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Vice President and Executive Director - Audubon LA

Company: National Audubon Society
Date Posted: November 8, 2016


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, 22 state offices, 44 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 46 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Position Summary

Audubon seeks a dynamic Executive Director to build on Audubon Louisiana’s rich history and expand its contributions to conservation and restoration in Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, and throughout the entire Mississippi Flyway, leading the organization to its next level of programmatic and financial success.  This is a high-profile, pivotal opportunity for a conservation professional to be an environmental entrepreneur in representing Audubon’s mission in Louisiana, across the Gulf and throughout the Mississippi Flyway.  

The Executive Director will be the chief executive officer for Audubon Louisiana and will exercise broad leadership and management responsibility in developing statewide conservation policy, initiatives, and public programming. The Director will also work with senior management in exploring opportunities and the feasibility of expanding Audubon Louisiana’s leadership in Gulf Coast restoration and conservation efforts.  The successful candidate will have the passion and leadership skills necessary to articulate, develop, and implement Audubon’s conservation goals and strategies in the state, all while working closely with the Audubon Louisiana Advisory Board and staff, and Audubon’s key national 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 the Gulf Coast and Mississippi Flyway.

Audubon Louisiana has a dedicated and professional staff of 13 and an advisory board of 14 individuals representing the diversity of interests of Louisiana and surrounding regions. The annual budget is approximately $3.0 million which includes several offices and programs across the state and the Paul J. Rainey Sanctuary. Audubon Louisiana works with a network of three affiliated local Audubon Chapters, and thousands of grassroots members, plus various conservation organizations, government agencies, and other public and private entities to protect birds and their habitats.  Audubon Louisiana is a critical part of an extensive network of 22 National Audubon Society state offices that advance state and local conservation policies, conduct on-the-ground work and educational programming and contribute to the goals of hemispheric-scale conservation priorities of the organization.  

Essential Functions

Strategy Development and Organizational Leadership

  • Aligned with Audubon’s overall conservation goals and strategies, develop strategic goals and initiatives that result in the organization’s increased statewide capacity to achieve the conservation of priority birds and their habitats.  Priorities include the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, the Rainey Conservation Alliance, coastal stewardship, water resource management, climate change adaptation, and bird friendly communities. In conjunction with senior management explore opportunities and the feasibility of expanding Audubon Louisiana’s leadership in the Gulf South states   
  • Provide leadership, management, and mentoring to staff.
  • Focus financial and intellectual resources on the most critical, high-leverage conservation strategies and initiatives, such as the Lower Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. These priorities will leverage  the impact of the Paul J. Rainey Sanctuary, the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, and the Rainey Conservation Alliance.  
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the state office, including setting financial and programmatic goals, analyzing results, and taking corrective actions, in close collaboration with Louisiana’s staff; ensure that all Audubon financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitments, and legal requirements are met.  

Fundraising and External Relations

  • Represent Audubon Louisiana throughout the state and raise its profile and visibility to funders, partners, policymakers, and the public.
  • Along with appropriate development staff Development, lead Audubon Louisiana’s fundraising to cultivate and solicit major donors, foundations, corporations and government agencies for Audubon Louisiana and to significantly increase contributions.  Play an active role in helping to promote fundraising for regional priority projects across the Mississippi and Gulf Coast Flyway working with other state directors, the program managers and other supporting staff.
  • Work closely with the Audubon Louisiana’s Advisory Board to support the efforts of the state office in continuing the development of a strong statewide organization through fundraising, program development, and conservation advocacy.  

Work closely with, support and provide guidance to the Chapters in Louisiana to expand Audubon’s capacity to for on-the-ground conservation and education at scale.  Work to strengthen the statewide presence of Audubon and support these organizations in their local efforts.

  • Continuously seek out ways to engage Louisiana’s diverse population in Audubon programs.  
  • Work with government departments and non-governmental organizations to promote and prioritize bird science and habitat conservation.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management, business, conservation or related field required; advanced degree strongly preferred.
  • 7-10 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.
  • 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.
  • Tech-savvy, including proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, budgeting systems and donor databases.  Comfort with and interest in leveraging technology to maximize conservation impact and network engagement.
  • Demonstrated experience overseeing complex or multiple 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 Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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 Louisiana and the National Audubon Society

Note: All applications are made through Audubon’s online system: