Art Center College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Title: Executive Director, Corporate Relations

Department - Development

Type - Full-time staff


Art Center College of Design

Founded in 1930, Art Center College of Design provides a rigorous professional education in art and design to individuals who aspire to be leaders in their chosen fields and in the world at large. The College partners with industry, the third sector and other educational institutions to provide a broad context for creative practice, forge strong connections with communities, and supply a steady stream of real-world challenges. Today’s designers contribute to society by creating solutions to complex problems; Art Center prepares its graduates to meet this demand.   

Art Center programs give students deep knowledge of their discipline. Transdisciplinary studio projects provide opportunities for students to work in cross-functional teams and apply their skills to current and anticipated challenges, and make a positive impact through design.  Sustainability is one of Art Center’s core values. Its social impact educational department, Designmatters, has earned the College NGO designation by the United Nations. Through an innovative curriculum, Art Center’s expert faculty strives to equip students with the flexible, innovative tools and attitudes they need to make a difference in the larger world.   

Art Center has a successful track record of partnerships with industry leaders, such as Avery Dennison, BMW, Boeing, GE Healthcare, Hewlett-Packard, Mattel, NASA, Nestlé and Samsung, to name just a few. The College’s partnerships with industry have developed over more than 50 years, with term-long sponsored classes and projects playing a central role. This unique collaboration between design education and corporate interests not only gives students experience in simulated work environments, but it allows businesses to step out of the corporate environment and view challenges in a new light. It’s not unusual for companies to find great interns—and even future employees—among the students body. As the College moves forward with the implementation of Create Change: Art Center’s Strategic Plan (2011-2016), the College is building a range of partnership opportunities, including sponsored research, executive education, international collaborations, entrepreneurial initiatives and business incubators, while seeking investments from corporations in its students, faculty and programs.  

Located in Pasadena, California, Art Center attracts an internationally diverse student body representing more than 30 nations. Our distinguished faculty of more than 400 instructors are working professionals—artists, photographers, painters, filmmakers and designers of every discipline—who are directly engaged with the demands of today’s creative environment and bring their knowledge and fresh approaches into the studio. 

Job Summary

The Executive Director of Corporate Relations will be the primary architect and catalyst behind the launch of a reinvigorated College-wide corporate giving program that will build upon Art Center’s 50+ year history of successful partnerships with leaders in industry. The Executive Director will design and oversee the activities of the corporate relations team with the goal of significantly increasing corporate investment in support of the College’s strategic priorities.  S/he will manage a portfolio comprised of the College’s top corporate donors and prospects.  S/he will partner with the College’s academic and administrative leadership, as well as with Trustees and volunteer leadership, to develop and implement strategies to secure six-, seven- and eight-figure corporate investments.  This position serves as a key advisor to the president, the senior vice president for advancement, other members of the executive cabinet, and academic leadership on best practices and new strategies to promote deep, productive and lasting engagement with corporations.   

The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of the business and marketing needs of corporations, and familiarity with product and service development, and will be able to develop strategies and tools to address them. S/he will be able to provide new ways of thinking about the College’s corporate relationships that will maximize corporate engagement, philanthropy, revenue, and multi-year partnerships. This position will serve as a partner to the Associate Vice President of Development and other Development & External Affairs leaders; will staff the College-wide corporate relations committee consisting of internal and external partners; and, will regularly staff and advise the president, national board members, and key academic leadership on matters pertaining to the corporate program.

Essential Functions

  • Develop and implement an innovative high-level corporate relations program that attracts and engages both new and current corporate investors with large revenue potential in support of institutional priorities
  • Help position the president to build relationships with C-level executives at key companies: working closely with the president, national board members and academic leadership, drive the cultivation and solicitation of six-figure+ corporate donors
  • Develop and grow strategic partnerships with key target companies through cultivation and stewardship of executive level alumni
  • Drive a process of maximizing existing corporate relationships so that they become multi-year financial contributors by leveraging other involvement, such as sponsored projects, internships, executive education, volunteer initiatives, event sponsorship, equipment/technology donations, and corporate representatives for boards or panels
  • Responsible for personal fundraising metrics: maintain a portfolio of active and potential corporate funders; handle all aspects of relationship management: set strategy and plans with company leaders and internal partners; personally initiate and manage corporate relationships, representing the College and its needs to the business community, and attracting significantly increased resources for institutional priorities, in a manner consistent with institutional policies and procedures
  • Work collaboratively with internal College partners to deliver seamless interface and relationship management to target companies and executives, and to achieve overall corporate engagement, revenue and fundraising goals
  • Work with institutional partners to frame fundable projects within institutional priorities; create persuasive proposals with exciting benefits packages for new and renewed corporate support
  • Manage and expand cause-related marketing relationships with corporate partners; manage the expansion of workplace giving and matching gifts with corporate partners
  • Create an efficient and effective corporate recognition and stewardship plan
  • Lead the corporate relations team, providing guidance and mentorship to professional and support staff and ensuring accountability for achieving fundraising goals; set ambitious goals and timelines, and monitor projections for corporate gifts; manage departmental operating budget
  • Ensure comprehensive documentation of information on all corporate prospects using the College’s donor management system, Raiser’s Edge
  • Plan and supervise corporate-funded events, as needed
  • Facilitate education and compliance across the organization with regard to policies and procedures, best practices, and future trends related to corporate affiliations and partnerships


  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 10 years in development or related corporate-focused work, including at least 5 years in corporate relations or its equivalent; master’s degree preferred
  • Must be a strategic, experienced leader with a history of developing strong corporate partnerships and/or corporate/nonprofit relationships
  • Proven ability to strategize, formulate and close $1 million+ investments from corporations, along with a demonstrated ability to steward those investments
  • Thorough understanding of the dynamics of corporate partnerships and giving, business trends and priorities, and economic conditions that may impact corporate investments in educational institutions, acquired through regular contact with those organizations
  • Experience working with corporate executives, high-level volunteers and academic and administrative leadership
  • Leadership and management style that promotes collaboration, accountability, excellence, and mutual respect, and is based on trust; ability to motivate others to meet and exceed objectives; skilled at attracting, developing and retaining a highly talented staff
  • Advanced written and oral communications skills, and demonstrably strong planning and organizational skills
  • Ability to interact successfully with individuals with varying abilities, backgrounds, interests and beliefs
  • Excellent sense of diplomacy and tact, and ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Demonstrated commitment to high standards with an accurate and thorough approach to details
  • Proficiency in standard office productivity software (e.g. Microsoft Office programs) and donor database/prospect tracking systems. Raiser’s Edge experience preferred
  • Ability to prioritize multiple duties/tasks and meet deadlines in a fast-paced office
  • Ability to travel and to work evenings and weekends when needed

Applicants are asked to submit a cover letter with their resume and state salary history or salary expectations.


Art Center College of Design is committed to excellence through the establishment of a diverse faculty and staff that best represents our student body and its surrounding communities.


To apply, submit cover letter, resume, and salary history to hr@artcenter.edu
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