Program Manager (Platte River)
Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action. By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive. And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level. What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country. Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).
The National Audubon Society has identified the Platte River as a national conservation priority and a centerpiece of Audubon’s hemispheric water strategy. The Platte River watershed spans three states—Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming—and is home to millions of people. It also supports the most significant spring migration event in the Western Hemisphere with half a million Sandhill Cranes, endangered Whooping Cranes, and thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl that use this area for staging on their migration.
Audubon is seeking its first Platte River Program Manager to organize and expand our work across the watershed, and leverage our partnerships and assets to advance a comprehensive restoration and protection plan for the entire basin. Reporting to the Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Nebraska and closely collaborating with our Vice President for Water Conservation, the Program Manager is charged with directing conservation planning and engagement among multiple stakeholders, overseeing and strengthening existing programs within the three watershed states, leveraging programs for maximum mission impact, identifying policies needed for implementation, creating innovative strategic partnerships, and executing a comprehensive strategy.
The Platte River Program Manager is seen as an experienced and credible conservation leader, one who is an ambassador of the organization and frequently serves as Audubon’s voice on avian and environmental issues across the Watershed. The Program Manager will serve in a leadership role for National Audubon Society and Audubon Nebraska, working with science, policy, communication, conservation and network staff.
He/she will manage conservation plan development across three states, engage stakeholders for maximum buy-in, facilitate and coordinate program implementation among Audubon and other partner conservation organizations within the watershed, be spokesperson with the media, represent Audubon at regional conferences, and share responsibility for managing major grants, identifying new funding opportunities, and building strategic partnerships that advances our mission. This position will coordinate with nature centers, but will not be directly responsible for managing them.
- Working with Audubon leadership and partners, build a Platte River Watershed Initiative Conservation Strategy that assesses threats to birds and other wildlife in the region and defines a plan to address those threats using our advocacy network, on the ground restoration activities, communications and educational programs.
- Shape and lead a Platte River Watershed policy agenda, including critical water policy and engagement campaigns around the Watershed that advance the strategy’s goals and builds our advocacy network.
- Strengthen and expand our partnerships with non-governmental partners, agriculture, businesses and governments to best deliver on our conservation goals and leverage limited resources. Work collaboratively with Audubon staff at local educational centers to promote conservation efforts that align with the Initiative in a seamless, integrated approach to present a clear, consistent public face for Audubon in the area and region.
- Aligned with Audubon’s overall conservation goals and strategies, oversee the continued strategic and measurable implementation of the Initiative that results in the organization’s increased capacity to achieve the conservation of priority birds and their habitats.
- Engage a variety of stakeholders by shaping outreach and communication strategies in collaboration with communication staff.
- Serve as spokesperson on Platte River watershed issues and work with Audubon colleagues, subject matter experts and others to develop and implement marketing and communications plans.
- Represent Audubon as an ambassador and raise Audubon’s profile and visibility with donors, partners, policymakers, and the public.
- Along with Executive Director of Audubon Nebraska and development staff, raise gifts from major donors, foundations, corporations, government funding and other potential funding sources.
- Collaborate with and advise key staff across Audubon’s network to share best practices, understand when policies create conflict between watersheds where Audubon works, exchange information and leverage resources to meet our goals.
- Remain abreast of important issues, policies and regulations affecting birds and other wildlife in the region; exhibit a proactive approach to creating change and leverage Audubon’s grassroots resources to implement strategies.
Qualifications and Experience
- 5+ years’ professional experience managing conservation programs, staff and partnerships with a proven track record of success.
- A deep knowledge of water resource and wildlife management in the Platte River basin and an advanced degree (at least a M.S.) in natural resource management, public policy, environmental science or related field.
- Experience with public policy development and advocacy, campaigns, lobbying, and/or involvement in state legislatures and in working with members of Congress.
- Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions with a wide range of individuals and organizations.
- Demonstrated experience overseeing complex or multiple projects through to success, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners.
- Ability to exercise a high level of diplomacy, balance and flexibility when dealing with various personalities and sensitive situations to develop cohesive solutions and negotiate successful outcomes.
- Experience developing diversified approach to engage and influence the broader public to champion an issue or cause.
- Demonstrated success with fundraising, in particular with major donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders.
- Excellent and persuasive communication skills, both written and verbal, including substantial public speaking experience, and the ability to effectively represent Audubon to members, state and federal elected officials, donors, and chapter leaders, as well as in traditional and social media.
- Willingness and ability to travel for key meetings with staff, funders and other important stakeholders to help advance the project.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and web-based applications required. Comfort with donor management systems such as Salesforce is ideal, but not required.
- Passion for Audubon’s vision and solidly grounded in conservation issues in order to effectively handle challenges, identify important issues, and covey conservation priorities to a wide audience.