Job Posting

Executive Director

The Opportunity

In this exciting and newly created position, we are seeking an Executive Director to provide strategic and operational leadership for the Canadian National Exhibition Foundation. The Executive Director will play an instrumental role in building our capacity, determining our mandate and identifying compelling fundraising priorities that will inspire our donors, volunteers and staff. Initially reporting to the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian National Exhibition Association, the Executive Director will be a critical member of our senior management team.

The Executive Director will focus on relaunching the CNE Foundation in alignment with our recently completed inaugural strategic plan, seeking funding for projects to potentially include the digitization of an extensive CNE archival photo collection and a permanent home to showcase the CNE’s history; re-establishment of the CNE’s art collection; a showcase for the history of the city of Toronto; and the support of opportunities that align with its funding pillars: Agriculture and the Environment; Arts and Culture; Industry and Entrepreneurship; and Community Building.


About the Canadian National Exhibition Association

The Canadian National Exhibition

The CNE, or The EX as it is also known, is Canada’s largest fair and the fifth largest fair in North America. Taking place over the 18 days leading up to and including Labour Day Monday, the CNE offers a wide variety of interactive entertainment experiences.

A cherished tradition for the people of Toronto and surrounding communities, the CNE attracts approximately 1.5 million visitors annually. The fair generates an annual economic impact of approximately $93.1 million for the Greater Toronto Area and $128.3 million for the province of Ontario.

The CNE is held at Exhibition Place, a 192-acre site along Toronto’s waterfront on the shores of Lake Ontario and just west of downtown Toronto.

The Canadian National Exhibition Association is the provincially incorporated agricultural society that organizes the annual CNE in Toronto. Operating since 1879, the CNEA encourages and promotes agriculture, horticulture, the arts and manufacturing. A corporation without share capital, the CNEA became independent from the City of Toronto and the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place on April 1, 2013.


The CNEA has a renewed commitment to Indigenous Peoples and to fostering reconciliation. In 2017, the CNE was officially opened by an Indigenous leader for the first time in its history: Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

Exhibition Place is located on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit. In recognition of this and the CNE’s historic role in the community, the CNEA works collaboratively with Indigenous community partners on the development of programs.

Accessibility and Inclusivity

The CNEA is dedicated to ensuring that all guests and members of the organization are treated fairly and equitably. Over the past year, the CNEA has worked diligently with the CNE Advisory Council on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities to improve accessibility and inclusivity at the CNE at all levels, from employment through to admissions and customer service.

In the fall of 2017, the CNEA received the Champion’s League Award from the Ontario Disability Employment Network for its leadership role in promoting the inclusion of people who have a disability in the workplace.

For further information about the CNEA and the CNE, please visit:


About the Canadian National Exhibition Foundation

The Canadian National Exhibition Foundation (CNEF) was incorporated under the laws of Ontario in 1975. It is a public foundation and a registered charity.


Building on the rich legacy and tradition of the Canadian National Exhibition,
we inspire community building by investing in innovative initiatives.


Empowering community. Improving lives.

Current CNEF activities include:

  • An award of grants to a limited number of organizations committed to furthering its areas of focus;
  • An award of two scholarships annually to post-secondary students employed by the CNEA through the Eamonn O’Loghlin Scholarship Fund;
  • Recognition of one family of new Canadians inducted at the CNE’s annual citizenship ceremony with an all-expense paid trip to Ottawa, the following year for the Canada Day festivities.

The CNEF and the CNEA are related parties; CNEF Directors are the members of the CNEA Executive Committee along with the CNEA Chief Executive Officer.

Additional Links


Ideal Candidate

A big picture strategist and thinker, the Executive Director will also have the ability to implement on a tactical level. The new incumbent will be a fundraising generalist with a depth of non-profit sector best practice expertise and experience.

Adaptable to wide variety of audiences, the ideal candidate will comfortably interface and interact internally within the CNEA and professionally represent our Foundation externally. The new incumbent will be flexible, confident, strong and determined. With a “take charge” approach, the successful candidate will thoughtfully guide the Association and our Boards as our fundraising expert.

An entrepreneurial builder, with a “roll up the sleeves” approach, the Executive Director will have an independent style and be open to working in unique environment. Articulate and professional with highly developed persuasion skills, the ideal candidate will be upbeat and positive, undaunted by the challenges of building our Foundation and clearly defining our philanthropic purpose and priorities.

The new incumbent will be respectful of our rich legacy, deep history and strong traditions. The ideal candidate will share our values of Progress, Inclusivity, Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Partnership and Impact. Excited by the opportunity to establish and grow our culture of philanthropy, develop compelling funding opportunities and take our Foundation into new territory, the Executive Director will work alongside our talented team and dedicated volunteers to inspire our community building.


Key Areas of Responsibility

The Executive Director will:

Assist in the identification and enlistment of Foundation Board that will enable us to build our capacity and realize our goals.

  • In partnership with the CNEA Working Group, work to establish and identify the mandate of the Foundation Board and key roles and responsibilities, including governance, oversight, contribution to strategy development and participation in active fundraising.
  • Create a Foundation Board candidate identification, evaluation and recruitment strategy and plan that will outline the specific characteristics, profile and backgrounds required to support the mandate and realize the vision.
  • Assist in the identification of potential Board members and implement engagement/cultivation plans for each prospective candidate.
  • Create an orientation plan for new Board members.
  • Create tailored individual engagement plans for each Board member.

In partnership with the internal CNEA Working Group, fulfill our mandate and identify compelling fundraising priorities that will inspire donors, volunteers and staff.

  • In cooperation with the CNEA Working Group and additional key staff, determine and affirm funding priorities and specific projects that align with the Foundation’s mission, vision, and mandate and complement the activities of the CNEA.
  • ndergo project development for each project, determining costs, logistics, audiences, outcomes and impact.
  • Oversee the development of succinct cases for support for each pillar/project.
  • Along with the CNEA CEO, revisit priority setting to affirm/determine new and additional priorities.

In partnership with the CNEA Working Group, define the relationship with the CNEA to ensure an aligned and productive partnership.

  • Provide input into a Memorandum of Understanding between the CNEA and CNEF.
  • Ensure representatives of the CNEA are represented on in a review of priorities to ensure alignment between the two organizations.
  • Develop an internal communications strategy so information on Foundation activities can be shared with the CNEA Board and staff leadership team.
  • Convene regular meetings (biannually) of the CNEA and CNEF leadership (i.e. the Chairs of both Boards, the CEO of the CNEA, and the Executive Director of the CNE Foundation).
  • Foster productive partnerships across all areas of the CNEA and the Foundation, including staff, volunteers, and members.
  • Use the Foundation as a catalyst and platform to begin to build a Culture of Philanthropy at the CNEA.

Along with the CNEA Working Group, oversee the creation of a vibrant branding and communications strategy to position and promote the Foundation in the philanthropic sector.

  • Convene a group of key internal stakeholders to continue the “Why the CNE Foundation” discussion, with the intention of determining the positioning and key messages related to the Foundation that are in alignment with the CNEA messaging.
  • Oversee the development of an inspiring brand, building on the CNE’s rich history and reputation that is complementary to the CNEA brand, which will identify the Foundation as a relevant charity that will have an intended impact upon the community.
  • Develop an action-oriented external communications strategy and plan that includes the development of cases for support, proposals, and collateral for fundraising vehicles.
  • Develop an internal communications strategy and plan that will inform all CNEA staff, volunteers and members of the new direction of the Foundation and how they can become involved.
  • Provide senior CNEA leaders, both staff and volunteers, with a synopsis of key messages to ensure consistent messages are delivered to the community.

With the support of external consultants, develop a measurable and action oriented three year business plan that will guide activities over the next three years.

  • Identify the key giving vehicles that will form the initial focus of fundraising efforts (including Major Gifts and other opportunities linked to CNEA events or activities).
  • Based on the giving case priorities, develop a prospect identification/research plan.
  • Determine key objectives and milestones to be achieved in Years 1, 2, and 3, including prospect and donor numbers, revenue and communications objectives.
  • Achieve 100% financial participation from Foundation Board and encourage financial support from the CNEA Board and CNEA Senior Staff Leadership.
  • Determine inspiring recognition opportunities for donors at various levels.
  • Develop CNEF policies and protocols around internal fundraising practices.


Application Process

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the Canadian National Exhibition Association and the Canadian National Exhibition Foundation. For more information about this leadership opportunity, please contact Sylvia Kadlick, Senior Search Consultant at (416) 340-9710 ext. 1017 or email

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:

Please send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by March 2, 2018. All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. 

The CNEA and CNEF are committed to fostering an inclusive, accessible work environment, where all employees feel valued, respected and supported.

The CNEA and CNEF offer accommodation for applicants with disabilities as part of the recruitment process. If you are contacted to arrange for an interview, please advise us if you require an accommodation.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 2, 2018
Type of Work: 
Full Time
Education Level: 
University (Graduate)
Prefered Method(s) of Application: 
By E-Mail

Employer Details

Aga Khan Museum

Ellie Rusonik
77 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1K1

Opened in September 2014, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, offers visitors a window into worlds unknown or unfamiliar: the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Our mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage, and to connect cultures through art.