Executive Director

The Lindsay Wildlife Experience Board seeks a growth-oriented, financially astute, fundraising executive to lead the country’s oldest and one of the largest wildlife education and wildlife rehabilitation facilities.

Lindsay Wildlife Experience connects people with wildlife to inspire responsibility and respect for the natural world we share.

The mission is accomplished by bringing people into close contact with wild animals to help them develop a connection to the natural world. One of the ways this is accomplished is by saving the lives of native animals impacted by human interactions, and returning these animals to their natural habitat where possible. The process of encounter, transportation to the facility, medical treatment, rehabilitation and care offers those who find the injured animals as well as Lindsay visitors a special, up-close encounter with native wildlife. Animals that cannot be released safely back to their natural habitat and that find a home at Lindsay are dubbed “Animal Ambassadors”. Animal Ambassadors are habituated to human interactions (although they retain their wild nature and must be handled by experts), and help provide educational experiences for children and adults.

The organization was founded over 60 years ago in 1955 by Alexander Lindsay, who wanted to inspire children to care about the wildlife in their area. It was renamed as the Lindsay Wildlife Museum upon the founder’s death in 1962. The Lindsay Wildlife Experience name was adopted in 2015 to better reflect the full nature of its integrated education and wildlife care mission.

Located in Walnut Creek (in the northeastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area), the organization consists of two distinct but complementary programs:

  • Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital was the first and one of the largest wildlife rehabilitation centers in the US, treating more than 5,500 injured and orphaned wild animals each year free of charge. The majority of animals are admitted due to the adverse effects of human activity. Its goal is to provide the best medical and husbandry care, which takes place on-site and in the homes of volunteers. Approximately 350 hospital volunteers donate 60,000 hours of service each year.
  • Educational and experiential programs for the community: Lindsay offers up-close wildlife experiences for all ages with animal ambassadors that include raptors, foxes, owls, porcupines, and more. The education component focuses on wildlife characteristics, behaviors, and healthy habitats in California, and how human behaviors can negatively (or positively) impact their environment. Lindsay takes its programs outside of its facility through its Conservation Icons speaker series and invited talks, and into schools, fairs, camps, and parks, so that people of all ages can learn about nature with experiences in local habitats.

More than 100,000 people annually experience Lindsay as onsite visitors, while thousands more attend the various educational programs and activities Lindsay offers. In addition, hundreds of people each year encounter Lindsay when they find an injured or sick wild animal that is then brought to Lindsay for care. The organization employs 38 full and part-time staff members, has approximately 500 dedicated volunteers, and is currently guided by a nine member, highly engaged Board. The Lindsay Wildlife museum and hospital are in a beautiful building that is owned by the city of Walnut Creek and has about 5 years left on its lease. There are efforts in place to extend the lease and/or look at alternative space arrangements, including property being offered to Lindsay by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District. There are also on-going discussions with the City of Walnut Creek to integrate and build out adjacent publicly-owned properties into the Lindsay facility.

For many years, Lindsay has run an annual operating deficit underwritten by periodic bequests, often provided by the vast network of volunteers and long-time supporters in the immediate area. While this approach has proven successful over decades, the board wishes to significantly upgrade its annual fundraising and create an endowment fund in order to stabilize Lindsay’s finances. The Executive Director and the Board will in the future view aggressive fundraising, pursuit of new revenue-generating and mission-extending opportunities, and responsible financial management as JOB-1 for both staff and the board.

The Position

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is accountable for managing all aspects of the wildlife rehabilitation, educational and museum activities and facilities. The Executive Director is responsible for all operations, staff, exhibits, educational programming, community outreach and advocacy, and for all budgets, financial controls and the administrative infrastructure of the organization.

S/he will shape, interpret, enhance and operationalize the strategic initiatives adopted by the Board, consistent with the organization’s mission and vision; enhance the organization’s wildlife medical treatment capabilities and educational programs while assuring a strong sense of quality; develop the Lindsay brand, and generate public awareness and support for the organization; achieve fiscal stability; cultivate partners; and increase contributed and earned revenue.

The Executive Director is expected to work closely with the staff to build the organization’s reputation as a preeminent voice for California wildlife, and be a strong advocate for habitat preservation and conservation-based practices and policies. The organization is already known both for its pioneering wildlife rehabilitation work and for its educational / experiential programs that are distinctive, exciting, and thought-provoking. The new Executive Director will continue in this tradition, ensuring that diverse audiences of varied ages, backgrounds, genders and ethnicities are systematically targeted and engaged in support of Lindsay’s mission.

Primary Responsibilities

The Executive Director will have four priorities in the first 12 months of his or her tenure:

  • Understand all facets of Lindsay, including its history, advocacy, culture, staff, exhibits, finances, planned exhibitions, education and public programs, facilities, assets and infrastructure, operations and its potential; understand the diverse Bay Area constituencies and tourists who visit the region.
  • Significantly improve earned and contributed revenue by focusing attention and accountability on increased attendance, membership, ticket sales, and other earned revenue streams, and by soliciting donations from foundations, businesses, individuals, and other sources. Appropriately engage all hands (staff, Board and volunteers) in executing a fund development strategy and appropriate fundraising activities;
  • Work with the staff, Board and volunteers to understand their contributions, strengths and concerns; instill a strong sense of partnership and cohesion across the organization; use open channels of communication to reinforce a culture of excellence toward achieving the highest standards of practice in informal educational institutions;
  • With the Board, interact with the city of Walnut Creek to make long-term arrangements at Lindsay’s current location, and/or make alternate facility arrangements within the East Bay.

Other specific responsibilities of the Executive Director include:

LEADERSHIP & GENERAL MANAGEMENT

  • Manage the day-to-day business affairs of the Lindsay with the intent of achieving greater financial independence and sustainability.
  • With the Board, refine and interpret the mission and Strategic Initiatives and further articulate its place among like organizations in the region, California and nationally.
  • Hire, supervise, motivate, develop and evaluate staff, ensuring that staffing is appropriate and fairly compensated to meet the organization’s goals; ensure that approved policies are consistently implemented.
  • Ensure that there is a pipeline of volunteers who are well-trained and engaged, and that they are recognized for their important contributions.
  • Oversee the preservation and maintenance of Lindsay’s physical assets (the hospital, exhibits, buildings and the infrastructure of the organization); continue to build out Lindsay’s facilities as needed.

REVENUE DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Serve as the chief fundraiser for Lindsay; set high expectations for increased financial support from foundations, corporations, individuals (major donors), government and other philanthropic sources for Lindsay’s programs, exhibitions and capital projects.
  • Work closely with the staff, the board, volunteers and advisors to expand and diversify revenue streams from program fees, admissions, licensing, facility rentals, concessions, rentals, events and other sources;
  • Serve as an articulate and persuasive spokesperson for Lindsay; represent Lindsay to all of its constituencies; cultivate strong and supportive relationships with other institutions in the region and in the community.
  • Identify and help recruit new supporters whose talents, interests and commitment will help to further Lindsay’s mission and programs and expand funding opportunities; nurture strong community partnerships; work to ensure active engagement of Board talent and resources in support of the institution.

EXHIBITS, EDUCATIONAL AND PUBLIC PROGRAMMING

  • Solidify Lindsay’s reputation as the leader of the Bay Area wildlife conservation movement, known for exceptional programs that raise awareness among regional, national and international audiences.
  • Work collaboratively and appropriately manage various relationships with other like organizations, thought-leaders in the field, advocates, schools, universities, patrons, volunteers and other community members.
  • Work with staff to continue to develop a comprehensive plan to strengthen, continually refresh and enrich Lindsay’s education programming; develop relationships with others outside of the organization that can strengthen programming and contribute to upgrading permanent and temporary exhibitions.

GOVERNANCE

  • With the Board and under the direction of the Board’s President, develop and implement Lindsay’s strategic initiatives; implement Board policies, goals, priorities and objectives; keep the Board informed of all relevant issues; attend all Board meetings and committee meetings as required;
  • Identify and help recruit new Board members whose talents, interests and commitment can further Lindsay’s mission and programs, and help to expand funding;
  • Work with the Board President to ensure an effective Board committee structure and active engagement of Board talent and resources in support of the institution; cultivate a mutually supportive relationship with stakeholders and other groups that are important to the future of the institution.

Qualifications

The ideal candidate has the following experience and qualifications:

  • A willingness to learn and understand a broad range of wildlife conservation issues; proven ability to use education and advocacy tools to achieve desired conservation outcomes.
  • Strong management and leadership responsibility for an aquarium, zoo, land trust, heritage site, museum, education or policy institute, school or associated institution that engages with and influences subject matter experts, business leaders, government officials and the general public.
  • Measurable and successful results in raising funds and in identifying, cultivating and soliciting individual, foundation and government donors; in-depth and current experience in marketing and management approaches that increase ticket sales, retail revenue and other earned income.
  • A deep understanding of how children, their families and adults learn and can be engaged through innovative programming; experience working with scholars and educational leaders as active and valued collaborators; a track record cultivating strong ties with a region’s residents and visitors;
  • A detailed understanding of operations and financial management, particularly in a similarly complex business environment; an understanding of capital projects and facilities management.
  • A leader adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing and following through; a hard worker with a high energy level who welcomes accountability; a person who cultivates trust and engages the interest of constituents; an individual who is straight-forward, shares information easily, receives as well as gives advice, and respects the abilities of others; someone who imparts trust, integrity and solidity and guides others in a similar vein; an ability to disagree without being disagreeable
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including the means to address issues in non-confrontational and non-polarizing ways, but nevertheless with determination; a track record as an effective, well-respected manager; a sense of humor and perspective.

Hours, Benefits & Compensation

Commensurate with experience.

EEO POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Lindsay Wildlife Experience to afford equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, citizen status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic or status that is protected by federal, state or local law.

Apply

For more information please contact:

Lisa Grossman: (650) 323-3565 or [email protected]

Mark Oppenheim: (415)762-2640 or [email protected]

m/Oppenheim Associates

425 Market Street, Suite 1020

San Francisco, CA 94105

Position Availability

Until Filled.