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National Audubon Society
Vice President, Climate

Explore Company PosterThe National Audubon Society (NAS) seeks to recruit a Vice President, Climate to be based in Washington, D.C.

National Audubon Society

In the spring of 2016, the National Audubon Society (NAS) adopted a new strategic plan to renew the organization’s focus on the most important opportunities for addressing critical threats to birds and their habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere. The plan reaffirms Audubon’s commitment to organizing its conservation work along four migratory flyways – the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific. Each spring and fall, billions of migratory birds follow the flyways of the Americas from wintering to breeding grounds and back again. By protecting the web of life that represents the Americas’ richest veins of biodiversity, Audubon is safeguarding our great natural heritage for future generations, preserving our shared quality of life, and fostering a healthier and more resilience environment. To do so, Audubon connects its powerful network—463 Chapters, 41 nature centers and sanctuaries, 23 state offices, more than 650 state and national staff members, 1.2 million members and volunteers, and U.S. and international partners—along each of the flyways, to weave a seamless web of conservation across the hemisphere.

The 2016 strategic plan builds on the strong framework. 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. NAS is committed to becoming the most effective conservation network in America. They have set their sights on tackling the largest issues of our time across five crosscutting conservation strategies--climate, coasts, working lands, water, and bird friendly communities. They are building durable public will for conservation by broadening and deepening their support base, with a clear-eyed focus on increasing diversity and promoting inclusion. They have invested in the skills and capacity of its unparalleled distributed network to achieve wins across all these strategies. For more information on the full range of programs and projects supported by the National Audubon Society please review their website at www.audubon.org

Climate Strategy

In 2014, Audubon published its Birds and Climate Change Report. The study shows that more than half of the bird species in North America could lose at least half of their current ranges by 2080 due to rising temperatures. These species include the Sandhill Crane, the Bald Eagle, and the American Kestrel. Given the urgent threat climate change poses to birds and people, Audubon supports common-sense, bipartisan solutions that reduce carbon emissions at the speed and scale necessary to protect birds and the places they need.

The National Audubon Society is poised to impact the future direction of climate change policies and initiative in the United States and globally. Momentum is building for a remarkable chapter in how we move the climate debate into the mainstream of America. A landmark $10 Million grant from Overlook International Foundation will help Audubon engage its 1.2 million members in creating bipartisan public demand for climate solutions. Audubon’s unique membership spans the breadth of the political spectrum with 55 percent progressive and 45 percent moderate to conservative members spread among 463 local, bipartisan chapters across the country and 23 state field offices. No one is better positioned than Audubon to create a bipartisan public demand for climate solutions. Many of Audubon’s members are already climate advocates for birds. Now the organization will have the resources to organize even more of its members and other Americans like them to harness that energy in a focused effort.

The National Audubon Society’s climate strategy is founded on their commitment to protecting 315 bird species and the habitats on which they rely that are under considerable threat due to climate change. They have determined that climate change is the most pervasive threat to birds in North America and around the globe. Audubon’s approach to addressing climate change is a highly pragmatic one focused on building bi-partisan coalitions and serving as a trusted resource to decision-makers, drawing on an authentic, large and centrist membership base to advocate for a suite of politically-sustainable solutions that dramatically reduce carbon emissions and build resilience into ecosystems. Audubon’s unique strength is its grassroots constituency, a critical and often missing piece of previous national climate initiatives. This job description emphasizes policy and campaign experience because success will come as much from outside the Beltway—in communities and in partnership with industries—as from Capitol Hill.Audubon’s strategy has clear and ambitious goals to engage its grassroots and expertise to successfully enact meaningful climate-related policy solutions in a bipartisan manner. Audubon is two years into its five-year climate strategy goals, which are:

  • Mobilize one million new climate advocates

  • Secure 10 state legislative, ballot or administrative solutions

  • Pass 100 local climate policies and resolutions

  • Move up to 60 house Republican members to take proactive actions that advance climate solutions

  • Lead 100 in district events within targeted congressional districts

  • Build effective, consensus-oriented and long-term center-right national coalitions to support climate solutions

  • Advance 3 new bipartisan climate solution bills or policies

  • Advocate and advance 10 well-sited renewable energy projects

Audubon has made good progress toward these goals. The organization has succeeded in passing local and state climate policies; they have trained and mobilized their membership and other bird lovers to advocate for practical solutions; they have built important relationships with leaders of both parties; they have successfully advocated for well-sited renewable energy projects and state policies that support clean energy. Their actions and their theory of victory has raised significant capital needed to propel their work into the future.

Today, Audubon is working from the grassroots to Washington, D.C. to advance its goals and focusing that work in three priority areas:

  • Building a politically active, national network of bi-partisan advocates for climate change solutions by informing, training, and engaging Audubon’s membership and other bird lovers in targeted Congressional and State legislative districts across the country.

  • Supporting and advancing state and local climate policy solutions through grassroots campaigns and by contributing technical expertise.

  • Advancing clean energy policies and well-sited renewable energy projects across the country.

Vice President, Climate

National Audubon Society is seeking an energetic and engaging individual who will build on an exciting and innovative climate strategy as a central strategic conservation priority for the organization. The new Vice President will have expertise and a record of accomplishment in advancing climate policy solutions, campaigns, and policy outcomes and working with grassroots networks and coalitions. The Vice President for Climate will serve on the national conservation leadership team and they will work with the Audubon network and leaders in the public and private sectors to accomplish lasting conservation results, including mitigation and adaptation outcomes. As a longtime conservation leader, Audubon understands that advocacy for bird-centric climate adaptation measures can often be an effective onramp for mitigation advocacy.

The Vice President will direct the organization’s climate strategy’s team and engage leadership in the state field offices and in Audubon chapters, as well as with members and other partners at the state and local levels to ensure the successful delivery of program outcomes and to build a durable, bi-partisan grassroots community committed to climate solutions. In this role, the Vice President will provide strategic direction to the Audubon conservation leadership team on climate change, clean energy and other issues and solutions that can benefit the portfolio. The Vice President will also advise partners on strategies and tactics to achieve conservation wins at scale and serve as Audubon’s spokesperson in forums and conferences to highlight challenges and showcase Audubon solutions.

Vice President for Climate must have a track record of working effectively with leaders representing all political affiliations. Reporting to the Chief Conservation Officer/Senior Advisor to the CEO, the Vice President will work closely with all departments in the Audubon network including state offices, the National Policy and Science teams, Network, development, marketing, legal and communications offices. The new Vice President will shape policy solutions and continuously advance campaigns and initiatives to engage Audubon’s Network in achieving national, state and local policy victories.

The new Vice President, Climate is coming to the Audubon Society at a time of excitement and positive direction. They have built positive direction driven by the Board, donors, staff and members. The broad goals and responsibilities for the Vice President, Climate are:

  • Working in collaboration with Board members, external stakeholders, staff leadership and members, advance National Audubon Society’s climate strategy including guiding local, state and federal policies, building partnerships with public and private interests, leading bi-partisan coalitions, and working with partners across the Audubon network.

  • Help foster a dynamic grassroots network or community of activists who are committed to birds and are willing to take actions to address the major threat to their survival—climate change—in all political environments.

  • Add to the ongoing organizational commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and justice as core organizational values and in considering the impacts and opportunities of climate action for communities across America.

  • Inspire, engage and lead staff and mobilize resources across multiple national divisions, field offices and chapters to ensure that NAS maintains its focus on critical tasks and strategic goals while successfully executing policy campaigns and network building plans.

  • Bring energy and motivation to Audubon’s leadership on climate solution by serving as a public spokesperson on climate change, clean energy and other policy approaches that reduce carbon.

  • Maintain and strengthen the momentum on fundraising established by the Board, CEO and others in advancing Audubon’s Climate Strategy. It is anticipated that no less than 25 percent of the vice president’s time will be spent on fundraising.

The Vice President, Climate ideally should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Professional Qualifications:

  • A leader with demonstrated political and policy campaign experience and grassroots engagement.

  • A demonstrated ability to raise new funds and steward existing donors to support and grow Audubon’s climate work.

  • An individual with a track record of success building tangible policy outcomes at the state and federal level by engaging grassroots networks, government agencies, industry and civil society leaders.

  • A demonstrated ability to work across the political spectrum.

  • Expertise in climate change and clean energy policies and a proven track record in advancing climate solutions.

  • Experience building and working with guiding grassroots coalitions to advance climate solutions and possessing an extensive network of funders and experts in the climate policy field.

  • Demonstrated experience managing a distributed staff and experience overseeing a complex array of projects in a matrixed for- profit or NGO, including the creation of visionary strategy, meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and communicating and coordinating closely with key staff and partners.

  • Familiarity with the political process and the appropriate activities of 501c3 and 501c4 organizations; creativity in leveraging all the tools available to non-profits for securing policy victories.

  • Significant experience driving public policy campaigns at the state and national level and an individual possessing a well-established network of climate experts, campaigners, strategists, and climate advocates.

  • A team builder with a demonstrated track record working collaboratively with staff on multiple career levels, in various professional disciplines, and across geographies.

  • Bachelor’s degree and at least 8+ years of experience advancing climate solutions with a range of stakeholder groups.

Personal Attributes:

  • Demonstrated commitment to conservation and passion for the mission and programs of the National Audubon Society.

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions with a wide range of individuals and organizations at all levels.

  • Proven track record of success in fundraising, extensive experience with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.

  • Technically savvy, including proficiency in Microsoft Office suite applications and various web-based technologies. Experience with Salesforce a plus, but not required.

  • Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to effectively represent NAS.

  • Must have a flexible approach to work, with a willingness to travel nationally as needed.

  • A superb professional and personal presence with impeccable integrity and a strong work ethic.


Compensation for the Vice President, Climate includes a competitive base salary, and a package of health and employee benefits.

How to apply

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

The National Audubon Society is an equal opportunity employer and
invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential.


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