Organization: American Bird Conservancy

Location: The Plains, VA, or Washington, DC

Express Interest

About American Bird Conservancy:

The American Bird Conservancy (“ABC”) exists to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas.  A $15 million nonprofit organization founded in 1994, ABC is the only U.S.-based group dedicated to overcoming the greatest threats facing birds in the Western Hemisphere, with a major focus on bird habitat conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ABC firmly believes that conserving birds and their habitats benefits all other species, including our own. Its vision is intentionally ambitious: an Americas-wide landscape where a vast network of diverse interests works harmoniously to ensure that all bird species and their habitats are maintained at ecologically viable levels, and where the protection of these resources is valued by society and routinely considered in all land-use and policy decision-making.

ABC’s record of accomplishments is extraordinary. In its 23-year history, ABC has conserved one million acres of habitat across more than 70 reserves for the Americas’ rarest species. It has also supported habitat restoration through the planting of more than 3.5 million trees and shrubs, engaged more than 800 organizations as partners and ultimately benefited more than 2,100 of the 4,415 bird species across the Western Hemisphere.  These successes have been possible largely because ABC’s management, staff and Board members share an abiding passion for its mission.

Now, ABC is in transition: After 23 years of leadership, founding President George Fenwick is stepping down in 2017. Accordingly, ABC is seeking a new President.

ABC’S Conservation Philosophy:

ABC Prioritizes and Measures Success

ABC’s Bird Conservation Framework focuses on four goals: halting extinctions, protecting habitats, eliminating threats, and building capacity for bird conservation. ABC measures its success in terms of changes on the ground for the benefit of target bird species and populations.

The Partnership Approach

Partnership is critical to ABC’s success, allowing it to achieve far greater results than it could by itself. ABC has established and continues to play leadership roles in important partnership networks that are central to bird conservation, including the Bird Conservation Alliance, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, Partners in Flight, the National Pesticide Coalition and a growing number of international partners. In addition, ABC established and chairs the Alliance for Zero Extinction, an international network that works to safeguard the world’s rarest species. These and other ABC coalitions bring conservation groups, scientists, and the public together to support conservation priorities.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

ABC is entrepreneurial and innovative, delivering tailored solutions to fit specific problems. Effectiveness and efficiency are hallmarks of ABC programs and operations. Its lean, self-motivated, multidisciplinary staff works within a relatively flat organizational structure.

The Role of Science

ABC uses the best available science to guide selection, prioritization and decision-making on all projects. While ABC’s work focuses on conserving birds through direct action, it will occasionally generate or facilitate the creation of needed data when needed scientific information is inadequate.

For more information about ABC, please visit

The Opportunity:

ABC’s next President will look with fresh eyes at a successful institution. S/he will have the opportunity to continue to inspire a national and international constituency to realize the importance of birds and the necessity for their conservation.

S/he will bring a next chapter of creative and visionary leadership to all areas of ABC’s operations and expand its footprint locally, nationally, and internationally.

In particular, the new President will lead ABC’s efforts to:

  • Expand ABC’s leadership of migratory bird conservation in the Americas, including a “full life-cycle” and “large landscape” approach;
  • Increase ABC’s efforts to prevent extinctions of the rarest birds in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Hawaii;
  • Protect or restore habitat across North America sufficient to ensure conservation and population recovery for all priority bird species;
  • Address the biggest anthropogenic hazards to birds; and
  • Enhance ABC’s already-strong approach to collaboration, advancing new partnerships and opportunities to further its bird conservation agenda.

ABC seeks a passionate, enthusiastic and proven strategic leader who will direct the organization through an exciting time of transition and growth. Working closely with the Board of Directors and a talented staff of more than 75 biologists, conservationists, foresters, communicators, and administrators, the President will lead the development and implementation of strategies to ensure the operational and financial health of the organization as it continues to grow and evolve.

This is a remarkable opportunity for an outstanding leader to join a well-regarded organization and lead a passionate and talented group of stakeholders in important efforts to conserve and protect birds in the Western Hemisphere and beyond.

Key responsibilities of ABC’s next President include:

Lead with force:

  • Set organizational vision; develop and implement plans and goals in partnership with the Board and the senior leadership team; and
  • Ensure that programs and initiatives are conceived and delivered at the highest level of quality and are rigorously monitored and evaluated.

Be an outstanding ambassador and champion for ABC:

  • Communicate ABC’s vision and mission with passion and authenticity to a wide audience;
  • Excite and engage ABC’s many constituencies in supporting its work;
  • Continue to collaborate with existing national and international partners while cultivating new relationships;
  • Work with officials and administrators of governmental units at the local, state, national, and international levels; and
  • Represent ABC as a leader in international policy, conservation, and conservancy alliances and associations.

Lead fundraising efforts:

  • Ensure successful fundraising from individuals, corporations, and foundations, as well as secure grants from federal and state governments, for both operating and campaign (capital and endowment) support;
  • Cultivate new sources of revenue by expanding the existing funding base (30% foundations, 30% government sources, 30% individuals and 10% other sources);
  • Develop fundraising opportunities through ongoing and new partnerships;
  • Increase and galvanize ABC’s membership base; and
  • Continue to develop a team of skilled fundraisers to meet or exceed annual revenue goals.

Effectively manage ABC’s operations:

  • Serve as an inspirational internal leader of ABC’s staff of 75+ and build a strong organizational culture across its offices in Washington D.C. and The Plains, VA, as well as staff working in 17 states;
  • Assess ABC’s need for additional operational support and recognize that delegation and teamwork are key to the success of the next President;
  • Demonstrate outstanding financial management of ABC’s annual budget, working with ABC’s senior staff to ensure that business practices and plans meet all financial goals and achieve optimal levels of operational and programmatic performance;
  • Exercise best practices in governance and ethics; and
  • Strengthen ABC’s culture of accountability across the organization.

Partner effectively with the Board of Directors:

  • Work closely with the Board to drive vision and develop organizational priorities;
  • Leverage the experience and expertise of the Board on key initiatives; and
  • Ensure that Board members are kept current on financial and operating metrics.

Proficiency in Spanish to effectively communicate with ABC’s international partners is preferred, but not required.

This position is based in The Plains, VA or Washington, DC.

Candidate Profile:

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

Passion for the Mission

The President has a devotion to wildlife conservation, an understanding of the threats facing birds in the Americas, and a true passion for ABC’s mission. It is imperative that s/he stays true to the values of ABC. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Strategic and Visionary Leader

The President is an inspirational leader who is able to articulate a vision for ABC’s next chapter. S/he is a visionary in the conservation world with the ability to follow trends, foresee new challenges in bird conservation and create effective responses to them. S/he can successfully leverage the skills and talents of the Board while working closely with ABC’s various constituents and partners. S/he is innovative, creative, and skilled in building partnerships with other local, national, and international institutions and leaders in the conservation field.

A Passionate Ambassador and Fundraiser for ABC

The President is the public face of ABC, sharing its mission and vision with the outside world. S/he exemplifies leadership and inspires trust and confidence across a diverse range of stakeholders. S/he develops a powerful sense of shared purpose in others and motivates them to engage in the future of ABC. S/he is a media-savvy communicator.  S/he enjoys fundraising and can enthusiastically convey ABC’s goals to existing and potential new donors, including foundations, individuals, corporations, and government agencies. S/he is politically astute and charismatic.

Nonprofit Management

The President is a seasoned executive with a track record of sound financial planning and accountability, and the ability to clearly communicate financial issues to the Board. The President can build and inspire a staff with a diverse set of skills and provide a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. S/he is a facilitator of staff and Board teamwork and provides clear expectations and accountability measures for staff deliverables while encouraging innovation and initiative. S/he leads the organization to achieve its ambitious goals for birds while preserving the best of the organization’s existing culture. S/he has a collegial, caring, and inclusive approach to management, treats others with respect, exhibits humility and has superb listening skills.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please email Alison Ranney, Anne McCarthy and Anny Chou directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with nonprofits 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 about Koya Leadership Partners, visit