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WATERSHEDS, LAKES & RIVERS

Position: Executive Director
Organization: Watersheds Canada
Location: anywhere in Canada or office in Perth, Ontario

About Watersheds Canada

Lakes are a living feature of Canada covering almost 10% of all the land. Aquatic ecosystems play a critical role in sustaining life, providing critical habitat, maintaining biodiversity, and contributing to the social and economic well-being of many communities. At the same time, they are increasingly exposed to a wide range of threats caused by human activities. Globally, among all biomes, the rate of biodiversity loss is reported to be the greatest for freshwaters. Although addressing lake health issues is complex, many of the solutions are in the hands of people living near them. Watersheds Canada engages and collaborates with landowners, freshwater stakeholders, grassroots organizations and municipal decision-makers to conserve and restore lakes and rivers. Healthy water comes from healthy watersheds.

Watersheds Canada is a small charitable organization that works to protect Canada’s most precious resource: water. As a potential national leader in the freshwater not-for-profit sector, we provide programs to communities across the country. These communities work to engage and help shoreline owners enhance and protect the health of lakes and rivers. Watersheds Canada provides practical and proven ways to restore deteriorating shoreline conditions and improve water quality over the long-term.

We are action-oriented and collaborative: our aim is to empower individuals and other groups to take action on shorelines across Canada. Founded in 2002 in Ontario, Watersheds Canada is expanding across Canada with major programs being delivered in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Together with our partners, we have carried out over 44,000 shoreline assessments through our Love Your Lake program and planted more than 162,000m2 of shoreline habitat with 80,000 native plants.

What has always set Watersheds Canada apart from other organizations involved in lake and river stewardship is our dedication in listening to the communities we serve: waterfront property owners, lake and river associations, grassroots organizations, and municipalities concerned with the health of their lakes and rivers. This results in programming that is always inclusive, effective, impactful, and efficient.

What is Different About Watersheds Canada?

Watersheds Canada takes a collaborative approach in developing and delivering our programs and resources. We work with local grassroots organizations to ensure a diversity of expertise and experience to create, test, and pilot our programs and to ensure their sustainability and success. Our partners benefit from our knowledge and technology to build successful projects, and we love sharing the best ways to get results.

Watersheds Canada grew from its roots as a lake association in Eastern Ontario and was incorporated as a national charity in 2002. Despite our big name, Watersheds Canada is still a small environmental organization that raises every dollar each year from grants, foundation support, program income, and donations. We work hard to keep our programs going through continual applications for competitive granting programs, and by building relationships with businesses and donors.

We are at a unique junction — we are growing, but we also have long-term staff and funders who are keen to support this work at a larger scale. Watersheds Canada is an aspirational brand and you will be helping us expand to every corner of Canada.

Watersheds Canada is collaborative at its heart. We work with partners on the ground to protect and restore freshwater through developing and delivering resilient solutions and tools.

About the Role

As our new Executive Director you will report to the Board of Directors and your primary aim will be to grow the organization sustainably. You will be the advocate of Watersheds’ vision: that all Canadians are engaged and caring for clean, healthy lakes and rivers that sustain humans and wildlife for years to come. You will be supported by the current Executive Director, who is staying on in a part-time role to help lead programs and special projects as the Director of Community and Partnership Programs. You will help to bring the financial and operational resources needed to support the organization while representing Watersheds Canada to partners, supporters, and the general public. More information on current Watersheds Canada’s programs can be found on our website.

By joining Watersheds Canada, you are joining a close-knit family made of dedicated staff that are excited to support you in leading the organization to its next level. Using your experience and network, you will amplify Watersheds Canada’s reach and identify new funding opportunities. The ideal Executive Director will have significant experience scaling up programs and/or organizations with budgets of more than one million dollars. You are well-liked by your peers, work well with people, and lead by example by building mutually respectful relationships. You are up-to-date on effective team leadership management styles, you take good ideas and help make them happen, and enjoy organizational development and fundraising.

While you may be based anywhere in Canada, you would want to show some presence in Perth, Ontario, where the physical operations are based. The team currently is partially working remotely and in-person, so working elsewhere is part of normal everyday planning. You will be well organized and will provide effective ways for your team to check in with you and know what is expected. You will be nurturing a trusting remote work culture.

Your First Year

Your first few months will give you the time to learn about current operations, get to know staff, the board, partners, and current funders. You will have the opportunity to understand the strategic direction and action plans. You will be supported by the current Executive Director who has grown the organization over the past 10 years, and is excited to hand over leadership to ensure the transition of the organization in its growing mandate!

By the three-month point, you would have embraced the culture of the organization and be able to operationalize strong future planning. You will have taken over significant responsibility for the day-to-day execution of the strategic plan and team management and be actively pursuing larger grants and donations from funders. The current Executive Director will have transitioned into her role as the Director of Community Partnerships and Programs, helping you build relationships with existing funders and supporting you as you develop relationships of your own. At this point, you will help the board set metrics for your own success at the 6-month and 12-month marks.

By 6 months, you should be hitting your stride and are able to manage and maintain your team and budget, and are looking for growth opportunities. You will be comfortable solving problems, coming up with work plans, and creating/generating new opportunities for funding and growth through presenting Watersheds Canada’s mission and programs to partners, sponsors, media, and funders. Some lucrative opportunities should be emerging!

You now know “our” people and what motivates them to act on behalf of freshwater. You have begun to develop the deep relationships that have been so important in sharing power and resources necessary for our many successful campaigns.

By the 12-month point, we will be reviewing your first year’s successes. You are now amongst the strongest champions for healthy freshwater across Canada, and your efforts have led to increasing resilient waterways. As an organization we are now so much more robust. We have had some significant financial successes and new partnerships to help expand our reach. We have grown and diversified our supporters/funding base, following Watersheds Canada’s long-term strategic and fundraising plans. We have secured national sponsors and support for our keystone programs and are receiving recognition both at local and national levels.

Is This Your Challenge?

To make a difference, the organization needs your help to grow its vision. Your passion for environmental protection, and especially water, should be a huge part of your life. You understand what is needed for growth and impact requiring financial stability and strong partnerships, and have a strong background in fundraising with good relationships with environmental funders. You should not be daunted by quickly preparing a proposal for a potential funder and get excited by the opportunity to speak publicly.

Your leadership skills shine through your ability to connect with others and to find elegant, collaborative solutions for your team. This team is used to strong leadership, so bringing your experience running other organizations/national programs, creating plans, and motivating staff will be important. As we grow as an organization, presenting the vision to stakeholders will be integral. You should be comfortable and enthusiastic about preparing compelling presentations.

While growth is a big goal for the organization, its foundations are strong, with long-term staff and well-established partnerships.

Interested?

We are looking for someone whose values and passion lie in making a difference for the environment and who is ready to dive into the work. Bilingualism in English and French (written and spoken) would be an asset as we are looking to expand our programs within Francophone communities.

Does this sound like you? Please send your CV and cover letter to: board@watersheds.ca by June 10, 2022.

Please do not call; only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Watersheds Canada is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.

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Current status: Open/apply now.   Date posted: May 13 2022    ID: 64427