Name of Organization: Wesselman Woods/ Wesselman Nature Society (WNS)
Title of Position: Executive Director
Reports to: Chairman of the WNS Board
Wesselman Woods is the largest stand of old growth forest in the state of Indiana, and the largest virgin forest within a city limits anywhere in the United States. This idyllic preserve features an interpretive center that houses animal observation areas, interactive exhibits, nature classrooms, as well as enclosures for a collection of raptors and other animals who are unable to survive in the wild. Wesselman Woods Nature Society, a 501C3 organization charged with the protection and preservation of the forest and management of the interpretive center, also oversees the nation’s largest Nature Playscape, the offsite Howell Wetlands area, and a regionally-focused canoeing program.
The organization’s mission is to connect people with nature, motivating them to lead lives and take actions that protect wildlife and wild places. Education programs and outdoor recreation activities are designed to awaken the senses and enrich the lives of visitors. Those who walk these trails make discoveries while connecting with themselves and their natural surroundings.
The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer of WNS and is responsible for strategic thinking and implementation, ensuring all activities are aligned with the mission, leadership, fundraising, staffing, supervision and administration. The executive director will be responsible to the WNS Board of Directors and will partner with the board in providing overall leadership for the organization. The Executive Director has authority to lead and govern the overall operations of the nature center and accompanying properties to achieve its mission and strategic goals.
1. Inspire and Build the Team:
- Develop a staffing (paid and volunteer) structure that supports the efficient delivery of programs and services that accomplish the goals of the strategic plan.
- Oversee all aspects of leading and retaining WNS staffing, including recruitment, professional development, day-to-day supervision, performance evaluation, while working to build meaningful relationships with the staff and volunteers.
- Work with the Board of Directors and staff to develop and monitor policies for the WNS and ensure their implementation.
- Manage all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Nature Center.
2. Take Strategic Action:
- Collaborate with the Board of Directors and staff, on the development and implementation of short and long-range plans for the Nature Center and strategies for achieving them.
- Lead execution of the strategic plan, including formulating annual work plans, while being open to enlist and evaluate new ideas.
- Achieve consensus and foster a culture that ensures clarity toward unified organizational priorities.
- Provide direction and leadership in the development of all programs, exhibits, special events and other activities related to the strategic plan.
3. Engage and Partner with the Board:
- Work in partnership with the Chairman of the WNS Board to plan efficient and effective meetings.
- Update the board on trends and changes in organizational needs.
- Function in partnership with the board to shape and cast a vision for WNS, drive accountability of organizational alignment to a vision, and ensure consensus on a pathway to success.
- Foster the design of meetings and retreats that promote the mission of WNS and active board engagement.
- In conjunction with the Strategic Plan/ Board Development Committee, concentrate on Board Development, ensuring continual growth, evaluation, and development of the board.
- Proactively engage board members as a sounding board, leveraging their capacity to support the organization.
4. Steward the Finances and Compliance:
- Oversee WNS annual finances and ensure a balanced budget. This includes developing, implementing and monitoring the budget, supervising bookkeeping activities, and meeting annually with the WNS auditor.
- Oversee compliance with all federal, state, and local government requirements, including those relating to the Nature Center’s non-profit, 501(c) (3) status.
- Provide regular, timely internal financial statements to the board that compare performance to a budget and to the previous year or other benchmark.
- Conduct multiyear financial analyses, focusing on trends and engage the board in discussions about financial stability and sustainability, including operating reserves.
- Oversee financial record keeping including billing, receivables, in-kind donations, payables, staff paid time off, balancing of accounts and cash flow.
- Comply with grant restrictions and provide any necessary reporting to grantors.
- Educate board on areas of vulnerability or risk management while monitoring the fiscal policies and financial controls.
5. Resource A Sustaining Movement:
- Plan for future revenue needs and resources to sustain WNS programs and operations through establishing and executing clear fundraising strategies, annual goals and detailed revenue development plans.
- Participate in all fundraising activities.
- Work with Board to develop ongoing fundraising and development activities, including cultivating strong relationships with major individual, foundation and corporate donors/partners.
- Seek out and participate in the preparation of grant proposals.
- Understand and connect constituencies around the mission and stories.
- Ensure that donors and volunteers are served as long-term advocates of the cause.
6. Communicate the Mission and Lead by Example:
- Lead the communication efforts of WNS including public relations activities and marketing of programs.
- Serve as the external and internal ambassador of the mission, effectively telling the stories of WNS activities and outcomes.
- Provide leadership to build and maintain strong and positive relationships with community groups and organizations, government agencies, funders, corporate sponsors, and other stakeholders in WNS future.
- Ensure the consistent and effective translation of WNS Mission, future Vision and Core Values with all staff, board, donors, volunteers, partners, and key constituencies.
- Inspire people with innovative ideas through networking, writing, and speaking, as well as PR opportunities to gain exposure through external media, as defined by the marketing plan.
- Develop and maintain a positive relationship with the media.
7. Environmental and Maintenance:
- Adhere to the environmental demands of the old growth preserve and ensure the property is properly maintained.
- Oversee maintenance and improvements of all WNS buildings, machinery, vehicles and grounds.
- Bachelor’s degree in a related, relevant field. (Management, nonprofit management, fundraising, marketing.)
- Five years of relevant and progressive experience working with senior management. Having a track record of efficiently leading an organization, building capacity, scaling a performance outcomes/based organization and staff.
- Three years of administration experience including supervision and leading of full time staff, budgeting and fundraising.
- Possess strong public relations and communication skills.
- Past history of proven fundraising successes with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders.
Candidates for the position must be able to demonstrate:
- Strong leadership, communication, and people skills.
- Dedication and experience to a team approach.
- Enthusiasm and focus without direct supervision.
- Passion about the organization and its mission.
- History of success in strategic planning, leadership, and execution.
- Successful experience with capital campaigns, grant writing and fundraising.
- Comfort and clarity with public speaking, working with diverse groups of stakeholders, and direct solicitation of donors.
Conditions of employment:
- Criminal background check must show no conviction of felony or misdemeanor crimes, not including minor traffic violations or similar violations.
- Total compensation including salary and benefits will range from $55,000-$75,000.
- Insurance subsidy for medical, retirement etc. Is offered
- Bonus compensation plan included