About Willowsford Conservancy
Willowsford Conservancy manages 2,300 acres of land, comprising a 200-acre farm and 2,100 acres of woodlands, meadows, and wetlands preserved for the Willowsford communities, a development of more than 2,700 homes in four neighborhoods in Loudoun County, Virginia. The only “agrihood” in the Washington, DC area, Willowsford is part of a growing movement for residential environmental sustainability where healthy people and healthy land coexist.
The Conservancy was established more than a decade ago to protect land and promote conservation and sustainable farming so that people in the Willowsford communities discover a deeper connection to nature and to each other. The Conservancy integrates a working farm with community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares and nearly 40 miles of hiking trails to provide environmental recreation, conservation, and education that enhances the quality of life for the residents of Willowsford and the greater community.
Visit www.willowsfordconservancy.org to learn more.
Willowsford Conservancy helps people connect with food, land, and each other through its farm and CSA, educational and recreational programs, and sustainable land management. The next Executive Director (E.D.) will build on a vision for community engagement, land stewardship, and enhanced partnerships to ensure the viability of Willowsford Conservancy as a model agrihood that inspires community-based conservation and farming to improve the lives of residents and the surrounding community.
The E.D. will implement a three-year strategic plan recently developed by the Board of Trustees in consultation with Conservancy stakeholders, including homeowners and the Willowsford homeowner’s association (HOA). The plan’s priority actions include:
- Increase Community Engagement: Support residents with information and programming that builds greater connections to the land and agriculture. Expand volunteer involvement by residents and the broader community, particularly youth.
- Build Operational Excellence: Develop a sustainable land and farm management program, with ability to scale as resources increase; forge partnerships and advisory relationships with regional farms, trusts, and conservancies to build and maintain best practices.
- Strengthen Board Governance: Work with current board members to expand the Board of Trustees and create additional advisory boards
- Cultivate Staff Talent: Support staff with clear expectations, management planning, and reasonable workloads; grow internship and other future talent pipelines.
- Expand and Diversify Funding Sources: Establish policies and budgets to plan for and grow earned contributed revenue; project financial needs and opportunities beyond what current Community Enhancement (transfer) Fees and Annual Assessments can support.
The E.D. position is a full-time, exempt position that reports to a seven-member Board of Trustees. The Conservancy’s budget is approximately $2M, supported by annual homeowner assessments, transfer fees from home resales, and earned revenue from Willowsford Farm sales, education programs, and amenity rentals. A team of 14 full-time employees, plus seasonal interns and farmers, manage land stewardship, farm operations, business management, programs, and volunteer coordination. The E.D. has three direct reports, a Director of Land Stewardship, a Farm Manager, and a Business Manager, with plans for an additional direct report to be hired in 2023.
The Board of Trustees encourages applications from a wide range of candidates. The most competitive applicants will likely have many, if not all, experiences in the following areas:
Strategy, Leadership, and Governance
- Exemplify passion for our mission, with a commitment to using land conservation and community-based farming to improve the lives of residents and surrounding community
- Set and execute a vision that inspires staff, board, partners, and the community, as well as establishes Willowsford Conservancy’s “agrihood” thought leadership
- Maintain, promote, and provide visibility for the Conservancy by serving as a credible and effective spokesperson, in person and in writing, to ensure understanding of our work
- Encourage staff opportunities for growth within the organization; hire, train, and retain staff in ways that improve programs and strengthen the organization
- Cultivate a deep and collaborative partnership with the board, rooted in transparent communication, clear roles, and opportunities for engagement and service
Organizational and Financial Management
- With the Business Manager, direct the successful execution of day-to-day operations, including effective financial management, reporting, human resources, contracts administration, and legal compliance.
- Develop and maintain strong working relationships with external stakeholders and HOA
- Create an environment that embraces data-driven decisions, collaboration, transparency, open communication, and accountability.
- Organize a system of performance evaluation, management, and review which emphasizes well-defined goals, clear responsibilities, growth, and levels of accountability for all staff.
- Develop new and creative revenue strategies that expand the revenue base, potentially including corporate sponsorships, grants, and government and nonprofit partnerships.
- Support the Business Manager to maintain and improve the organization’s fiscal health; ensure that the organization adheres to a sustainable and transparent financial plan based on a Board-approved annual budget; oversee budgeting and expense tracking, clear financial reporting, and accurate cash projections.
Program Management, Community Engagement, and Educational Outreach
- Support the Director of Land Stewardship to implement land management and restoration plans and activities focused on improving the ecological health of the Conservancy’s open space while providing residents with quality outdoor education and recreation experiences.
- Support the Farm Manager with business plans to operate Willowsford Farm, an approximately 300-acre certified organic production farm, as a financially viable business providing high‐quality, sustainably grown food for local residents
- Represent the Conservancy to stakeholders; build effective external partnerships with government agencies, mission-aligned organizations, and interested individuals.
- Raise the organization’s visibility in the community through outreach to residents and the public. Support team members’ responses to resident questions and concerns.
- Plan, develop, and lead programs, events, and education materials that connect people to the natural environment, farming, and land conservation.
- Set communication strategy and direct development of materials including the website, print and electronic publications, and social media.
Experience, Skills, and Qualities
The Board is seeking an innovative, hands-on leader who will lead the organization with vision, skill and creativity. While we understand that no single candidate can possess every qualification listed below, the following are considered priority areas:
- A 8+ year record of executive or senior leadership in a nonprofit or related setting
- A mission-driven mindset, with a passion for engaging communities in organic farming, conservation, and/or natural resources management
- A collaborative leadership style with strong emotional intelligence and active listening skills
- A significant supervisory record with experience cultivating a positive team culture and coaching staff to high performance
- Fiscal acumen with experience managing budgets and cash projections; good understanding of a nonprofit’s operational and back-office systems and infrastructure
- Understanding of business model design and revenue generation strategies
- Track record of building authentic relationships among a broad range of key audiences (e.g., staff, board, residents, community partners, prospective funders, and partners)
- Polished and persuasive written and verbal communication skills
- Prior experience working with or serving on a nonprofit board
Considered a major plus:
- Experience with land conservation practices, easement, and developer negotiation
- Knowledge of organic farming practices and business models
- Proficiency with ArcGIS software, and/or ability to interpret maps, plans, and aerial photos
- Experience executing a variety of creative revenue generation strategies
Starting salary range of $125,000-$140,000 plus a competitive benefits package that includes medical and dental insurance, a matched retirement savings plan, and annual paid time off. The position includes the option of below-market rate housing in the Willowsford communities.
The Willowsford Conservancy is located in Loudoun County in Northern Virginia. The E.D. will manage staff and operations on-site. The position will also require regular attendance at events and meetings held in the evening and on weekends.
Willowsford Conservancy is conducting this search in partnership with Good Insight, a national executive search firm serving nonprofits and associations. Interested applicants should upload a resume and a detailed cover letter that describes their qualifications to www.good-insight.org/careers.
Resume reviews begin immediately. Early applications are encouraged due to the pace of the search. For best consideration, please apply by early February. Direct confidential inquiries to Kate Dykgraaf at WillowsfordConservancy@good-insight.org.
Willowsford Conservancy is committed to access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, services, programs, and activities. This position requires working outdoors in all weather and hiking several miles over rough terrain. A good driving record and valid driver’s license are required, as is authorization to work in the U.S. Contact Kate Dykgraaf WillowsfordConservancy@good-insight.org to request reasonable accommodations.
Equal Opportunity Employer
Willowsford Conservancy is committed to recruiting and employing individuals without regard to race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, gender identity, sex, national origin, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, familial status, ability, veteran status, sexual orientation, size, status with regard to public assistance, or genetic information.