Local recruitment: Executive Director via Idealist

Flathead Lakers

Polson, MT, USA 🇺🇸



Role: Executive Director

Organization: Flathead Lakers Inc

Reports to: Board of Directors

Location: Hybrid (Polson, MT) – Flexibility available for working from home. Must reside within commuting distance of Polson office for in-person meetings and events.

Status: Full-time employee, exempt

The Flathead Lakers, a dynamic and passionate nonprofit organization committed to preserving and protecting Flathead Lake and its watershed, is seeking a dedicated and visionary individual to serve as our Executive Director.

About the Role:

The Executive Director (ED) will serve as the face of the Flathead Lakers, leading the organization forward with experience, expertise, and vision. As our most senior leader, you will play a crucial role in shaping and executing the strategic vision for the preservation and protection of Flathead Lake and its watershed. The successful candidate will lead a passionate team, oversee day-to-day operations, and actively engage with stakeholders, community members, and partners to further our mission of environmental conservation, education and advocacy.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will be responsible for driving fundraising efforts, cultivating donor relationships, and advocating for policies that align with our commitment to watershed protection. This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic leader with a proven track record in nonprofit management, strategic planning, and community engagement to make a lasting impact on the ecological health of Flathead Lake and its surrounding areas. If you are dedicated to environmental conservation and possess the leadership skills to guide a thriving organization, we invite you to apply and lead the Flathead Lakers into a new era of impactful stewardship.

About the Flathead Lakers:

Established in 1958, the Flathead Lakers is a multi-faceted nonprofit advocating for clean water in the Flathead Watershed. Our three primary priorities and programs include: Advocacy at the local and state level; Conservation for areas along the Flathead River & lakeshore; and Education for students and community members about being good watershed citizens. The Lakers are a small team, with four staff members and an annual budget of less than $.5M. We have a beautiful office in Polson on the shores of the Flathead Lake, and staff currently work a hybrid schedule.

The Flathead Lakers have:

  • Protected over 6,000 acres of land along the Flathead River, the primary tributary into Flathead Lake, and most recently, the Bad Rock Canyon conservation area.
  • Partnered with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to establish an inspection and education program to respond to the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Flathead Lake.
  • Educated thousands of students on the lakeshore through our Watershed Citizen curriculum.
  • Monitored the water quality of Flathead Lake through our team of citizen scientists.
  • Advocated for clean water policy at the local, state, and federal levels.


The ED is responsible for leading and providing strategic direction for the Flathead Lakers mission in partnership with the Board of Directors. Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provides leadership to Lakers staff; sets tone for healthy, inclusive, and productive workplace culture; ensures that the mission and values of the organization are put into practice. Hires, supervises, coaches, evaluates, and (when necessary) dismisses direct reports; implements organizational personnel policies.
  • Leads day-to-day operations of the organization, delegating tasks to staff as appropriate.
  • Provides programmatic leadership and ensures program objectives are met; Works with staff and external partners to change programs and revise objectives as needed.
  • Ensures sound fiscal management practices, including developing and implementing the budget with Board approval and ensuring compliance with all funding and regulatory requirements.
  • Collaborates with the Board and other key stakeholders to update and implement successful strategic and annual plans.
  • Cultivates new (and nurtures existing) relationships with critical stakeholders, including but not limited to: members, donors, tribal partners, partner nonprofit organizations, local businesses, government agencies, and board members.
  • Communicates with the wider Flathead Lake Watershed community in a variety of ways, including public information and outreach programs, organizing Annual Meetings and other events, coordinating newsletters and Annual Reports, and ensuring effective use of the Lakers website and social media.
  • Serves as the face of the Lakers in the media and in public.
  • Oversees the Lakers’ advocacy efforts, including developing a strategy for the bi-annual state legislature, supervising a legislative intern, and providing testimony on behalf of the Lakers.
  • Develops and guides fundraising and grant-seeking strategies to ensure diverse and stable revenue streams.
  • Works closely with the Board to collaboratively make critical decisions, including the creation or revision of the organizational mission, strategies, and major policies; Maintains effective communication with the Board to ensure they are informed and engaged; Prepares materials and agendas for Board meetings.
  • Maintains an informed and engaged membership through ambitious membership goals, new member recruitment efforts, and effective communication.

Short-term Priorities:

The incoming ED will focus on the following priorities over their first twelve to eighteen months:

  • Relationship-building – Establish relationships with key stakeholders, including Lakers staff, board members, community members, donors, and partner organizations.
  • Expanding organizational capacity — In collaboration with Board leadership, create a plan to build internal capacity in the areas of education and advocacy, either through additional staff or other means.
  • 2025 Montana state legislative session – Prepare for upcoming session by determining focus areas, developing an advocacy strategy, and adding internal capacity to advance policy priorities.


  • Proven record of organizational leadership experience at senior level, including developing and managing a high-performing, collaborative team. 
  • Strong relationship-builder with experience nurturing partnerships with key stakeholders, community groups, and government entities.
  • Experience working with an active volunteer Board to set priorities and make critical decisions.
  • Skilled communicator with the ability to adjust style to meet the needs of different audiences. Written communication and attention to detail is especially important, as the ED will be responsible for outreach to important stakeholders via email, newsletters, annual reports, and more.
  • Emotional intelligence with the ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, empathize with multiple perspectives, and effectively navigate social interactions in support of the Lakers mission.
  • Seasoned facilitator with the ability to bring multiple audiences together, find common ground, and navigate competing priorities and perspectives. Conflict management training is a plus.
  • Ability to generate revenue through donations, grants, events, and other creative funding streams.
  • Comfort and acumen with public speaking. As the face of the organization, the ED will represent the Lakers at critical meetings and events, including fundraising opportunities with major donors.
  • Visionary thinker with experience collaborating to set organizational strategy.
  • Strong business acumen and financial management skills.
  • Nonprofit program management experience.
  • Commitment to and passion for sharing knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of resources and ecosystems.
  • Understanding of DEI principles and how they overlap with the work of the Flathead Lakers.


This role has a salary range of $72,000-80,000 annually, commensurate with experience and qualifications. In addition, the Lakers provide a monthly healthcare stipend to be used toward the employee’s own health insurance plan. Staff are eligible to enroll in an optional SIMPLE IRA plan with an employer match of up to 3% of the employee’s annual salary.

How to apply:

Submit a resume and cover letter to jobs@publicgoodtalent with “Application: Executive Director, Flathead Lakers” in the subject line. Please use your cover letter to explain your interest in the role and why your previous experience has set you up for success in leading the Flathead Lakers. The Lakers are partnering with Public Good Talent for this search, and all candidates can expect to receive a response within one week of submitting an application. We will begin reviewing applications and scheduling interviews immediately, and the job will remain posted until filled. Applications will be treated confidentially.

The interview process:

Successful candidates will participate in multiple interviews, including two with Public Good Talent and one with the Flathead Lakers Search Committee. Final candidates may also be asked to submit a work sample. We respect our candidates’ time, and we promise to be efficient during the interview process. We are also committed to keeping our candidates informed – if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Ryan at ryan@publicgoodtalent.com.

The Flathead Lakers are proudly committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. We are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our staff members and welcome applications from anyone who is interested in joining our team!


This role has a salary range of $72,000-80,000 annually, commensurate with experience and qualifications. In addition, the Lakers provide a monthly healthcare stipend to be used toward the employee’s own health insurance plan. Staff are eligible to enroll in an optional SIMPLE IRA plan with an employer match of up to 3% of the employee’s annual salary.



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