Organization: NatureServe

Location: Arlington, VA

Express Interest

About NatureServe:

NatureServe is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. NatureServe is dedicated to making possible a world where decision-makers recognize the value of biodiversity, fully understand the importance of science in the identification and protection of biodiversity, and invest in science as the basis for decisions that affect biodiversity.

Together with its Network of more than 80 natural heritage programs and conservation data centers, NatureServe develops and shares data about 70,000+ species and 7,000 ecosystems, transforms that data into knowledge products and visualizations, and provides expert analyses to guide decision-making. NatureServe diligently keeps its finger on the pulse of the planet, delivering actionable knowledge to enhance conservation.

Some of NatureServe’s recent accomplishments include:

  • Winning the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, joining a select number of exceptional nonprofits that demonstrate innovation and impact in tackling the world’s most pressing problems.
  • Producing the first standardized maps of ecosystems in the Americas.
  • Providing information on biodiversity hotspots that harbor rare species and at-risk natural communities to guide land protection decisions across the United States, including the 4,000 acre Sherwood Forest in Southeast Tennessee, 7,000 acre Box Creek Wilderness Natural Area in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and an additional 12,000 acres in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines region in Florida.
  • In collaboration with its Network Programs, discovering new species and populations across the Americas, including the rediscovery of the rock goldenrod in Maryland, a plant not seen in that state for 112 years.
  • Developing tools for assessing ecosystem health to guide land stewardship by groups like the Columbia Land Trust, working to restore and manage lands along the Hood River in Oregon.
  • Expanding the NatureServe Network to every jurisdiction in Canada with the addition of the Nunavut Conservation Data Centre.
  • Steering up to $10 million in conservation investments in the Tropical Andes through a comprehensive snapshot of this biodiversity hotspot.

NatureServe’s work began in 1974 as a program at The Nature Conservancy. In 1994 its network members created the Association of Biodiversity Information, which eventually became NatureServe. An independent 501(c)(3) corporation, NatureServe currently has a staff of 75 and a budget of $8 million. NatureServe has a diverse revenue stream from government and corporate grants and contracts, support from philanthropic foundations, donations from individuals, and member dues and fees.

To learn more about NatureServe, please visit

The Opportunity:

This is the rare opportunity to take the helm of a vibrant organization and lead it into the future. The President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NatureServe will assume responsibility for shaping and articulating its mission, vision and value to all constituencies.  Reporting directly to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO will direct all operations and activities, and implement policies, programs, and procedures in a manner that is fiscally responsible and consistent with the organization’s values and strategic goals.

The primary responsibilities of the President & CEO will include but are not limited to:

  • Working with the board, staff, and Network Programs to create an innovative and creative strategic plan to guide its work over the next several years.
  • Analyzing with a fresh perspective the business model for delivering NatureServe’s information and technology services, used by a wide variety of sectors including government agencies, universities and research institutes, corporations, and other conservation organizations.
  • Strengthening the organization’s relationships with its 80+ Network Programs to harness and leverage the strategic competitive advantage represented by this unique public-private partnership.
  • Representing NatureServe to its constituents through a variety of channels including media interviews, events, and other speaking engagements, and increasing awareness of NatureServe’s relevance and impact.
  • Motivating and inspiring staff to continue to perform at the highest levels with creativity and dedication to the mission of NatureServe, and supporting the Board of Directors as it carries out its governance responsibilities.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following personal and professional qualities, skills and experience:

Strategic and Visionary Leader

The President & CEO is a strategic and entrepreneurial leader able to develop and articulate a vision for NatureServe’s next chapter. S/he can develop and promote the strategies needed to advance the work of a mission-based organization, from funding to delivery. S/he can successfully leverage the skills and talents of a Board and staff to execute a strategic plan, while working closely with the various constituents on the plan’s implementation and evaluation. S/he actively and strategically seeks out partnerships and marshals internal and external resources. S/he is innovative, creative and skilled when it comes to capitalizing on business opportunities for getting NatureServe products and services in the marketplace, raising revenue to advance its mission and strategic priorities. The President & CEO has the drive and passion to remain at the forefront of the sector and continues to develop new and unique opportunities to serve the mission.

Experienced Executive

The President & CEO is an executive with strong staff, operational and financial management experience. S/he has a track record of sound financial planning, oversight and accountability, with the ability to clearly communicate financial status to the Board. S/he will bring experience building and leading high performing teams of the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members’ growth and development. The President & CEO possesses the ability to inspire a staff and volunteers with a diverse set of skills, provide a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. S/he will understand and implement best management practices, including compelling communication messages and effective marketing strategies, management succession, and most importantly, ensuring that overall day-to-day operations are aligned with strategic goals. S/he understands the importance of a robust partnership with the Board and will ensure fiduciary responsibility and sound financial management practices and accountability to the Board. S/he will also possess the knowledge and ability to ensure that the Board is achieving its primary responsibilities of best practice governance and fundraising.

Ambassador and Fundraiser

The President & CEO is an Ambassador for NatureServe, sharing the mission and vision with the outside world and helping to expand the institution’s role more broadly. S/he will bring a propensity for engagement to the role. S/he exemplifies leadership and inspires trust and confidence across a diverse range of stakeholders. S/he is flexible, energetic, positive, creative and ambitious and experienced in establishing strong working relationships in furtherance of an organization’s mission. S/he has exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability to build and sustain strong support across a wide range of stakeholders including staff, Board, donors, partners, volunteers and the public. S/he enjoys fundraising and can successfully convey the objectives of the mission to potential donors. S/he is personally and diplomatically astute and possesses high emotional intelligence.

Passion for the Mission

The President & CEO has a sincere passion for the mission of NatureServe, a strong knowledge of conservation and science-based work on biodiversity balanced by good business acumen and an understanding of data collection and analysis. S/he will understand the uniqueness and diversity of the NatureServe Network and celebrate its impact and cultural community. S/he will be innovative with the goal of helping NatureServe expand its brand and reach and deepen its impact. S/he will be a strong, collaborative leader with a dedication to the mission and the ability to build a sense of shared purpose throughout the organization. It is imperative that s/he leads by example and always stays true to the values of NatureServe. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.


NatureServe has engaged Molly Brennan, Liz Lombard and Turner Delano of Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

NatureServe is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit