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Position: National Executive Director
Organization: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water, and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the nature within them. Our vision is to keep at least half of Canada's public land and water wild — forever. We focus on protecting large, connected areas of Canada's wilderness and oceans.

CPAWS has played a leading role in the protection of more than half a million square kilometres in Canada over its 55-year history, establishing itself as Canada's preeminent public land and water conservation charity. With 13 chapters across Canada and a national office team based in Ottawa working together to protect Canada's land, freshwater, and oceans, CPAWS is poised for significant conservation gains in the next three years. With a healthy financial outlook, excellent government relations across Canada, and a strong staff and board team, the next National Executive Director of CPAWS will be in an enviable position to help the organization reach new and ambitious goals.

CPAWS is seeking a dynamic and innovative leader who can seize opportunities and always be ready to imagine new pathways to success.

CPAWS’ ultimate goal is to achieve the protection of at least half of Canada’s public land, freshwater and oceans. With 90% of our land, and 100% of our freshwater and oceans being in the public domain, the successful candidate for this position will need to have strong instincts and excellent skills in building relationships with Crown government decision-makers at all levels and of various political stripes, Indigenous governments, industry, other non-governmental organizations and communities. They must also be willing and able to find innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Building a strong supporter and donor base is essential to the success of CPAWS over the long-term. Experience in fund development, member relations, and campaigns of all kinds will be essential elements of the successful candidate’s toolkit. This will include an understanding of effective charitable or non-profit management.

CPAWS’ unique nationwide structure enables it to achieve outcomes in all jurisdictions effectively. A successful candidate must understand the nuances, challenges and opportunities that come from working in an organization that echoes Canada’s constitutional structure. The National Executive Director must be able to unleash the power of this structure by using a managerial approach that encourages and supports strong regional chapters and an effective national office. Building and sustaining positive relationships among these organizational elements is key to ensuring the organization’s success. Working collaboratively with a national board and its governance is essential, as is the ability to work functionally in both of Canada’s official languages.

CPAWS is committed to working collaboratively on conservation initiatives with Indigenous People centred around Reconciliation. A foundational respect for the rights and culture of Indigenous Peoples, along with a clear understanding of how they apply in conservation work is critical. Demonstrated abilities to build these relationships would be of great value to the next National Executive Director.

Sound financial management has been one of CPAWS’ hallmarks. A successful applicant will demonstrate a management-level understanding of project-based accounting, audit principles and charitable law.

As an employee of a science-based organization that relies heavily on Western and Traditional Indigenous and Local Knowledge, an ability to understand conservation issues and communicate them to a broader public will be critical. Strategic media relations, public communications, and an understanding of the principles of branding, are skills CPAWS is hoping to find in its new National Executive Director.

While the position is located in Ottawa, the National Executive Director will be required to travel throughout Canada. Knowledge of different regions and cultures in the Canadian federation as well as the conservation issues therein are valuable.

Skills and experience

  • Significant prior career experience in an executive-level position
  • Leadership in the non-profit sector
  • Financial management experience
  • Superior expertise in fundraising
  • Proficiency in strategic campaigning
  • Government relations expertise
  • Media relations
  • Functional Bilingualism

Knowledge areas

  • Indigenous rights and relationship building, including how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 recommendations specifically intersect with conservation work  
  • Federal/Provincial/Territorial/ First Nations’ jurisdictions and issues
  • Land and ocean conservation
  • Policy and decision-making processes
  • Strategic communications
  • Human Resources

The hiring committee understands that these skills, experiences and knowledge may not be in every candidate’s profile. Hence, serious consideration will be given to those who may have other attributes that could propel CPAWS to meeting its goals. Applicants with a diversity of backgrounds, and particularly Indigenous candidates, are encouraged to apply.

Interested applicants should submit their CV and cover letter indicating how they meet the qualifications by email to , by April 30, 2018, midnight, Eastern Time (ET). 

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GoodWork ID: 45043       Date posted to Apr 6 2018