Local recruitment: Regional Executive Director (Great Lakes Region)

National Wildlife Federation

Ann Arbor, MI, USA 🇺🇸

Job details


Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America’s largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more than six million members and supporters. The mission of the National Wildlife Federation is to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world. The National Wildlife Federation believes that in order to save wildlife and ourselves, we need to ensure that everyone in America has clean air and water, safe communities, easy and equitable access to the daily benefits of nature, and protection from the ravages of climate change. These basic needs, equally necessary and urgent for all people, are foundational to bringing the conservation movement and ethos into the 21st century.

Through conservation policy oversight, program development, fundraising, collaboration and personnel management, the Regional Executive Director (RED) provides organizational leadership in the Great Lakes Region. The RED collaborates with affiliate partners and other organizations within the region in support of the National Wildlife Federation’s strategic plan (A Common Agenda for Wildlife) and our Equity and Justice Strategic Plan. The RED strategically engages NWF Board members and collaborates with regional center staff to help identify and cultivate potential new leaders for NWF. We are seeking a dynamic and engaging leader with a diverse skillset and deep knowledge of the region.

The RED reports to the Vice President, Conservation Programs and works collaboratively with other senior leaders to advance the strategic direction of the organization. This position is based in Ann Arbor, MI.

About the Great Lakes Regional Center:

The National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center (GLRC) is a leading voice for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and our communities. The region covers the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota with a staff of approximately 23 and a budget of approximately $4.5 million. We are one of the only organizations in the Great Lakes region that combines policy, legal, communications, educational, and scientific expertise to educate decision makers, inform public policy, and conduct citizen engagement efforts. Our program areas including Protecting our Natural Resources and Wildlife (including working on harmful algal blooms, invasive species, chemicals of concern and resource extraction), Restoring Watersheds (including the Great Lakes, Ohio River and Upper Mississippi), Engagement Communities to Dismantle Environmental Injustice (including working on water affordability/access, native plant habitat creation, wildlife corridors and PFAS), and Advancing Just Climate Solutions (including work on state and federal energy/climate policy and on fossil fuel infrastructure).

With our headquarters in Ann Arbor and staff throughout the region, we are trusted conveners and collaborators, leveraging the strengths of multiple sectors and organizations to achieve direct results for the Great Lakes and our communities, and lead or co-lead multiple coalitions such as the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes coalition, the Great Lakes Business Network, the Changing Seasons coalition, the Great Lakes Conservation Coalition and the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network. We work at the local, state, regional and national scale to achieve direct results for wildlife and communities. We are centering equity and justice throughout our work and partnerships. We recognize that people, plants, and wildlife are part of the same ecosystem and communities, and that healthy habitats and healthy communities go hand in hand. We believe that access to nature for all is a human right.

Principal Duties of the Regional Executive Director:

The RED is accountable for developing and implementing programs and strategies that enable the National Wildlife Federation to achieve outcomes articulated in our Strategic and Equity and Justice Plans and serves as an important “face and voice” for the organization in the Great Lakes Region.

Additionally, the RED:

  • Provides organizational leadership, program development, and targeted campaign management that effectively advances our mission and objectives;
  • Fosters an inclusive, and collaborative workplace culture that supports staff in functioning as a highly integrated and effective team across a geographically diverse, highly matrixed organization;
  • Achieves the organization’s regional philanthropic and fundraising goals by working with staff to engage current and potential funders, individuals, foundations, and corporations to support our work;
  • Manages the Regional Center’s budget and stewards the organization’s financial resources;
  • Builds and maintains authentic relationships with political, affiliate, business, education, indigenous, governmental and community leaders with a diverse and representative range of group identities;
  • Demonstrates a personal and professional commitment to and experience in advancing equity and justice within the organization and in external program delivery, partnerships, and communications;
  • Advances the National Wildlife Federation’s long-term conservation goals as well as our values of collaboration, empowerment, inclusivity, mindfulness, and mission-focused work.

Basic Qualifications:

Strong candidates for this position will bring experience in organizational leadership, including demonstrated proficiency in personnel management, teambuilding and delegation; strategic planning and program implementation; conservation advocacy and policy advancement; developing and engaging partners from diverse communities; non-profit fundraising, and working with non-profit boards, government and Tribal agencies, and corporate entities. These proficiencies are typically consistent with approximately at least ten years of professional experience.

NWF Values:

Your actions are expected to reflect the staff values of the National Wildlife Federation: collaboration, mindfulness, empowerment, inclusivity, and mission focus.  Your competencies should include:

  • Being motivated by values of equity and responsibility to those most marginalized;
  • Consistently bringing a high level of empathy and social skills to work and interpersonal interactions;
  • Being committed to deepening an environmental justice approach in policy priorities, program development and partner engagement;
  • Actively seeking feedback, direction, and guidance from all team members and keeping staff informed of decisions that impact them;
  • Being dedicated to advancing NWF’s internal equity transformation and compelling partners and allies to incorporate equity into their work; and
  • Passion for and commitment to NWF’s mission.


Extensive travel throughout the region and to national meetings and gatherings will be required (under NWF’s travel safety guidelines). Anticipate approximately 5-8 days every month, 40-60 nights per year.

Location and Work Mode:

This position will be based in our Great Lakes Regional Center in Ann Arbor, MI. The National Wildlife Federation is committed to a flexible and empowered work environment with an authentic community of care for all staff. In this position, the employee may work in in the office, or in a hybrid manner, to be decided jointly with their supervisor in the final stages of the interview process.

Compensation and Benefits:

The salary for this position is $140,000, commensurate with experience.

We are proud of our designation by Mogul as a Top 100 Workplace with the Best Benefits in 2021!  We value work-life balance and a family-friendly atmosphere with flexible scheduling.  We want you to be able to integrate work and personal life with attention to your self-care, so that your work schedule is not depleting.  We offer benefits so you feel restored and fueled through the day and week.

We offer these supports to help manage your mental, emotional, and physical health: 

  • Paid time off: Vacation that starts off at three weeks accrual, unlimited wellbeing (this time can be used for physical, spiritual, emotional, cultural, religious or financial wellbeing for yourself, a partner, or family member – including pets), 10 holidays, and 3 floating holidays
  • We close down for a paid winter break between December 25 to January 1 to recognize end of-year stress, and time for reflection, rejuvenation, and spending time with family.
  • Up to 16 weeks of fully paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Low-cost health, dental, and vision insurance options – all outpatient mental health is covered at in-network rates
  • Therapist available at no cost
  • Pet insurance and discount perk program
  • Annual wellbeing allowance

In addition to your salary, we offer the following supports to your personal finances:

  • Retirement plan with immediate match and vesting
  • Annual year end retirement contribution
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Adoption and Surrogacy assistance
  • Pet adoption stipend
  • Student Loan management

Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s benefits package at https://www.nwf.org/About-Us/Careers.

COVID Consideration:

The National Wildlife Federation closely follows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease and has implemented processes that promote the safety of our employees, candidates, and communities. Because the health of our employees and candidates is a top priority, we conduct our hiring process virtually via phone or video until further notice. We are currently starting our positions as remote, and are continuing to explore what our future of work will be moving forward. Proof of vaccination will be required to join the National Wildlife Federation.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume.

We strive to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. We recruit, employ, train compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at nwf.org/equity.

We recognize that people come with a wealth of experience and talent beyond just the technical requirements of a job, therefore our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules.  Your experience, which may include paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work, helps build the competencies and knowledge that translates to our openings.  Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of excellence.  Therefore, we encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to our positions.

Please let us know if you require accommodations during the application or interview process by reaching us at hrhelp@nwf.org  or 703-438-6244.

If selected for this position, a background check will be conducted.




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