Vice President of Finance

Vice President of Finance

The Wilderness Society

Washington, DC   |   October 7, 2019

About The Wilderness Society

Founded in 1935, The Wilderness Society (TWS) is the leading American conservation organization working to protect this nation’s treasured natural areas and federal public lands. Instrumental in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act, TWS has helped to protect more than 111 million acres of U.S. public wildlands since their founding and has been a major leader in protecting and stewarding our public lands. With a renewed effort to ensure their work reflects the cultures and perspectives of people across the United States, the Wilderness Society is at an inflection point in its almost 85-year history.

The Wilderness Society is in the process of challenging itself to have greater impact at such an important time and the role we play in contributing to the sustainability of our planet for future generations. With a $35MM annual operating budget, 153 total staff, a presence on Capitol Hill and regional offices in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, California, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Washington and Wyoming, TWS has seen significant growth in their resources over the last several years, and will soon be completing a year-long strategic planning effort that will chart our course for the next decade.

This is an exciting time of growth and expansion for The Wilderness Society. The Vice President of Finance will build and manage effective and streamlined administrative/financial systems including physical infrastructures to support strategic growth of the organization while ensuring that such systems and infrastructures are designed and implemented in an equitable manner.

The Vice President of Finance role is a full-time position based in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about the work of The Wilderness Society please visit

The Opportunity

As the leading conservation organization working to protect this nation’s treasured wild places, we know that to get to scale in protecting connected, resilient landscapes and in addressing the climate crisis, we must work in new, transformative ways. We need a VP of Finance that can take that journey with us as a vital member of the Executive Team in developing a financial model that will meet the promise of our ambitious new plan, and institute financial practices that will enable TWS to grow smartly and effectively.

Reporting directly to the President, the VP of Finance will lead and oversee the finance department and serve as the chief staff liaison to the Finance and Investment Committees of our Governing Council.  This individual will be responsible for all aspects of financial plans and accounting practices of the organization, including but not limited to, accounting and financial reporting, regulatory compliance, including compliance with new FASB regulations relevant to nonprofits, implementation of our investment policies, budgeting, financial analysis and audit activities.  Together with the rest of the Finance team, the VP of Finance will manage our administrative/financial systems and identify and implement new organizational policies as needed to ensure that our organization is running smoothly and maintaining strong programmatic and fiscal health.

The successful candidate is one who will be a strong leader for our equity and inclusion work, proactively taking advantage of opportunities to promote a strong workplace culture that is inclusive and respects the unique perspectives of each and every individual staff member.  Because this role is highly cross-functional and will involve collaboration with many internal partners, the successful candidate will be a person who enjoys cross-team collaboration, assumes the best intentions of our staff, and has excellent financial acumen and strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Direct all aspects of the finance and accounting functions of the organization including the oversight of all accounts, ledgers, and related reporting systems.
  • Continually evaluate short and long-term strategic financial objectives. Manage processes for financial forecasting, budgets, analysis and reporting.  Ensure timely, accurate and transparent financial reports to management and the Governing Council.
  • Evaluate and advise on the impact of long-range planning, introductions of new programs, strategies and for-profit business activities. Provide recommendations to strategically enhance financial performance.
  • Serve as an active member of the Executive Team with responsibility for promoting teamwork and inter- and intra-departmental collaboration.
  • Continually monitor finance and accounting processes and policies to identify ways to better incorporate transparency and equity.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with staff across the organization to identify needs and provide useful financial tools and training. Provide necessary education to departments in their preparation of budgets, capital expenditures, etc.
  • Supervise, manage, and empower a highly skilled and results-oriented Finance team that is integrated within the organization and aligned to help achieve TWS’ goals.
  • Work closely with the President, the Vice President of Philanthropy, and Conservation leadership in strategic planning and budgeting for the health of the organization and to create the organizational and programmatic capacity for growth.
  • Evaluate and modify financial programs and supporting systems as needed, with the goal of creating clear, accurate and timely revenue forecasts and financial reports.
  • Develop and maintain systems of internal controls to safeguard financial assets of the organization. Forecast, monitor, report and manage TWS’ potential financial, operational and reputational risks.
  • Oversee the coordination and activities of independent auditors ensuring timely annual audits, compliance with GAAP and applicable federal, state, and local regulatory laws for financial and tax reporting.
  • Monitor the state of TWS’ assets and analyze financial statements to pinpoint areas that require attention. Regularly advise the President and senior leadership team on the state of the organization’s financial health.
  • Serve as staff liaison to the board Finance Committee, preparing and presenting periodic financial statements to that committee.
  • Travel to regular meetings of the Governing Council three times a year to conduct financial presentation to the full board and other travel to TWS offices as needed.
  • Serve on TWS’ Investment Committee, sharing fiduciary responsibility for the organization’s retirement plans with the Senior Director of Human Resources and Operations and the organization’s external investment advisor.
Candidate Profile

While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Strong financial operational experience, having worked in a senior financial management role for at least 10 years, and the willingness to bring others along by promoting a culture of learning and transparency.
  • Extensive knowledge of non-profit accounting and GAAP.
  • Experience leading and managing teams representing a rich mix of talent, backgrounds, and perspectives.  This includes a track record of successful recruitment, cultivation, and retention of highly skilled staff across race and gender.
  • Keen analytic, organization and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision making in a complex organization; demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities and guiding investment in people and systems.
  • Knowledge and experience with capital markets and grant management.
  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills.
  • Experience working with affiliated 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations.
  • CPA preferred.
  • Collaborative team player with outstanding leadership and relationship building skills.
  • High standards of ethics and integrity.
  • Creative thinker and problem solver with excellent judgment.
  • Strong equity leader who will eagerly contribute to our equity work and take advantage of opportunities to make TWS a more inclusive and equitable organization.
  • Strong management experience, preferably with experience managing teams composed of individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives.
  • High emotional intelligence and sensitive to the needs and concerns of others.
  • Strong understanding of the concepts of privilege and unconscious bias and how both can show up and affect the workplace.

Kara Teising and Shavon Bell of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role, please submit materials here. Materials should include a thorough resume and compelling letter of interest. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

In line with TWS’ commitment to building a diverse and inclusive staff, women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm dedicated to placing exceptionally talented leadership at mission-driven organizations and institutions of higher education across the country and around the world. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit