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Acterra: Executive Director

About The Organization

Acterra seeks an Executive Director (ED) who will lead the organization as it continues to promote sustainable practices and leadership in the Bay Area. Building on the organization’s 48-year history of environmental action and education to inspire and engage residents, businesses and local government agencies, the ED will develop the strategy with the Board for the organization’s future.

About Acterra

Acterra is a Bay Area-focused environmental organization based in Palo Alto that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. The organization’s roots go back to 1970 with a history of inspiring and motivating action for change. Acterra and its predecessor organizations developed innovative programs for land stewardship, energy conservation, and residential and commercial recycling. Acterra now focuses its efforts on the most urgent issue of our time: climate change. It promotes and supports energy efficiency and renewable energy, corporate sustainability, and advocacy to build an informed and empowered citizenry.

Acterra offers a number of programs that bring people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet, including:

  • Climate Resilient Communities: an environmental justice program that helps residents in low-income communities create resilience against climate change impacts;
  • Karl Knapp GoEV Program: a program that helps accelerate the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy by educating people about the benefits of electric vehicles and helping them with their decisions to purchase or lease a vehicle and to get EV chargers;
  • Green@Home: a program that offers educational programs to help residents to take action to reduce their home energy waste;
  • Business Environmental Awards: a program that honors the accomplishments of organizations with innovative sustainable programs and recognizes environmental leaders;
  • Silicon Valley Green Team Network: a volunteer network that provides a venue for employee sustainability advocates to help increase sustainable behavior in their organizations and to help them share best practices in their workplace with other companies;
  • Public Lecture Series: an annual series of innovative and motivating lectures that build awareness of emerging environmental issues and solutions.

For more information on Acterra and its programs, please visit www.acterra.org

The Opportunity

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will be responsible for leadership of the organization to include strategic planning, organizational development and management, fundraising and external relations, program development and assessment, and budgeting and fiscal management.

The organization is seeking an Executive Director to lead Acterra in its efforts to combat climate change and its impact on the local environment. The Executive Director will manage a budget of approximately $1 million, report to a 16-member board of directors, oversee a staff of ten, including four direct reports, and ensure outstanding educational and engaging experiences that motivate climate action at the local level. The ideal candidate has a passion for, and knowledge of, environmental sustainability, a successful history of people management, deep connections within the climate solutions community, and experience in the nonprofit sector, including fundraising. And most of all, Acterra seeks a leader who can support, inspire, and direct its experienced and engaged staff.

Key Responsibilities

Vision, Strategy and Planning

  • Set and lead the strategy and vision for the organization, execute on the vision and align stakeholders to bring Acterra to its next stage of growth and impact.
  • Strengthen Acterra’s ability to provide local solutions to climate change.
  • Provide inspirational leadership to engage and motivate Acterra’s key stakeholders.
  • Work with individuals, community groups, local businesses, governments and agencies to help them adopt best practices for becoming more sustainable and to reduce their climate impacts.

Resource Development and External Relations

  • Work with the board and development staff to identify and cultivate relationships with foundation, corporate and individual donors to continue to develop a strong fundraising pipeline and donor base.
  • Work with the board and staff to establish and manage a resource development plan aligned with the strategic plan and vision for growth.
  • Work with the board and staff to develop and lead efforts to increase contributed revenue.
  • Build reserves to ensure fiscal responsibility and sustainability.
  • Develop and implement a communications strategy to continue to promote and elevate Acterra’s presence in the community.

Financial and Organizational Leadership

  • Develop and support a cohesive, collaborative and effective senior management team.
  • Lead and implement a performance management and staff development process that optimizes capabilities of staff and addresses evolving needs of the organization, including performance appraisal, compensation and training.
  • Work closely with the board of directors and its committees to ensure strong and appropriate fiduciary oversight, governance and engagement and ensure that Acterra operates in a financially sustainable manner.
  • Implement and maintain systems that support effective, transparent financial management, including budgeting and reporting.
  • Foster an organization that has a culture of collaboration, respect, transparency, inclusiveness and professional excellence.
  • Partner with staff through mentorship and coaching to facilitate their continued growth.

Programmatic Impact

  • Oversee Acterra’s current programs and evaluate their effectiveness in meeting the mission.
  • Together with board and staff, identify opportunities for increased growth, reach and impact through the development of new programs, with a focus on climate change solutions.
  • Expand Acterra’s audience through information technologies such as social media and webinars.

Experience and Qualifications

The successful candidate will have:

  • At least three years as an executive director or chief executive or five years in a senior management role.
  • Deep knowledge of and experience working in the Bay area, and experience or knowledge of the Bay area’s environmental community.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, define a vision, and establish and execute plans to achieve the mission.
  • Solid, hands-on budget management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision- making and reporting.
  • Strong organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development and task facilitation.
  • Proven track record of success in fundraising or business development, including growing a network of funders (institutional and individual) around a unified vision.
  • Experience in overseeing the financial health and scaling of an organization, exhibiting fiscal responsibility and sustainability.
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial success transforming and bringing initiatives or organizations to scale.
  • Management experience, including cultivating talent and fostering a culture of collaboration.
  • Experience in hiring, supervising, and growing a highly proficient, talented and diverse staff to support the vision of the organization.
  • Desire to promote staff and volunteer development and education, and assist program staff in relating their specialized work to the total program of the organization.
  • Excellent communication skills as a public speaker and writer. Communicates with transparency, openness and integrity.
  • Proven expertise in developing and managing budgets of similar or larger sizes.
  • Experience working with and developing a board to shepherd an organization through a phase of growth and impact.
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Master’s degree and/or other graduate degree is preferred.

Personal Attributes

The successful candidate will have:

  • A clear understanding of the threat of climate change and a commitment to environmental justice issues.
  • Ability to convey vision, inspire others toward the vision and develop a consensus-driven strategy.
  • Execution strength – ability to make decisions and ensure things get done.
  • Ability to share leadership of the organization and partner with the board to set goals, track progress and assess effectiveness of the organization in meeting the mission.
  • Dynamic and inspiring communication skills. Excellent external communicator with ability to communicate passion for mission to funders, partners and stakeholders. Able to effectively build buy-in internally through engaging staff and board in vision and strategy-setting.
  • Natural ability to understand what motivates others, how to find collaborative opportunities and how to foster a positive culture.
  • A high degree of emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
  • Cultural sensitivity and ability to connect with diverse communities.

Acterra strives to ensure that the organization is welcoming and inclusive. The organization does not discriminate as to gender, race, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, social background, disability, pregnancy, marital status, political affiliation, or age. Acterra strives to include persons from traditionally under-represented groups and complies with all applicable national and local laws pertaining to non-discrimination and equal opportunity.

Apply For This Position

To apply, fill out the form below or email us your cover letter and resume expressing your interest in this position to search@blueridgeadvisorsllc.com with "Acterra - Executive Director" in the subject line. We also accept nominations of qualified candidates. All applications and nominations will be held in the strictest confidence.