Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Job Locations
US-NY-New York | US-DC | US-IL-Chicago | US-CA-San Francisco
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category
Executive/Senior Management
New York
Additional Location : State/Province


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.  And 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. 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 is seeking a Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CEDIO) who can deliver the fulfillment of the vision to drive change in racial equity by enabling the organization to act in solidarity and with intentionality to move initiatives forward in unison.  For Audubon, it is a moral and business imperative to represent and reflect human diversity, embracing it in all the communities where the organization works, in order to achieve its conservation goals.  Today, the National Audubon Society is has publicly committed to becoming an antiracist institution in everything they do internally and externally. Conservation, and the enjoyment of birds, cannot be held separate from racial equity any longer. The organization is committed to doing its best to right wrongs and build a bright future.  This includes acknowledging the racist actions of its 19th-century namesake John James Audubon.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core Audubon values. They are also business essentials. Respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people and perspectives from different cultures, attracts the best ideas and harnesses the greatest passion to shape a healthier, more vibrant future for all who share this planet. The birds Audubon protects differ in color, size, behavior, range, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon strives to bring new creativity, innovation, and impact to its work throughout the hemisphere.  Only by creating a truly inclusive workplace, with equitable access to career development opportunities for all staff, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation can Audubon bring greater diversity to staff at all levels—from junior positions to senior management
Audubon’s 34 nature centers include 14 in urban locations like Dallas, Seattle, and Columbus, Ohio, as well as others in rural areas from the Mississippi Gulf coast to the Nebraska prairie. This network makes the organization local in an astoundingly diverse array of communities throughout the U.S. and enables it to share the wonder of birds and nature with more than one million visitors of different ages and back-grounds each year. Audubon’s staff, chapters, and volunteers augment the work of its centers by spearheading education and outreach programs in communities without a center—from the Latino community surrounding California’s Salton Sea to African-American neighborhoods in Chicago. Audubon’s goal is to engage and mobilize people around the most pressing environmental issues where they live. Fundamental to the organization’s mission, is the recognition that it is a part of the communities it serves, with local relationships that give it a platform to be an influential advocate for environmental justice and equity. 

Essential Functions

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Strategy Development: Developing a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan that that incorporates EDI into people operations, program delivery and chapter membership and operations. 
  • Implementation: Implementing this vision and strategic direction for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  Primarily focused on driving accountability on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within the organization.  Secondarily integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into the programmatic work.  Additionally, implementing the strategy for EDI at the chapter level.  
  • Change Management: Develop business priorities that provide opportunities to build diversity, equity and inclusive practices into the fabric of the organization’s operations; advocating for data-driven imperatives for change; partnering closely with leaders to implement EDI and culture priorities. 
  • Team Leadership: This leader will serve as a critical advisor will have a seat at the executive table, and will build, develop, and work with both internal and external EDI subject matter experts to implement programs to develop inclusive leaders, create an inclusive climate, and design equitable talent management structures and processes including:
    • Measurement: Ensuring EDI metrics are included in leader scorecards; utilizing a data-oriented approach to drive decisions and measure success; developing a measurement strategy to monitor and drive success. 
    • Best Practices: Innovating EDI practices; building on best practices and emerging workforce trends; identifying external trends and benchmarks that inform and complement internal workforce goals and employee engagement; bringing new ideas to the initiatives.
    • Talent Management: Driving diverse talent identification and retention strategies for global employee population; partnering with human capital to implement effective diversity recruiting strategies at all levels; supporting annual diversity goal setting with human capital and assess equity talent management systems.
    • Culture: Will be a critical partner in supporting the culture transformation efforts by ensuring the agreed upon EDI outcomes are fully imbedded into human capital goals. This would include; creating and executing communications and change management strategies, including an internal plan to increase awareness with employees, as well as an external plan supporting key stakeholder relationships and talent pipeline building.
    • Affinity Groups: Ability to influence and sponsor affinity gorups to provide an engine for positively impacting the organization through effective leadership, engagement, programming, and management; developing and building programs that create a common language around diversity and inclusion and facilitate dialogue amongst a diverse employee population.
    • EDI Task Force: Facilitate the temporary staff Task Force to expand from its current purpose to integrate EDI into goal setting, advise the recruitment process and implement a baseline staff training into a group that continues to guide the EDI function in a more permanent fashion. 
    • Programs: Embedding the EDI strategy into all programs across the five major areas of Working Lands; Water; Climate; and Bird-Friendly Communities.   
    • Chapters: Embedding the EDI strategy into chapter membership strategies and implementing related changes in chapter operations.   

Qualifications and Experience

The successful candidate will build a workplace that: represents a diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences; enacts fair policies, processes, and practices; and fosters a climate of belonging and psychological safety.  This leader will both meet the organization and people where they are and not be afraid to question the status quo where important.  


The Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion must be not only passionate and forward-looking about diversity and inclusion, but also able to galvanize others into action around building more diverse, inclusive and equitable communities. This person will have a track record of institutional change, demonstrating skills in developing vision and strategies that inspire others, and applying effective techniques to achieve meaningful impact. The successful candidate will possess the clear ability to be forward thinking, tenacious, and persistent in working toward shared goals, and continually see around the corners to anticipate opportunities. This individual should have a history of driving innovation, finding new solutions that lead to tangible results, and have demonstrated great agility in responding to both opportunities and challenges along the way. This person will be comfortable with the many dimensions of identity, with a fundamental inclination to listen with compassion to all perspectives and experiences.


The ideal candidate will have a wealth of experience and track record of impact in advancing both diversity and inclusion in complex communities and/or organizations. This individual should have demonstrated success in facilitating effective partnerships with and between constituencies. This individual must be a convener and community builder, with the ability to achieve results through influence, intellect, and dynamism of personality. This person will have exceptional communication skills, both verbally and in writing. The successful candidate will be known for partnering well in complex environments and should understand that an essential component of this leadership role includes productive collaboration with a wide variety of constituencies. 


The Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will have demonstrated an ability to utilize data and analytics as important tools in measuring success. This individual must be able to approach challenges with systems-level thinking to work toward institutional change rather than individual remedies. This individual must bring a strong understanding of budget issues and be able to think creatively about resource allocation. The successful candidate must be a truly flexible leader who can serve in many different capacities as part of a diverse team. 


In terms of the experience and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:


Setting Strategy

  • Critical thinking and the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information from multiple sources and perspectives to reach an answer or conclusion.
  • Systems thinking to understands the formal and informal intersections and interdependencies to be able to frame the problem, evaluate issues, see downstream affects, and identify future implications across the end-to-end system to help prioritize solutions.
  • An entrepreneurial and forward-looking approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the Foundation in advancing inclusion, diversity, and community engagement.
  • The ability to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to inform and support decisions and to align others with the organization's overall strategy.
  • The ability to effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.
  • The ability to set forward strategic plans for resource allocation. 
  • Forward thinking and courageous in strategic vision—willing to experiment and be, exceptionally agile. 

Executing for Results

  • Excel at delivering and continuously improving our global solutions in a seamless, consistent way that results in clients understanding changes and more effectively driving foundation impact.
  • Using data to drive decision making, determine the work to be done, assess changes, adapt plans, measure progress, and follow-through on getting the work done in service of the desired client experience outcome(s).
  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.
  • An inquisitive thinker who seeks data and input from others to foresee possible threats or unintended circumstances from decisions.
  • A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in approach to making decisions; the ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always considering what is best for the organization.

Leading Teams

  • Build, lead and develop high performing teams.
  • Integrates across sub-functions.
  • Prioritizes across competing priorities.
  • The ability to attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, delegate effectively, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.
  • The ability to persevere in the face of challenges and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.
  • A leader who is self-reflective and aware of his/her own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.

Relationships and Influence

  • The successful candidate will have both high intellect and emotional intelligence in order to communicate and influence effectively within a matrixed organization.  
  • A collaborative style to work with others openly and transparently to create an environment where diverse viewpoints are valued, and information is shared with others for the purposes of achieving a shared client experience goal.
  • Excellent verbal, presentation, and written communication skills; confident in speaking to large groups of people, personable in small group settings, and a skilled facilitator. 
  • Well-honed influencing skills that will enable this individual to persuade minds, engage in difficult and deeply personal dialogue with empathy, and handle conflict with grace and humility. 
  • Confident and comfortable working in a collaborative environment. 
  • Highly relational and empathetic; naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • An ability to inspire trust and followership.
  • The ability to persevere in the face of challenges and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, which commands respect from followers.

Personal Characteristics 

  • Deep personal commitment to the value of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. 
  • Learning agility: ability, curiosity, and willingness to learn from experiences and failures to adapt and adopt new ways of being and thinking to further the impact of the Foundation (e.g., take risks, challenge status quo, be open).
  • Creative thinker: does not come with a set playbook on how things are done; sees opportunity in unconventional approaches.  
  • Comfortable in a variety of circumstances; does not shy away from difficult topics or conversations. 

Location: New York or DC preferred, open to SF or Chicago

National Audubon Society has engaged Russell Reynolds Associates for this search. Interested candidates should reach out to:
Tina Shah Paikeday
Russell Reynolds Associates
101 California Street
Suite 4200
San Francisco, CA  94111-5867
Tel: +1-415-352-3300


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