Vice President and Executive Director, Audubon Texas

Dallas, Texas
May 31, 2017
Jul 30, 2017
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Salary Type


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.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

In the spring of 2016, Audubon adopted a new strategic plan to renew the organization’s focus on the biggest and most important opportunities for addressing critical threats to birds and their habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere. This plan reaffirms Audubon’s commitment to organizing our conservation work by migratory flyways: each year, more than 10 billion birds use four major flyways to travel up and down the continent and to points beyond. Underneath these flyways are migratory rest stops and the homes for non-migratory birds that are critical to birds’ survival. By mobilizing and aligning Audubon’s unparalleled network of chapters, centers, state programs, and Important Bird Area (IBA) programs to focus on the four major migratory flyways in the Americas (Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific), 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 more than 100 countries working to protect a network of IBAs around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level. Our 2016 strategic plan builds on the strong foundation established by our 2011 plan. It creates a roadmap for the next five years, guided by two ideas: by focusing on the needs of bird species, the scale and ambition of our conservation work can match the complexity of 21st century demands; and to do so, Audubon needs to become the most effective conservation network in America. We are setting our sights on large-scale conservation goals and taking the needed steps to ensure that Audubon has the authority and capacity to achieve them. We will focus on five cross-cutting conservation strategies including climate, coasts, working lands, water, and bird friendly communities. We will build durable public will for conservation by broadening and deepening our support base, with a clear-eyed focus on diversity. We will invest in the skills and capacity of our unparalleled distributed network. We will continue to refine our priorities and evolve our organizational structure in order to meet our ambitious goals.

Audubon has a rich history in Texas with the first chapter being established in Galveston in 1899. In 1923, Audubon began managing barrier islands along the Texas coast as critical rookery habitats for colonial waterbirds and have expanded that work to 178 islands today. Audubon Texas currently operates three nature centers in Texas, oversees a management partner at Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville, and delivers conservation programs in three primary areas of focus – Coastal, Urban/Water, and Grasslands.

Position Summary: Audubon seeks a dynamic Executive Director to build on Audubon Texas’ (ATX) rich history and expand its contributions to conservation in Texas and throughout the entire Central Flyway, leading the organization to its next level of programmatic and financial success.

The Executive Director will be the chief executive officer for Audubon Texas 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 ATX’s leadership in Audubon’s Gulf Coast and North American Grasslands work, as well as emerging opportunities addressing water issues in Texas. 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 Texas Board of Directors 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 Central Flyway Vice President.

Audubon Texas has a staff of 40 and an annual budget of nearly $3.9 million which includes several offices and programs across the state, Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas, Coastal Conservation Program in Galveston Area and coordination of the partner-managed Audubon site Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville. Audubon Texas works with a network of twenty independently funded and managed, affiliated local Audubon Chapters, and approximately 25,000 grassroots members, plus various conservation organizations, government agencies, and other public and private entities to protect birds and their habitats. Audubon Texas 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 coastal habitat, prairie and grassland, and watershed conservation; Important Bird Areas, urban conservation and community outreach and education. In conjunction with senior management explore opportunities and the feasibility of expanding ATX’s leadership along the Gulf Coast and in the Central Flyway.
  • Provide leadership, management, and mentoring to staff.
  • Focus resources on the most critical, high-leverage projects and strategies, including policy development and public engagement. Leverage the impact of Audubon Texas’s Centers and Sanctuaries to achieve state and Flyway goals.
  • 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 Texas’s staff; ensure that all Audubon financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitments, and legal requirements are met.

Fundraising and External Relations

  • Represent Audubon Texas throughout the state and raise its profile and visibility to funders, partners, policymakers, and the public.
  • Along with appropriate development staff, lead Audubon Texas’s fundraising to cultivate and solicit major donors, foundations, corporations and government agencies for Audubon Texas and to significantly increase contributions. Play an active role in helping to promote fundraising for regional priority projects across the Central Flyway working with other state directors, the program managers and other supporting staff.
  • Work closely with the Audubon Texas Board of Directors to support the efforts of ATX 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 Texas 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 Texas’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 Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas and the National Audubon Society.

To apply: