Director of Education and Professional Development Programs
Solar Energy Trade Shows, LLC (SETS) is the management company formed in October 2009 by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) to raise the bar for solar energy trade events. SETS plays a pivotal role in supporting our national energy independence.
Solar Energy Trade Shows’ products are already excellent, and we’re committed to making them even better by transforming our adult education programs from speaker-centric lectures to adult interactive learning programs. We recognize that effective learning requires moving away from passive consumption to moving toward an environment that encourages active participation. Our evolving education programs will better serve our attendees by being more engaging (like social media) and less isolating (like watching a lecture or a TV program).
In this newly created role as our Director of Education and Professional Development, you will report to the Chief Executive Officer and supervise the Education Programs Coordinator. You will be a key member of the senior management team and a pivotal figure in the association’s signature programs. Your work will be integral in helping SETS deliver outstanding value to our conference attendees. Our educational programming has improved in quality and as a conference motivation, according to our attendees. We anticipate that our revamped education program will become a far greater motivator for people to attend our conferences. In this high visibility role, you will work in close coordination with the SETS staff, content experts from SEIA and SEPA, and multiple volunteer advisory councils composed of industry experts. You will find innovative ways to build programs designed for adult learners.
SETS serves as coordinator and facilitator for SEIA and SEPA for three solar related events. SEIA and SEPA own SETS as a joint venture; SETS owns and manages the trade shows. SETS oversees the speakers, event line-up, program development and coordination for three solar energy tradeshows – Solar Power International (SPI), the pre-eminent show in North America, and PV America (PVA) East and West, newer shows with regional audiences. SPI attracts 15,000 to 20,000 attendees, approximately 2000 of whom (and growing) participate in educational content. PVA attracts approximately 2500 attendees of whom 1100 attend educational sessions. Each trade show currently hosts 28-60 sessions and workshops. We have ambitious plans to dramatically increase our educational offerings over the next few years.
We will count on your exceptional listening and facilitation skills to identify attendee education needs and implement innovative new programs. In this role, you will focus on both content development and education program delivery. You will be involved in selecting speakers and training them to design interactive presentations. You will create a process that clarifies timelines and expectations and facilitates the smooth delivery of successful programs—even with people who are unfamiliar with advanced adult learning principles. Your contributions will enable us to seamlessly produce trade shows that bring together the right people from both industry and government, drawing in people who are involved in every aspect of solar energy.
You will lead volunteer meetings to create and manage a speakers program. You will become familiar with the key stakeholders across the industry and develop an understanding of how the key players interact so you can best guide the development of sessions and speakers. You will go beyond identifying and recruiting quality presenters, and also identify where and how to train the speakers to support the delivery of interactive, educational, adult learning programs.
This is a high visibility, high stakes, and collaborative role. In this high impact role, you will not only be a careful steward of the image of our trade shows, your work will also reflect upon the brand and image of SEIA and SEPA. Your collaborative inclusive approach will help earn the trust and respect of all the involved stakeholders. Throughout SETS young history, this position has served as more of a mediator among the staff of SETS, SEIA, SEPA and the advisory committee members. While you will continue to be responsible for coordinating and arranging speakers and presentations for our meetings, going forward, you will be both a mediator/coordinator, and the driver of emerging programs and training for these meetings. You will be the results-oriented, service-driven liaison who brings to the table a high degree of diplomacy and a clear process.
SETS is dedicated to the development and implementation of trade shows which offer lasting value to attendees, provide financial support to SEIA/SEPA, and promote solar industry growth in a manner consistent with SEIA/SEPA missions. We are also positioned to support the rapid growth of the U.S. solar industry, significant job creation, and increased energy independence. SETS brings a focused approach to the industry's premier events that support the rapid expansion of the solar energy industry itself. We remain focused on producing the most effective trade shows found anywhere – from business-model excellence to effective networking, we seek to enable the relationships that drive the solar industry forward. Proceeds from these events are invested in the continued growth of the U.S. solar energy market through SEIA's and SEPA's research and education activities, as well as SEIA's advocacy efforts.
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios for the benefit of the utility, its customers, and the public good. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up-to-date information regarding technologies and business models, and peer-to-peer interaction. From hosting national events to one-on-one counseling, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
You will refine and develop our budding educational strategy, and clarify and manage the quality control roles between SETS, SEIA and SEPA throughout this process. Your background in adult education will enable you to create content offerings that are fresh and relevant to the defined target audience, as well as incorporate the latest education techniques and technology innovations. You will assess programs and implement surveys to ensure continuous quality improvement. You will create, implement, manage, and improve processes for developing programs and content for SETS, including general sessions, pre- and post-conference workshops, concurrent sessions, facilitated group discussions (for the two existing trade shows, new events, and educational opportunities as they are identified and added) and, increasingly, educational events on the show floor. While exposure to the solar energy industry is helpful, your ability to plan and deliver flawless, quality events is essential to your success in this role.
Your key responsibilities will include:
- Provide strategic and tactical leadership for educational programming within SETS.
- Conduct organizational needs analysis. Work in partnership with staff and advisory committee members to determine program expansion and training needs.
- Design and facilitate training programs as appropriate.
- Train assigned speakers and other expert personnel.
- Track and report on training activities, effectiveness, and member satisfaction.
- Serve as the primary point of strategic contact with volunteer members of the Advisory Councils (industry personnel) and Content Experts from trade associations.
- Facilitate relationships and ensure the exceptional, smooth coordination of activities between the Advisory Council and Content Experts from SEIA and SEPA (this is heavy volunteer management – the Advisory Council and Content Experts both serve as volunteers, their contributions and involvement are critical to successful outcomes).
- Oversee, support, and contribute to the process of recruiting speakers and moderators.
- Oversee and work collaboratively with content experts and Advisory Council members on processes for implementing, reviewing, and modifying Council governance.
- Proactively contribute and participate in internal (staff) and external (volunteers) discussions involving SETS education issues.
- Work collaboratively to achieve marketing goals, by developing and implementing strategies and tactics, for promoting the quality and value of conference programs.
- Develop means of bringing the customer’s voice directly to SETS’ dialog to focus educational programming and deliver outstanding value (as determined by evaluation survey).
- Establish and manage efficient and effective processes for developing, delivering and evaluating educational programs to determine their impact and the customer’s response to them.
- Develop professional relationships with Advisory Council members that foster their ownership, accountability, support, and promotion of the conference program product.
- Lead the team of volunteer members and content experts with process direction and solutions that support the integrity of the process and respect their time commitments.
- Create a supportive, respectful, and inspired group dynamic in all interactions with volunteers, content experts and staff.
Essential Education, Experience, Skills, and Competencies
This position requires the following:
- Bachelor’s degree. Advanced degree or certification in adult learning, e-learning management, instructional design, or organization development preferred.
- 10 years of experience developing adult educational programs.
- Demonstrated success designing, implementing, and marketing adult education content.
- Demonstrated success working with subject matter experts in an area other than that of his/her own training.
- Strong project manager. Proven success in organizing and managing meetings, conferences and break-out sessions to meet established goals.
- Strong interpersonal skills. You will need to be able to interface effectively at all levels within the organization, including SETS key stakeholder groups (SEIA and SEPA) and the Advisory Council.
- Technologically savvy. Must be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and able to use technology to work collaboratively with team members in various locations.
- Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
- Ability to travel to meetings (approximately 5-10%).
- Business-minded: You identify and analyze needs, and you are adept at developing and delivering training that engages the adult learner, and creates a high degree of member satisfaction.
- Strong facilitator: You have a proven track record of getting results by building strong relationships and partnerships. Your ego takes a back seat as you remain professional at all times and build effective relationships.
- Consensus builder: You build consensus, as you seek first to understand, then to be understood. You understand the concerns and needs of others and how to realistically manage expectations.
- Exceptional communicator and skilled collaborator: You are known for your poise, tact, and diplomacy. You confidently engage with staff at all levels and across multiple stakeholder groups. You collaborate on projects and communicate results, and you are willing to listen and learn from others.
- Self-confident, highly capable and driven: You have everyone’s best interests in mind. You earn trust by your actions and faithfully keep your promises. You are seen as an “honest broker” and you are known for how you “get things done.”
- Meticulous and organized: Every detail is considered and you manage them from start to finish. You enjoy creating and implementing processes and procedures that uphold rigorous standards.
- Service driven: You set the standard for meeting and exceeding expectations. Your collaborative style helps you to work effectively in any organization. When you say you’ll get back to someone, you do, and with a cheerful smile. Your style goes beyond “the customer is always right,” to “this is mine to own, and I take great pride in getting it done right, the first time.”
- Skilled project manager: You are able to juggle multiple tasks, allocate and optimize resources, and manage timelines.
- Problem solver: You understand the big picture and can easily recognize challenges before they occur. You have excellent critical thinking skills, you’re intellectually curious and you work with a sense of urgency.
What’s Attractive to the Right Candidate?
- Your work will incorporate the latest research and developments in adult learning. You will be working at the forefront of the education field in an exciting, rapidly emerging field.
- Your contributions and leadership will be appreciated. Our staff (SETS, SEPA and SEIA) are all very dedicated and they are good at what they do – they will be deeply appreciative of your ability to smoothly facilitate and manage multiple stakeholders to expand and redesign our educational programs and produce highly successful annual events.
- The process is yours to develop and manage – ultimately your efforts will create and preserve an environment that is both fun and highly productive, and continually elevates our service delivery and the quality of our tradeshows.
- You are in a key position to stay abreast of information that will benefit staff across all three organizations and help them do their jobs better. Your contributions ensure our tradeshows remain the premier events for the industry.
- This is a highly visible, collaborative position in an organization where everyone communicates with each other, everyone treats each other with respect, and everyone’s expertise is valued.
- SETS offers a comprehensive compensation/benefits package.
To Apply for the Director of Education and Professional Development Programs
Please note, internally this position is called Director of Education
This search is managed by Jennie Kinsfather at Staffing Advisors. Please forward your resume to Jennie@StaffingAdvisors.com with “SETS – Director of Education” in the subject line of the email.