• Director, Center Innovation & Strategy

    Job Locations
    US-NY-New York
    Regular, Full-Time
    Job Category
    Program/Project Management
    New York
  • Overview

    Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action. By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive. As part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).



    Position Summary

    Audubon centers number among the National Audubon Society’s most important strategic assets in carrying out our mission to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon centers are embedded in some of America’s biggest cities and most treasured ecosystems. They can be hubs of influence and leadership for conservation throughout their communities and regions. They are Audubon’s front door in communities: Hundreds of thousands of people come into contact with Audubon, and with each other, at Audubon centers each year.


    In October 2018, Audubon adopted Five Dimensions of Excellence (below) to guide the work at Audubon centers and outlined several areas of work that must be undertaken to support Audubon centers in achieving their full potential. A $5 million gift from Audubon Board Chair Maggie Walker will create an institute focused on transforming Audubon centers into a mighty network for conservation and community building.



    Essential Functions

    The Director of Audubon Center Innovation and Strategy will be an influential leader; a change agent; highly energetic, adaptable, relationship-oriented; and a results-driven team player. The Director will engage staff and volunteers across Audubon centers and state programs, conservation programs, business functions, and executive and fiduciary leadership to lead this transformation.


    The Director will report to the VP, Grassroots Capacity Building. This Position will be based in New York or Washington D.C.


    Business Planning:

    • Provide support to State and Center Directors for visioning and business planning processes that enable local, state, and conservation leaders to develop clear Audubon center roadmaps and business models that measurably advance Audubon’s strategic conservation and community engagement objectives and generate the right mix of revenue streams, reserves, and endowments to support the work.
    • This includes drafting plans and providing consultative services to integrate best business practices. These processes must emphasize community input and equity, strong conservation and advocacy plans, clear KPIs, and financial sustainability and be considered in the context of State plans and budgets.

    Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

    • Work with VP, EDI to develop and implement a business-planning framework for Audubon centers that integrates equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) goals and objectives for effective outreach and engagement of underrepresented constituencies into center operations.
    • Develop strategies and accountability to build our centers’ workforce and advisory bodies to attract and retain talent and leadership that reflect the local community and who are skilled at working in an inclusive and respectful manner with one another and with the community.

    Strong Local Fundraising and Volunteer Leadership Capacity:

    • In partnership with development staff, work with state and center leadership to build and reinforce strong volunteer center advisory bodies, where appropriate, that help lead fundraising and community relations, advise on programs, and champion equity and inclusion at Audubon centers.
    • Implement $1 million matching grant program to grow fundraising impact and commitment at the state and local level.
    • Work with national development staff and executive leadership to develop and secure additional principal gifts to support the center network.


    Qualifications and Experience

    • 7-10 years of experience with community engagement, advocacy, or conservation including leadership of a network of place-based settings (with nature centers specifically a plus).
    • 7-10 years of experience in business management; experience managing nature centers, zoos, or aquariums a plus
    • Experience supporting excellence in the area of facilities, exhibits, public program, visitor services
    • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in related field required.
    • Proven experience leading organizational transformation and change management across networked organizations.
    • Exceptional leadership skills and the ability to lead, mentor, motivate and inspire a team.
    • Proven experience developing strategic partnerships.
    • Experience working within organizations with local, state, and national affiliations a plus.
    • Experience networking, engaging, and successfully cultivating diverse community partners, including bipartisan coalitions and communities of color.
    • Strong people-management skills, and experience managing distributed teams preferred.
    • Relentless commitment to meeting goals and deadlines, and demonstrated ability to motivate others to do the same.
    • Experience working in matrixed organizations and managing through soft influence.
    • Experience developing training programs.
    • Strong commitment to conservation.
    • A self-starter, one who is motivated, able to work in a decentralized work environment with minimal supervision, and juggle multiple projects simultaneously.
    • Excellent judgment, professionalism, and ability to work independently and take initiative.
    • Strong problem solving skills, including ability to respond quickly and effectively to unforeseen challenges.
    • Effective listening, probing, and assessment skills.
    • Excellent written and verbal communications skills and the ability build consensus among a wide range of individuals.
    • Comfort with presenting and engaging in public speaking events also necessary.
    • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and technology solutions for nature centers, museums, science centers a plus.
    • Willing and able to travel extensively and work nonstandard hours, e.g., evenings and weekends.
    • Spanish-language proficiency a plus.


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