Vice President & Executive Director
Type of Job
Competitive. Details to be shared in conversation
Jun 21, 2022
About the job
The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they, and we all need, to thrive. The organization works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, on-the-ground conservation, and conservation education. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, Audubon recognizes that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.
Audubon has more than 700 staff working across seven countries including 17 state and regional offices, 33 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries in the United States. Together as one Audubon, the organization aspires to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.
Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, enjoy a strong sense of belonging, and are respected for their individual contributions. The organization is committed to increasing the diversity of staff, board, volunteers, members, and supporters; fostering an inclusive network of Audubon Centers and Chapters in all communities, both rural and urban; and ensuring a workplace free of discrimination of any kind based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, national or ethnic origin, politics, or veteran status. The Audubon recognizes that protecting and conserving nature and the environment transcends political, cultural, and social boundaries—and that respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people of all backgrounds, lifestyles, and perspectives will attract the best talent and ideas, and bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to their work throughout the hemisphere.
AUDUBON SOUTH CAROLINA
Audubon South Carolina (ASC) represents an ever-expanding flock, with nearly 28,000 members and supporters in every State County, two conservation centers/sanctuaries, and more than 30,000 acres of land that ASC owns and manages using bird-and climate-friendly management practices. In addition, Audubon South Carolina also works with eight chapters and bird club partners across the state. Audubon South Carolina’s varied conservation work – and their passionate supporters – give the birds we love a fighting chance, while creating a better future for all.
Peoples, Places & Policy
Just as ecosystems are interconnected, so, too is Audubon South Carolina’s work, whose efforts weave together South Carolina’s people, places and policy to make a lasting impact. As champions for conservation, the nearly 28,000 members and eight state chapters represent a robust grassroots network that advocates for federal, state and local policies that protect birds and the places they need.
Audubon South Carolina’s approach to advocacy connects members, partners, and elected officials around the issues affecting birds and people in South Carolina. Whether supporting conservation partners and frontline communities with advocacy grants, hosting in-district bird walks with legislators or providing advocacy trainings to chapters, ASC always works to create a unified voice for birds.
ASC is focused on accelerating a clean energy future for our state, increasing coastal resilience through natural infrastructure, and protecting South Carolina’s most valuable habitats. The team has worked extensively to increase competitiveness of solar energy in the state, secure funding for resilience and natural infrastructure projects such as the restoration of Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary Island in Mt. Pleasant, and make resilience an important component to state planning and federal projects.
ASC partners with landowners on land management practices that are both bird-friendly and profitable, with a specific focus on the restoration of critical Longleaf Pine and bottomland hardwood habitats. The organization also owns and manages nearly 30,000 acres of land.
In 2022, Audubon South Carolina plans to release the Coastal Carolinas Initiative in collaboration with the North Carolina state office, which will serve as a strategic plan for coastal work throughout the state, providing a meaningful tool to help inform where work will be carried out and engage partners on strategic restoration and protection projects. The development stage of the initiative has already paved the way for an innovative coastal conservation strategy for the greater Cape Romain region. Over the next three years, ASC will spearhead several projects which will have incredible cultural and natural resource benefits for communities that are at increased risk from sea-level rise.
Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries
Audubon’s centers are inclusive spaces that welcome our state’s diverse communities to learn about – and participate in – the transformational conservation efforts Audubon South Carolina leads while enjoying the beautiful wildlife these efforts support. Comprising 22,000 acres of vital habitat, Audubon’s Beidler Forest and Silver Bluff centers and sanctuaries serve as essential habitat life-rafts for hundreds of bird species and other wildlife and offer a place of respite and conservation education for thousands of visitors each year.
Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest: This 18,000-acres bird and wildlife sanctuary features a 1.75-mile boardwalk through the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp as well as a grassland and woodland trail. As a designated site of significance within the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad - Network to Freedom program, Beidler is as much a historical treasure as it is a natural wonder.
Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary: This 3,400-acre sanctuary overlooking the Savannah River features a pristine forest ecosystem, walking trails, 50 acres of lakes and ponds, 100 acres of grassland, archaeological sites, and all manner of birds and wildlife.
How to Apply
This search is being conducted by Victory Search Group. Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org noting "Audubon California" in the subject line.
Position Title: Vice President & Executive Director
Location: Charleston, SC (possible other locations within SC)
Reports to: Vice President of the Atlantic Flyaway
The National Audubon Society seeks a dynamic Vice President and Executive Director to build on Audubon South Carolina’s rich history and expand its conservation contributions in South Carolina and throughout the entire Atlantic Flyway, leading the organization to its next level of programmatic and financial success. The Vice President and Executive Director will exercise broad leadership and management responsibility in developing and executing statewide conservation policy, initiatives and public programming. In addition, the Executive Director will lead a talented and passionate team to advance overall conservation objectives, strengthen and mobilize our bipartisan network, and deliver durable policy solutions across the region. Audubon South Carolina’s current team includes 17 staff and has a combined FY2022 budget of $2.7 million derived from primarily from individual, foundation, corporate, government grants, earned income, and investments.
The successful candidate will have the passion and skills necessary to lead the development, articulation, resourcing and implementation of Audubon’s conservation goals and strategies across the state, all while working closely with the Audubon South Carolina’s staff and key National Audubon conservation leaders to continue to develop the state program in tandem with strategic regional and national priorities. The Executive Director will hold the title of Vice President within the national organization and will report directly to the Vice President of Atlantic Flyway.
Strategy Development and Organizational Leadership
- Lead in the design and implementation of the strategic goals and initiatives that align with National Audubon’s overall conservation goals and strategies and increase ASC’s statewide capacity to conserve priority birds species and their habitats —primarily through the protection and restoration of coastal and near shore habitat and forested and freshwater ecosystems; effective climate and environmental advocacy and policies; and community education.
- Serve as a leader and mentor to staff and infuse the values of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging throughout organizational decisions, policies, and programs.
- Secure and focus resources on the most critical, high-leverage conservation, policy and public engagement projects and strategies.
- Leverage the impact of Audubon South Carolina’s centers and sanctuaries to achieve state and flyway goals
- In close collaboration ASC staff, oversee day-to-day operations of the state office, setting financial and programmatic goals, analyzing results, taking corrective actions in accordance with National Audubon’s financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitments, and legal requirements.
Fundraising and External Relations
- Partner with Audubon’s development team to cultivate existing and solicit new major donors, foundations, corporations, and government agencies to significantly increase contributions for the state office.
- Collaborate meaningfully with Audubon’s national leadership and development teams and other state programs to develop donor strategies and support fundraising for priority projects across the network.
- Represent Audubon South Carolina throughout the region, raising the profile and visibility of the organization and its priorities among funders, partners, policymakers, and the public, resulting in greater conservation impact and deeper donor investment.
- Strengthen the financial sustainability of the organization, with a focus on expanding new funding sources, inspiring new donors, and cultivating strategic partnerships with relevant agencies, NGOs and corporate partners.
The incoming Vice President and Executive Director must have demonstrated success in implementing innovative conservation, policy, engagement, and development strategies. Building on ASC’s successes across the state, the Executive Director must set strategy to prioritize programming and identify opportunities for the greatest conservation impact, and align the network to achieve set goals and priorities. They must also inspire the region's decision-makers, conservation partners, and philanthropic community to invest in Audubon's conservation vision and strategic plan.
Knowledge & Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management, business, conservation or related field required; advanced degree strongly preferred.
- 10 years’ progressive professional experience, to include 3-5 years at a senior management level with comparable staff and budget responsibilities.
- Strong leadership skills, with an entrepreneurial spirit and strong business and management skills; demonstrated ability to inspire and motivate staff, volunteers, donors, and potential partners a must.
- Demonstrated success in fundraising, in particular extensive experience with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.
- Seasoned organizational leader with an array of experience in public policy development and advocacy, campaigns, lobbying, and/or involvement in the state legislature and in working with members of Congress.
- Demonstrated ability to succeed in a highly matrixed, complex organization—strong ability to influence and persuade others required.Competencies & Characteristics
- Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions with a wide range of individuals and organizations at the local, regional, and national levels.
- Demonstrated experience overseeing complex, multiple and/or geographically diverse projects through to success, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners.
- Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, including substantial public speaking experience, and the ability to effectively represent Audubon South Carolina to its members, state and federal elected officials, donors, and chapter leaders, as well as in traditional and social media.
- Knowledge and appreciation of, as well as connection to South Carolina and its environment, conservation and political history, and the role of science in developing conservation strategies.
- Willingness and ability to travel routinely throughout the state and nationally, as required.
- A strong commitment to the mission, values, and programs of Audubon South Carolina and the National Audubon Society
Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.