Executive Director

Executive Director
Grow Native Massachusetts
Waltham, Massachusetts
October 2021

Growing native plants is critical not only for the biodiversity in your backyard, but also is an effective, local, achievable strategy to address climate change. Why not combine your passion for this critical issue with your expertise in nonprofit management and join Grow Native Massachusetts as Executive Director?

Grow Native Massachusetts (Grow Native) has a decade of success across Massachusetts, inspiring residents to understand that Every Garden Matters, Every Landscape Counts.Ⓡ Grow Native Massachusetts seeks to build a shared vision of the world that views humans as being “of nature,” not separate from it. With over 90% of land in Massachusetts privately owned, conservation areas are not enough. The current fragmentation of our landscape requires that we engage all citizens in actions to re-establish native plants everywhere, as a foundation for intact ecosystems. Conservation and stewardship begin at home, and Grow Native promotes individual actions that have an important impact on the world around us.

Grow Native and the Role

The new Grow Native Massachusetts Executive Director will be energized by Grow Native’s greatest resource: the community of people it has built. Within its Board of Directors, among its incredible volunteer network, and in partnership with individuals tending gardens big and small, Grow Native is a community supporting each other and learning from each other. The Executive Director will ensure that Grow Native’s unique and widely praised programs thrive and continue to grow. These include “Evenings with Experts,” a free public lecture series and the annual “Native Plant Sale,” that in 2021 sold more than 4,500 plants and over 100 native species to Grow Native members and the public. This event not only benefits from 700 or more volunteer hours but generates critical revenue for Grow Native’s mission. The Grow Native
Executive Director will ensure that the sale continues to play a central role in fostering native plant adoption, building community, and pointing the way toward a larger public understanding and commitment to native plants.

Grow Native Massachusetts is at a pivotal moment in its organizational development. Moving programs online during the pandemic has permitted many more people to either begin or deepen their understanding of the importance of native plants and the opportunity even the smallest home garden can have on our overall ecosystem. The new Executive Director will build upon this growth, while securing the infrastructure and continuing the strong growth in donor engagement that Grow Native, like all small nonprofits, needs to succeed.

Grow Native is a financially sound but small organization. With annual revenues of less than $300,000 a year and one current full-time employee, Grow Native is currently hiring for both an Executive Director and an Office Manager. Grow Native has enjoyed steady and impressive membership and philanthropic growth before and through the pandemic, and seeks to maintain and develop that momentum. Grow Native has partnered with an experienced fundraising consultant who has developed a thorough understanding of Grow Native’s fundraising potential and is prepared to support a new Executive Director in growing revenue to meet the demand for Grow Native’s expertise and mission.

Finally, Grow Native exists because of the vision and enormous dedication of its founder, Claudia Thompson. Claudia identified the need for Grow Native Massachusetts; recruited and engaged the first board members and volunteers; shared her unmatched expertise through programs, lectures, and Grow Native’s exceptional website; and while she retired in November 2020 and is now President Emerita, she can serve as a resource in onboarding a new Executive


Bringing a passion for Grow Native’s work, the Executive Director will be a creative thinker, practical do-er, patient collaborator, and kind leader as Grow Native evolves to its next decade. From a founder-led and volunteer-driven innovator, Grow Native seeks an Executive Director who can help it become a secure and sustainable nonprofit voice in the native plant community.

The Executive Director will juggle many responsibilities, while enjoying much support. Among the resources is the Manager of Programs who has more than five years of experience at Grow Native, extensive expertise in the mission, and the full faith of the membership. Soon to be hired is an Office Manager who will provide the logistics for programs, manage donations and membership renewals, and be responsible for all office operations. Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director will also work with outsourced bookkeeping, the board President, and the board Treasurer, each of whom brings extensive professional expertise to their roles.

In addition to leading Grow Native to a new chapter of nonprofit management, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to be a voice and a leader in the important and increasingly embraced movement toward native plants. As the public increasingly recognizes the challenges of climate change and the need for biodiversity, Grow Native is uniquely positioned to offer a readily understandable and achievable solution. The Executive Director will embrace this opportunity by building upon Grow Native’s exceptional strength in quality programming, reaching new and more diverse audiences, creating an inclusive environment, and identifying partnerships that further Grow Native’s mission and sustainability.

Among the specific expectations the Grow Native Board has for its next Executive Director are the following:

● As a leader committed to Grow Native’s mission, inspire board members, volunteers, donors, and those new to the issue to further the movement on behalf of native plants and the diversity of life they support.
● As a nonprofit manager, serve as a mentor, partner, and supporter for Grow Native’s small staff, ensuring they have the resources and infrastructure necessary to do their jobs well and with the knowledge they are appreciated.
● As the senior member of the team, demonstrate that successful leadership comes with the willingness to (literally) pull weeds or empty compost or stuff envelopes or do any of the mundane tasks required in a small nonprofit.
● As a colleague, tackle challenges with good humor and resilience, because Grow Native is mostly a community of individuals donating their time and talents and why shouldn’t this work be fun?


Grow Native is eager to hear from candidates that bring a range of skills and life experiences to this position. No one candidate is likely to have every experience, but successful candidates will demonstrate a commitment to the mission and the majority of the following:

● Demonstrated experience with or personal understanding of the role of native plants and local landscapes in conservation, educational experience in ecology, conservation, or similar fields would be an asset.
● Nonprofit management experience in leading a team, understanding goal setting and budget management, and communicating effectively is critical, previous experience as an executive director or program director would be an asset.
● Volunteer management experience, leveraging volunteer strengths, cultivating volunteers for subsequent leadership roles, and engaging volunteers from diverse communities is preferred.
● A willingness to ask supporters to invest financially in the mission, and a fundamental understanding of nonprofit fundraising at a small nonprofit is necessary.
● Excellent written and oral communication skills to engage groups in nature, in workshops, and virtually is important. Grow Native has enjoyed exceptionally well-written materials and expects to maintain that commitment to communications.
● Previous experience working with a board of directors, advisory board, or similar group is preferred.
● Sufficient nonprofit budgeting and financial acumen to work successfully with a bookkeeper and a treasurer and maintain a healthy balance sheet is required.
● Preferably expertise with Salesforce, but minimally experience with a complex database.
● A willingness to learn, take feedback, and help Grow Native to meet its full potential.

Compensation and Benefits

The anticipated salary range for this position is $80-$100,000. Grow Native offers a significant contribution toward the cost of health insurance, 3 weeks paid vacation, and additional holidays and sick days. Grow Native is located in a historic building in Waltham along with multiple other nonprofits including Mass Farmers Markets, Waltham Fields Community Farm, and Waltham Land Trust. Employees are currently working a hybrid schedule with both in person and remote
days, but in-office time is required. The building is currently owned by the University of Massachusetts, as a result anyone working in the office must demonstrate proof of COVID vaccination.

To Apply

Grow Native Massachusetts is an equal opportunity workplace and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in its hiring, workplace, and work. Grow Native has partnered with Carolyn O’Brien Consulting LLC to lead this search. Please email grownative@carolynobrien.org to apply, nominate a candidate, or for more information. Applicants should submit a thoughtful cover letter and detailed resume in pdf (using the following naming convention for files: Lastname_resume and Lastname_cover). All applications will be read and acknowledged. Only applications closely meeting the candidate profile will be contacted for additional information. All inquiries and applications are confidential.