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Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Chief Executive Officer

Explore Company PosterDucks Unlimited, Inc., is seeking to recruit a Chief Executive Officer to lead our nation’s premier science-based wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization.

About Ducks Unlimited: Vision and Values

Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited’ s (DU) mission statement is the following:

“To conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.”

DU’s fundamental values and beliefs not only help shape the organization’s identity but also strongly influence how it responds to challenges and opportunities. Woven into the fabric of DU’s culture, these guiding principles represent key attributes of its brand and serve to unite and inspire volunteers, staff and supporters around DU’s mission.

  • We believe it is our responsibility to be a strong and effective leader in conserving wetlands and other habitat for waterfowl. As a leader, we strive to inspire support for our mission and to collaborate with conservation partners who share common goals and values.

  • We place a high value on credibility and believe that science-based research and analysis should guide program development, delivery, and evaluation.

  • We hold ourselves and our organization to high ethical standards. We value excellence, transparency, and accountability, and we commit to treating people, wildlife, and the DU brand with the utmost respect.

  • We believe DU’s strongest asset resides in the power of dedicated volunteers and professional staff working together to achieve our objectives. The strength of this volunteer-staff partnership, and the history and traditions surrounding it, constitute a key competitive advantage for our organization.

  • We embrace and celebrate our waterfowl hunting heritage and strive to share the many benefits of an outdoor lifestyle with new generations. A personal connection between people and wildlife helps strengthen the conservation foundation of our nation.

  • We believe in using supporters’ contributions efficiently and effectively, and we commit at least 80 percent of our resources to our conservation mission through good economic times and bad.

DU is guided by strategic goals, which serve to anchor the conservation, policy, and revenue objectives of the organization. DU’s strategic goals serve as a “blueprint” for the organization’s work to protect, restore, and manage waterfowl habitats in DU’s landscape conservation priority areas. Since its founding DU has embraced a “singleness of purpose,” a goal-oriented devotion to its mission of conserving habitat for North America’s waterfowl. Rooted in the bold vision of DU’s founding fathers, this tradition has resulted in the conservation of more than 14 million acres of waterfowl habitat across the continent. Ducks Unlimited, whose vision and mission have been clear since 1937, is built on the passion of its volunteers, members, and staff who collectively demonstrate a powerful commitment to the vision of “wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.”

For more information on Ducks Unlimited, please visit their website: www.ducks.org

About the Position: Chief Executive Officer

In the long and distinguished history of DU, there have been only five previous CEOs. The new CEO will be the staff leader of Ducks Unlimited and must possess the skills, knowledge and ability to motivate staff and volunteers to advance DU’s mission and increase focus on mission delivery and organizational growth, while remaining committed to the financial strength of Ducks Unlimited.

Moreover, the new CEO will provide the vision and energy to continue DU’s science-based conservation leadership role into the future. The CEO must provide leadership that instills trust, honesty and integrity in all aspects of DU mission. The staff, volunteers and public must be able to have faith that the communications they receive from the CEO can be taken at face value. In the not-for-profit business where no product is received in return for revenue, TRUST is the most valuable commodity. The CEO must be held to the highest standards of truthfulness and integrity. In addition, the CEO must possess the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to convey vital information to both the staff and volunteers regarding DU activities. Only through clear and unambiguous communication can a large, geographically dispersed team know the game plan, their roles and the information necessary to achieve success. In the role as staff leader, the CEO must demonstrate with energy and excitement an innovative and creative outlook on advancing DU’s conservation mission. The CEO must embrace opportunities that come from change and that drive results. The ability to remain focused on the long-standing DU mission, while being energized and excited by creativity from the entire enterprise, is essential.

The CEO also serves a significant role in advancing DU’s public policy goals. Understanding the roles of Congress, legislatures, federal and state agencies, and the opportunities they provide is an essential attribute the CEO must possess. The CEO of DU must recognize the immense talent within DU staff and volunteers that provides the ability to solve any problem that might emerge. By doing so, the CEO will rightfully show respect and deference to those skill sets and provide his/her support in any way possible, always giving the TEAM credit. The CEO will serve in an organization that has a rich diversity of people. The CEO reports to the President and serves the Board of Directors. The CEO is based in Memphis, Tennessee.

The broad goals and responsibilities for the CEO are the following:

  • To create a seamless executive transition and continue to build a dynamic, effective, senior leadership team in support of DU’s volunteers, members and supporters.

  • To complete development of a National Business Plan to guide the day-to-day activities of DU in meeting its programs, policy and revenue objectives.

  • To work closely with the President of Wetlands America Trust regarding all activities of Wetlands America Trust, particularly on major donor fundraising. Serves as a voting member of the Wetlands America Trust Board.

  • To support the development and a vibrant future by continuing to cultivate, expand and make best use of DU’s shared leadership structure of board and committee volunteer leaders, staff and members alike.

  • To identify and seize opportunities to build dynamic partnerships with corporate enterprises that overlap with the conservation/education/science mission objectives of Ducks Unlimited.

  • To expand the reach and public recognition of DU by developing innovative marketing and strategic communication activities that continue to position DU as the nation’s premier grassroots waterfowl habitat conservation organization.

  • To manage a team of professional staff who possess the capacity to fulfill the organization’s mission.

DU could achieve nothing without the passionate commitment of its members, volunteers, and many other supporters. With more than one million supporters and a staff of approximately 580, in FY2017 DU’s total revenues exceeded $225 million; total assets are approximately $274 million, and the combined endowments are $72 million. In FY2017, this support allowed the organization to deliver more than 245,000 acres of waterfowl habitat conservation in the United States alone. These accomplishments were achieved only through the dedication of DU’s volunteers. Each year, the organization’s conservation success stems from the passion, commitment and dedication of Ducks Unlimited supporters, volunteers, partners and professional staff. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, Ducks Unlimited has offices in Mississippi, California, North Dakota, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. As a continental conservation organization, DU partners with two highly aligned organizations – Duck Unlimited Canada and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico. The shared strategic assets of board, staff, and financial support create a powerful alignment to achieve mission delivery for waterfowl habitat, forest and watershed, and outdoor recreation.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes:

The CEO should ideally possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • A commitment to DU’s mission and a demonstrated passion for waterfowl hunting, wildlife and habitat conservation.

  • A capacity to engage, motivate and mobilize people, particularly leaders, volunteers, and supporters in joint and shared enterprises.

  • Demonstrated understanding in supporting a comprehensive fundraising program.

  • Successful experience in developing and managing a complex budget and working with a board that has governing oversight for the business enterprise.

  • A management style that is goal oriented, but flexible; that respects the capabilities and independence of volunteers and staff alike and provides them with a clear sense of direction.

  • Strong work ethic and willingness to travel extensively, often for weekend and evening meetings.

  • Ability to think strategically, tactically and creatively.

  • Visionary, articulate, and diplomatic.

  • Trustworthy and possessing the highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards.

  • High energy level and an optimistic outlook on life.


Compensation for the Chief Executive Officer includes a competitive base salary, performance bonus and an excellent package of health and other employee benefits.

How to apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at resumes@explorecompany.com. Refer to DU/CEO in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

All correspondence will remain confidential.

DUCKS UNLIMITED, INC. IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER It is the policy of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. to afford equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age, or genetic information except where age or gender is a bona fide occupational qualification as allowed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


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