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2 Dec 2021

Full-Time USDN Capacity Building Director

Urban Sustainability Directors Network – Posted by [email protected] Anywhere

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Job Description

Capacity Building Director

About USDN

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network’s (USDN) mission is to create equitable, resilient and sustainable communities by supporting local government sustainability practitioners as they pursue transformative change. We do this by building the capacity of local government sustainability practitioners to take action, scale innovative practices and solutions, influence systemic change, and harness data and insights to advance and influence the field.

The heart of USDN’s work is a network of local government sustainability professionals from over 250 cities and counties across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthy environment, advancing racial equity, and building thriving and resilient communities. USDN brings local government sustainability practitioners together to learn, innovate, collaborate, and accelerate the work of local sustainability.

USDN is powered by a distributed team of 20 people that work together across the United States, and a robust network of trusted partners and collaborators.

USDN believes that a diverse, inclusive, and equity-centered climate movement is essential to achieving our mission. For meaningful, long-term change local governments must work from the ground up through a collaborative approach with the communities they serve.

Position Overview

As a member of the USDN leadership team, the Capacity Building Director manages the collaborative design and implementation of USDN learning programs to help local government practitioners become more effective change agents who generate impact in the movement toward an equitable, resilient, and sustainable world. The Capacity Building Director will report to USDN’s Executive Director.

This position leads the Capacity Building Team at USDN, which develops structured, member-centered, learning programs that advance equitable local government sustainability practices consistent with USDN’s adopted program goals and strategies. Team leads are responsible for a specific area of USDN’s core functions, while managing staff and coordinating and collaborating across teams to ensure a cohesive member experience.

The Capacity Building Team designs and delivers programming (e.g., virtual peer learning groups, trainings, workshops, in-person events) to develop the skills and knowledge of USDN members in two areas:

  • Foundational Practices (‘how’ members approach their work) – Building the capacity of local government practitioners to be effective change agents who center equity and marginalized communities as they envision and deliver their work. These practices include racial equity and inclusion, power analysis, leadership skills, change management skills, and communications skills.
  • Pathways (‘what’ members work on) – Developing the capacity of local government practitioners to apply the foundational practices in the context of effectively moving their sustainability work forward to generate equitable and impactful local outcomes. These pathways include equitably reducing climate risk; accelerating transitions to low-carbon and resilient buildings, energy sources, and mobility systems; and investing in ecosystem regeneration and access.

For more details, please see USDN’s current network priorities: High Impact Practices.

Examples of recent USDN programming designed to grow member capacity include:


Program Strategy & Development

  • Collaborate with organizational leadership team to set clear program strategy and allocate resources to execute strategic initiatives.
  • In collaboration with the team, identify and develop program proposals that align with USDN’s goals and priorities. Advance proposals through USDN’s annual program planning process to prioritize and resource programs.
  • In consultation with the Network Director and through member relationships, ensure programs are developed with a member-centered, equity-focused approach that prioritizes the member experience, member inclusion, and member diversity.
  • Develop and implement a unified curriculum approach to professional development offerings informed by adult learning styles and diverse delivery modes for professional education and programming.

Program Management

  • Ensure the delivery of high-quality member programs and services that encourage member engagement and respond to member needs and opportunities.
  • Create standards and processes and apply project management methodologies with consideration of integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, and vendor management.
  • Provide subject matter expertise on a range of sustainability issues (e.g., GHG reduction, climate adaptation and resilience, energy, buildings, racial equity, mobility).
  • Establish consistent, objective program performance standards of accountability for specific activities and program portfolio. Develop reports and materials that track key program milestones and metrics.
  • Understand, monitor, and manage cross-functional and cross-team dependencies, including among Program Area Teams and core network operational services and infrastructure.

Team Management & Development

  • Manage the Capacity Building Team, including project management, staff management, and financial and administrative matters.
  • Establish an inclusive management style that fosters engagement, camaraderie, collaboration, and clarity within a remote environment.
  • Develop clear work plans that align with an integrated team plan.
  • Provide effective feedback to team members.
  • Prioritize the development of your team and direct reports as individuals.

Financial Management

  • Prepare and submit an annual operational budget to the CEO and CFO for review and approval, manage effectively within this budget, and report accurately on progress made and challenges encountered.
  • Contribute to fundraising strategies and reporting related to capacity building programming.

Communications and Relationship Building

  • Facilitate cross-team and cross-staff collaboration within USDN.
  • Share learnings and ideas with other internal teams and seek to learn from their experiences and perspectives.
  • Establish positive working relationships and cooperative arrangements with key programmatic partner organizations.
  • Contribute to written briefs, blogs, interviews, videos, and other educational materials that USDN may develop to broadly share and influence field knowledge.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Focus

  • Cultivate and maintain professional competency in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). EDI is a central goal, fundamental value, and required competency for the practice of sustainability. USDN staff cultivate EDI skills and competencies through personal practice and training.
  • Emphasize USDN’s adopted EDI principles in the design and delivery of programming and throughout the performance of job responsibilities. The position will advance EDI principles as a characteristic of responsible governance, where all levels of government have a fiscal and moral responsibility to address the long-term implications that inequity has on prosperity, health, and safety of residents.
  • Support the development of EDI competencies in staff, the integration of EDI principles in staff work plans, and support staff in identifying and responding to EDI challenges that members are experiencing.
  • Provide inclusive management that fosters engagement, camaraderie, and clarity within a remote environment.


While no single candidate may embody all the qualifications below, an ideal candidate would possess many of the below experiences and skill sets.

Required Experience:

  • Demonstrated success developing, delivering and evaluating programs in the local government context, including planning, costing, team building, execution, feedback, and evaluation techniques.
  • Experience working with or within local government
  • Experience with equitable climate and sustainability practices and policies.
  • Demonstrated experience in team leadership and staff management.
  • Experience designing, convening and facilitating productive meetings, trainings, and/or workshops.

Desired Knowledge and Skills:

  • Knowledge of racial equity theory and practice in an organizational and government context with application to various systems including zoning, buildings, energy, mobility, climate and resilience issues.
  • Ability to design and facilitate productive meetings (virtually and in-person).
  • High level of communication skills – interpersonal, written and verbal – and strong relationship-development skills.
  • Program management: development and implementation of systems for planning, costing, monitoring, and evaluating programs.
  • Ability to develop relationships and work across a diverse array of teammates, partners, and communities.
  • Structured thinking with a goal-oriented approach toward program implementation, management, and evaluation while managing inclusive engagement processes.
  • Ability to work independently and with team members in a collaborative and dynamic environment.
  • Adaptive management techniques with the ability to rapidly make and implement decisions that take into account members’ diverse perspectives and changing conditions
  • Proactively sharing information and knowledge across the organization as well as across a broad and diverse membership using relationships, technology, and other tools;
  • Assessment and facilitation of complex and/or sensitive situations;
  • Ability to use technology as a management reporting tool (with a specific focus on CRM tools) and to collaborate with information technology staff to develop and implement program evaluation systems.
  • Proficient in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Suite, Zoom.

Position Details

  • Full-time position
  • Reports to USDN Executive Director
  • Compensation: Expected range $115,000-$125,000 annually, commensurate with qualifications. Robust benefits package, including employer paid health, dental, disability insurance, life insurance, flexible leave policy, coaching and 401(k) program.
  • Location: This is a fully remote, work-from-home position. USDN has no central office but staff collaborate extensively via video call meetings. Candidates must furnish their own quiet office space for conference calls. USDN provides a computer, smartphone, and IT stipend to cover internet and phone, software, and other home office supplies.
  • Work hours: 9am-5pm Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific Standard Times (flexible); 40 hours/week

Urban Sustainability Directors Network is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to equal treatment of all employees without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical or mental disability or other basis protected by law.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

How to Apply

Click here to submit an application online.

Job Categories: Sustainability. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 100,000 and above.

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