Local recruitment: Agriculture and Restoration Director

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Great Lakes region, USA



The Agriculture and Restoration Director (Director) develops and executes campaigns to reduce agricultural water pollution, restore and protect the Great Lakes ecosystem, and stop invasive species. The Director leads work in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio to achieve the Alliance’s agriculture and water goals and implements regional restoration initiatives. The Director serves as a convener, organizer and relationship builder at all levels of government and stakeholders with an emphasis on state-level policy.  The Director works collaboratively with staff campaign teams to ensure timely and high-quality delivery of written analysis and recommendations. They identify and strengthen relationships with allies across the Great Lakes region to advance external program and policy priorities. The Director is a public figure for the organization who speaks with authority and diplomacy, is regarded as a regional thought leader on agricultural water issues, and elevates groups and cultivates relationships that further the Alliance’s clean water goals. The Director manages relationships with local and state decision makers, agency staff, businesses, partners, and other high-level individuals across the Great Lakes region. The Director provides counsel to the Alliance vice presidents, COO and president & CEO on state policy work across the region, community engagement, diversity, equity and inclusion, and staff mentorship and growth as they relate to the roles of the position. 

A sample week for the Agriculture and Restoration Director might include:

  • Analyzing state legislation related to reducing agricultural runoff into the Great Lakes,
  • Convening water partners to explore joint advocacy opportunities and messaging on key water policy issues,
  • Delivering a presentation on our work related to agriculture and water policy that outlines challenges and opportunities,
  • Participating in webinars to learn more best practices for equitable stakeholder engagement on policy issues, best practices in water management and policy solutions that should be explored in the Great Lakes states,
  • Checking in with direct reports on progress on their deliverables and providing feedback, coaching and support in problem-solving.

The initial anticipated external impacts of this position over the next three years are creation and implementation of accountable strategies for reducing agricultural pollution in Lake Erie and Green Bay; initiating construction of new protections against invasive carp entering Lake Michigan; strong regional buy-in for large-scale coastal restoration action and funding. The priority anticipated internal impact is growing the credibility and influence of the Alliance’s agriculture and water policy initiatives with decision makers, the industry and the diversity of stakeholders and partners impacted by agricultural water pollution.



  • With the VP of Policy and Strategic Engagement (VP of Policy), sets direction for organizational goals related to agriculture and restoration water policy work across the region with an emphasis on Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • Identifies opportunities to shift both long-term organizational strategy and short-term tactics as necessary to achieve advocacy outcomes in our local work and state level policy work on agriculture and restoration.
  • Engages external leaders from relevant sectors as thought partners and advisors in setting Alliance strategy.
  • Based on feedback from local partners, identifies data gaps and utilizes internal and external resources to gather information needed with a focus on data that elevates lived experiences (e.g. focus groups, interviews, surveys).
  • Presents and reports on the Alliance’s agriculture and restoration work to Alliance leadership and key stakeholders.
  • Co-develop campaign strategies to advance policy goals with partners.


  • Creates regular short-term policy, organizing and communication successes as we advance toward our long-term goals and is accountable for delivering short-term and long-term results for the Alliance’s agriculture and restoration related work across the region.
  • Generates and executes innovative approaches to building and leveraging connections with relevant influencers outside of the traditional environmental community.
  • Builds and sustains networks of people, decision makers, and public and private organizations that can create policy change in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. 
  • Convenes various levels of government, the private sector and groups of individuals in support of the actions necessary to achieve agriculture and restoration goals.
  • Creates and negotiates the basis of agreements that can garner sufficient support to advance policy reforms.
  • Collaborates with NGO partners and community organizations for candidate and elected official education on agriculture and restoration related water issues, such as through lobby days, legislative staff briefings, and water advocacy workshops and convenings.
  • Communicates effectively internally to Communications & Engagement Team to develop mass advocacy campaigns, supporter activation and media engagement on policy priorities.
  • Partners with communications and engagement team to support creation of community and partner-centered campaign tools, such as fact sheets, media, videos, and slide decks, needed to reach target audiences.  


  • Ensures internal milestones for tracking program progress are appropriate and well-documented over time.
  • Identifies and recommends long-term capacity needs for agriculture and restoration programs.
  • Advises Alliance leaders on increasing the effectiveness of the program.
  • Identifies new opportunities for internal collaboration across other Alliance program areas.


  • Leadership ability and experience as demonstrated by a track record of successful problem identification, mentorship, relationship and partnership building, conflict resolution, and strategic decision-making both internal and external to an organization.
  • Existing relationships and credibility with leaders in the agriculture sector, including businesses, trade associations, academics, and elected and appointed state officials in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio.
  • Thought leadership in restoration issues as demonstrated by public presentations, published writing, appointed positions and other means.
  • Experience achieving policy agreements that successfully address the needs and concerns of communities bearing the health and economic costs of pollution.
  • Demonstrated success at motivating key influencers to act in a coordinated and strategic manner.
  • Strong existing network of relevant and influential leaders in areas of geographic focus for the Alliance. 
  • Prior demonstrated success at managing multiple, closely aligned and well-coordinated change strategies at the same time.
  • Fundamental commitment to socioeconomic and racial equity in agriculture and restoration water outcomes and demonstrated skills in identifying policy options that advance equity.
  • Eagerness to work at both the “nuts and bolts” and strategic levels of our policy work.
  • Ability to work independently, quickly and execute multiple tasks at once.
  • Top echelon skills at writing and speaking to motivate powerful people.
  • Staff management and/or mentoring experience.
  • Experience with and commitment to use of project management software.
  • Driven by a strong commitment to public interest work and the values of the organization.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred. Leadership of significant past successful campaigns may substitute for advanced degree.
  • Minimum of 7 years of experience culminating in proven leadership of state, regional or national scale advocacy, political or marketing campaigns.
  • The Alliance for the Great Lakes values community, relationships, courage, integrity, optimism and the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in all our work.

Job Parameters

  • This position is full-time and consistent with Alliance employment policy. Salary range is $90,000-100,000, commensurate with experience.
  • Excellent benefits, including health and vacation are included.
  • Eligibility to enroll in a retirement plan after 1 year of employment.
  • This position can work remotely based within the Great Lakes region and the final location is negotiable, with a preference for in eastern Wisconsin, southern Michigan or northern Ohio. Travel within the region 1-2 times per month is required, in keeping with anticipated COVID-19 safety protocols.

Application Process

Please e-mail a cover letter, resume, references and writing sample to: [email protected].

Include job title in the subject line.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled – we are looking to fill immediately. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt of their materials and further guidance and updates about the hiring process by e-mail, with interviews provided for finalists. No phone inquiries please.

About the Alliance for the Great Lakes

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The search process will reinforce the Alliance’s belief that achieving diversity requires an enduring commitment to inclusion that must find full expression in our organizational culture, values, norms, and behaviors.

Our mission is to protect, conserve and restore the Great Lakes ensuring healthy water in the lakes and in our communities for all generations of people and wildlife. We advance our mission as advocates for policies that support the lakes and communities, by building the research, analysis and partnerships that motivate action, and by educating and uniting people as a voice for the Great Lakes. Learn more about the Alliance at www.greatlakes.org.

The Alliance envisions a thriving Great Lakes and healthy water that all life can rely on, today and far into the future. We aspire to be a voice for the lakes, and to support the voices of the communities that depend on the lakes and their waters. 

Apply By: ASAP