Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon Regional Southeast

Job Locations
US-LA-Baton Rouge | US-AR-Little Rock | US-LA-New Orleans | US-MS-Holly Springs
Type
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category
Executive/Senior Management
ID
2020-4476
City
Baton Rouge
State/Province
LA
Additional Location : City
Little Rock
Additional Location : State/Province
AR

Overview

The National Audubon Society is one of the oldest and most influential conservation organizations in the United States. Since 1905, a passion for birds and nature has been the driving force behind Audubon’s legacy. The organization has played a critical role in some of the most significant victories for birds and the environment, including the establishment of the first National Wildlife Refuges; the banning of DDT in 1972; landmark legislation like the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts and the establishment of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Audubon advocates broadly for conservation through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.

 

Today's Audubon is tackling the most pressing conservation challenges of our time.  

 

Audubon is a powerful distributed network with an unparalleled reach that includes over 1.8 million members, over 500 local and campus chapters, 22 field offices, and 34 nature centers. In addition, Audubon works with dozens of international partnerships throughout the Western Hemisphere to support the protection of migratory birds and the habitats they need to thrive today, and in the future.


The National Audubon Society is a $135M and 700+ employees’ organization. Since becoming Audubon’s CEO in 2010, David Yarnold, has led the organization with the singular focus of creating the most effective conservation network in the United States.  A 2017 Harvard Business School case study for nonprofit excellence described the transformation of Audubon under Yarnold’s vision as, “The most impressive turnaround of a legacy organization we’ve ever seen.” In the past decade the organization has pivoted from its early emphasis on community-based nature education to pursue bird-focused conservation with robust policy and conservation strategies with greater alignment across its distributed network. To achieve lasting change at scale, it has reestablished national programming and policy influence, strengthened and invested in state-level leadership, invigorated relationships with and service to its expansive chapter network, pursued efficiencies, and significantly strengthened communications, fundraising, marketing, and technology capabilities. Over this period, Audubon’s budget has doubled.”

 

As a result of its reinvention, Audubon has become a sought-after partner for its bipartisan, grassroots network, the quality of its science, and solution-oriented approach to conservation. The Audubon team is focused on the causes of climate change, ensuring resilient lands and waters, and advancing bedrock protections of birds and the places they, and we all need, to thrive.

 

An active pursuit of racial equity is a moral and strategic imperative for Audubon. We are committed to becoming a workplace in which every employee feels valued, seen, and heard, and in which everyone has the opportunity to grow, thrive, and live their values. We know that a more diverse Audubon allows us to be more equitable and inclusive in how and where we work.

 

Audubon in the Region:

 

A regional office of the National Audubon Society, the teams in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi work to protect birds and the places they need and to build a strong, strategic presence across the region. 

 

This is a new regional office structure —combining the teams across the Audubon Arkansas, Audubon Louisiana and Audubon Mississippi state offices— and it will build on a history of strong conservation work. The Audubon regional office spans geographies from the Mississippi River Delta and Atchafalaya watersheds, to the Ozarks of Northern Arkansas, and the Eastern forests of Mississippi. The region includes three Audubon centers and one Audubon sanctuary which serve as the hubs of our conservation education, advocacy, and community engagement programs. The region encompasses 16 chapters and a bipartisan membership base of 42,000. The new regional structure will provide opportunities to engage new audiences and deepen partnerships across state borders in the region, as well as broaden our policy influence at the local, state, and federal level. A team of 35+ staff members put more than $4.2 million to work for conservation each year.

 

Within the network of connections that make up healthy ecosystems, birds are uniquely positioned to act as an environmental indicator of the health of the landscape. We know that what is good for birds is good for entire ecosystems – including people. To this end, we build and engage a diverse network of volunteers, advocates, and communities. Our strategies are driven by cutting-edge science that informs where and how we work to protect birds and guides our policy objectives to address the biggest threats faced by birds and people in the region.

 

The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion, and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

 

Position Summary

The National Audubon Society (NAS) seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and strategic Executive Director to build and lead our new regional office across the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Executive Director will lead a talented team to advance overall conservation objectives, strengthen and mobilize our bipartisan network, and deliver durable policy solutions across the region. The Executive Director will also serve as a Vice President of the National Audubon Society and work with their peers across the country to shape and deliver national objectives, initiatives, and processes.

 

The incoming Vice President and Executive Director must have demonstrated success in implementing innovative conservation, policy, engagement, and development strategies. Building on the success of the region’s well-respected conservation program, they must inspire collaboration among our conservation, legislative, and philanthropic partners to deepen our conservation impact and leadership across the delta and gulf region and inspire the region’s decision-makers, conservation partners, and philanthropic community to invest in Audubon’s conservation vision and strategic plan. Additionally, the chief executive for the delta region will oversee the Pascagoula River Audubon Center and Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Mississippi, the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary in Louisiana and the Little Rock Audubon Center in Arkansas.

 

This is a high-profile position with the potential to grow National Audubon Society’s reach and effect change at the local, regional, and national levels. The Vice President and Executive Director will report to Audubon’s Vice President for the Mississippi Flyway.

 

Victory Search Group (VSG) has the privilege of leading the recruitment for the Vice President & Executive Director for Audubon Regional Southeast (Arkansas/Louisiana/Mississippi). VSG is a senior level retained executive search firm serving a select group of clients, including nonprofit organizations.  **Interested individuals should submit a resume and cover letter to nonprofit@victorysearchgroup.com.  

 

 

Essential Functions

Strategic Leadership and Organizational Management:

  • Define a clear vision for the region that increases our conservation impact, distinguishes ARD from our conservation partners, leverages our current strengths, inspires donor investment and engagement of a bipartisan network.
  • Deliver strategic and operational excellence through the leadership, management, and mentoring of a mature and diverse staff.
  • Serve as a leader in infusing organizational decisions, policies, and programs with values of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Focus resources on the most critical, high-leverage projects and strategies, including policy development and public engagement.
  • Leverage the impact of Audubon centers to achieve state, regional, and national goals.
  • Build upon the strong foundation of programs and initiatives that are resonant and relevant for the Delta and Gulf Region’s diverse population.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the office, including setting financial and programmatic goals, and analyzing results in collaboration with local and national staff.
  • Ensure that all Audubon financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitment, and legal/statutory requirements are met.

Conservation Strategic Execution:

  • Craft and achieve strategic goals and initiatives that are integrated fully with the National Audubon Society’s conservation, network, and philanthropic priorities.
  • Increase our region-wide capacity to achieve the conservation of priority birds and their habitats. Priorities include:
    • Protecting the iconic waters and habitats of the Mississippi River Delta for the benefit of birds and communities.
    • Promoting bird-friendly natural solutions and land management strategies for advantage of forest bird species and for carbon and water storage through our healthy forest program targeting conservation efforts on both public and private lands.
    • Inspiring our bipartisan network and decision-makers throughout the region to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
    • Creating durable policy solutions that address the most critical threats to birds at the local, state, and federal level.
    • Engaging the diversity of communities that make-up the population of the delta region in building sustainable conservation strategies and resonant education programs.
    • Crafting and executing conservation, policy, and engagement strategies and programming at our three regional Audubon centers that advance Audubon’s local, state, and federal conservation priorities.

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.
  • Represent Audubon Delta throughout the region to raise the profile and visibility of our priorities and impact with funders, partners, policy makers, and the public, resulting in deeper donor investment.
  • Strengthen the financially sustainable business and development plans for the region with a focus on expanding new funding sources, inspiring new donors, and cultivating strategic partnerships with agencies and other NGOs.
  • Support fundraising for national priority projects with Audubon’s leadership and development teams. Collaborate meaningfully with other Audubon state programs and national development staff on donor strategies.

Stakeholder Relations:

  • Build and engage the a regional Board of Advisors to inspire their advocacy for conservation and programmatic priorities, individual philanthropy, and fundraising support.
  • Support chapters in the region to expand Audubon’s capacity for on-the-ground conservation, policy change, and education at scale.
  • Prioritize engagement and activation of the region’s diverse communities in the Audubon movement, including college chapters, chapter leadership, advisory boards, volunteers, and conservation partnerships across the region.
  • Work with relevant governmental departments and non-governmental organizations to promote and prioritize bird science and habitat conservation.

Personal Knowledge & Characteristics:

  • Experience in the field of conservation and role of science in developing conservation strategies; knowledge of the conservation landscape and partners in the southern United States is strongly preferred.
  • Understanding of the region’s political landscape; connections to policymakers and the regional conservation advocacy community preferred.
  • Knowledge of funders and donors engaged in conservation philanthropy in the Delta/Gulf region preferred.
  • Willingness and ability to travel routinely through the region and nationally, as required.
  • A strong and demonstrated commitment to the mission, values, and programs of the National Audubon Society.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree strongly preferred.
  • 10+ years’ experience in organizational leadership, preferably connected to conservation or civic engagement, including 3+ years as an enterprise executive with accountability over multiple programs and/or regions.

Experience:

  • Experience in the field of conservation; knowledge of how conservation work is advanced in the Delta region and knowledge of key conservation leaders and partners is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience leading the execution of complex projects through to success, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners, in organizations of similar or greater size.
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising; experience with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.
  • An array of experience in public policy development and advocacy, campaigns, lobbying, and/or involvement in the state legislature and/or working with members of Congress and Executive Branch leaders is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment to creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment; ability to build and lead a diverse team of staff, board members and supporters.

Skills:

  • Strong leadership skills, with an entrepreneurial spirit, solid business acumen, and management operations skills; demonstrated ability to inspire and motivate staff, volunteers, donors, and potential partners a must.
  • Demonstrated ability to succeed in a distributed network and a highly matrixed, complex organization – strong ability to influence and persuade others required.
  • 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.
  • Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, including substantial public speaking experience, and the ability to effectively represent Audubon to its members, state and federal elected officials, donors and chapter leaders as well as in traditional, social and digital media.

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