Executive Director, North American Wholesale Lumber Association

Smith Bucklin & Associates   •  

Chicago, IL

Industry: Government & Non-Profit


5 - 7 years

Posted 174 days ago

This job is no longer available.


SmithBucklin, a 100 percent employee-owned association management company, is looking for an Executive Director to work closely with the board of directors for its client, North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA), based in our Chicago office.

 The goal of this leadership role is to work with the board, NAWLA members, service providers and business executives to demonstrate the value NAWLA brings to the industry and help it accomplish its mission.

This person will work with lumber industry leaders to craft programs and membership activities that are highly valued, and promote the organization’s position in the wholesale lumber industry as a thought leader through well researched, planned and implemented programs, curriculum and publications.

 As it celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2018, NAWLA remains dedicated to growing and nurturing every aspect of the lumber industry, from the careful stewardship of forest resources, to the harvesting and distribution of lumber products, to championing wood’s role in a greener economy and a healthier planet.

NAWLA represents the best interests of wholesalers, manufacturers and service provider companies, from the planting of seedlings, to the selling of building materials and wood in all of its many forms.

 NAWLA is comprised of nearly 500 member organizations spread predominantly throughout North America. Its rich history has afforded the association the opportunity to be viewed as the preeminent trade association serving the wholesale distribution forest products industry.

NAWLA serves its members annually through seven regional meetings, multiple face-to-face educational programs, a Leadership Summit, and the Traders Market, which gathers the top 1,500 suppliers, buyers, and sellers for a two-day trade show and educational event every year.

 What You Will Do

  • Establish yourself as a leader in the wholesale lumber community; seek opportunities to assert and represent the organization to the public, media and membership
  • Advise, guide and influence the board of directors on association strategy and goals to support its mission
  • Provide governance leadership and support to the board of directors, committees and task forces, ensuring a process to identify and recruit future leaders, establish policy and provide overall direction for the business
  • Serve as a true C-Suite generalist: In addition to serving as the association’s CEO, the role also entails many of the duties of a COO, CFO, CHRO, CMO and CTO
  • Plan, direct, monitor, analyze and communicate association finances, including annual budgets, monthly statements (including interpretation and forecasting), and investments
  • Oversee all functional areas of operations: Drive membership growth through recruitment and retention, engagement and recognition; lead event management (Leadership Summit, Traders Market, Wood Basics, Wood Masters and regional events), cultivate sponsorship and partnerships, drive education, marketing, information technology and operate the NAWLA Foundation
  • Lead staff, both paid and volunteer, to deliver needed programs and services; track their effectiveness, and identify and implement new sources of revenue that align with the organization’s mission, goals and objectives
  • Keep abreast of industry developments, trends, changes and opportunities. Monitor the competitive environment, identify and recommend potential industry alliances with other associations and organizations
  • Enhance the visibility and reputation of the organization to ensure increased participation of existing members, attraction of new members and overall sustainability of the organization

 This Role Might Be for You If You Are…

  • A strategic and visionary leader, with the ability to envision future possibilities and translate them into breakthrough strategies
  • A confident networker that effectively fosters formal and informal relationships outside the organization by serving as a community builder and networker who works from the outside in, leveraging exceptional interpersonal skills and approaches to deal with a variety of stakeholders
  • Action-orientated and someone who comfortably embraces new opportunities and tough challenges with a sense of urgency, high energy and enthusiasm
  • Highly collaborative, with a proven record of accomplishment in building partnerships and fostering collaboration with a professional community to meet shared objectives, in addition to sourcing and deploying resources (board, volunteers, partners, staff) effectively and efficiently while anticipating the needs of multiple stakeholders
  • A strong communicator that has proven success developing and delivering multi-mode communications and implementing public relations strategies that convey a clear message while promoting the mission of the organization
  • Financially savvy, with a keen understanding of key financial indicators and the highest standards of fiscal accounting, controls and best practices to make better business decisions
  • Someone with vision and purpose that has a history of painting a compelling picture of the vision and strategy of an organization and motivating others to action


  • Minimum 5-7 years related executive management experience with demonstrated organizational, operational and leadership experience within the not-for-profit sector, preferably with a similar professional association
  • Experience as an Executive Director, CEO, COO, top P&L leader or a department director within the not-for-profit sector of a comparably sized organization
  • Profit and loss and budgetary experience
  • Demonstrated passion for the mission of his/her organization, his/her professional community and cultivating a continuous learning culture
  • Knowledge and a measurable track record of elevating the profile of an organization through outreach, marketing and public relations
  • Experience in developing and working with major sponsors
  • Relationship building skills to cultivate and maintain engagement with member organizations and volunteers
  • A track record of driving successful programs and influencing a large unpaid/volunteer workforce (100+) is essential
  • History of leading a staff and managing their professional growth and development
  • Effective presentation and public speaking skills are required
  • Proficiency with basic computer programming, including the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • An undergraduatedegree is required; an advanced degree is preferred
  • Experience within the forest products, building materials, or other distributionchannel or trade industry is preferred
  • CAE (Certified Association Executive) is preferred

 Where Do You Fit?

As an accomplished executive, working at SmithBucklin will offer you countless opportunities to advance your career growth, acquire meaningful knowledge and gain rich experiences while leading highly respected membership organization.

By working collaboratively with smart, ambitious, multi-talented, genuine and hardworking colleagues, you will build meaningful, deep and enduring relationships that will serve you well throughout your career, regardless of your chosen path.

In addition, as a 100 percent employee-owned company, SmithBucklin offers all of our people – regardless of position or compensation – an equal chance to experience the fulfillment and reap the benefits of ownership. As owners, our employees control the destiny of SmithBucklin and are unified in the goal of building a great, enduring company.