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Jun 15 / BARD CEP

Executive Director, The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development – New York

Organization: The Catskill Center for Conservation & Development

Position Title: Executive Director

Location: Arkville, New York

Application Deadline: July 15, 2015

Description: The Executive Director of The Catskill Center must embrace the complex mission of the Catskill Center to simultaneously support environmental conservation efforts and promote regional development initiatives. He/She must exhibit a profound passion to protect the region’s natural resources and demonstrate a deep commitment to improving the economic well-being and quality of life of the area’s residents and their communities.

Leading The Catskill Center requires political astuteness, strong strategic instincts and tactical deftness. The ED must be a natural consensus builder who can catalyze a culture of spirited cooperation among staff and partners as well as public and private entities. He/She must be an outstanding leader, collaborator and communicator who can gain the trust and confidence of a wide array of stakeholders, many of whom have competing interests. As the Center’s primary spokesperson, the ED must be a dynamic and visible presence in the region and in the local media. Since the duties of the position often require evening and weekend attendance, it is expected that the ED will live in the Catskill region and be an active community member.

The ED will be expected to strengthen the profile and influence of the Center by: taking a leadership role in defining critical issues affecting the region; articulating a vision for achieving a constructive balance between conserving the region’s environmental heritage and promoting its economic future; convening and joining with other private and non-profit organizations to build successful coalitions to advance an advocacy agenda that will attract political will, policy attention and government funding to the conservation and development needs of the Catskill region.

The ED is expected to grow and advance The Catskill Center. As the prime fundraiser for the organization, the ED must have a demonstrated track record of public and private fund cultivation, as well as experience securing and stewarding foundation grants and government contracts. Reporting to the Board and working in partnership with the Board Chair, the ED will ensure that the organization is fiscally and administratively sound and that its operations, communications, plans and development efforts are coordinated with and support the policies of the Board.

The ED will also cultivate and grow the staff to increase its capacity to carry out the organization’s programs, projects, outreach and compliance. In addition, the ED will integrate the work of consultants and nonprofit partners, some of whom are housed in the Center’s building in Arkville, into the workflow of the Center.


The duties of the Executive Director include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Regional Leadership:Learn the issues of the Catskill region and understand the role that The Catskill Center has played over the last number of decades. Get to know the Center’s partners and diverse stakeholders and understand the competing interests of each constituency served by The Catskill Center. Gain command of the programs, projects, and government contracts currently being carried out by The Catskill Center. Understand what is required to properly manage the Center’s historic building and to protect the lands under the Center’s stewardship.
  • Organizational Leadership:As chief executive officer, fully embrace and promote the complex hybrid mission of The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Articulate a strategic vision for the Center’s critical work in the region and oversee the day-to-day management and administration of the Catskill Center, including programs, finances, operations, personnel, land, and facility to effectively and efficiently fulfill that vision.
  • Resource Development:Be the principal fundraiser for The Catskill Center and dedicate appropriate time to cultivating public and private funding and creating sustainable revenue streams from diverse sources including individual donors, foundations, corporations and government agencies. Steward all grants and contracts with full compliance to attract renewals as well as new funding.
  • Board Relations:Reporting directly to and working in partnership with the Chair, keep the Board of Directors fully informed of all significant administrative, financial, program and policy matters so that the Board can govern effectively and engage in a constructive manner. Get to know individual Board members, gain their trust and confidence, support their efforts and involvement on behalf of the Center, foster an active program of Board committees, and help attract new Board members.
  • Staff:Cultivate the staff; actively foster team spirit and morale; support staff work and build organizational capacity through mentorship and coaching. Assess individual performance and develop a plan for growing staff to meet strategic goals of the Center.
  • Advocacy and Coalition Building:Continue advancing The Catskill Center’s effective work advocating for the region. Engage with key state and local government officials and relevant agencies to bring regional issues to their attention; develop a collaborative agenda and represent regional interests to influence policy and funding to benefit the Catskills.
  • External Relations and Outreach:Represent The Catskill Center to the greater community; serve as public spokesperson about the Center’s work and the region’s interests; communicate effectively both orally and in writing to stakeholders, donors, governmental agencies and representatives, Board, staff, and media about the Center and the Catskills; promote the work and achievements of partner organizations; increase awareness of and respect for the Catskill Center’s role in the region.

Qualifications: The Executive Director should possess the following qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in a field related to the Catskill Center’s work (environmental studies; forestry; rivers/streams; planning; etc.) is a plus.
  • At least 10 years of relevant experience, demonstrating a progressively increased level of leadership responsibility in the nonprofit or public sectors.
  • True passion for and deep knowledge of the Catskill region, in particular about its environmental uniqueness and socio-economic challenges.
  • Experience working with governmental agencies; successfully applying for and managing grants and contracts a plus.
  • A proven track record of successful public and private fundraising.
  • Strong and verifiable financial, administrative, and human resource management competencies.


The Executive Director should exhibit all or most of the following characteristics:

  • Roots in the Catskills; prior experience living and working in the region a plus.
  • A consensus builder with a sincere orientation toward collaboration and with the ability to mediate differing points of view.
  • A person with strong cross-functional skills: equally comfortable as an internal manager of a complex but lean organization and as a public spokesperson and representative for the critical interests of widespread and diverse community.
  • A natural leader, able to inspire others with creativity, vision, and strategy, as well as demonstrated ability as a hands-on manager.
  • An excellent communicator; articulate in both speaking and in writing.
  • Outgoing; interested in people; willing to engage with community members, colleagues and staff as well as with leadership in state and local government and agencies.
  • Knowledge of the political landscape of the Catskill region; familiarity with key leaders, stakeholders, decision-makers, and influencers in the region.
  • Patient; a good listener; emotionally intelligent; with the maturity to balance multiple perspectives and demonstrate excellent judgment.
  • A person with a strong record of integrity and ethical sensibility.
  • Energetic and optimistic; with a sense of humor and an up-beat temperament.

How to Apply: Please send nominations and applications, including cover letter and resume, to Marci Sternheim at [email protected]

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