Chief Program Officer

Chief Program Officer

Farm Sanctuary

Watkins Glen, NY / Los Angeles, CA   |   November 13, 2020

About Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming, advocate for institutional reforms, and encourage a new awareness and understanding of farm animals and the benefits of cruelty-free, plant-based living. As the founding farm animal Sanctuary in the U.S., Farm Sanctuary has rescued and provided refuge for countless survivors of the animal agriculture system.

Today, Farm Sanctuary’s Los Angeles, CA and Watkins Glen, NY Sanctuaries are home to nearly 1,000 rescued animals—each with an individual story to tell. Nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, the rolling green pastures of their 275-acre New York Sanctuary are home to more than 800 rescued farm animals. The 26-acre Southern California Sanctuary — home to approximately 100 rescued farm animals — is located on a beautiful hacienda ranch in Acton, just 45 minutes from Hollywood.

Farm Sanctuary’s vision is a world in which sanctuary replaces exploitation. In recent years, science has confirmed the inhumane and destructive impact of animal agriculture — a food system based on interrelated oppression and injustice. Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy. The mission of Farm Sanctuary is to pursue bold solutions to end animal agriculture and foster just and compassionate vegan living.


MEGAN WATKINS | Chief Executive Officer

Megan Watkins

Megan Watkins is the chief executive officer of Farm Sanctuary, where she oversees a team of more than 90 professionals working across various strategic and operational functions.

Megan has spent nearly two decades championing vulnerable populations and is a recognized leader in the social sector. She became CEO of Farm Sanctuary in November 2018 and has since expanded the organization in size, scope, and impact.

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep dedication to Farm Sanctuary’s mission, Megan has invested heavily in realigning the organization’s strategic priorities and building capacity to accelerate progress toward mission goals. She is working with the team to drive innovation and collaboration across all program areas—ultimately amplifying Farm Sanctuary’s message of just and compassionate vegan living.

Prior to her role at Farm Sanctuary, Megan held senior roles in philanthropic advisory and wealth management at Bank of America Private Bank and J.P. Morgan. Most recently, she led the development of a national philanthropic practice that guided family, corporate, and institutional foundations through the design of high impact giving programs. In addition to focusing on mission and strategy development, Megan sourced opportunities for significant philanthropic investment based on an assessment of each organization’s programmatic strategy and potential impact, governance and operating structure, and financial viability. With a focus on capacity building, Megan also facilitated multi-million-dollar initiatives in the fields of animal protection, youth development, and social and economic justice, among others. Megan began her career in nonprofit work at ACCION New York, a leading microfinance organization.

Megan brings a deep personal commitment to farm animal protection to her role in leading Farm Sanctuary. She became vegan after visiting the organization more than a decade ago and subsequently spent several years on the Board of Directors. Megan graduated from Barnard College and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University.

GENE BAUR | President and Co-Founder

Gene Baur

A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations and farm animal rescue, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses, documenting the deplorable conditions. His pictures and videos exposing factory farming cruelties have aired nationally and internationally, educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals, and his rescue work inspired an international farm sanctuary movement.Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production.

Gene has also testified in courts and before local, state, and federal legislative bodies, advocating for better conditions for farm animals. His most important achievements include winning the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and introducing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming confinement methods in Florida, Arizona, and California. His efforts have been covered by top news organizations, including The New York TimesLos Angeles TimesChicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. Gene has published two bestsellers: Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food (Scribner, 2008); and Living the Farm Sanctuary Life (Rodale, 2015), which he co-authored with Forks Over Knives author Gene Stone. Through his writing and his international speaking engagements, Gene provides simple, actionable solutions coupled with a compassion-first approach to help us be the change we wish to see in the treatment of animals and our food system.

Gene began his activist career selling veggie hot dogs out of a Volkswagen van at Grateful Dead concerts to fund farm animal rescues. Today, he serves as President of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, with shelters in New York and California. Providing rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year, Farm Sanctuary shelters enable visitors to connect with farm animals as emotional, intelligent individuals. Gene believes these animals stand as ambassadors for the billions of factory farm animals who have no voice, and he has dedicated his career to advocating on their behalf. Gene holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University. In 2015, Gene was granted a faculty appointment in Health, Behavior, and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was recently named one of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 Givers.

For more information on Farm Sanctuary, please visit

The Opportunity

Amid its favorable backdrop of preeminence in the field, new organizational energy, and forward-looking investment, Farm Sanctuary seeks a Chief Program Officer (CPO). This is a newly created and dynamic role that will lead the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategic program initiatives across Farm Sanctuary’s Education & Research and Events & Experience departments, and its community outreach efforts.

The CPO will set direction and collaborate with leadership and the broader team to create and pursue bold solutions to end animal agriculture and foster just and compassionate living. Achieving this will require a high bar of excellence, creative problem solving, and attention to culture-building within the organization and broader community. The CPO will bring an orientation toward a cruelty-free future, technology and innovation as enablers of programs, a diverse set of professional experiences, and systems-level thinking.

The CPO reports to the Chief Executive Officer and oversees a team of approximately 12 associates. As a member of the Executive Team, the CPO will collaboratively work with program directors to develop strategic and operational plans to meet goals and objectives tied to the organization’s four Strategic Priorities:

  • Change the Way Society Views and Treats Farm Animals
  • Shift Agriculture to a Just and Sustainable System
  • Increase Awareness of and Access to Vegan Living
  • Achieve Organizational Excellence

This is a full-time, remote role that can be based anywhere in the U.S.

Farm Sanctuary encourages strategic, analytical program experts who are interested in joining an ambitious social justice organization with a clear vision to express interest.

Candidate Profile

While no candidate will bring all of the following skills, experiences, and qualifications, strong candidates will bring many of them.

Culture, Mission & Vision Alignment

  • A passion for Farm Sanctuary’s vision and mission and a belief in its multi-pronged strategic approach, which is inclusive of farm animal rescue, education, and advocacy
  • Understanding of the social justice movement and how social change works
  • Alignment with Farm Sanctuary’s organizational values:
    • Freedom: We believe all beings deserve respect and the right to live free from violence and oppression.
    • Understanding: We meet people where they are and acknowledge that context may impact choice.
    • Compassion: We recognize trauma and healing, and we prioritize kindness, health, and well-being.
    • Transformation: We believe knowledge, empathy, and experience are valuable catalysts for change.
    • Integrity: We ground our actions in truth, inclusion, and equity.

Strategic Program Development

  • Comprehensive working knowledge of program design, planning, budgeting, and evaluation
  • Track record of developing and implementing program strategies with successful outcomes
  • Ability to think critically to analyze and assess programs based on metrics and implement corrective measures as needed
  • A track record of success achieving or exceeding goals
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and compile complex data for planning and reporting purposes

Success in Relationship & Partnership Building

  • Strong relationship builder with the ability to find common ground, build consensus, and strengthen collaboration among diverse stakeholders
  • Passion for building partnerships and leveraging external insights
  • Ability to set and evolve team vision and direction; openness and excitement around structuring work and teams in new ways
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate across teams, programs, and senior leadership

Equity & Social Justice Leadership

  • Deep understanding and experience in social change and equity principles
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of equity and social justice
  • Ability to serve as an equity leader across the entire organization and in the field, including a vision for how Farm Sanctuary’s mission and work is connected to broader social justice movements

Strong and Effective Leader & Communicator

  • Proven ability to successfully manage teams through clear communication and goal setting
  • Exceptional relationship building and interpersonal skills, including the ability to lead and inspire diverse stakeholders and create a common vision
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, with the ability to represent the organization across a wide range of stakeholders, partners, and constituencies
  • Demonstrated ability to act and lead in highly positive, analytical, energetic, and entrepreneurial ways

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • The desire to join a growing organization that is seeking ambitious impact;
  • At least 7 years of experience in roles requiring strong lateral management, budget creation and adherence, program development, and relationship building; 15 years of overall professional experience desired;
  • While it may be beneficial, candidates do not need to bring professional experience in animal welfare; Farm Sanctuary is most interested in experience driving innovative, high-impact programs and personal alignment with its mission and vision;
  • The ability to travel as needed when it is safe to do so.
Compensation & Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience. A competitive benefits package is offered, including paid holidays; personal days; vacation and sick leave; health, dental, vision, and life insurance; 403(b) plan; flexible spending accounts; and long-term disability insurance.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan, Founding Partner, and Nadine Coleman, Vice President, are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Farm Sanctuary is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, disability or age. 

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit