Executive Director

Great Mountain Forest (GMF)

Posted: 5/28/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: CEO/ED/President

Primary domain: Environment

City: Norfolk

Postal code: 06058

State: Connecticut

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$0 - $1M



Mission statement:

The charitable mission of the Corporation is to promote the working forest as a renewable resource, as a habitat for wildlife and as a classroom for training and education. We leave the forest better than we found it, pass on all that we learn to others, and provide a sanctuary for those who love the woods. Our primary resource is our land, a unique working forest with a history of active management that dates to the early 20th century, and our dedicated staff.

Position Details:

Job Description:


Norfolk, Connecticut

Great Mountain Forest (GMF)
encompasses more than 6,000 acres of contiguous forestland in the
towns of Norfolk and Canaan, Connecticut. GMF promotes the working
forest as a renewable resource, as a habitat for wildlife and as a
classroom for training and education. GMF is committed to leaving
the forest better than found, passing on all it learns to others,
and providing a sanctuary for those who love the woods. GMF's
primary resource is its land, a unique working forest with a
history of active management that dates to the early 20th century,
and its long-serving and dedicated staff.

Overview of the Organization and Programs

is owned and managed by The Great Mountain Forest Corporation, a
not-for-profit 501(c)3 private operating foundation. It was
established in 1962 by Edward and Elisabeth Childs to further their
mission of promoting sustainable forestry and land management. In
2003, the land was permanently protected under the largest
conservation easement in southern New England, when development
rights were sold under the Forest Legacy Program of the U.S. Forest
Service. GMF's 6,300 acres are managed with several goals in mind:
the production of a wide range of forest products; the conservation
and protection of watersheds; creating and maintaining healthy
populations of both game and non-game species; scientific research;
and education.

Board of Trustees recently completed a strategic plan that
envisions taking on the challenge of advancing new forest
management for southern New England. That vision recognizes the
broad range of ecological and economic benefits provided by
forests, and the broad diversity of interests of different forest
landowners. The long history of silviculture and forestry research
at GMF provides a foundation for exploration of a progressive new
forestry in the region, with programs that include identifying new
markets and sustainable forest products, promoting research and
forestry demonstrations, and public outreach and education for both
land owners and land managers.

which employs four full-time staff (including the Executive
Director position), is overseen by a Board of Directors, currently
comprised of fifteen civic and community leaders. Historically, the
organization's annual operating budget has been approximately
$425,000. With the recent sale of more than 277,000 tons of forest
offset carbon credits, GMF anticipates its endowment will grow from
approximately $3.3 million to $6 million, and, as a result, the
organization's annual budget will likely increase by about 30%, to


Strategic Opportunities and Challenges

Executive Director will have the opportunity to lead this
historically significant and prominent nonprofit, which manages one
of the larger, private active forests in southern New England. High
priorities for the Executive Director include:

  • Empowering
    and supporting a team of dedicated, long-serving and highly skilled
    professionals committed to the management of GMF's forests and
  • Working
    in partnership with the Board of Trustees to finalize and implement
    a strategic plan which will advance new forest management for
    southern New England, while ensuring that GMF's programs, staffing
    and resources are well aligned with the strategic
  • Growing
    substantially GMF's fundraising program, particularly its
    individual giving program, and leveraging effectively the new
    resources generated by the forest offset carbon credit agreement
    recently signed by GMF.
  • Expanding
    significantly GMF's visibility and recognition as a resource for
    progressive forest management regionally and nationally, utilizing
    a combination of traditional and various digital platforms,
    including social media and a redesigned website.
  • Creating
    deep, mutually respectful connections with residents, regional and
    local community leaders, academics and the general public,
    fostering a culture of openness, accessibility, inclusivity and
  • Collaborating
    with the Board of Trustees to finalize GMF's transition from
    private ownership to nonprofit management and creating the
    appropriate governance vs. management balance to integrate strong
    executive staff leadership.
  • Planning
    effectively for the transition of two long-serving staff members,
    most particularly the Forest Manager, ensuring GMF remains a
    well-run and -managed organization during and after the


xecutive Transition

GMF transitioned from private ownership to nonprofit management, it
was predominately led by its staff and Board of Trustees. The
organization is now well-positioned to hire a full-time Executive
Director to steward the organization through its next stage of

Desired Credentials and Profile

  • Academic
    or organizational background in forestry, land management or
    environmental sciences
  • A
    minimum of five years of senior leadership, or equivalent
  • Experience,
    skill and desire to be an external leader

Skills and Experience

Visionary and Strategic Leader

Executive Director must be able to engage in “big
picture” thinking, ultimately and collaboratively leading
GMF's board and staff to refine and implement a strategic vision
for its future. Also, as the agency's chief administrative officer,
the Executive Director will be a collaborative multitasker, able to
oversee the organization's operations, finances, lands and staff,
decisively and efficiently aligning and maximizing GMF's growing
resources to achieve its strategic goals, while also serving as the
primary liaison to the evolving Board of Trustees to support its
effective governance.

Exceptional Communicator, Networker and

Executive Director must possess excellent verbal and written
communication skills and be eager and able to interact and
communicate equally well with staff, board members, academic
institutions, public officials, affiliated organizations and the
general public, serving as GMF's primary spokesperson to
proactively build and sustain relationships that will benefit GMF.
The leader must be a politically savvy networker and astute
marketer, able to publicly promote GMF so others become inspired
participants willing to support GMF's mission and

Forestry and Land Management Champion

Executive Director must be a knowledgeable champion of forestry and
land management with some academic or organizational background in
those disciplines or the environmental sciences. As a
mission-driven nonprofit, the leader must be an inspired promoter
of GMF and possess ample expertise to grasp and communicate the
intricacies of forestry and land management to staff, academic
partners, affiliated businesses, government officials and existing
and potential funders.

Experienced and Passionate Fundraiser

Executive Director will have experience in and a strong desire to
engage self and others in private fundraising, with the ability to
create a vision and strategy for a fundraising program aligned with
GMF's mission and financial needs. The leader must be eager, poised
and proactive in being the primary fundraiser for GMF and be
skilled at capitalizing on existing relationships and creating new
ones to grow GMF's fundraising efforts, most particularly its
individual giving program and access to private and public

Confident Relational Manager

experienced manager of people, the Executive Director must inspire,
develop and empower GMF's relatively small, yet long-serving and
highly committed staff of professionals. An active listener, the
Executive Director must create a collaborative and mutually
supportive culture and climate; display high levels of integrity
and accountability; and approach the work with a sense of good
humor, diplomacy, patience, warmth, resilience, and considerable

Candidate Guidelines

search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks with transition
consultant John Tarvin. All submissions will be acknowledged and
are confidential.

include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements,
information regarding how you learned of the position, and a
description of how your qualifications and experience match GMF's
needs and mission. All submissions of candidacy will be accepted
until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with
experience, within the framework of the organization's annual
operating budget.

strongly desires to attract a broad and diverse pool of candidates
to apply.

Apply Here



Not Specified


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

Apply Online

Posted By: Great Mountain Forest (GMF)


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