The Vice President of Regional Conservation serves on Openlands executive team that leads the work of the organization and provides a leadership role in developing and executing organizational strategy and regional conservation goals. S/he is an accomplished conservation leader responsible for directing and overseeing region-wide conservation activities for the organization, ensuring successful and meaningful short-range, intermediate, and long-lasting results. The Vice President of Regional Conservation will:
Advance the organization’s region-wide priorities by developing actionable land, water, and policy solutions; executing plans; engaging the board of directors; and recruiting and developing emerging leaders
Be responsible for formulating, coordinating and accomplishing the permanent protection, restoration, and stewardship of land and water resources in furtherance of Openlands’ mission
Organizational Strategic leadership and management
Provide close support to and maintain open communication with the President & CEO, Executive Vice President, and other executive team members on a wide variety of operations matters, strategic priorities, and policy initiatives
Lead Regional Conservation team comprised of three directors and two managers that are responsible for large landscape protection, government affairs, greenway and water trail work, ecological restoration, and the Conservation at Home program. Provide guidance to advance the recent merger with Conserve Lake County to build depth in Lake County activities including the integration of Openlands programs
Establish and implement work plans, evaluate outcomes, and adjust priorities; manage alignment of resources and priorities among work teams
Collaborate with other staff to develop and implement policies and positions which reflect regional organizational values and priorities
Advances organization commitment to diversity and inclusion that is reflected in its organization culture, values, norms, and behaviors
Manage budgets; secure funding and financing, including market-based mechanisms, to advance the work
External Relations, Fund development and Partnerships
Originate, execute, and oversee innovative and complex multi-party projects to advance regional conservation goals; generate support and guide public engagement efforts to accomplish successful outcomes
Grow and sustain a portfolio of relationships among leadership of government and private partners, including philanthropic institutions, elected officials and agency representatives
Provide leadership within the state-wide land conservation and environmental communities to advance mutual goals; serve on committees and panels as appropriate to advance the Openlands’ regional agenda
Cultivate land owners regarding real estate transactions that culminate in permanent land protection; work with legal staff to execute deals
Oversee the operational and stewardship of the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Bachelor’s degree in environmental or natural resource field or other applicable fields such as political science, legal studies, business administration; Advanced degree desirable
Ten years relevant experience managing a multi-disciplinary team
Experience with conservation strategies, conservation finance, and trends and emerging issues; experience with lands trusts a plus
Experience managing a multi-disciplinary team of professionals
Exhibits an understanding of issues relating to diversity and racial equity
Experience developing region-wide strategies and policies
Proven skills and experience negotiating complex, high profile agreements
Demonstrated ability to build and manage relationships with donors in the foundation and corporate sector
Ability to work independently and well with people and agencies
Strong organizational skills and attention to detail; excellent communication and presentation skills
Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
Ability to travel frequently throughout the Chicago region; access to automobile and driver’s license required throughout the term of employment
Salary range is market competitive. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan, paid holidays and vacation time.
This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position to JobApps@Openlands.org. Please include “VP of Conservation” in the subject line.
Office is ADA accessible.
This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. Employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer.
This role requires manual labor- standing, bending, crouching, lifting. Smoke- and drug-free environment
Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws.
Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.
Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands' vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.