The Vice President for Community Conservation (the VP) will lead Audubon’s work to protect birds and their habitats in cities and towns through programs and partnerships that contribute to more just, resilient, and healthy communities in which every member benefits from the joy and value of nature. We call these Bird-Friendly Communities. This position offers an outstanding opportunity to reimagine communities’ relationship with nature by integrating disciplines including environmental justice, biodiversity conservation, grassroots organizing, and urban planning and revitalization.
Resident and migratory birds face great challenges in dense human communities, from lack of food and shelter to deadly hazards and pollution. Meanwhile, human residents themselves, especially low-income people and people of color, face exposure to toxins, human-exacerbated natural disasters, unjust land use, and disconnection from nature. In the coming years, U.S. cities and towns will expand significantly in both population and land cover, and increasingly, they will grapple with the consequences of a changing climate: All of these factors will heighten challenges for birds and people alike.
A visionary, skilled, and motivated leader, the VP will develop and lead a portfolio of programs and partnerships to transform communities and protect birds and the places they need. The starting points are existing nationwide Audubon initiatives like Plants for Birds and the successful work and partnerships developed by local Audubon staff and chapters across the country. These need more visibility, more resources, and more scale. However, the scope of the challenges also requires new and boundary-pushing approaches, partners, and ideas, and the VP will lead the way with bold action, a strong foundation in science, and a fundamental commitment to justice and equality for all people.
Reporting to the Chief Network Officer, the VP will work closely with all parts of Audubon and its network to ensure successful conservation delivery and outcomes in communities, including Audubon’s state offices and nature centers; its national conservation, policy, grassroots, science, marketing, legal, and communications teams; Audubon’s VP for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Audubon’s network of 450 affiliated chapters, including large staffed affiliates in major cities; Audubon’s partners, including international partners; and Audubon’s development (fundraising) team.
The Vice President of Community & Conservation will serve as a thought leader for the National Audubon Society, providing strategic advice to Audubon’s leadership on cutting-edge issues and solutions, advising staff and partners on strategies and tactics to achieve success at scale, and participating in forums and conferences to share best practices, highlight challenges, and showcase solutions.
- Envision a new future for communities and articulate a framework to make that future a reality.
- Serve as an effective and strategic leader across a large national organization and network, developing innovative solutions that promote biodiversity and justice in communities; oversee program implementation and partnership development in a matrixed organization.
- Build the capacity of Audubon’s staff and network to deliver effective programs and be effective partners.
- Act as a change agent by creating and championing new initiatives to help realize the vision described above, from concept to execution (including fundraising and deep community engagement).
- Manage staff and budgets and align policy, conservation, and science teams; state offices and nature centers; and partners each to materially contribute to the goals of the initiative.
- Collaboratively lead and organize staff and resources across multiple national departments, field offices, and partners; ensure that Audubon maintains its focus on critical tasks and strategic goals while successfully executing work in communities.
- Represent Audubon by serving as a public spokesperson on biodiversity and justice in communities.
- Engage Audubon’s staff and network in achieving policy outcomes at local, state, and national levels to advance the vision described above.
- Engage Audubon’s science team in identifying needs and measuring outcomes.
- Work closely with executive leadership and Audubon’s fundraising professionals to support fundraising efforts that contribute to priorities; develop and help to maintain relationships with funders.
- Proactively engage and help lead the thinking of Audubon’s board, CEO, executive team, and other relevant staff on issues pertaining to biodiversity and justice in human communities.
- 10-15 years of leadership experience in environmental justice and conservation or biodiversity work, including urban planning, government relations, science, advocacy, or public service.
- Demonstrated success in developing and leading successful initiatives within large, geographically distributed NGOs and networks, including building partnerships and capacity across a network.
- Deep expertise in urban environmental issues and policies (e.g., urban biodiversity, brownfields reclamation, equitable urban revitalization, environmental justice, land use, urban waterways, zoning and land use, urban forestry), as well as strong connections with leading experts in the field and with funders of this work.
- Demonstrated expertise and commitment to engaging diverse stakeholders and viewpoints in pursuit of justice and equality.
- Firm grasp of conservation issues, trends, and critical elements.
- Demonstrated experience overseeing complex and multiple projects in a matrixed environment to success, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and communicating and coordinating closely with key staff and partners.
- A self-starter, works collaboratively with staff on multiple career levels; must also possess excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions with a wide range of individuals and organizations at all levels.
- Proven track record of success in fundraising, in particular extensive experience with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.
- Technically savvy, including proficiency in Microsoft Office suite applications and various web-based technologies. Experience with Salesforce a plus, but not required.
- Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to effectively represent Audubon.
- Must have a flexible approach to work, with a willingness to travel nationally as needed.
- Spanish-language proficiency a plus.
- Demonstrated commitment to conservation and passion for the mission and programs of the National Audubon Society.