Executive Director Search

CTCL Executive Director Prospectus

Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. (CTCL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. We support the goal of every student finding a college that develops a lifelong love of learning and provides the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college.

CTCL will continue to be recognized as a primary resource for students, parents, college counselors, and other parties involved in the college search process. The organization will continue to be acknowledged as a trusted and valued source of information and support by the CTCL membership, the admission profession, and the media. We are committed to being a visible source of sponsorship for college counseling related activities for external constituents who share the CTCL mission.

The Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. (CTCL) story begins in 1996 when a book by the same name — Colleges That Change Lives — was published by The New York Times retired education editor and journalist, Loren Pope. A longtime student advocate and independent college counselor, Mr. Pope sought to change the way people thought about colleges by dispelling popularly held myths and challenging the conventional wisdom about college choice. His groundbreaking ideals were welcomed by students and the college counseling community alike. As a result, many of the colleges featured in the book began working together to further promote this philosophy of a student-centered college search. In 1998, the CTCL organization was formally organized, independent of Mr. Pope (although with his blessing) and his publisher.

Today, CTCL is regarded as a leading advocate on the subject of higher education access and college choice. In addition to the resources available through its website, CTCL offers printed materials and numerous outreach efforts to students, families, college counselors, schools, and community-based organizations. Additionally, CTCL assists those in roles that provide college access support who ascribe to a similar philosophy and are working to help students frame their college search beyond the ratings and rankings.

Furthermore, CTCL was founded on a philosophy of building the knowledge, character, and values of young people by introducing them to a personalized and transformative college search experience. Although the member colleges approach this challenge with varying perspectives, institutional missions, and pedagogical strategies, a student-centered mission is common to all campuses. As an organization, CTCL provides information and the opportunity to pursue a best-fit college to all students regardless of race, color, religion (creed), national origin (ancestry), sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, marital status, disability, military status, or any other means by which a student could be discriminated against.

RESPECTED BRAND CTCL is a leader in college admissions for continuing to highlight and advocate for a student-centered college search and application process that prioritizes fit. As the college admission landscape is changing in light of the pandemic, CTCL should be a leader in this conversation while also working to remain relevant considering that no new version of the book is on the horizon.

OUTREACH In an ever-changing educational space, CTCL is proud to represent its 44 member institutions while it maintains relevancy in conversations regarding outreach and inclusivity while supporting the mission of a liberal arts education. As part of its outreach efforts, CTCL combines traditional, in-person regional tours with virtual opportunities to connect families with its member institutions, and through what has been learned in the pandemic, seeks to create more robust outreach opportunities to connect with students, especially those in areas of the country (and world) where our institutions do not travel and are not located. CTCL annually offers a scholarship to 2-3 high school seniors who enroll at CTCL-member institutions. Also, approximately 12 secondary counselors each year are selected to be honored with the Counselors That Change Lives Award for their student-centered work in the post-secondary planning process and are recognized at the CTCL reception each year at the NACAC conference.

FINANCES While operating an annual budget driven by college membership fees, tour expenses, and donations, the organization seeks to create a sustainable financial model that supports its mission, maximizes its financial opportunities, and also allows the organization to improve beyond closing each fiscal year at budget.

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors. The ED is responsible for serving as the face and voice of the CTCL organization and executing its mission and vision as well as the day-to-day operations of the organization, which includes managing the budget, responding to requests for materials and speakers, pushing online content, and coordinating travel and events for member colleges and the Board of Directors.

● Organizes the three annual board meetings
● Reports to an 11-member Board of Directors
● May manage interns
● Collaborates and brainstorms toward innovation that supports the longevity of the organization
● Communicates routinely with member institutions and their staffs
● Responds to daily requests for information about the organization, its member colleges, and events
● Maintain a flexible work schedule for events and programs
● Serves as organization liaison with vendors, contractors, and other third-party contacts
● Executes social media accounts and print marketing for the organization
● Manages budget, submits invoices to member institutions, processes checks, and monitors expenses in conjunction with the Board Treasurer
● Serves as the face of the organization at educational conferences and networking events, as well as speaking engagements and presentations across the country
● Coordinates virtual and in-person travel for the organization and its member colleges, as it relates to CTCL tours and programs
● Plans major receptions at NACAC and other professional conferences annually
● Responsible for building sustainable fundraising sources from foundations and individuals
● Responsible for investing in new markets and media in which CTCL can be involved and represented
● Other related duties as assigned or needed


● Strong, demonstrated intercultural and equity competencies
● Knowledge of and buy-in for the CTCL mission and/or liberal arts colleges in general
● Strong, demonstrated leadership
● Significant experience in and knowledge of the admissions and college counseling fields
● Ability to travel and represent the organization at programs, conferences, and events
● A spirit of innovation
● Event planning experience (virtual and in-person)
● Budget management experience
● Strong time management, organizational
● Exceptional written and oral/presentation skills
● Ability to work independently and take initiative with minimal day-to-day oversight
● Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate well with others
● Adaptability and flexibility
● Fundraising and/or grant writing experience
● Ability to create and execute a comprehensive communication plan
● Attention to detail
● A valid U.S. driver’s license

● Marketing skills or background, including the ability to work within the digital marketing field as well as within cross-channel marketing
● Ability to work with press and knowledge of how to reach press
● Experience in working with or being on a board or upper level management
● Not-for-profit experience
● Experience working with contractors and vendors
● Understanding of interpreting data and ability to make data-driven decisions
● Strong connections to other professionals in the field

In this role, the Executive Director is an independent contractor to the CTCL organization. As such, CTCL would require that the applicant have or be willing to create their own LLC. As the ED will have their own LLC, there are no paid benefits (e.g., retirement and insurance) associated with this position.

CTCL offers competitive compensation starting at $80,000 and:
● Travel benefits (e.g., miles/points earned) and honoraria from speaking engagements will remain with the contractor for their personal use;
● Support toward mobile phone, internet plan, and home/office supplies; and
● This position may be based anywhere in the U.S.

Interested and qualified candidates are invited to contact the Board Chair-elect and Board Chair in confidence at their earliest convenience. Ideally, this search will conclude by mid-May. The deadline to submit application documents via email to Crys Latham and Christine Bowman is Friday, April 30, 2021.

Candidates will need to submit the following materials as a PDF document or appropriate video format:

● A cover letter expressing interest in this position;
● A current résumé;
● A written response to the following prompt: “What does it mean to you to be in support of a student-centered college search in the ever-changing world of college admission?”
● A 2-3 minute recorded video presentation on the value of a liberal arts education;
● A list of two professional references with name, relationship, phone number, and email address (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission)

Crys Latham
CTCL Board Chair-elect and ED Search Chair
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Christine Bowman
CTCL Board Chair
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