UVA Darden School Foundation


UVA Darden School Foundation: Executive Director and Chief Client Officer, Executive Education and Lifelong Learning




The Opportunity

The University of Virginia (UVA) and the Darden School Foundation (DSF), a UVA affiliated 501(c)3 organization that supports the Darden Business School (DBS), seeks an innovative and visionary leader to serve as the next Executive Director and Chief Client Officer, Executive Education and Lifelong Learning and the Sands Institute (SI).

As a key member of the leadership team, the Chief Client Officer (CCO) will oversee the development, growth, and delivery of the customized executive education programs for organizations (“custom”), to include marketing of thought leadership, development and negotiation of proposals and ongoing relationship management for organizational clients. The CCO will have full accountability for growing impact with learners, and the associated revenue line and leadership of the growing Client Solutions team. The position will report to the CEO & CLO, Ashley Williams.

Executive Education at Darden is well-positioned for future growth and to broaden the School’s ongoing impact. The Chief Client Officer will be charged with developing a vision and growth strategy, in collaboration with the CEO and CLO, partnering with executive education colleagues and faculty at Darden, and across the University, to cultivate new client relationships (a primary objective), and sustain existing relationships, and create new content and designs relevant to business and leadership development challenges. Through this, the CCO will innovate, grow impact, and increase relevance and engagement for the Executive Education enterprise and the Sands Institute.

This position directly impacts critical parts of Darden’s mission and the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning, an institute formed at the Darden School by the University of Virginia Board of Visitors in 2020. The Sands Institute aims to establish Darden at the forefront of innovation in pedagogy and delivery of transformational lifelong learning experiences for working professionals and executives worldwide. Success in this role enables Darden to extend the impact of the faculty’s thought leadership, locally and globally, provide lifelong learning opportunities for business and not-for-profit leaders that extend far beyond the degree, and create accessible and affordable program delivery.

Further, this position will be the incubation laboratory for innovation, leveraging partnerships with leading organizations to advance our approaches to transformational learning and build Darden’s credibility in lifelong learning. In this respect, the Client Services team with Executive Education and Lifelong Learning and the Sands Institute will be highly entrepreneurial and function as a center of excellence for the Darden enterprise.

The Sands Institute

The Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning furthers the Darden mission by ensuring a commitment to unmatched instructional design and course outcomes and determining best practices for teaching lifelong learners and working executives in both degree and non-degree programs — in any medium.

Made possible by the historic gift from Sands Capital Founder Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) in 2019, the Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning seeks to position Darden as a preeminent institution in providing transformational lifelong learning experiences for working professionals at all stages of their careers.

The Institute will:

  • Enable innovation in the degree, non-degree, and online spaces
  • Retain and develop the world’s best business school faculty
  • Transform Darden’s educational facilities on the Darden Grounds in Charlottesville via building the new Sands Inn at UVA Darden

Sands’ $68 million gift, the largest in the School’s history, was augmented by $14 million in funds from UVA’s Bicentennial Professorship Fund, delivering $82 million in total impact. The Sands Institute will empower Darden to reach learners across the globe and to continue to lead the way in business education.

The Sands Institute for Lifelong Learning establishes Darden at the forefront of innovation in pedagogy and delivery of transformational lifelong learning experiences, both face to face and virtually for working professionals and executives worldwide.

The Sands Institute leverages the DSF management team to execute some of its agenda.

For more information visit

Key Responsibilities

Leadership, Strategy & Growth

  • As a key member of the Executive Education and Lifelong Learning and Sands Institute leadership team – shape the broader growth strategy and priorities and do so in a collaborative manner with senior leaders of the Darden enterprise matrix organization.
  • In collaboration with the CEO and CLO, develop the strategic vision and plan and lead the team in, and contribute personally to, business development across client segments (e.g., corporations, professional associations, and military/branches of government) to grow custom client portfolio by ~20% per year over next 5 years.
  • Lead the team’s efforts in securing opportunities that arise for custom programming from relationships with organizations, specifically in leadership development and capability building
  • Help build clients’ capabilities by architecting and tailoring top-quality custom programs across modalities (i.e., digital, in person, hybrid) for senior executives, C-suite leaders and middle managers through collaboration with faculty, EE colleagues, and other Darden centers of excellence.
  • Help set the strategy and drive excellence within the CST around the continued transformation of the platforms, systems, and processes required for a world class custom client experience and journey.
  • Conduct research and competitor and market analysis across industries and regions to identify attractive partnership opportunities and maintain pulse on market conditions. Communicate implications for our custom strategy across the enterprise


  • Raise the stature and network of Executive Education, Darden, and the University of Virginia by working with Marketing Hub of Excellence at Darden to build awareness of Darden’s custom programming capabilities with talent leaders around the globe, with specific focus on “winning in our backyard”.
  • Leverage personal initiative and existing and new thought leadership to build awareness of Darden and demonstrate relevance with corporations and organizations.
  • Develop and nurture relationships with Darden faculty, alumni and administrative leaders, as well as faculty of the other 11 UVA Schools more broadly, and actively position faculty expertise and thought leadership within the context of client needs.
  • Coordinate with other parts of the Darden School, the dean’s office, and Darden School Foundation (e.g. Board of Trustees, EEPC, Alumni Board, Corporate Advisory Board, Global Advisory Board) to help build broader corporate relationships and buy-in for the strategy.
  • Engage directly as needed to ensure superior relationship management with new and existing clients.


  • Oversee all day-to-day operations of the team. P&L responsibility for the Custom business with Executive Education.
  • Attract, develop, and retain top talent required group to develop new corporate prospects and enhance existing corporate relationships through consultative sales, thereby profitably growing custom clients.
  • Foster an inclusive and collaborative community, committed to global diversity, equity, and inclusion. Support professional initiatives that allow Darden to attract, retain, and develop outstanding talent.
  • Uphold mission integrity, operational excellence, and exceptional talent.
  • Be a strong steward of the resources that support the mission of Executive Education, holding to the highest standard of integrity, operational excellence, and professionalism.

Candidate Profile

We seek a dynamic and collaborative candidate with a demonstrated record of creative, inspiring, and accomplished leadership; someone with exceptional integrity who possesses the highest level of commitment to advancing organizational priorities and whose previous experience is consistent with the University’s commitment to be both “Great and Good.”
Although Darden School Foundation will consider a range of profiles, expressions of interest are sought from candidates with an ideal mix of the following experiences and characteristics:

Professional Experience

  • Successful track record in business management and leadership roles with strategic planning, communication, revenue generation, pipeline and sales management, brand deployment, fiscal responsibility, and human capital strategies.
  • Ability to conceive and write compelling proposals on substantial projects that articulate impact.
  • Proven ability to develop productive long-term client relationships and drive increased revenue and profit to achieve organizational financial goals and deliver impact to the client.
  • Executive and seasoned professional familiar with the global business issues/trends and capability building/leadership development challenges.
  • CXO, Chief Learning Officer, leader of a top business school executive education program, and/or 10-20+ years’ experience in consultative C-Suite professional services/consulting, and/or senior executive experience as a manager and in the C-Suite or Board of Directors.
  • Experience selling HR, learning and development, and/or talent management services at the B2C and/or B2B level.
  • An equivalent combination of education and relevant experience is acceptable. ‘Hands-on’ experience in executive education is a plus, as is knowledge of key sectors: financial services, public sector, nonprofit, technology, aerospace/defense, energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and professional service.
  • Clear record of academic and professional excellence and achievement at respected institutions.
  • A leader of change with the business acumen, innovation, and entrepreneurial mindset necessary to anticipate market change and adapt strategy and operating model accordingly.
  • Board experience a plus (and Board appointments generally acceptable).
  • Bachelor’s degree from a high quality, accredited institution; an MBA, doctorate or other terminal degree is preferred.

Interpersonal Characteristics

  • A global mindset and ability to develop relationships with culturally diverse organizations
  • A bias for action and ability to manage to deadlines and budgets
  • An external orientation and willingness to travel and ability to build relationships
  • Excellent communication skills with all levels of management, faculty, and business community
  • Competence and understanding of trends in business/management thinking, and executive development at a level required to gain the respect of top clients
  • Ability to work collaboratively with clients and stakeholders, across the school, the Darden enterprise, and the University
  • Servant leader mindset with a tolerance for ambiguity
  • Strong orientation towards client satisfaction and results
  • Integrity, personal values, and a belief in Darden’s mission
  • Commitment to continued personal growth; self-motivated

To Apply or Nominate

UVA Executive Search Group, an internal search firm in the Office of UVA’s President, is assisting in the recruitment of the next Executive Director and Chief Client Officer.

To apply, submit a letter of interest and résumé to The search will be carried out with full confidentiality.

Confidential inquiries and nominations may also be sent to the above address and will be responded to by Nalini Turner and Susan Gaines, who are co-leading this search from the Executive Search Group.

Additional information can be found at