member of Conferences & Events 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.
  • Lead unit wide projects and initiatives as assigned by Director.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Minimum of 5-6 years of event management experience in a corporate hospitality or university environment; or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Minimum of 2-3 years supervision experience

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s Degree
  • CMP certification
  • Experience in or a strong familiarity with higher education

Additional Information

Position Criteria:

  • Excellent interpersonal, organizational, planning, communication and problem solving skills, with an emphasis on commitment to customer service.
  • Ability to work in an environment in which the parameters may change daily, 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 and direct the work of professional and student staff.
  • 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 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 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
  • Ability to create an environment of understanding and acceptance and challenge organizational exclusionary 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
  • Knowledge of contract development with service providers/vendors, negotiations and execution
  • Ability to write precise, well-organized emails, letters and proposals while using appropriate vocabulary and grammar
  • 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
  • Maintain agreed upon levels of confidentiality

Financial/Budgetary Responsibility

  • Assist with managing the budget for office and equipment purchases necessary for meetings and event services. Work with finance team to prepare final invoice in a timely manner.
  • Assist with event and catering revenue projections.
  • Reconcile P-card statements on a monthly basis.

Working conditions

  • Must be willing to travel, staff client programs, and meet with potential clients.
  • Must be available and willing to work flexibly in an environment where early morning, evening, and weekend hours are occasionally necessary.
  • 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

Direct reports

  • 1-2 Assistant Directors

This role may have reporting obligations under Title IX and Clery.

Starting salary may vary depending on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.


U-M EEO/AA Statement

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


U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations are now required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all three campuses, including Michigan Medicine, by the start of the fall term on August 30, 2021.  This includes those working or learning remotely.  More information on this policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the U-M Dearborn and U-M Flint websites.