Illinois Executive Director and Midwest Partner

The Nature Conservancy Published: February 10, 2024
Chicago, Illinois
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director / Other / Project Management
(Number of Job Posting Views: 25)

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What We Can Achieve Together:

The Illinois Executive Director and Midwest Partner functions as a leader and conservation strategist for a large, complex business unit in a global organization that plays an integral leadership role in TNC’s Midwest Division. The Midwest Division encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin—a region of Great Lakes, great rivers and immense global importance for conserving biodiversity and addressing climate change for TNC’s 2030 goals. In addition to representing Illinois and the Midwest, this position must also be versed in national and global TNC priorities.

This position will be a key leader in a global fundraising campaign and is responsible for producing measurable conservation results, while leading a large, multidisciplinary team of professionals across the state. They serve as the primary spokesperson for TNC in Illinois to internal and external audiences (including public and private donors, media, the business community, the Board of Trustees, community leaders and other partners, government agencies and officials and staff). They must cultivate those audiences to support and promote TNC’s mission and vision.

  • The Illinois Executive Director and Midwest Partner sets objectives and manages the performance of a large and diverse team with a focus on strategy development, fundraising and managing the Board of Trustees. They collaborate across teams as they cultivate and solicit high-level donors (private and public) to meet fundraising goals in the largest major metropolitan area in the Midwest. Additionally, this role supports conservation programs and initiatives, organization visibility, policy and government relations, the management of staff and the financial health of the business unit.
  • The Illinois Executive Director and Midwest Partner also collaborates with peer Midwest Executive Directors and the Midwest Division Director (known as Midwest Partners) in helping shape the strategy, development and execution of cross-boundary efforts within the Midwest and globally, including the contribution of financial and/or human resources.
  • Along with other Midwest Partners, the Illinois Executive Director supports the Midwest 2030 conservation goals, and sponsors one or more conservation strategy and functional area teams at the regional level. They help align their team’s work to secure and deploy sufficient resources and capacity to achieve the Midwest’s maximum contribution to TNC’s 2030 conservation goals.
  • The Illinois Executive Director and Midwest Partner creates an equitable and inclusive work environment for all TNC staff in the state and supports coordinated staff development across the region. This position reports to the Midwest Division Director and works in partnership with the Midwest Partners and the Illinois Board of Trustees.

We’re Looking for You:

Are you looking for work that you can believe in?

At TNC we strive to embody a philosophy of “Work That You Can Believe In” where you can feel like you are making a difference every day. We’re looking for someone with strong experience in leading a diverse, multidisciplinary team.

The ideal candidate should have exceptional leadership skills, with a strong background in high-level fundraising. They must be a compelling storyteller and talented communicator who can successfully use these talents to fundraise, build consensus and speak about TNC’s mission, vision and work—from state, regional and global perspective. This role must be able to effectively engage a wide range of partners, while constantly building and engaging the volunteer Board of Trustees.

This position requires a person with deep self-confidence tempered by genuine humility. They must have an ambitious yet collaborative nature. They must be very high-energy, intelligent, abstract thinkers willing to take bold, calculated risks while balancing the need to make transparent decisions in a matrixed and sometimes ambiguous environment. They have to have very high emotional intelligence and be compassionate but also able to make tough decisions while being equitable, fair and inclusive.

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the ongoing mission of conservation by directing and shaping the work of Illinois and the Midwest.

What You’ll Bring:

  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 7 years of experience as a leader in the conservation arena, nonprofit sector, advocacy or related for-profit area.
  • Extensive management experience, including the ability to motivate, lead, set objectives and manage the performance of a large multidisciplinary team.
  • Proven experience in the cultivation and solicitation of high-level donors to reach fundraising goals, which is a priority for this position.
  • Written and verbal fluency in English.
  • Effective presentation and communication skills for diverse audiences, including high-level donors, the media, the business community, board members, outside partners, staff or equivalent that lead to desired outcomes.
  • Experience with strategic fiscal management, including long-term sustainability.

Desired Qualifications:

  • 10+ years’ experience as a proven leader in the conservation arena, nonprofit sector, advocacy, or related for-profit area, including demonstrated experience producing results and meeting organizational, divisional or business unit goals.
  • Experience working in the U.S. and globally preferred. Demonstrated commitment to developing and practicing global literacy.
  • Outstanding leadership skills, including thought-leadership, visionary qualities and the ability to inspire others in a decentralized, geographically dispersed and highly matrixed organization.
  • Knowledge of conservation and conservation practices.
  • High energy, forward-thinking and creative individual with high ethical standards.
  • Proven strategic thinking skills, creative problem-solving, adept decision-making, adaptability and ability to collaborate and influence.
  • Demonstrated experience in public speaking on behalf of a global organization with the capability to present on a wide range of science-based and conservation topics desired.

Note: This description is not designed to be a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for this job.

What We Bring:

Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in: protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. Through grassroots action, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than one million members, volunteer trustee leadership, over 400 scientists and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff, we impact conservation throughout the world!

TNC offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package, including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k) plan with employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, an employee assistance program and other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits in the Culture Tab on
We’re proud to offer a work environment that is supportive of the health, well-being and flexibility needs of the people we employ!

  • An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role committing to being equitable across groups and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.
  • The starting pay range for a candidate selected for this position is generally within the range of $210,000 to $240,000 for annual base salary. This range only applies to candidates whose country of employment is the USA. Where a successful candidate’s actual pay will fall within this range will be based on a variety of factors, including, for example, the candidate's location, qualifications, specific skills, and experience. Please note countries outside the USA would have a different pay range in the local currency based on the local labor market, and not tied to USA pay or ranges. Your geographic location will be confirmed during the recruitment.

How to Apply:

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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

  • The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy's background screening process.
  • Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

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