Job Title: CEO of USA CANOE/KAYAK (posted: August 27, 2014)

USA CANOE/KAYAK invites inquiries, nominations and applications for the position of CEO – Chief Executive Officer.

The Executive director/CEO is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s operations including achieving the organizational mission and goals. The CEO is responsible for the development and facilitation of the staff, programs, and events ensuring that all are functional and operational within mandate, policy and financial limitations. The CEO is ultimately responsible for funding and securing success within the sport of Canoe/Kayak. 


USA CANOE/KAYAK is a non-profit membership organization (501(c)) based in Oklahoma City, OK.

The USA CANOE/KAYAK mission, “To realize the dreams of competitive paddlers”, is designed to promote and support competitive paddling in the United States including but not limited to the Olympic sports of Slalom and Sprint canoe/kayak, the Paralympic sports of Paracanoe/Kayak sprint and World-Paddling Sports.

A member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA CANOE/KAYAK (USACK) is the National Governing Body (NGB) responsible for the management and the development of the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom, the Paralympic sports of Paracanoe/Kayak sprint and World Paddling Sports (Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, Stand Up Paddle Board, Surfski and Dragon Boat) in the USA. Internationally, USA CANOE/KAYAK represents the USA to the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and the International Olympic and Paralympic movements.

USA CANOE/KAYAK governance is the responsibility of its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is currently comprised of (9) Directors: (4) Independent Directors (nominated) and (5) Directors elected by USA CANOE/KAYAK’s Members. The Independent Directors elect the Chair of the Board.

CEO Position Summary

The Chief Executive Officer of USA CANOE/KAYAK has the overall accountability, responsibility, and authority for management of the business and affairs of USA CANOE/KAYAK in accordance with, and support of the Board of Directors, The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act and the By-laws of USA CANOE/KAYAK.

Under the oversight of the Board of Directors the CEO establishes, implements, and oversees the short and long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies of USA CANOE/KAYAK in a manner that develops, protects, enhances, and promotes a healthy, diverse and vibrant, a flourishing club system, the Olympic and Paralympics movements and the World Paddling Sports.

The CEO ultimate accountability is to develop USA CANOE/KAYAK as a high performance organization and as a premier water paddling organization. This includes securing funding for the organization’s mission.

The CEO must lead in creating a culture of respect for and service to Membership in coordination with the Board of Directors, the Sport Committees and all other constituencies of the sport. The CEO must take the lead in establishing and fostering collaborative relationships with the clubs, the United States Olympic Committee, the International Canoe Federation, the Pan American Canoe Federation, and other groups as appropriate to promote and support the mission of USA CANOE/KAYAK.

The CEO, in coordination with the Chairperson, is a key spokesperson for and the representative of USA CANOE/KAYAK on the global stage. The CEO is expected to travel nationally and internationally in attending meetings and events. The CEO will have significant contact with the USOC in Colorado Springs, CO, and other venues throughout the United States and throughout the world.   

CEO’s Major Responsibilities

1.  Realize the mission and goals of USA CANOE/KAYAK as set forth by the Board of Directors and design a strategy to achieve them successfully.

    1. Fund the Mission
    2. Grow the base (participation)
    3. Achieve Sustained International Competitive Success
    4. Empower Bold Leadership
    5. Expand Global Presence and Influence

2.  Keep the Board informed in a timely and consistent manner of the progress of the organization on the achievement of the strategic goals.

3.  Identify, cultivate and secure sponsorship opportunities and develop a diverse funding base for USA CANOE/KAYAK’s revenues

4.  Ensure the accuracy and integrity of the organization’s financial information, reporting and disclosure requirements, internal controls, adherence to the USA CANOE/KAYAK Code of Conduct and other compliance requirements, and the highest of ethical behavior within the organization.

5.  Prepare, deliver and monitor budgets on a timely basis, and develop and deliver quadrennial and annual business plans, and obtain Board approval of the financial and budget requirements to achieve the plans.

6.  Represent USA CANOE/KAYAK with sponsors, athletes, employees, the United States Olympic Committee, international counterparts and other constituency groups, and travel as necessary, both domestically and internationally, to fulfill the CEO’s responsibilities.

7.  Assist in the design & implementation of talent identification and high performance plans that will lead to medal winning performance by United States’ athletes in international and Olympic competition.

8.  Implement administrative, financial, marketing, and human resources “best practices” while implementing clearly defined staff performance benchmarks.

9.  Increase USA CANOE/KAYAK’s membership base.

CEO Key Selection Criteria and Critical Competencies

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated leadership in the following areas:

Operational Excellence/Budget and Finance:

  • Strong Understanding of the drivers of the P&L and how to create and execute a revenue plan that supports the organization through a mix of revenue sources that includes, but is not limited to, grants, sponsorships, philanthropic pursuits
  • Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices, including compliance with all state and federal laws relative to a 501C organization
  • Ability to lead and work with staff, Board, outside agencies/vendors to prepare and manage budgets that ensure adequate funds
  • Ability to monitor and deliver budgets on a timely basis
  • Ability to anticipate financial risks and take action to course correct as required
  • Establish and maintain processes that allow staff to execute goals of the organization
  • Jointly with President of the Board, conduct official correspondence of the organization

Marketing and Sponsorship:

  • Develop and successfully execute a marketing and sponsorship plan for funding the mission – including (but not limited to) both sponsorship and philanthropic efforts.
  • Identify targeted opportunities and develop/leverage a strong network of contacts
  • Responsible for the creation of customized sponsorship/donation proposals
  • Ability to present, follow up and secure dollars to meet stated budget
  • Ability to know when to continue pursuance or abandon opportunities

Management of Human Resources:

  • Attract, retain lead, mentor and manage staff.
  • Maintain a climate that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff of high quality individuals.
  • Leverage and further develop the talents of both staff and volunteers to drive mission.
  • Develop job descriptions and expectations and conduct regular performance evaluations.

Communications Excellence:

  • Serve as USACK’s representative.   Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in Canoe/Kayak. 
  • Ability to build strong relationships and credibly present USACK amongst many stakeholders.
  • Effectively publicize the activities of USACK

Qualifications of a Successful Candidate:


  • Ability to effectively run an organization – focus on leadership, financial acumen, operational excellence, marketing, mentoring and motivating others
  • Understanding of the marketing discipline and past success in planning and executing fundraising activities in the non-profit and/or amateur sports organizations
  • Skilled written and oral communicator with the ability to liaise across broad groups
  • Ability to initiate, develop and maintain favorable relationships
  • A self-starter/entrepreneurial spirit who is willing to be held accountable to stated goals
  • Demonstrated ability to persuade and negotiate effectively
  • A genuine passion for the sport and a comprehensive understanding of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. Exposure to or involvement within the USOC structure a plus.
  • Willingness to relocate to Oklahoma City, OK 

Education Requirements:


  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university

Experience Requirements:

  • Significant career experience in business or sports management
  • Experience within an Olympic-affiliated NGB, an amateur sports organization, or a sports-related non-profit a plus
  • Experience with USOC structure a plus 


Competitive salary commensurate with experience and above average benefits. 

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