Executive Director, Connecticut River Conservancy
Connecticut River Conservancy Seeks a New Executive Director
Connecticut River Conservancy’s Board of Directors invites candidates to apply for the opportunity to lead this established, impactful, and highly regarded organization at an exciting time. The Executive Director will join a knowledgeable and passionate team of environmental professionals, a dedicated board of directors, and a wide range of collaborative partners to advance the work of CRC in service of the Connecticut River and its tributaries. The successful candidate will be a dynamic, forward-thinking, and inclusive leader with a track record of leading and managing nonprofit organizations, strong relationship-building skills, and experience supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a part of organizational culture.
About Connecticut River Conservancy
Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been a voice for the Connecticut River watershed from source to sea and a powerful force for positive environmental change in New England. Based in Greenfield, Massachusetts, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit collaborates with partners across four states (NH, VT, MA, and CT) to protect and advocate for the rivers of the watershed and to educate and engage communities. It brings people together in communities across the four states to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of the rivers and streams.
CRC is unique in the breadth of its mission and in the role it plays as an independent voice. Its work encompasses a wide range of activities aimed at protecting the Connecticut River and its tributaries; to list just a few:
- Advocacy and Policy: review and watchdog permits and hydropower licensing; advocate at the local and state level on issues to bring about science-based environmental policies that account for climate change and protect clean water.
- Community Science: water quality testing, bacteria monitoring, migratory fish monitoring,
- Habitat and River Restoration: floodplain restoration and dam removal to improve fish passage and flood resiliency, tree planting, invasive plant removal.
- Recreation: work with a multitude of organizations and communities to create better access to the river for all, including but not limited to the economically disadvantaged, disabled and people of color.
- Regional Convener and Collaborator: work with and bring together partners across four states to protect and advocate for rivers and educate and engage communities.
- Source to Sea Cleanup: Annual event in its 27th year that draws thousands of volunteers and tens of thousands of dollars from business sponsors and results in tons of trash removed.
- Affiliate Organization Relationships: support smaller organizations in their work on the watershed’s rivers by assisting with grant proposals, fundraising, and certain back-office functions.
CRC’s success, growth, and impact are powered by a highly skilled, mission-driven staff team of 24 who are leaders and knowledge experts in their technical field, and by thousands of volunteers up and down the River who help with advocacy, research, clean-ups, and restoration projects. Though staff members are located in all four states across the watershed, CRC’s headquarters are in Greenfield, MA. It is a membership-based organization with approximately 1,500 members. The organization is financially sound, with a $3.2M operating budget and approximately $5M in net assets. Its revenues come from a mix of grants, donor contributions, and earned income. CRC is governed by a committed 13-member Board of Trustees who bring skills in information technology, legal, business, land use planning, and finance, as well as backgrounds in river, wildlife, and environmental conservation. CRC has a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as to mitigating its own environmental impact.
The Opportunity Going Forward
CRC’s next Executive Director (ED) will be taking the reins at a time of change and opportunity. CRC has seen significant growth in the past ten years under the leadership of its former Executive Director, who left the organization in the fall of 2022. In that ten-year period, the organization built a restoration program that has removed 20 dams, restored over 130 acres of habitat and over 70,000 feet of shoreline, created one of the northeast’s largest freshwater bacteria monitoring programs, grew the annual Source to Sea Cleanup, which has been running for 27 consecutive years, and maintained persistent and effective advocacy for strong environmental standards. CRC is currently under the steady leadership of an Interim Executive Director.
Some of the organization’s opportunities and challenges include:
• Planning a new future with board and staff to clarify focus, increase impact, strengthen and build partnerships, and set strategic priorities.
• Assessing and revising the organizational structure for greater effectiveness in meeting future goals.
• Increasing financial support from CRC’s members, donors, and granting organizations while simultaneously expanding our relationship with foundations and government agencies to enhance stability and sustainability.
• Expanding the geographic reach of CRC’s programs, collaboration, and community engagement along the 410-mile length of the Connecticut River, resulting in a strong presence regionally and in New England.
As the Executive Director takes the reins, key priorities in the first 12-18 months will be to:
• Build trusting relationships with staff members, gain an understanding of the strengths, knowledge and wisdom that each brings to the work, and foster a positive and enriching team culture;
• Build relationships with and engage the Board of Trustees;
• Build relationships with established community partners;
• Gain a thorough understanding of the diverse programs, activities, and approaches CRC employs in its work to protect and enhance the River and its watershed;
• Support staff in building a solid financial accounting system to ensure timely tracking and reporting of all revenue and expenses.
• Assess the effectiveness of CRC’s current organization structure and its operational systems, and work with staff and board to address areas needing strengthening or restructuring.
• After building key relationships and gaining a solid understanding of CRC and its context, begin a strategic planning process in collaboration with the board and staff.
Position Duties and Responsibilities
The Executive Director leads the strategic vision for the organization and supports the growth and efforts of a community-oriented team in the implementation of key objectives to advance CRC’s mission. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees who are responsible for providing the Executive Director with regular feedback and consultation as well as setting annual compensation. The Executive Director will ensure that the organization has sound administrative and financial systems in place while creating an inclusive and supportive work culture. This is a full-time position based in Greenfield, MA, with hybrid options negotiable. The Executive Director will be expected to travel throughout the watershed as needed.
• The Executive Director supervises internal managers and all staff and is responsible for ensuring they are fully supported in their job responsibilities. This includes good management practices, routine feedback, essential training, and transparent communication that fosters a collaborative work environment.
Community Outreach & Partnerships
• The Executive Director is expected to be a public face of the organization and in partnership with the River Stewards and program managers in each state, maintains a presence through media, speaking engagements, and events. This role entails participation and collaboration with current regional strategic partners while pursuing relationships with potential new partners throughout the watershed.
Fundraising & Resource Development
• The Executive Director collaborates with the Development Director and staff in each state to secure donors, funds, and sponsorships with the goal of ensuring long-term financial sustainability for the organization.
Program Development, Management, & Evaluation
• The Executive Director supports staff in developing new or expanded programming with partner organizations and community stakeholders. The Executive Director will facilitate the coordination of all programs and help staff implement frameworks for measuring effectiveness.
• The Executive Director is responsible for the stewardship of the organization’s conserved properties as well as the responsible disposition of these properties to qualified organizations, individuals, or agencies.
Credentials and Profile of the Ideal Candidate
CRC’s next Executive Director will be a seasoned leader with significant management experience. They will be positive and inspiring while expressing integrity, humility, and emotional intelligence. They will have a deep understanding of how to support internal organizational culture, external coalition-building, and the ability to navigate diverse political, cultural, and ecological climates towards a clear and positive vision for CRC’s team and the River.
Candidates are welcome to apply even if they do not have all of these skills and background:
• A passionate advocate for the mission who feels a strong connection to landscapes and rivers in the Northeast, the environment, and outdoor activities.
• A supporter of CRC’s organizational values of inclusion, equity, collaboration, resilience, and stewardship.
• A people person with strong emotional intelligence who listens well and can relate to people of diverse backgrounds.
• A collaborative decision maker who engages inclusive and transparent practices, trusts and respects the knowledge and perspectives of staff, and seeks out the widest diversity of views.
• A courageous leader who can take criticism and is willing to learn, who acts with honesty, integrity, and accountability.
• A creative, innovative, out-of-the box thinker.
Skills, background, & experience
• Demonstrated experience with implementing or supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a part of organizational culture; proven ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
• A visionary leader and systems thinker with proven nonprofit experience in areas of strategic planning, board relations, operations, personnel/HR, change management, and program development.
• Solid understanding of nonprofit finances with complex budgets and multiple funding streams and ability to strategically align and maximize resources.
• Astute networking skills and track record in building relationships with various political and community stakeholders.
• A skillful communicator who can articulate CRC’s work and mission, both in writing and orally, and can be a passionate advocate and ambassador in the community.
• A track record of successful fundraising from individuals, businesses, and granting entities.
• Familiarity with federal, state, and foundation grant administration.
• Familiarity with fundamental conservation issues and environmental topics.
• Ability to manage multiple demands and execute efficiently.
• Professional experience in the New England area preferred.
• 5+ years of management and leadership experience.
Salary and Benefits
The salary range set for this position is $115,000-$130,000. CRC provides an excellent benefits package that includes employer contributions to health insurance and retirement.
The Executive Director is expected to be present in the Greenfield, MA office on a regular basis to be determined by the Board.
Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of CRC. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Send required documents to: https://eostransitions.applicantpool.com/jobs/967998.html
This executive search is being conducted by Eos Transition Partners consultant Catherine Bradshaw. The search process is being conducted in an inclusive manner, drawing on the perspectives of both board and staff members. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions must be submitted to Ms. Bradshaw at: email@example.com.
Connecticut River Conservancy is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer and will engage in an inclusive recruiting and hiring process. It considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.