Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Executive Director

Job Description


Location:              Washington, DC

Type:                     Regular Full-Time

Title:                      Executive Director

Reports to:         Board of Directors

The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the scientific basis for environmental decision-making. NCSE specializes in programs that foster collaboration among diverse institutions and individuals who create and use environmental knowledge—including academic, environmental, business organizations and governmental bodies at all levels. NCSE has 190 University and College Affiliates (including its Council of Environmental Deans and Directors and Community College Affiliate Program) and strong relationships with many federal agencies.


NCSE is seeking an exceptional individual to provide vision and leadership for the organization’s work to make science relevant to real world decision-making on critical environmental and sustainability challenges and advance the education of the next generation of sustainability leaders. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility to ensure programmatic and staffing excellence, financial well-being, strong and growing programs, and execution of its mission. The job location is in Washington DC and includes a competitive package of salary and benefits.

Major Responsibilities


Strategic Leadership:

  1. Provides broad vision and leadership for the organization in close collaboration with the Board of Directors, staff, university and college affiliates, the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors Executive Committee and other stakeholder communities.
  2. Leads timely evolution of the strategic vision of NCSE and oversees its implementation in operations and programs with the Board of Directors, staff and key constituents.
  3. Initiates, oversees and evaluates programs, in accordance with NCSE strategy, financial capacity, and legal/contractual agreements.
  4. Identifies and evaluates strategic areas and opportunities for program expansion or contraction.
  5. Helps develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors; serves as ex-officio member of the full Board and its committees; and provides the Board with the means to carry out its responsibilities.
  6. Continues to build new relationships and partnerships that support the vision and mission of NCSE.
  7. Serves as chief spokesperson for the organization, including participation in meetings and public presentations, to articulate the vision and provide information about the programs of NCSE to key audiences.


a)Oversee and expand revenue generating and fundraising strategies and activities to support existing program operations and expand into new areas of opportunity.

b)Works closely with Director of Development, staff, and Board members to initiate and implement a development strategy that enables achievement of NCSE’s strategic goals while providing for the long-term financial health of the organization.

c)Engages Board members and cultivates potential Board members as fundraising partners and potential donors.

d)Conducts outreach and personal visits to potential funders of NCSE activities including foundations, individuals, governmental agencies, and corporations.

e)Develops and maintains strong working partnerships with key NCSE academic partners:  the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, the Community College Affiliate Council, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders and other academic partnerships to ensure the appropriate levels of support, quality of leadership and expansion of membership.


Financial Management:

a)Provides overall fiscal management of NCSE with the assistance of financial staff, Board, outside services (independent auditors), and consultants as necessary; and develops budgets for review and approval by Board.

b)Ensures NCSE compliance with all auditing, tax and financial reporting requirements.


Program and Staff Management:

a)Provides leadership to staff to enable successful implementation of the programs, projects and activities of NCSE. This includes hiring, evaluation, training, changing staff and/or roles and responsibilities, conflict resolution, promotions, salaries and benefits, and other issues. Works in partnership with other members of the senior management team to address all issues relating to the successful operation of the NCSE.

b)Ensures success of all programs including current programs:

  • National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment
  • University Affiliate Program
  • Council of Environmental Deans and Directors
  • Community College Affiliate Program
  • Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders
  • Center for Environmental Education Research
  • EnvironMentors
  • Grant funded projects
  • Secretariat functions for the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences

c)Sets the tone for a positive, encouraging and professional work environment, with open communication.

d)Deepens and refines all aspects of communication—from web presence, to publications, to external relations—with the goal of creating a strong brand.

e)Provides direct management of selected projects as appropriate.

f)Develops effective systems to track progress, and regularly evaluate programs, to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders and other constituencies.

g)Ensures that NCSE is operating in compliance with its Bylaws, Policies, and Operating Rules; as well as all applicable laws and regulations.


  • 5+ years of senior management experience in one or more sectors, including NGOs, academia,  government or business
  • 10+ years of leadership in environment and sustainability areas related to the general mission of NCSE
  • Demonstrated success with fundraising
  • Big picture perspective and understanding of the interface between science and decision-making
  • Ability to establish and maintain professional relationships internally and externally, particularly with universities, government agencies, corporations and NGOs
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment and nurturing leadership within the team
  • Experience with managing non-profit finances
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills


  • Advanced degree in an environmental or sustainability field or comparable work experience
  • Existing strong relationships in academia, government, NGOs and business


To apply:

Please email a pdf of resume and cover letter to  Consideration of applications will begin on August 4, 2015. The position will remain open to applications until it is filled. Applications will be held in strict confidence.


NCSE values diversity and is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.   



To succeed in this job, the individual must perform each essential job responsibility successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable an individual with disabilities to perform the essential job responsibilities.  Job descriptions represent a general outline of job responsibilities and qualifications.  They are not intended to be comprehensive in nature.  In addition, jobs evolve over time and, therefore, their descriptions may not reflect the precise nature of the position at a given point of time.