Executive Director

L-A-D Foundation Published: May 12, 2023
St. Louis, MO
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director

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The L-A-D Foundation is a Missouri private operating foundation dedicated to exemplary stewardship of Pioneer Forest and other natural and cultural areas and to scientific research, education, public recreation, and encouragement for projects and policies that have a positive influence on the Missouri Ozark region and beyond.

Click here to learn more about the L-A-D Foundation. 

Position Overview 

The Executive Director position, based in St. Louis, Salem, the Ozarks, or mid-Missouri, is responsible for managing and supervising all aspects of the L-A-D Foundation including the forestry, ecological stewardship, policy, outreach, communications, grantmaking, land consolidation, and business operations of the organization. The full-time position reports to the Board of Directors and ensures staffing of all its committees. This is a leadership and executive position involving significant collaboration with professionals in partner organizations on policies, programs, and land management; development of materials and recommendations for consideration by the board and its committees; and leading special initiatives of the board and staff. The foundation’s activities are currently guided by a strategic plan adopted in January 2020.

The L-A-D Foundation and Pioneer Forest have an organizational culture of mutual respect and teamwork among our staff, directors, and many partners. For this position, we seek someone who will work collaboratively and who will further that culture. The Executive Director supervises the Director of Forestry and Stewardship, located in the Salem office, and the Business Manager, located in the St. Louis office, and works with the Board of Directors and its Executive, Finance and Stewardship Committees and with certain partners and contractors as needed. Frequent travel into the region of Pioneer Forest and other L-A-D Foundation properties in the Ozarks will be necessary to effectively understand and lead our efforts. 

  • Hours:    40 hours/week, salaried exempt
  • Salary:    Commensurate with experience
  • Benefits: 401(k), health and dental insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave

Specific Duties

Strategic Direction

  • Understand the strategic plan and collaborate with the Board of Directors, staff, and partners to execute its vision and elements to tangible outcomes.
  • Lead staff development of annual operational plans that align with the strategic plan and ensure its timely execution.
  • Forge partnerships and processes to implement the strategic plan more effectively and efficiently.
  • Facilitate changes to the strategic plan or development of a new plan as new information becomes available.

Executive Leadership

  • Work closely with the executive committee and other board committees to ensure proper organizational structure, staffing, and governance of all L-A-D activities.
  • Directly supervise the Forestry and Stewardship Director and the Business Manager and provide executive oversight of the entire staff team.
  • Provide staff support for the foundation’s board of directors and its committees, arrange for meetings and conferences internally and with partners, and keep the board updated on the organization’s activities. 
  • Lead business, forest, and stewardship staff and the board on development, execution, and oversight of the budget.
  • Oversee contractors and consultants, as needed, including legal advisors.

Forestry and Ecological Stewardship

  • Collaboratively foster integration of forestry, ecological stewardship, and outdoor recreation across Pioneer Forest, consistent with our purpose as a demonstration forest, in concert with staff and the board.
  • Ensure that forestry, stewardship, and land consolidation plans for all L-A-D lands are reviewed and revised as needed to achieve measurable outcomes, and lead outreach to landowners and partners to secure high priority lands.  
  • Encourage staff to prepare stewardship, research, land acquisition and other grant applications, and assist in cultivating their success with partner individuals and agencies. 
  • Encourage research and publication by staff and partners regarding L-A-D lands and management. 

Advocacy, Public Policy, & Collaborative Partnerships

  • Provide leadership on matters of public policy relevant to the foundation, such as stewardship of federal, state, and private lands in the Ozarks; work with leadership of various agencies and organizations to achieve L-A-D goals. 
  • Guide grantmaking, in conjunction with the grants committee, in making strategic investments in Ozarks natural and cultural projects and actively assist those projects in partnership building as needed. 
  • Develop mission-driven initiatives for consideration by the board and staff relating to forestry and ecological stewardship in the Ozarks, such as collaborative efforts and research on uneven-aged management and markets.

Communications and Outreach

  • Serve as primary partnership builder with state and federal agencies and private organizations and as lead spokesperson for L-A-D.
  • Develop and ensure updating of L-A-D communications plan, including website and other communications vehicles to targeted audiences; assess need for economic and ecological services studies.
  • Conceptualize and oversee preparation of the foundation’s annual report and other outreach material.
  • Oversee the preparation for and execution of an annual community outreach event, as well as other events, tours, workshops and conferences. 


  • Proven executive leadership and management skills, with at minimum five years of experience preferred, in conservation and environment-related nonprofit, academic, government or business organizations.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully chart and execute strategic organizational vision.
  • Experience with preparing, implementing, and overseeing plans, budgets, policies, and grants.
  • Skill in partnership building with communities and agencies, with demonstrated ability to generate tangible results.
  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills, with strong inclination to communicate regularly and openly.
  • Graduate degree and training or experience in natural resource policy or land stewardship (forestry or ecology) strongly preferred.
  • Passion for natural resource conservation and environmental restoration.

Desired Attributes:

  • Collaborative leader with ability to listen to and motivate staff and partners to implement strategic vision and goals.
  • Highly organized and self-motivated with strong problem-solving skills and enthusiasm to learn across disciplines.
  • Willingness to travel within Missouri and beyond as needed to meet with people to advance organizational goals with diverse constituencies.
  • Familiarity with the Ozark region and understanding of Ozark and Missouri cultures a strong plus.

More About the L-A-D Foundation

The L-A-D Foundation was established by Leo A. Drey in 1962 to preserve lands of natural and cultural significance and undertake related charitable activities. Its holdings grew to nearly 4,000 acres in fourteen units, including seven state-designated natural areas leased to the Missouri Department of Conservation, two areas and a trails system leased to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for management by Missouri State Parks, and nearly 1,000 acres of riparian land under scenic easement to the National Park Service (Ozark National Scenic Riverways). 

In 2004, Leo and his wife Kay donated to the foundation their Pioneer Forest—acquired mostly in the 1950s and now nearly 144,000 acres in six counties in the Missouri Ozarks—to be managed as a conservation and recreation area and demonstration forest in the public interest. 

To Apply

Please click "Apply" below to email a cover letter and resume in a single pdf of no more than six pages. Include “Executive Director” in the subject line. Please note, hiring will be conducted on a rolling basis, with initial interviews in May.

EOE Statement: The L-A-D Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race, creed, or country of origin.

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