Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (FCNC) is a nationally accredited, regional land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting North Carolina’s eastern Blue Ridge Mountains and Foothills, including watersheds, environmentally significant habitats, forests and farm lands for this and future generations. Based in Morganton, N.C., the conservancy has permanently protected more than 50,000 acres in its eight-county area since its founding in 1995. Most of these lands are now enjoyed at three large state parks – South Mountains, Lake James and Chimney Rock; multiple state wildlife lands, including the Wilson Creek, South Mountains and Johns River Game Lands; and Pisgah National Forest below Linville Gorge and Catawba Falls.

As one of the top conservation efforts in the state, FCNC is a strong organization that seeks a leader with the compelling vision to build on its success and move into the next stage of protecting the beautiful lands of the Foothills of NC for many decades to come.

Role of the Executive Director

FCNC seeks to fill the position of Executive Director, a full-time position that provides strategic leadership for this well-respected organization. The Executive Director is ultimately responsible for the success of the conservancy’s work by ensuring that its land and water conservation programs and operations run smoothly and effectively, and that the conservancy adheres to the standards and practices required to maintain national accreditation. The Executive Director works with the Board of Directors to strategically guide the organization, maintain a sound financial base to sustain the organization, and develop and sustain major relationships with key conservation partners, landowners, and donors. The Executive Director directly supervises the Associate Director, Land Protection Director, and Development Director, and is the organization’s primary spokesperson, as well as having primary responsibility for securing support and funding for the organization. He/she is responsible to the Board of Directors and reports directly to the Chairman of the Board.

The ideal candidate will be a conservation-minded strategic visionary with a strong passion for, dedication to, and experience with land conservation. He/she will:

  • exhibit high ethical standards as a servant leader who focuses on building and growing positive relationships with communities, funders, landowners, and others involved with our cause;
  • be a collaborative teambuilder who empowers and encourages staff to be creative and innovative, and will delegate and engage staff in meaningful ways;
  • understand and appreciate the unique nature of the area—its biodiversity, conservation resources, and value of not being over-developed;
  • have a genuine interest and belief in the Foothills region and the work of FCNC;
  • have the capacity and willingness to affect meaningful change;
  • be as relatable to the corporate CEO as he/she is to the local landowner; and
  • play a proactive role in fundraising and development with enthusiasm and dedication, while building, stewarding, and maintaining relationships.

Essential Duties and Functions

  • Provide the vision for the organization, and develop and sustain key relationships with identified individuals and conservation partners.
  • Develop and guide operational and financial strategic plans for FCNC’s continued growth and development, including policy, program, and financial goals and objectives.
  • Work closely with the Associate Director who oversees the conservancy’s day-to-day operations.
  • Represent the conservancy in the community as its primary spokesperson. Oversee appropriate public information/education programs to increase public awareness and support of FCNC’s land and water conservation projects and priorities.
  • Meet regularly with key donors. Oversee implementation of fundraising plans and supervise fundraising activities to meet the conservancy’s operational, land acquisition, and endowment funding needs.
  • Establish and maintain liaisons with all levels of government and non-governmental conservation partners to protect identified land and water resources cooperatively. Keep abreast of the latest knowledge of land trust work.
  • Oversee the protection and preservation of important lands within the eastern Blue Ridge and FCNC region, working directly with landowners in critical negotiations.
  • Keep the Board apprised of program accomplishments, issues, and opportunities. Provide them with information necessary to decide on merits of various policy and program options.
  • Lead and inspire staff and provide them with appropriate training and support.

Required skills and competencies for the position include:

  • A four-year degree. Graduate or professional-level education in natural resource management, politics, planning, real estate & tax law, communications, or business is desirable.
  • Five years of experience in managing and overseeing the operations of an organization of similar size and focus, preferably in a nonprofit setting.
  • Commitment to land conservation goals of the conservancy.
  • Experience in land trust work or closely related conservation activity, as well as nonprofit organizational management experience.
  • Ability to envision and seize conservation opportunities by working collaboratively with conservation partners.
  • Strong communication skills including the ability to communicate with all sectors, and excellent writing/public speaking skills.
  • Fundraising experience, especially working with major supporters. Knowledge of personal financial planning and tax aspects of charitable giving is desirable.
  • Strong organizational skills and a disciplined and collaborative approach to work and problem-solving.
  • Ability to think strategically, plan and inspire staff.

Procedure for Candidacy

Foothills Conservancy has retained Capital Development Services to assist with professional recruitment. Nominations, expressions of interest, and applications must be submitted via email to searchservices@capdev.com . Candidates should include a cover letter, a resume, and a list of three references. All material will be confidential. Additional inquiries may be directed to Jen Tozier at Capital Development Services, 336-747-0133 x 208.