Director of Events & Special Projects

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

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Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2023


Secretary of the University: Staff

About the Department

Within the Office of the President, the Office of the Secretary of the University has primary responsibility for supporting the governance of the University. The office supports the work of the Board of Trustees, including its triannual meetings, annual retreats, publications, directories, committee staffing, and orientation for new Trustees. The office also staffs and coordinates the work of other boards including the University of Chicago Medical Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Laboratory Schools, Baptist Theological Union, Court Theatre, Smart Museum and the Advisory Councils of 14 academic units. In supporting institutional governance efforts at the University, the Office of the Secretary partners closely with other departments and units, including Alumni Relations & Development, University Communications, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Events and Ceremonies, the Office of Legal Counsel, and the CFO’s office.

Job Summary

The Director of Events and Special Projects plays a lead role in managing a number of engaging, high-quality, high-profile meetings and events for the boards and councils supported by the Office of the Secretary, including the University’s Board of Trustees, the Marine Biological Laboratory Board of Trustees, the University’s Advisory Councils program, and other related meetings and events. This individual will think creatively and strategically about how to organize meetings and events that meet each board’s objectives and support institutional governance while deepening Trustee and constituent engagement. The Director will also collaborate with team members on a variety of special projects in broad support of the Office of the Secretary of the University.


  • Manage a complex suite of meetings and events from start to finish, including venue selection, catering arrangements, décor, music, purchasing, and other logistical needs. Events span a range from brief individual meetings or committee sessions to multi-day board meetings and retreats on and off campus. Events are mostly held on campus or throughout Chicago, and on occasion, in locations outside of Chicago or the U.S. Perform venue selection visits to assess opportunities for locations and programming.

  • Develop and strengthen key relationships with internal and external partners by creating and executing best-in-class events and engagement opportunities.

  • Manage VIP visits with dignitaries and leaders from industry and academia that achieve visit objectives and showcase the University’s impact on the world.

  • Contribute ideas and assist with executing on programmatic aspects of events, including working with faculty, students, senior leaders, and others to achieve strategic engagement goals. Proactively coordinate and communicate with speakers and guests, as needed.

  • Prepare event briefings for senior leaders and staffing plans detailing the staffing assignments for each aspect of each meeting.

  • Manage the execution of engaging hybrid meetings with a focus on the user experience and board members’ ability to govern the institution.

  • Manage the audio/visual experience for board meetings, working with both in-house and external A/V vendors. Must have a high degree of comfort with Zoom technology and a general familiarity with A/V vendor selection and best practices.

  • Assess the capabilities of vendors for all aspects of events and meetings, including evaluating expertise for a variety of functional needs, pricing, customer feedback, and responsiveness.

  • Support pre- and post-event needs, including communications, event registration, RSVP tracking, and related activities.

  • While expertise with graphic design software is not required, the individual must have a keen eye for design and the ability to produce professional print pieces using the standard Microsoft Office suite and to direct the work of an outside graphic designer.

  • Write copy and direct the design of event invitations and related communications and collateral material. Send high-quality messages on behalf of University leadership.

  • Develop detailed event budgets and manage, process, and track event expenses. Ensure event expenses are in line with budget and that vendors costs are consistent with estimates. Process reimbursements, as necessary. Report on event expenses and trends.

  • Measure the effectiveness of events and communications by gathering and analyzing qualitative and quantitative feedback.

  • Collaborate with team members on a variety of special projects. Examples include performing research and generating reports; researching and ordering customized gifts to recognize exceptional board service; ordering branded materials for meetings; preparing memos and communications; staffing Trustees and other leaders for campus visits; etc.

  • Schedule individual and group meetings on and off campus, as needed.

  • Develops and executes day-to-day event logistics, and other complex assignments with minimal guidance from others.

  • Guides research, including vendor selection and contract negotiation. Keeps track of all expenses, prepares reports on costs, solves complex problems as they arise.

  • Perform other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree.


  • At least 5 years work experience.

  • Experience planning complex, high-quality events for senior executives.

  • Experience in higher-education or similar non-profit setting.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and various web browsers.

  • Proficiency with information technology, including databases, maintaining websites, using mobile devices, and preparing graphics and publications.

  • Proficiency with Adobe Acrobat and compiling materials into PDF format.

Preferred Competencies

  • Strong knowledge of the Chicago-area events, catering, and venue industry.

  • Exceptional oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills.

  • Exceptional organizational skills and keen attention to accuracy and detail.

  • Exceptional time management and follow-up skills.

  • Work independently and manage, prioritize, and accurately complete multiple tasks and projects.

  • Maintain confidentiality, exercise judgment, and discretion.

  • Communicate with maturity, tact, and courtesy towards Trustees, staff, visitors, and colleagues.

  • Problem-solve, function effectively in a fast-paced office environment, and to produce quality work on tight deadlines.

  • Experience interacting with high-level constituents and volunteer leaders.

  • Strong communicator and collaborator who enjoys working both independently and on a team.

Working Conditions

  • Some evenings and weekends work, as needed.

  • Occasional travel to out of state board meetings and events.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)

  • Cover Letter (required)

  • Three Professional References (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family


Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu. Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

This job is no longer accepting applications

See open jobs at University of Chicago.