Vice President and Executive Director, Audubon New Mexico

Type Regular, Full-Time
Job Category Executive/Senior Management
ID 2017-3205
 Santa Fe

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For more than a century, Audubon has championed the protection of birds and their habitat. Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit of humanity and the Earth’s biological diversity. With nearly 700 staff, 22 state programs, 463 local chapters, 41 centers and sanctuaries, and close to half a million members throughout the United States, Audubon achieves its mission by engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education, and on-the-ground conservation action.

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

Position Summary

Audubon seeks a dynamic Executive Director to build on Audubon New Mexico’s rich history and expand its contributions to conservation in New Mexico and the Central Flyway, leading the organization to its next level of programmatic and financial success.  This is a high-profile, pivotal opportunity for a conservation professional to be an environmental entrepreneur in representing one of Audubon’s oldest state programs.


The Executive Director will be the chief executive officer for Audubon New Mexico and will exercise broad leadership and management responsibility in developing statewide conservation policy, initiatives, and public programming. Additionally, the Executive Director will oversee the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary, a community nature center in Santa Fe that welcomes thousands of schoolchildren and visitors annually, and will supervise the staff responsible for planning, operating, and managing the day-to-day operations, as well as the implementation of the long-term natural, cultural, and historic reserves, habitat, and public outreach goals at the center.


With an annual budget just under $1 million and a staff of ten, Audubon New Mexico works with a network of four affiliated local Audubon Chapters, the New Mexico Audubon Council, and over 6,500 grassroots members, plus various conservation organizations, government agencies, and other public and private entities to protect birds and their habitats.  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, while working closely with the Audubon New Mexico Board of Directors and staff, and the Vice President of the Central Flyway 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 Vice President of the Central Flyway.

Essential Functions

The Vice President/Executive Director – Audubon New Mexico will perform the following and other duties as assigned:

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.
  • Provide leadership, management, and mentoring to staff, including a team of dedicated program directors in the priority areas for New Mexico (freshwater conservation, bird conservation, and education) to reach the goals in Audubon New Mexico’s strategic plan, the Central Flyway and the National Strategic Plan.
  • Focus resources on the most critical, high-leverage priority projects, including policy development and public engagement around New Mexico’s rivers as part of the Western Rivers Initiative (and the New Mexico Freshwater Conservation Initiative), grasslands and Important Bird Areas conservation, and other state initiatives.
  • 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 Mexico’s staff; ensure that all Audubon financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitments, and legal requirements are met.
  • Direct and provide oversight to the staff at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary who are responsible for the day-to-day management and operations, programs, and facility-related activities, to include maintenance, new construction, and resource management; ensure the financial and administrative sustainability as well as the implementation of short and long-term goals, and the achievement of conservation results at the center.
  • Manage a small capital campaign underway at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary; oversee construction and ensure its successful completion.

Fundraising and External Relations

  • Represent Audubon New Mexico throughout the state and raise its profile and visibility to funders, partners, policymakers, and the public.
  • Lead Audubon New Mexico’s fundraising to cultivate and solicit major donors and foundations for Audubon New Mexico and to significantly increase contributions.
  • Work closely with the Audubon New Mexico Board of Directors to support the efforts of Audubon New Mexico in continuing the development of a strong statewide organization through fundraising, program development, and conservation advocacy.
  • Inspire and provide guidance to the Chapters and Council in New Mexico to help them realize their potential for on-the-ground conservation and education.  Work to strengthen the statewide presence of Audubon and support these organizations in their local efforts.
  • Further engage New Mexico’s diverse population in Audubon programs through strategic outreach efforts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 New Mexico to its members, state and federal elected officials, donors, and chapter leaders, as well as in traditional and social media.  Candidates bilingual in English and Spanish strongly desired.
  • Knowledge and appreciation of, as well as connection to New Mexico 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 New Mexico and the National Audubon Society.