Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action. By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive. And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level. What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of approximately 450 local chapters, 120 campus chapters, 17 state and regional offices, 34 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
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The Policy Director will lead and define policy efforts and overall governmental affairs functions to advance Audubon’s mission and bird conservation goals in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri. Reporting to the Vice President and Executive Director of Audubon Minnesota and the Upper Mississippi River (AM/UMR), they will serve as a part of AM/UMR’s senior leadership team and work closely with regional and national staff to design strategic policy agendas, initiatives, and campaigns.
The Policy Director will lead the development and implementation of a regional policy agenda that advances Audubon’s priorities at the state, regional and federal levels. In the region, early priorities will focus on advancing Audubon’s agenda related to the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and climate solutions. The Policy Director is responsible for shaping and executing a policy agenda and implementation plan including engaging chapters, bolstering Audubon’s grassroots network, and building key partnerships and coalitions. This includes proactively communicating issues and positions and supporting fundraising efforts for successful policy campaigns and conservation outcomes. Additionally, they will be a key player in AM/UMR’s Mississippi River Initiative which aims to improve water quality, hydrological management, and community health that also supports the birds of the Mississippi Flyway.
The ideal candidate is a skilled, experienced manager and strategic thinker with a working background knowledge of the policy and political landscape of the Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri Region. Experience working on water, agriculture, and/or climate issues will be critical for success in this position.
- Under the direction of the VP of MN/UMR and in partnership with the national conservation team, develop and implement equitable state and federal policy, advocacy, and campaign goals for the Mississippi River, Great Lakes and climate initiatives, including the effective engagement of internal and external stakeholders.
- Provide periodic updates and recommendations to state and national staff and board to facilitate more productive integration at all levels of the organization. This may include identifying important issues that need to be addressed across the range of priority conservation programs and highlighting effective case studies.
- Develop productive relationships with key state-elected and agency officials/leaders, as well as the regional Congressional delegation and federal agencies critical to Audubon goals.
- Coordinate the efforts of state staff working on federal, state, regional and local policy initiatives.
- Raise the profile and visibility of Audubon in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri as a leader in conservation policy efforts; build creative and enduring alliances and partnerships to support Audubon’s policy efforts and serve as an effective, enthusiastic, and visible spokesperson for Audubon.
- Advance Mississippi River, Great Lakes and climate policy priorities through issue campaigns that engage and expand Audubon’s network of individual volunteer advocates, chapters and allies in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri with support from Audubon state and national staff.
- Increase grassroots policy capacity across these states in a way that shapes a more representative set of participants
- Engage advisory board members to assist in achieving Upper Mississippi River’s policy goals.
- Promote an organizational culture and structure that fosters cooperation, communication, collaboration, teamwork, equity and trust.
- Collaborate with Audubon’s development team to identify, cultivate, and make requests to donors and foundations. Be an agile partner in helping to brainstorm engagement strategies for current and new members interested in the state’s advocacy work.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in political science, economics, or related field and 10+ years’ professional experience in policy, grassroots advocacy, wildlife conservation, public service or related field, including at least 3 years managing staff and teams, desired. Experience in conservation, renewable energy, and/or climate related issues is preferred. Equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
- Effective track record working in federal, state, and local, and tribal governmental processes especially with Governors’ offices, state and federal agencies, and legislative committees.
- Keen understanding of current policy trends in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri related to climate change, land and water conservation, Indigenous law and experience applying this knowledge to policy advocacy and implementation strongly preferred.
- Significant knowledge of conservation initiatives on the Mississippi River and experience implementing policy action for large landscape conservation.
- Exceptional leadership skills with the proven ability to oversee and mentor professional staff while working effectively in a team-based environment.
- Excellent written and verbal communications skills and the ability build consensus amongst a wide range of individuals. Comfort with presenting and engaging others in public-speaking events is also necessary.
- Demonstrated experience overseeing complex or multiple projects through to success, including meeting financial goals, project deadlines, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners.
- Desire and ability to advocate for complex, bold conservation positions in both small and large settings.
- Thorough understanding of how advocacy, communications, and grassroots engagement components effectively work together.
- Outstanding interpersonal skills, judgment, and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build coalitions.
- Technically savvy, to include proficiency with Microsoft Office suite applications and comfort using web-based engagement systems. Experience with EveryAction or similar voter/volunteer database desired. Salesforce experience a plus.
- Familiarity with planning, regulatory, and political processes with respect to environmental issues in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri, particularly with respect to the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
- Willingness to travel, including regular visits to Washington DC, and comfort working evenings and weekends as job responsibilities demand.
- Demonstrated interest in conservation and commitment to the mission of the National Audubon Society.
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Job posted: 2021-09-13