The AWS Executive Director Search Is On

Sep 11, 2023

Job application now available. Please share if you know someone who is qualified.

 Do you or does someone you know have the vision and experience to operate the Society and to lead and inspire our members as we continue our wine education journey? John Sporing has been serving as interim executive director since last fall. We now seek a permanent director. The AWS Governance Committee has published a job description and qualifications, which are included below.

All qualified candidates—AWS members and non-members—are encouraged to apply.

About the position:

The American Wine Society (AWS) seeks an Executive Director who is self-directed, enthusiastic and has vision to drive our 55-year-old, 6,500-member non-profit association to the next level.

The Executive Director (ED) is a hands-on position responsible for the day-to-day management of the AWS National Office and continued implementation of the AWS Strategic Plan by collaborating with the Board of Directors, staff and standing committees. Duties include maintaining compliance with laws, regulations and best practices governing non-profit membership associations, managing our $800,000 annual budget, negotiating contracts with conference venues and vendors, and communicating effectively with current AWS members and marketing to potential members and wine industry partners.

The ED reports to the Board of Directors President and is responsible for supervising the Member Services Manager and the Conference Coordinator employees at their remote locations.

The successful candidate must have excellent collaborative, organizational, and computer skills. He/she must effectively communicate orally and in writing. The candidate should have management experience, preferably in a non-profit membership association environment. Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification is desirable.

The National Office is currently located in Scranton, PA, but this position can be remote. Occasional travel is required.

Salary range up to $75,000, commensurate with experience and geographical location.

Full-time benefits include paid vacation/sick time, paid holidays, 401K.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Managing the day-to-day activities and responsibilities of the National Office.
    • Member services
    • Financial/audit compliance
    • Insurance procurement and compliance
    • Membership marketing and growth
    • Publications review and oversight
    • Communications and marketing to existing and potential members
    • Overseeing the annual National Conference
    • Contract negotiation and management
    • Supporting, implementing and overseeing initiatives of the Board and standing committees
    • Management of two paid personnel and compliance with employment laws
    • Sponsor development
    • Growth of external relationships with the wine industry
  • Participating in meetings of the Board of Directors as a non-voting member of the Board.

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum Bachelor’s Degree
  • Experience managing a small business or other endeavor that involved many different tasks needed to operate the business in a successful, financially sound and legally compliant manner, including the above-listed responsibilities.
  • Excellent collaborative, organizational, and computer skills
  • Effective oral and written communication skills.
  • Independent self-starter with a keen attention to detail
  • Basic proficiencies in Microsoft Office, technology and document storage practices sufficient for the National Office and membership needs.
  • Experience in the management of personnel.
  • Experience in preparing a budget and managing to the budget.
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and make decisions based on urgency of need.
  • Experience with contracts and other legal matters in order to protect AWS interests in all matters.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in management of and compliance with laws, regulations and best practices for a non-profit membership association.
  • Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification, and/or Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in non-profit management.
  • 3-5-year minimum experience in membership association leadership.
  • Experience in marketing, especially relating to non-profit organizations.
  • Knowledge of wine or the wine industry.

About AWS

The American Wine Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based upon our mission of promoting appreciation of wine through education. Our 6,500 members are largely wine consumers, but also amateur and professional winemakers; chefs, restaurateurs and foodies; educators and students; journalists; wine suppliers and wineries. We are passionate wine explorers—both beginner and expert—who believe wine discovery is a fun and lifelong adventure that should be shared.

We quench our thirst for wine knowledge through local tastings—there are 180 American Wine Society chapters across the United States, and through regional and national wine events and formal training and wine courses. Each event is an opportunity to make new friends, share a glass of wine and learn about the history, culture and traditions involved in making and drinking wine.

For questions and to submit resumes, please reach out to Jay Bileti, chairman of the Executive Director Search Committee, at

AWS is an equal employment opportunity employer. Qualified candidates are considered for employment without regard to race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, military or veteran status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.