Associate Vice-President, Marketing and Brand Strategy

University of Waterloo

Waterloo, ON

Waterloo, ON
14 days ago



Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the University of Waterloo is one of the world’s most relevant, connected and innovative institutions – a beacon for creators, explorers and boundary-pushing thinkers – and known for its global leadership in co-operative education and experiential learning.


The University is seeking a strategic marketing and brand leader for the role of Associate Vice-President of Marketing & Brand Strategy (AVP, MBS).


Reporting to the Vice-President, University Relations, the AVP, MBS is responsible for the navigation and positioning of the University of Waterloo’s profile and reputation in the context of an increasingly complex and competitive post-secondary landscape in Canada and internationally. The AVP develops the institutional brand strategy, platform and marketing campaigns, and creates differentiating strategies and campaigns to build the institution’s profile and reputation. The AVP supports the adoption of brand positioning guidelines across the institution and champions data-informed decision making. Valuing relationships and creating authentic connections to support a coordinated brand presence is core to the role. In addition, the AVP, MBS supports projects related to global rankings and reputation, and collaborates with relevant campus leaders to develop strategies to build awareness, profile and reputation in Canada and targeted international markets.


The ideal candidate brings over a decade of leadership experience in marketing or brand strategy gained within a public or private sector organization. Adept in current and emerging marketing and communications technologies, candidates should demonstrate experience tracking data and trends, and matching purpose and audience. A valued partner who supports collegial and collaborative relationships, candidates require a deep appreciation for the value of post-secondary education and the role of universities in transforming lives. A big thinker and active listener, candidates possess a well-developed understanding of Canada’s economy, combined with a sensitivity to the unique character of the academic environment. The ideal candidate values curiosity, courage, engagement and belonging, and is eager to help share the University’s unique and vibrant story with the world.


The University of Waterloo is partnering with Odgers Berndtson on this recruitment.   Applications are encouraged immediately at The Vice President and Advisory Committee will begin their review of candidates in late summer. For more information, please contact Julia Robarts of Odgers Berndtson at

or 866-962-1990 ext. 323.


The University of Waterloo and Odgers Berndtson respect, appreciate and encourage diversity. We welcome and encourage applications from all qualified individuals regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability or disability. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. The University of Waterloo and Odgers Berndtson are committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities.


The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.


Primary Purpose  


The Associate Vice-President, Marketing & Brand Strategy (AVP MBS) is a senior executive at the University of Waterloo, reporting to the Vice-President, University Relations (VPUR). This critical role leads the navigation and positioning of the University’s profile and reputation in the context of an increasingly complex and competitive post-secondary landscape in Canada and internationally. When achieved with excellence and consistency, these accountabilities enhance and strengthen the reputation of the University. The AVP MBS has the lead responsibility at the University for the development of institutional brand and integrated marketing strategies for the University, update and advance positioning
framework for brand and identity systems, and generally champions marketing and communications innovation as a powerful enabler of reputation within the University of Waterloo.

While many results are achieved through senior level managers that work with the AVP MBS, this role is accountable for the design and implementation of University-wide integrated marketing and brand plans, informed by consultation and aimed at identifying and influencing key audiences, desired outcomes, appropriate paid and owned media strategies and tools. Within this context, the AVP MBS also has responsibility for ensuring connections with institutional data analysis projects related to reputation and rankings.

The AVP MBS is a champion of data-informed decision making, and plays an important role in identifying, tracking and analyzing key data and trends for the purpose of shorter and longer-term planning for MBS and University Relations.
As a key partner and strategist with the VPUR, the AVP MBS will develop and maintain strong connections and credibility across the university’s leadership and is sensitive to the needs of diverse audiences. They will consult with and advise senior leaders, and build relationships and networks with administrative and marketing leaders across the institution to support a strong and coordinated brand presence and pride-building for the University of Waterloo internally and externally.


  • Lead the strategic brand positioning of the University and the development and execution of short and long-term brand strategies to build the public profile and enhance the reputation of the University of Waterloo.
  • Provide leadership and co-ordination for overall planning and implementation for reputational, marketing and strategic brand initiatives.
  • Work closely with the AVPs of Communication and Government Relations, and the Senior Director, Community Relations and Events to develop and maintain integrated marketing communications strategy and plans focused on desired outcomes from key audiences, including signature event marketing and influencer engagement strategies, adjusting and adapting strategies and work plans and processes as needed in light of unfolding and/or unforeseen external factors and pressures.
  • Proactively secure positive and collaborative relationships with administrative and marketing leaders on campus in key academic and business units.
  • Work with AVP Communication, to review mandates, develop and maintain coordinated and efficient networks of senior representatives of the academic and support units across campus engaged in marketing and communications (especially marketing leaders, campus communicators and web steering committees or councils).
  • Support senior leaders in the development of tools and templates for campus stakeholders that enable the broadest adoption of brand positioning guidelines across faculties, institutes, and academic support units.
  • Define role within and contribution to University-wide web governance initiatives and lead the strategy and design of University website and other digital properties.
  • Lead and recommend the type and range of market research required to provide data and insights on target audiences, awareness and reputational matters.
  • Plays a leadership role in tracking, analyzing data and trends to support mid and longer-range planning for both MBS and the VP, University Relations.
  • Contribute to the governance of the institution’s digital presence and oversee the design of the University website and other digital properties.
  • In collaboration with relevant campus leaders develop an outreach strategy to build profile in targeted international markets.
  • Collaborate with the Associate Provost, Institutional Data, Analysis & Planning to monitor and respond to global rankings.
  • Oversee strategic initiatives that are undertaken by the office of VPUR such as design of University signage and wayfinding, Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) and other priorities as they emerge.
  • Provide support to advance strategic planning and initiatives from the office of VPUR and office of the President.
  • Participate fully in all University Relations leadership, communication and planning processes.
  • Develop and deliver annual work plans with clearly articulated goals, objectives and key performance indicators/metrics.
  • Develop and manage budget allocations to support marketing initiatives.
  • Provide leadership and development for the marketing and brand strategy team as part of a coordinated performance management and talent development approach within University Relations.
  • Bachelor degree in marketing, communications, business or related field.
  • Ideally 15 years, with a minimum of 10 years of senior leadership experience in a marketing or brand communications environment with demonstrable record of success, especially in digital marketing, in the post-secondary, not-for-profit or relevant public and private sectors.

  • Demonstrated experience in leading and motivating teams and developing talent across an organization.

  • Demonstrated experience as a valued partner in a collegial and collaborative environment.

  • Deep understanding of brand and brand positioning.

  • Creative, future-focused, and adept in current and emerging marketing and communications technologies, data analytics tracking and reporting.

  • Strong digital marketing skills with proven ability to increase online traffic through the use of social media platforms and advertising.

  • Agility and adaptability to prioritize for the digital landscape.

  • Understanding of and/or experience in international markets.

  • Exceptional writing skills.

  • Exceptional public speaking and verbal communication skills, including high comfort level in delivering presentations to senior audiences and serving as institutional representative when appropriate.

  • Capacity to engage and communicate highly complex issues relevant to higher education.

  • Active listener, connector and consensus builder, with an ability to manage and respond to multiple and varied stakeholders and audiences.

  • Sensitivity to the academic environment, thinking and ways of working.

  • Technical skills: advanced MS Word and PowerPoint, basic Excel.

Equity Statement:

The University of Waterloo is committed to implementing the Calls to Action framed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.


The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion.   As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.


All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.


The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any application, interview, or workplace accommodation requests, please contact Human Resources at or 519-888-4567, ext. 45935.