The San Juan Mountains Association is seeking a new Executive Director to provide innovative leadership based at its Durango, CO headquarters.
Founded in 1988, the San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) is a nonprofit cooperating (or interpretive) association for the San Juan National Forest (SJNF), BLM Tres Rios Field Office and BLM Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. With an annual operating budget of approximately $700,000, fourteen (14) bookstore outlets and 13 staff (including full-time, part-time and seasonal), SJMA supports the federal land agencies in five (5) counties throughout SW Colorado.
What is a cooperating association?
Modeled after nonprofit organizations formed to support the National Park programs and projects after the founding of the National Park Service in 1916, cooperating associations were formerly recognized by Congress in 1936.
Today a cooperating or interpretive association is best described as a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the education and preservation mission of the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and/or Bureau of Land Management. Cooperating associations accomplish this through bookstore sales, publications, product development, educational and volunteer programs and projects.
SJMA was formed at the request of the San Juan National Forest Supervisor by a group of local citizens who recognized the need for public involvement in and knowledge about public land management. SJMA’s aim at creation was to facilitate open communication and cooperation between federal agencies and residents of communities surrounding the public lands of SW Colorado. SJMA, under a Participating Agreement with the San Juan National Forest had its humble beginnings as a grassroots organization providing conservation education in public schools, Leave-No-Trace education in the Weminuche Wilderness and assisting agency staff with special projects. Thanks to the foresight of the San Juan National Forest and the local community in 1988, the SJMA blossomed into a comprehensive and valuable resource for education and volunteerism for the care of Colorado’s public lands. Today, we remain true to the spirit in which we were created; however, we have expanded our offerings to include many more programs and volunteer opportunities on public lands. From the handful of inspired volunteers, the SJMA now counts its membership as more than 600 individuals who participate in various volunteer programs, as well as support the SJMA through its membership program.
In the nearly thirty-years since inception, SJMA has developed field projects, educational programs and publications to instill a land ethic and stewardship towards our public lands. We attribute our success to the invaluable support we receive from, not only the San Juan National Forest & BLM, but also community business partners, exemplary volunteers and loyal members.
In the cooperating association world, SJMA is a recognized model for interpretive associations around the region. Over the course of our history, SJMA has received many awards for its outstanding services. Our Cultural Site Stewardship Program has been recognized nationally as well as regionally. In 2008, the program was recognized at the White House by First Lady Laura Bush as a model for the new national Preserve America Steward Program and it was the recipient of a national Preserve American Steward Award.
SJMA is seeking a thoughtful, energetic visionary to serve as its next Executive Director, to move the organization forward in a rapidly changing environment. An innovative, creative leader will enable SJMA to continue to serve the public land agencies in a way that is relevant and forward thinking, never losing sight of its mission to promote responsible care of natural and cultural resources through education and hands-on involvement that inspires respect and reverence for our lands.
The Executive Director is the chief executive officer of the San Juan Mountains Association in conjunction with a volunteer 5-7 member Board of Directors.
The Executive Director has overall responsibility to ensure that the Association mission and vision are fulfilled through the implementation and supervision of activities focused on achievement of strategic goals developed in conjunction with the Board of Directors. The Executive Director is accountable to the Board of Directors for all association programs and activities in accordance with Board directives and the articles of incorporation and bylaws. The Executive Director will foster and cultivate a service culture in developing and maintaining a productive relationship with the Forest Service and BLM. This is a full-time position, hired by and directly accountable to the Association Board of Directors.
The executive director is the most visible spokesperson for the organization both locally in the community as well as regionally. The Executive Director is the primary promoter of the organization to various audiences, including conservation partners, government agencies, potential volunteers/members, interns and private donors, funders as well as business supporters. As the leader of SJMA, the executive director must be able to effectively motivate enthusiasm for and investment in the public lands that surround SW Colorado.
Specifically, the Executive Director’s responsibilities include:
Leadership, Planning, and Supervision
- Providing informed and visionary leadership for the organization, including the creation and execution of a long-range strategic plan to fulfill SJMA’s mission
- Representing the organization in the greater community, including developing and strengthening productive relationships with members, volunteers, partners, donors, the SJNF and BLM, and others critical to the organization’s success
- Working with the key agency personnel to develop the SJNF/BLM programs and projects with delegation to SJMA program staff
- Meeting regularly with key agency personnel regarding work plans related to agency programs and projects
- Creating opportunities that make SJMA more visible to the SJNF/BLM staff and invite input into all programs, projects and activities
- Overseeing a goal –oriented annual budget with a focus on financial capacity and long-term security which includes prudent management of SJMA’s resources
- Overseeing operation, design, marketing, delivery, and quality of all SJMA programs, products and services, including retail stores throughout the landscape
- Supervising the hiring and firing of staff and selecting, training, and developing employees, including establishing appropriate compensation and benefit levels and ensuring that all staff are meeting objectives in an efficient and team-oriented approach
- Continually develop and evaluate a staffing structure that supports the mission of the Association and the accomplishment of its strategic goals
- Setting and maintaining a high-level of professionalism and accountability throughout SJMA
Fundraising & Marketing
- Overseeing all fundraising activities, including ensuring growth in member support.
- Planning and coordinating membership recruitment and retention activities
- Leading stewardship efforts with major donors and San Juan Society members to ensure continued support of SJMA
- Developing updated and innovative marketing materials that effectively accomplish development initiatives
- Developing annual fundraising plans that ensure a continued revenue stream
- Celebrating SJMA’s 30th Anniversary in 2018 through creative and innovative ideas
- Researching opportunities for on-line fundraising activities
- Writing or delegating grant proposals
- Overseeing all other fundraising projects as the Board dictates
- Serving as the chief spokesperson for the Association, ensuring proper representation and promoting its visibility to its various constituencies
- Attending events and local community activities to promote SJMA’s mission and visibility
- Willingness to staff educational and outreach booths at public events throughout the year
- Maintaining productive working relationship with Board that includes regular reporting on progress toward organizational goals and objectives
- Working closely with the Board President to identify key issues for SJMA and setting appropriate agenda for board meetings
- Ensuring effective and efficient Board structure
- Identifying key issues for Board deliberations
- Overseeing administration of Board meetings and actions
- Ensuring materials that facilitate Board analysis of issues and decision making are provided for Board meetings in a complete and timely manner
- Involving each Board member at an optimum level. Stimulate each to reach the highest potential as a Board member
- Attending all Board meetings; assure recording of minutes; and participate as a non-voting Board member
- Assisting Nominating committee in identifying, recruiting, and training new Board members
- Undertaking the orientation of new Board members
- Ensuring the implementation of all board policies
Qualifications, Skills and Characteristics
Leading candidates will be facilitative, coalition builders who can work at multiple levels with association membership, Board members, agency personnel, and affiliated organizations, providing leadership as appropriate and establishing a basis for trust and mutuality of expectations. The Executive Director should have the ability to service the current needs of the membership and agency partners while also identifying trends and issues of significance to the profession for the future; strategic thinking should be combined with solid, tactical and pragmatic implementation.
The Executive Director should be diplomatic, yet decisive and cognizant of the ramifications of his/her decisions. He/She should be flexible, politically astute, culturally sensitive, and self-motivated. The successful candidate should be able to create harmonious relationships, develop good rapport and be a person of vision who is also comfortable as a hands-on manager and enabler of others. He/She should be an open, confident, calm and communicative professional who enjoys exploring ideas and has the ability to maintain grace under pressure.
Exceptional written and oral communication skills are important. The Executive Director will excel at setting priorities and will have the ability to deal with multiple tasks and functions simultaneously. Possessing a strong process orientation, the successful candidate should be highly organized and understand the importance of leveraging his/her strengths through the capacities of the staff and membership. Since much of the role is catalytic and facilitative in nature, it is particularly important that the successful candidate be able to earn the trust and respect of the land managers as well as the membership, potential partners, constituents, supporters, staff and decision makers. The Executive Director should be a model of integrity and fairness and have high ethical standards.
The successful candidate will have strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with a proven collaborative team-building background. The individual best suited for this job will have a demonstrated willingness to work irregular and extended hours; including weekends and holidays as needed. Ideally, this individual will reside in Durango to ensure participation in community events and activities. The candidate should be willing to use their personal vehicle with State of Colorado minimum insurance and will need to maintain a valid driver’s license.
Career Path Leading to This Position
Candidates should have demonstrated success in nonprofit leadership positions and have a genuine passion for SJMA’s mission. Candidates should have a background in association management, conservation organizations or a variety of other nonprofit experience. A BA or BS degree is required with an advance degree preferred.
Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits include paid PTO, health insurance reimbursement program and the possibility for small annual pension match.
Those interested in the position are asked to submit a resume and letter of interest demonstrating their qualifications for the position. The cover letter should succinctly describe the applicant’s goals, suitability for the position, salary requirements and other pertinent facts that may not appear in the resume. No phone calls please. SJMA is an equal opportunity employer. Please go to www.sjma.org to learn more about the organization.
Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Electronic submission is encouraged