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The Mountain Top Arboretum (MTA), in Tannersville, NY seeks an energetic, entrepreneurial, mission-driven professional to become MTA’s next Executive Director (ED). Working closely with its engaged and dedicated Board of Directors and in collaboration with the Director of Horticulture & Environmental Stewardship, the new ED will be responsible for advancing the organization financially, strategically, programmatically, administratively, and operationally. This is an outstanding opportunity for a professional who is committed to excellence in nonprofit organizational leadership; who has the vision to leverage our strong organization and drive it to the next stage of growth and long-term sustainability; and who is passionate about horticulture/public gardens, education, environmental stewardship, and the Catskills. Critical priorities for this role include: 1) assuring the Arboretum’s long-term financial health and sustainability through robust fundraising, donor stewardship, and the development of new revenue streams; 2) enthusiastically implementing MTA’s recently-adopted Strategic Plan; 3) guiding the day-to-day administration as well as growing the organization’s staffing and programmatic capacity consistent with the anticipated growth of financial resources; 4) creating synergies and partnerships, with other organizations, that amplify MTA’s local and regional impact; 5) advancing our position as a cultural and educational asset to the Mountain Top community and an organizational jewel in the greater Catskills crown. We seek a candidate who embraces our vision, mission, and values; who will champion the Arboretum with leadership excellence and unquestioned integrity.
MTA’s current annual budget is approximately $400,000 and it has an operating reserve of approximately $2 million. As chief executive officer of the organization, the Executive Director is responsible for all the fiscal, administrative, operational, program, and outreach work of the Mountain Top Arboretum. The Executive Director will report to a 15-person Board of Directors and lead a full-time staff (currently 2 but will grow), several seasonal contract employees, and a committed force of over 60 volunteers. The Arboretum currently has over 300 members.
The Mountain Top Arboretum was founded in 1977 by Peter and Bonnie Ahrens, whose summer home overlooked a seven-acre parcel of mountain top scrubland. Acting on their passion for trees and nature, the Ahrens decided to acquire the land, bring in topsoil and plant trees. As scientific researchers, their idea was to use the mountain top’s rigorous climate at an elevation of 2,400 feet to study the winter hardiness of different native and exotic species. Over time the Arboretum has grown to 178 acres, an area which includes ecologically important and visually stunning meadows, wetlands and forests. As the Arboretum has grown in size, its commitment to land stewardship has grown as well, both in managing the important watershed ecosystem and in curating collections focused on native plant communities and their relationships to environmental health. In addition, the Arboretum began to develop and continues to conduct public programming, lectures and workshops which showcase horticultural excellence, environmental stewardship, and appreciation for the beauty and importance of the Catskill Mountains.
MTA has a history of strong Board vision, leadership, generosity, and deep volunteer engagement. That commitment led to the creation of its beautiful timber-frame Education Center, built from twenty-one iconic tree species, that are native to the Catskill region, selected and harvested from its site. Dedicated in the summer of 2018, the building opened up new possibilities for programming and community outreach, aspirations reinforced by the organization’s decision to convert from a private foundation to a public charity. Marc Wolf, who joined MTA as Director of Horticulture in 2016 and became Executive Director in 2017, has managed MTA’s organizational growth and overseen the curation of MTA’s landscape, developed horticultural and educational programming for all ages, and was deeply involved in the recent development of MTA’s Strategic Plan. Recognizing a desire to devote his time to landscape and gardens, he will be assuming the role of Director of Horticulture & Environmental Stewardship and will work in support of the new Executive Director. The new ED will bring a fresh vision to this strong organizational foundation, developing and advancing MTA in close partnership with the Board.
MTA’s Strategic Plan is comprehensive in scope and ambitious in its goals for its four primary thematic areas: 1) Horticulture, 2) Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy, 3) Education, and 4) Community Engagement and Outreach. Each area has its own micro-mission, goals, and strategies. The new ED will be responsible for becoming deeply familiar with the plan and driving its successful implementation over the next three to five years.
In creating the Strategic Plan, the MTA Board articulated the Vision, Mission, and Values that undergird the work and culture of the Arboretum. The new ED will be responsible for integrating these into all aspects of MTA’s work, for sharing them verbally and in writing, and for embodying them as the primary representative of the organization.
Partnering with the Board of Directors, and working in collaboration with the Director of Horticulture & Environmental Stewardship, the Executive Director (ED) of the Mountain Top Arboretum leads all aspects of the organization on a day-to-day basis including: engaging with donors, stakeholders, volunteers, visitors, community members, peer organizations, and partners; implementing the recently-developed Strategic Plan of the Arboretum; overseeing all programming; hiring, supervising, and evaluating staff; monitoring finances and developing new revenue streams, including private foundation and governmental grants; engaging with the Board of Directors and supporting their governance work; at all times conscientiously communicating vision, mission, and values of the Arboretum as well as its strategic ambitions.
Note: The Essential Functions, below, outline expectations of this role, but the lists are not exhaustive. It is understood that the Executive Director will take on additional responsibilities and perform other relevant tasks, consistent with this leadership role, as they emerge.
Resource development and financial sustainability:
The ED will be the primary development professional for the Arboretum. In this capacity, she/he/they will:
- Develop and execute a sophisticated fundraising plan to attract robust annual and long-term support;
- Steward relationships with current donors to assure their on-going engagement with the Arboretum as well as their continued financial support and commitment;
- Develop relationships with current grantmaking partners;
- Monitor and report on all existing/in-process grants;
- Prospect for and develop new relationships with major donors, the business community, grantmaking partners (foundations and governmental agencies), etc. to broaden the organization’s revenue base;
- Constantly seek out new, creative strategies and best-practice approaches to resource/asset development and financial sustainability.
Implementation of the Strategic Plan
The ED will be responsible for implementing the Arboretum’s newly-developed Strategic Plan. She/he/they will:
- Become deeply familiar with details of the plan;
- Develop a three- to five-year implementation approach;
- Ascertain and assign resources needed at all phases of plan implementation;
- Report regularly to the Board on the status of the plan’s roll-out and accomplishments;
- Identify and communicate mid-course challenges, corrections, and improvements;
- Promote the Strategic Plan as a resource development and marketing tool to donors, stakeholders, community members.
Working in conjunction with the Director of Horticulture & Environmental Stewardship, the Board, and MTA’s volunteers, the ED will be responsible for creating an exciting roster of year-round programming and will:
- Create, plan, organize, and oversee MTA on-site programming;
- Work with existing and new community partners to create joint programming at MTA and elsewhere;
- Develop relationships within the local schools for on-site and classroom-based educational programming;
- Extend MTA’s programmatic reach through a variety of digital technology platforms.
Administration and Operations
The ED will ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization. With responsibility to oversee all financial, administrative, operational, and human resource activities of the Arboretum, she/he/they will:
- Be responsible for developing, managing, and meeting the annual budget;
- Oversee the timely completion of the annual audit process and filing of all tax returns with support of accountants;
- Assure compliance with all organizational policies and procedures as well as legal and municipal obligations;
- Manage Arboretum facilities (especially Education Center), equipment, contracts, leases, and purchases;
- Consider all aspects of site logistics in order to create an excellent visitor experience;
- Keep up with emerging best-practices in nonprofit management and integrate them as appropriate.
Staff Development, Management, and Oversight
As MTA’s chief human resources and diversity, equity, inclusion and access officer, the ED will be responsible for hiring, overseeing, and evaluating all staff and will:
- Create and promote a positive team-oriented work environment that supports administrative and operational efficiency and promotes staff cohesion and camaraderie;
- Develop an organizational hiring plan that dovetails with goals of the Strategic Plan and can be activated according to resource availability;
- Leverage the talents of experienced staff; cultivate the potential of new staff;
- Create opportunities for staff growth and professional advancement;
- Support and advance the specialty-area knowledge of the staff;
- Develop position descriptions and set goals for each staff role;
- Conduct annual reviews of each staff member’s performance against job description and goals;
- Review staffing needs on an annual basis and adjust as necessary.
The ED will be the organization’s primary representative in the community, serving as spokesperson, ambassador, and advocate for MTA. In this role the ED will:
- Establish relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders – donors, business and community leaders, educational leaders, other nonprofit organization leaders;
- Develop collaborations with other organizations and institutions locally and regionally, leveraging these partnerships to drive MTA’s mission and strengthen its Catskills community role;
- Along with peers from other regional organizations, advocate for governmental support of the Catskills region and culture;
- Promote MTA’s “brand” through robust marketing and communications on website, social media, mailings, and public engagements;
- Maintain nonprofit professional network connections and knowledge to advance interests of and opportunities for MTA.
The ED reports to and works in partnership with the Board of Directors and will:
- Maintain regular, frequent communication with the Board Chair and develop a strong, transparent and collaborative working relationship with all the board members as individuals and as a body;
- Support the Board in the execution of its governance work, and collaborate with the Board in the development of policies, procedures, strategy, and programs;
- Oversee preparation of all Board meeting materials;
- Staff all standing and ad hoc committees of the Board;
- Bring nonprofit best-practice and peer-organization knowledge to the Board to enhance its governance effectiveness.
- Creative, visionary, mission-driven leader with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to connect and build trust with a variety of stakeholders including donors, directors, staff, visitors, volunteers, business and community leaders, and organizational peers and partners;
- Deeply knowledgeable about fundraising and development;
- Passionate and generally knowledgeable about horticulture/arboretums/public gardens/nature centers;
- Committed to the Catskills region;
- An effective communicator, both verbally and in written form, who is equally engaging with internal and external audiences;
- A strategic thinker and effective administrator who can manage and advance multiple priorities at one time;
- Strong leadership, management, and supervision skills to grow the organization, develop staff, and inspire volunteers.
- Bachelor’s Degree minimum (or equivalent);
- Minimum of 10 years’ experience in increasingly responsible leadership positions;
- Demonstrated experience in a fundraising, program-development, or nonprofit leadership role (or equivalent);
- Strong administrator with proven track record of leading and motivating a committed staff team and of creating a positive work environment;
- Fluency in: Word, Excel, database and CRM systems; ability to learn others as needed;
- Savvy with social media and has ability to navigate a variety of digital platforms.
- Collaborative, engaging professional who aligns with the values and culture of MTA and manifests personal and professional integrity;
- Strong relationship builder, effective listener, and excellent communicator;
- Flexible, with a versatile skillset who demonstrates a willingness to pitch in as necessary in a small-team environment;
- Extremely organized with a disciplined work ethic;
- Curious; with a willingness to learn and promote a passion for learning through enhanced educational programming for staff and visitors.;
- Ability to persevere through challenges and demonstrate steadfast resolve to advancing the organization.
PHYSICAL, MENTAL, SENSORY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEMANDS
This is a full-time, on-site, indoor-outdoor position which will require:
- Some evening and regular weekend work;
- Owning a car and ability to drive to the Arboretum and to meetings locally and regionally;
- Ability to sustain a full day in an office environment, at times alone;
- Ability to traverse the grounds of the Arboretum (may include driving a golf cart) and navigate on nature trails, gravel, and through leafy, marshy soil, and rocky terrain in all seasons and weather conditions;
- Some light lifting of typical office supplies and equipment.
MTA’s CULTURE: OUR VALUES IN ACTION
- Stewardship: we are committed to the care of the environment, our land, our community, our history and legacy, and the sustainability of our resources;
- Education and learning: we are close observers of the world around us; we seek and share information and knowledge; we respect and rely on scientific expertise; we are active learners, teachers, and reflective listeners;
- Community engagement: we care about our community and we are sensitive to its needs; we strive to be good neighbors, to contribute locally and to cultivate personal and communal enrichment;
- Collaboration: we are dedicated and engaged; we invest in relationships; we are passionate, enthusiastic, and appreciative; we are open, approachable, and communicative;
- Excellence: we believe in our work; we are strong and innovative problem-solvers; we aspire to the highest standards and integrity in all that we do;
- Creativity: we strive to create beauty and to provide pleasure in nature, believing that these are necessary experiences for developing an ecologically-committed community;
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access: we are committed to making our Arboretum a welcoming, accessible, and inclusive environment for all to enjoy.
More information can be found at: https://www.mtarboretum.org
Visit mtarboretum.org/about for job posting on website
Mountain Top Arboretum
Contact Name: Marci Steinheim