Senior Director, Finance & Administration

Northwestern University   •  

Evanston, IL

Industry: Education.


11 - 15 years

Posted 342 days ago

Job Summary:

Reporting to the Associate Provost/Associate VP Research, the Senior Director of Finance and Administration serves as an integral member of the INVO senior management team and is responsible for the financial management strategy for INVO as well as contributing to the development and implementation of the organization’s strategic goals. The Senior Director is responsible for developing and implementing contemporary best practice policies and systems in finance and operations to support the growth and impact of INVO, including The Garage, and the University’s space for academic learning and entrepreneurship. The Senior Director provides financial and operations expertise and support for INVO’s translation of ideas generated within the University into products and services that are able to be commercialized outside the University, patented and licensed University inventions (technology transfer) which fosters entrepreneurship at the University as well as enables and enhances faculty research through corporate collaborations.

Specific Responsibilities:


  • Oversees, plans and provides analysis for all financial and accounting operations at INVO and The Garage, including budgets, reconciliations, projections, royalty distributions, entrepreneurial funds (N.XT and NUseeds), and educational programs.
  • Works closely with the Office for Research, Office of the Provost and Office of Budget & Planning,  to prepare  projections, budgets and financial analysis for INVO and The Garage.
  • Oversees financialreporting to senior (INVO?) leadership.
  • Develops plans for financial and non-financial resources required for the organization to achieve its goals.
  • Prepares all-funds budgets, analyzes financial activities and performance against budget, makes adjustments and takes action as needed.
  • Ensures all financial processes are run efficiently and are aligned with University systems and best practices.
  • Oversees the finances for the University's patent portfolio as well as  the administration of licenses and other agreements, including billing, collecting and distributing royalty income and non-financial deliverables.


  • Determines and implements organizational structures to align with strategic mission.
  • Interprets and administers policy and related operational matters for the department.
  • Oversees INVO’s infrastructure and identifies opportunities to use new tools to support the office's activities and, [ensures that the financial software system is meeting organizational needs?]. Works with NUIT and the Office for Research on the development and maintenance of systems in support of organizational needs.
  • Leads business administration related to 600 faculty inventors at Northwestern, 250 licenses and commercial agreements,  more than 3500 patents  and over a 40 start-up companies.
  • Manages key business operations activities and continuous improvement of processes; ensures efficiency, transparency, and operational excellence at all levels.
  • Oversees the implementation of all operational system and reporting tools to assist faculty and companies to manage and analyze their innovation/IP portfolios.
  • In coordination with the Office for Research and other University offices, oversees all government compliance systems; oversees all regulatory matters to ensure compliance with statutes, regulations and policies and appropriately manages risk
  • Directs and  oversees the work of the finance and operations teams.
  • Promotes a culture of continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality, efficiency.
  • Hires, manages, supports, motivates, and evaluates Finance, IT, and Administrative staff members.


  • Provides leadership and direction to all finance, accounting and operations at INVO.
  • Creates, implements, and manages, in conjunction with INVO leadership, strategic plans to best utilize resources.
  • Advises the Associate Provost/Executive Director on financial planningbudgeting, cash flow, investment priorities, and policy matters.
  • Serves as the liaison to different units within Northwestern related to finance and operations; effectively communicates and presents critical financial matters to senior administrators. Contributes to the development of strategic goals and objectives as well as the overall management of the organization.
  • Maintains continuous lines of communication, keeping all stakeholders informed of all critical issues.

Business Modeling & Analysis

  • Develops business models, business cases, and forecasting tools in support of various strategic initiatives.
  • Prepares detailed statistical reports, models, presentations and financial studies of key variables in INVO’s financial model.  Develops and utilizes forward-looking, predictive models and activity-based financial analyses to provide insight into the unit’s invention and business plans.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • MBA or equivalent.
  • Minimum 10 years experience in a finance and operations role, ideally in a private academic research environment.
  • Significant and demonstrated strategic planning and financial analysisexperience as well as strong analytical, organization and planning skills for complex business modeling.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Action Oriented - willing or likely to take practical action to deal with a problem or situation.
  • Communication.  Communicates strategically to achieve specific objectives (e.g., considers optimal "messaging" and timing of communication. Uses varied vehicles and opportunities to promote dialogue and develop shared understanding and consensus. Maintains continuous, open and consistent with others. Checks own understanding through paraphrasing and asking questions.
  • Problem Solving — Identifies problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical and Analytical Thinking — Uses logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.  Ability to review and dissect information and can apply basic compensation analytic concepts and calculations.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment (and working with employees at all levels of the organization), meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. 
  • Flexibility – Able to adapt to a fast paced environment.
  • Judgment and Decision Making and Discretion — Considers the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. Ability to anticipate needs and take initiative; and is appropriately discrete.
  • Organizational Effectiveness – The ability to marshal resources (people, funding, material, support) to get things done.  Can orchestrate multiple activities at once to accomplish a goal, uses resources effectively and efficiently, arranges information in a useful manner.
  • Personal Savvy – Displays a high level of professionalism, a positive attitude and composure while dealing with demanding stakeholders, builds appropriate rapport, uses diplomacy and tact, can defuse high-tension situations.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to identify issues in advance of their becoming critical; raise issues through the appropriate channels, and propose solutions, as appropriate.
  • Technology - Possesses working knowledge of the use of technology to streamline processes with a specific.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with entrepreneurs, corporations and investors.
  • Experience working on high-paced, high-volume transaction organizations.
  • Management and operation consulting experience is a plus.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Proven track record of success facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a growing organization.
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem solving skills including negotiation and conflict< resolution skills.
  • Entrepreneurial team player who can multitask.
  • Superior management skills; ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers.
  • Self reliant, good problem solver, results oriented.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical finance and administration initiatives.
  • Ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as strategic thinker.