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11 Jun 2020

Full-Time Executive Director

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District – Posted by aazach Portland, Oregon, United States

Job Description

Executive Director Recruitment

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

June 10, 2020

Organization Overview

The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) is a non-regulatory unit of local government that serves Multnomah County east of the Willamette River centerline. The mission of EMSWCD is to help people care for land and water. The vision is that our lands and waters are healthy and sustain farms, forests, wildlife, and communities.

EMSWCD works with private landowners, community organizations, and government agencies to provide education, grant funding, technical assistance, and other resources that support conservation practices and stewardship within our district. EMSWCD is funded by a property tax base and is organized into four programmatic areas: Rural Lands Program, Urban Lands Program, Conservation Legacy Program, and Finance and Operations.

In fiscal year 2019-2020, EMSWCD will receive $5.2 million in revenue and manage a total annual operating and capital budget of approximately $14.9 million.

Some examples of our work include:

  • Over the past 13 years, EMSWCD’s Partners in Conservation grants program has distributed over $8 million through more than 300 grants to over 150 organizations for community projects that support EMSWCD’s mission such as habitat restoration, urban forestry, environmental education and sustainable agriculture.
  • The Headwaters Incubator Program (HIP) supports the next generation of farmers by reducing the barriers to entry into farm business ownership, through providing subsidized access to land, equipment, training and farming support networks. In addition, the land conservation program invests in farmland protection, stewardship and land access.
  • EMSWCD’s StreamCare program has planted more than half a million trees restoring healthy forest along streams and rivers on private land.
  • The weed control program has helped ensure native forests in the iconic Columbia River Gorge are free of the most damaging invasive weeds.
  • Through EMSWCD’s well known annual plant sale we have sold more than 200,000 native plants to more than 10,000 customers helping to conserve water and establish wildlife habitat in yards throughout the urban area.

Equity Vision Statement

We value the diversity of our residents as an integral part of the success of our programs and our organization. We are committed to establishing meaningful and productive relationships with underserved communities to learn how to best ensure equitable conservation benefits. We envision all EMSWCD programs will support our mission in a way that is inclusive of all cultures, races, and economic statuses. EMSWCD believes that ultimately, conservation efforts are more likely to succeed with the engagement and support of diverse communities.

We recognize that EMSWCD services and programs can be improved to ensure greater equity in serving a diverse constituency. While some of the program areas currently incorporate equity considerations into their work, for the organization as a whole, this effort is inconsistent and varies widely between programs. As a public entity accountable to our constituents, the future of our work depends on the support of our communities. Social and racial inequality has a long history within the Portland area and this has shaped the communities that we serve. As such, we are committed to improving our internal structure as well as our programs to create an inclusive organization that can build meaningful relationships with all constituents. 

Key Candidate Attributes

Leadership Transparency

They value and can model clear communication skills, trust building, accountability and empathy towards others. They can make challenging decisions and share the approach to those decisions. They ask for input from those affected by decisions, when possible.

Experience with and commitment to Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

They will be professionally committed and embrace differing perspectives from their own, in recognition and to counterbalance structural bias and historic marginalization. They will have skills to listen and adjust their own professional methods based on a growing understanding of DEI best practices.

Strategic Mindset

They will be able to make decisions based on complex information, potential outcomes, and often differing or conflicting agendas. They will build initiatives collaboratively and based on the collective experience represented in the community, staff and Board.


They can lead challenging conversations taking into account multiple perspectives and different expressions. They can inspire and influence toward common goals and vision.

Working Values

EMSWCD’s Board and staff are currently working on redefining the values for the organization. Our next Executive Director will help with that effort. While this is a work in progress, the values that are important to us are:

  • Public Service
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Curiosity
  • Empathy and Compassion
  • Respect

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have a collaborative leadership style with experience working directly with an elected board or governing board of directors and a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. They will be a relationship-builder, a strong facilitator, and an expert synthesizer of information.

EMSWCD seeks a candidate who is passionate about conservation work and has the skills to inspire and align the staff and board toward common vision, goals and strategies. They will be professionally committed and embrace differing perspectives from their own, in recognition and to counterbalance structural bias and historic marginalization. Ideally, they will have experience leading ongoing equity-based transformation. They will be regarded as a leader in the community and be able to work effectively across a wide variety of organizations and individuals – both inside and outside the civic sector.

The staff and board are passionate about the mission, well established programs, and potential of the organization. The new Executive Director will have strong experience leading staff, facilitating strategic programmatic change, and coalescing culture by building trust.

The new Executive Director will have excellent communications skills, HR/personnel management, a firm understanding of conservation and experience in budget oversight. This region is known for its unique laws and progressive values. The ideal candidate will be comfortable and effective working in this type of culture and environment.

Where is EMSWCD Heading

With stable tax funding, a fantastic and highly professional staff, and a track record of delivering conservation programs in urban and rural spaces, EMSWCD is in an exciting position to create strong and sustained benefit for our community and the environment. The District staff and board are ready to build on this foundation by integrating issues and opportunities related to climate change and DEI. The new Executive Director has the opportunity to develop a strategic plan that leverages existing strengths toward measurable impact in the communities served by EMSWCD.

How to Apply

Application Information

Ready to submit your information for this opportunity? Nonprofit Professionals Now is honored to be working with EMSWCD on this key leadership position.  A full job description, application requirements and position details are available at: All applications will be reviewed based on criteria established with the EMSWCD Board. Application Deadline:  July 11, 2020

Job Categories: Sustainable Agriculture / Food. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 100,000 and above.

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