Chief Administrative Officer

Michigan Environmental Council Published: December 28, 2019
Lansing, MI
Job Type
Admin/ Gen Mgmt / Finance /

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Michiganders love our two peninsulas and the Great Lakes that define them. We share a pride in our state’s natural splendor and a devotion to protecting it as the cornerstone of Michigan’s long-term prosperity and our world-class quality of life.

That ethos transcends political boundaries, and it’s stronger today than ever. You see it on T-shirts and bumper stickers. You feel it downtown, along the trail, at the farmers market, on the beach.

There it is, this beautiful, precious place: Michigan. It is our job to protect it. 

Michigan’s environmental movement depends on the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) to keep it strong, vibrant and connected. Together we focus energy and attention on the policies and cultural systems that are essential to make Michigan a more sustainable and equitable place. 

We are a coalition of more than 60 organizations with offices in Lansing and Detroit. Created in 1980 to lead Michigan’s environmental movement. MEC combines deep environmental policy expertise, close connections to state and federal decision-makers and relationships with broad alliances to achieve positive public policy solutions to our most challenging environmental issues. We are a financially strong organization with $4.7M in annual net assets including endowment investments of $2.2M. We manage a $2.5M annual budget, serving a fiduciary role for several programs, collaboratives and nascent organizations.

Our team – member organizations, board leadership and professional staff – are among the most passionate, visionary and hard-working advocates you’ll ever work with. High standards and deep commitment are our bywords. If you want to devote yourself to the most meaningful work protecting Michigan’s natural resources and public health, consider joining us at the Michigan Environmental Council. 

Position Overview

Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Administrative Officer is a high-level leadership position responsible for developing, implementing and overseeing the core financial and operational systems  of a dynamic, influential and collegial organization. Charged with helping to develop, implement and convey the CEO’s vision and strategic direction, the CAO has high levels of responsibility in both the finance and general operational realms and has accountability for most internal and external policies and procedures. 

The CAO has four direct reports: the Policy Director, the Communications Director, the Engagement Director and the DIrector of Operations.  This is a leadership opportunity for an emerging executive to gain finance and operational experience in preparation for a future CEO or Executive Director position. 


Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Oversee, direct, and organize the work of MEC’s operations, policy, communications and engagement teams.
  • Partner with the CEO in essential internal firm leadership activities (human resources, administration, and organizational planning).
  • Provide support to the CEO and maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the CEO informed of all critical issues.
  • Represent the organization externally, as necessary.

Finance and Budgeting


  • Conduct or oversee all organizational financial management responsibilities and systems.
  • Monitor and track all organizational income and expenditures and create accurate forecasts to ensure organizational sustainability.
  • Manage all grant monitoring and reporting.
  • Oversee organizational investment accounts.
  • Coordinate audits and proper filing of tax returns.

Financial Strategy:

  • Develop and monitor organizational, program and project budgets.
  • Upgrade and implement an appropriate system of policies, internal controls, accounting standards, and procedures.
  • Improve administrative and operational accounting services such as auditing, 403-B plan, payment processing, payroll, accounts payable, and purchasing.
  • Engage the finance, audit and investment committees of the Board in the general financial management of the organization.
  • Represent the organization to financial partners, including financial institutions, investors and investment advisors, foundation executives.

Financial Innovation:

  • Design, launch and monitor new revenue-generating programs.
  • Lead the diversification of revenue streams to include new foundation grants; government grants and contracts; and corporate partnerships.

Organizational Development 

  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach: assign accountabilities; set objectives; establish priorities; and monitor and evaluate results.
  • Ensure staff members receive timely and appropriate training and development.
  • Develop and oversee systems for monitoring and reporting on grants.



  • An undergraduate business,  accounting or finance degree or significant organizational experience in a senior management role, ideally with both external audit and financial management experience.
  • Dedication to the methodical development, implementation and improvement of vital internal operational and financial systems.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical finance and administration initiatives.
  • Self reliance and creative problem-solving skills.
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills and the ability to effectively communicate in group settings and one-on-one.
  • Ability to operate as an effective tactical and strategic thinker.
  • Passion for MEC's partners, members and mission.


  • A master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in sustainability, nonprofit management, finance, accounting or similar focus.
  • Experience either as an employee or board member of a nonprofit. organization; familiarity with nonprofit finance and accounting regulations.
  • Interest in facilitating progressive organizational change and development within a dynamic and evolving organization.
  • Superior management skills; ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers.
  • Comfort level dealing with senior management, MEC’s board of directors, and staff experts.

Other Position Notes

  • Although based in Lansing, this position requires frequent work days in Detroit and occasional travel to other locations. Some telecommuting is possible.
  • This position requires occasional work outside normal hours, including evenings and weekends.

Compensation Package

  • MEC provides staff with an industry-leading compensation package.
  • The CAO position includes a salary of $65,000 - $91,000 commensurate with experience; full medical, dental and vision benefits; organizational matching to a 403(b) retirement program and unlimited paid time off. 

To Apply

  • Please click "Apply" below to email a single PDF with:
    1. a strong, detailed cover letter,
    2. a resume and
    3. at least three references (minimum two professional).
  • Include “CAO” in the subject line.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be reviewed.
  • Application review will begin December 3 and continue until the position is filled. 

Note: Please direct questions about the job description to CEO Conan Smith.  

Michigan Environmental Council is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all applicants.

When you apply for this position, please say you saw this job on Green Dream Jobs!!

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