Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon New York
In the spring of 2016, the National Audubon Society adopted a new strategic plan to renew the organization’s focus on addressing critical threats to birds and their habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere. This plan reaffirms Audubon’s commitment to organizing its conservation work along fours migratory flyways – the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific. Each spring and fall, billions of migratory birds follow the flyways of the Americas from wintering to breeding grounds and back again. By protecting the web of life that represents the Americas’ richest veins of biodiversity, Audubon safeguards this natural heritage for future generations. To accomplish this, Audubon connects its powerful network—463 Chapters, 41 nature centers and sanctuaries, 22 state offices, more than 650 state and national staff members, 1 million members and volunteers, and U.S. and international partners—along each of the flyways, to weave a seamless web of conservation across the hemisphere.
Audubon’s 2016 strategic plan 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 its conservation work can match the complexity of 21st century demands; and to do so, Audubon will become the most effective conservation network in America. It is setting its sights on large-scale conservation with a focus on five crosscutting conservation strategies--climate, coasts, working lands, water, and bird friendly communities. Audubon seeks to build a durable public will for conservation by broadening and deepening its support base, with a focus on increasing diversity and promoting inclusion.
Established in 1996, Audubon New York was a pioneer in launching the Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA) program. IBA has identified 136 IBAs, comprising more than 3.5 million acres of land and water habitat, which provides essential habitats for bird populations. The cornerstone of all Audubon New York’s conservation efforts is science. Bird surveying, species assessment, grassland bird research, forest biodiversity research, and public outreach and education programs are the key elements driving its conservation priorities within New York State. Audubon New York's science staff is headquartered at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, which allows them to work closely with leading ornithologists and conservationists.
Audubon New York works with partners across the state on sustainable development, clean energy, and other environmental issues that are important to the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Audubon New York continues to be a leader on Long Island Sound, actively working to ensure the protection of its coasts, enlisting a growing number of volunteers to help reduce disturbances to birds and steward nesting habitat and advocating for continued funding of the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act.
On private lands, Audubon is working to educate forest owners, foresters, loggers and builders about preferred stewardship practices favorable to birds and other wildlife. And we are partnering with landowners, public land managers, businesses, state and federal agencies, Audubon chapters, and local partners across the state to restore forest, grassland, and shrubland habitat.
Audubon Centers are facilities where people can become engaged in meaningful interactions with local environment. The New York Centers Network includes seven Centers and staffed sanctuaries operated by Audubon New York, and two Centers operated by Audubon Chapters. Audubon New York’s Centers stretch from Long Island to Buffalo. Education is an important component of Audubon’s effectiveness in creating lasting changes to protect the natural world and its Centers provide educational experiences to people of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, the innovative For The Birds! program provides over 1,000 underserved schoolchildren in New York City Schools, and has now expanded to other parts of the state including Long Island.
Audubon seeks an Executive Director to build on Audubon New York’s rich history and expand its contributions to conservation in New York and the Atlantic Flyway, leading the organization to its next level of programmatic and financial success. This is a high profile, pivotal opportunity for a dynamic conservation professional. As one of Audubon’s largest state programs, with an annual budget of $3.25 million and a staff of 26, Audubon New York uses its statewide conservation initiatives, educational programming, network of seven Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries, 27 affiliated local Audubon Chapters, and 50,000 grassroots members to protect birds and their habitats.
Reporting to the Vice President, Atlantic Flyway, 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. In addition to working closely with Audubon NY staff and the Vice President of the Atlantic Flyway to align the state program with strategic regional and national priorities, the Executive Director will also have the opportunity to work in close consultation with Audubon NY’s exceptional board on all aspects of Audubon NY management and strategy. The Executive Director will hold the title of Vice President within the national organization.
This position will preferably be located in New York City or Troy, New York; however, alternate locations in New York State will be considered.
Strategy Development and Organizational Leadership
- Develop strategic goals and initiatives aligned with Audubon’s overall conservation goals and strategies that result in the organization’s increased statewide capacity to achieve the conservation of priority birds and their habitats. Priorities include the Long Island Sound, Great Lakes, Healthy Forests, Climate and Bird Friendly Communities.
- Provide leadership, management, and mentoring to staff of 26 while preserving open communication and recognizing the value of the senior management team.
- Focus resources on the most critical, high-leverage projects and strategies, including policy development and public engagement. Leverage the impact of Audubon New York’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 New York’s staff; ensure that all Audubon financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitments, and legal requirements are met.
Fundraising and External Relations
- Represent Audubon New York throughout the state and raise its profile and visibility to funders, partners, policymakers, and the public.
- Along with appropriate development staff, lead Audubon New York’s fundraising to cultivate and solicit major donors, foundations, corporations and government agencies for Audubon New York and to show a significant increase in contributions. Play an active role in helping to promote fundraising for regional priority projects across the Atlantic Flyway working with other state directors, the program managers and other supporting staff.
- Effectively collaborate with other Audubon state programs and National Development staff on donor strategies under the One Audubon approach to members and donors.
- Work closely with the Audubon New York Board of Directors to support the efforts of ANY 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 New York to expand Audubon’s capacity to for on-the-ground conservation and education at scale. Work with the Chapter Council to strengthen the statewide presence of Audubon and support these organizations in their local efforts.
- Continuously seek out ways to engage New York’s diverse population in Audubon programs.
- Work with government departments and non-governmental organizations to promote and prioritize bird science and habitat conservation.
- 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; experience with Salesforce desired. 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 represent effectively Audubon New York 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 New York and its environment, conservation and political history, and the role of science in developing conservation strategies.
- Knowledge of New York’s political and demographic reality with broad connections to partners and the philanthropic community, and is externally focused on raising Audubon’s profile.
- Willingness and ability to travel routinely throughout the state and nationally, as required.
- A strong commitment to the mission, values, and programs of Audubon New York and the National Audubon Society.