Waterkeepers Chesapeake (WKC) seeks a mission-driven coalition leader who shares and can help shape our vision of a powerful and inclusive Waterkeeper movement in the Chesapeake and coastal bays region that protects local communities, rivers, and streams from pollution.
We seek a leader who demonstrates and values collaboration, and brings the passion, skills, and enthusiasm needed to lead our 5-person team and work with and support our 17 Waterkeeper members. The Executive Director reports to WKC’s Board of Directors. In partnership with member Waterkeepers and the Board of Directors, the Executive Director creates, updates and implements the organization’s strategic vision and plan. The Executive Director plays a pivotal role in forging new and important partnerships in the broader community, including within the funding community, representing our coalition’s vision, values, and strategies effectively. We seek an experienced candidate who values environmental protection, and who is committed to centering racial justice at the intersection of water protection, access, and equity.
Key Leadership Qualities
- Movement building: Commitment to coalition building and supporting a collective action plan centered on the member Waterkeepers;
- Equity-focused: Ensures strategies produce equitable outcomes, and ensure equitable membership, engagement, and participation;
- Political savvy: Deep understanding of policy-making systems and how to influence them;
- Project management: Supports implementation of common agenda across member Waterkeepers and partners, holding individuals and groups accountable for action commitments;
- Inclusive culture builder: Effective communicator and trusted facilitator who engages, motivates, celebrates, and resolves differences and conflicts among diverse partners, especially for the member Waterkeepers.
Who we are: Waterkeepers Chesapeake fights for clean water and a healthy environment by supporting a coalition of 17 Waterkeepers throughout the Chesapeake and coastal regions as they protect their communities, rivers, and streams from pollution.
Statistics show that women and people of underrepresented groups are more likely to apply to jobs only when they meet 100% of the job qualifications. We encourage individuals to break those statistics. No candidate ever meets 100% of the requested qualifications. We look forward to your application. Waterkeepers Chesapeake is an equal opportunity employer.
Leadership & Board Engagement
- Cultivate and implement a shared organizational vision and mission among the Board, member Waterkeepers and staff.
- As key spokesperson for WKC, elevate our vision and mission to inspire and engage member Waterkeepers, Board members, staff and other stakeholders; and raise WKC’s profile through relationships with members, other nonprofits, federal, state, local, and Tribal government agencies, community leaders, foundations, donors, and businesses.
- Work with the Board and membership to develop, review and update as needed WKC’s Strategic Plan and annual work plans.
Member Support & Program Oversight
- Ensure the development and implementation of strategies necessary to maintain a collaborative, sustainable, inclusive and supportive environment for member Waterkeepers.
- Oversee the development and implementation of annual legislative and advocacy agendas and activities, training and capacity building opportunities, including regular monthly meetings and an annual retreat, and member communication, resource and information sharing.
- Ensure effective administration of all programs. Establish and track key metrics to monitor progress against goals and achievement of results.
- Assist members to strengthen their programs and uphold the Waterkeeper Quality Standards.
- Partner with Waterkeeper Alliance through our Chesapeake Regional Rep to represent the member Waterkeepers’ needs and interests, and to facilitate their access to Waterkeeper Alliance as needed.
Fundraising & Resource Development
- Ensure WKC has the financial resources to advance its mission and goals through cultivation of legacy and new funding sources, timely foundation grant applications and reports, individual donor stewardship, an annual fundraising event, and other creative fundraising activities.
- Build partnerships to leverage resources and expertise in support of WKC’s mission and work.
Fiscal & Operational Oversight
- Prepare and track the annual budget. Monitor all financial management systems and provide regular, accurate reporting to the Board. Oversee annual certified audit, and ensure the organization complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
- Direct strategies necessary to maintain a sustainable, inclusive and supportive work environment for all staff.
- Oversee communication strategies to inform government officials, organizations, the media, and the public about WKC initiatives, and to amplify the Waterkeepers work and collective impact.
External Affairs & Relationships
- Actively partner with and seek collaborative coalitions with organizations and alliances with similar or complementary strategic goals, in service of WKC’s mission.
- Provide policy and strategic leadership to help collaborative efforts succeed in protecting the local waterways of the Chesapeake and coastal bays region.
- Strategically reach out to new communities and organizations to build a coordinated, grassroots movement for protecting the regional waterways from pollution and advancing environmental and climate equity and justice.
Required Experience and Core Competencies:
- Passion for WKC’s mission and its member Waterkeepers.
- Proven ability to inspire, articulate vision, and spark engagement with enthusiasm.
- Proven nonprofit leadership and effective staff and program management skills, including: experience managing organizational change; strong financial planning skills; ability to retain, motivate and attract strong and creative staff; experience in strategy as well as execution of programs to meet goals; demonstrated ability to work effectively with a Board of Directors.
- Nonprofit fundraising success and demonstrated ability to establish and manage relationships with major individual and institutional donors, nonprofit organizations and alliances, government agencies, the media, and volunteers for the benefit and support of WKC’s mission.
- Personal and professional understanding of how diversity, inclusion, and justice play a central role in both advancing equity within an organization and in creating a more just and inclusive environmental movement.
- Strong and effective oral and written communication skills with a high degree of emotional intelligence, humility, and compassion.
- Ten years of relevant nonprofit leadership experience, and a degree in a field related to WKC’s mission and vision. Experience in coalitions and the Waterkeeper movement preferred.
How to apply & job details
The location of the position is flexible within 30 miles of the Washington, DC metro area. We are a hybrid workplace, with most staff working remotely, and our office is located in Silver Spring, MD.
Salary range is $100,000 – $120,000 depending on experience. WKC values employee growth and advancement and makes opportunities for these even with our small size. Position includes a benefits package designed for your well-being and a healthy work-life balance including: health insurance, retirement benefit, generous vacation and time off, and flexible work arrangements. The position is available immediately.
Please submit a resume and cover letter indicating your specific interest in this position. In addition, you can submit additional materials such as published work. Send to info(at)waterkeeperschesapeake.org with subject line: LAST NAME: Executive Director application. Resumes without a cover letter will not be considered.
Applications will be accepted until we hire, but we strongly encourage interested individuals to submit their applications as soon as possible. Interviews will be set up on a rolling basis.