Chief Program Officer

  • Land Trust Alliance
  • Washington D.C., DC, USA
  • Jul 10, 2021
Full time Conservation/ Natural Resources Environmental Protection Outdoor Recreation - Guides- Trails - Wilderness Parks

Job Description

Land Trust Alliance
Chief Program Officer

Company: Land Trust Alliance
Location: Washington, DC
Reporting Relationship: President & Chief Executive Officer

Land Trust Alliance Overview
The Land Trust Alliance (the “Alliance”) is the voice of the land trust community. As the national leader in land conservation policies, standards and education, we work passionately to support land trusts across the United States so they can save more land and better serve their communities.

Land trusts need access to the best tools, information and policy advocates. Armed with a diverse network and valuable resources, the Alliance is the land trust community’s source for the knowledge and capabilities they need to reach their goals. We ensure our land trust members are always heard and can achieve more.

The Alliance commits to elevating land conservation as a priority nationwide. We envision a reenergized, more relevant conservation movement, in which land trusts join with partners that have not traditionally identified as conservation organizations around our shared interest in protecting special places. Together, the Alliance, land trusts and partner organizations can ensure that land conservation serves all people.

Position Summary
The Chief Program Officer (CPO) reports directly to the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and provides leadership, supervision, oversight and management of the organization’s programmatic offerings to land trusts and other stakeholders. Those programmatic offerings are administered through three departments: (1) Education; (2) Conservation Initiatives; and (3) Community-centered Conservation, which focuses on engaging people who have not traditionally been involved in or served by conservation. While the Education and Conservation Initiative departments are well-established, the Community-centered Conservation department is nascent and unstaffed. Accordingly, an early focus of the CPO will be on launching, staffing and building that department by applying his or her experience in implementing inclusion and engagement strategies both within organizations and with external constituencies.  

The CPO works alongside the Chief Operating Officer to manage all day-to-day internal matters, thus allowing the CEO to focus on external matters such as fundraising, policy advocacy, partnership development and land trust relations. The CPO is also part of the Alliance’s Executive Management Team, which consists of the organization’s most senior staff. That team deliberates on major issues facing the organization, provides advice and counsel to the CEO, and ensures efficient implementation of the CEO’s directives.

The CPO embodies a collaborative, entrepreneurial and innovative mindset and is responsible for building and managing a high performing team of Vice Presidents, Program Directors, Program Managers and support staff. The CPO works with and cultivates these staff to craft strategy; develop and implement projects; deliver agreed upon outcomes; and perform timely and accurate financial and program reporting. The CPO also ensures effective coordination between program staff and other departments not under the CPO’s supervision, including Government Relations, Development, Communications and Operations, on matters such as program planning, budgeting and grants administration.

Key Responsibilities
Program Strategy and Leadership

  • Work in collaboration with the CEO and the Executive Management Team to establish a strategic vision and guiding philosophy that will inform short- and long-term program goals consistent with the Alliance’s strategic plan and available financial resources.
  • Identify, develop and implement programs that increase the Alliance’s effectiveness in advancing the interests of and providing services to the organization’s land trust members and other stakeholders.
  • Establish annual program, departmental and staff goals and objectives, track results against these goals and implement accountability protocols.
  • Embed principles of diversity, equity and inclusion within the Alliance’s programmatic offerings consistent with the Alliance’s Common Ground Implementation Framework.
  • Ensure programs are aligned and coordinated and barriers to collaboration are reduced to ensure consistency and strategic program planning and implementation.
  • Routinely evaluate and assess organizational Alliance member needs and anticipate necessary shifts in programmatic needs (including which activities or programmatic offerings should cease).
  • Develop a program evaluation framework to assess the strengths of each program and desired outcomes and identify areas for improvement.
  • Monitor and evaluate program activities on a regular basis.
  • Implement objective and consistent program performance measurements across all Alliance programs.
  • Support fundraising efforts for the organization, including working with Development staff to craft strategies that will engage new funders and donors.
  • Be conversant with Alliance programs, achievements, strategies and goals across all program areas to be able to serve effectively as an ambassador for the Alliance.

Staff Management

  • Manage team performance and carry out supervisory responsibilities, including assigning and directing work, evaluating performance and delivering timely and constructive feedback in accordance with policies and applicable laws.
  • Ensure clarity around decision-making authority both within departments and among members of cross-departmental teams.
  • Mentor and help staff assess programmatic feasibility, identify opportunities, make connections and effectively manage projects.
  • Work closely with senior program staff to build their skills and confidence so that they can supervise, evaluate, mentor, encourage and motivate all staff.
  • Deploy resources efficiently and effectively toward organizational goals, working with senior program staff to balance workload and effort, and provide regular feedback so that senior program staff can continuously improve their supervision and mentoring skills.
  • Identify skill gaps in staff and work with Human Resources to develop necessary training modules to bring rigor, consistency and excellence to tasks that include: (1) program planning, budgeting, and evaluation; (2) project conceptualization, design, management and evaluation; and (3) grant writing and administration.
  • Develop and implement staffing plans to align staff expertise and capabilities with responsibilities and to achieve program goals and objectives.
  • Work with senior staff and Human Resources to identify and shape new positions when appropriate and participate in hiring decisions for new program staff.

Budget Management

  • Work closely with the Finance department to budget and monitor programmatic operations to ensure sound fiscal and system management.
  • Work closely with the Finance department to establish and implement grant administration protocols and procedures.
  • Oversee the budget development process for departments under the CPO’s supervision and maintain a high level of fiscal responsibility.

Professional Experience/Qualifications

  • Possess a minimum of 8-10 years of demonstrated accomplishments in a senior management role, with a proven track record in managing effective teams and establishing new programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to mentor, coach and develop a cohesive and productive team with diverse levels of expertise; deliver on set goals; utilize creative thinking to engage staff; and maintain clarity of staff roles and responsibilities.
  • Experience managing staff that are widely dispersed geographically and maintaining cohesion among staff working remotely.
  • Experience in program development and management, preferably in the conservation
  • Familiarity and experience with private land conservation practices and programs preferred, particularly community-based approaches to land conservation that engage people who have not traditionally been involved in or served by conservation.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience in implementing inclusion and engagement strategies both within organizations and with external constituencies.
  • Demonstrated cultural competence and the character, integrity and openness necessary to develop a rapport with people of varying experiences, backgrounds and philosophies.
  • A strategic mindset and ability to connect programs to organizational goals and outcomes.
  • Exceptional program, budget and grant management skills.
  • Proven results leveraging available resources effectively to meet program objectives.
  • Experience in managing large foundation and federal grants.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment, make timely decisions and advise staff on multiple projects, priorities and deadlines while providing timely, comprehensive feedback.
  • Possess a proven ability to work collaboratively as part of a team and an interest in building a strong organizational culture.
  • Commitment to maintaining the highest levels of confidentiality.
  • Comfort and proficiency with computers, web-based applications, and social media platforms.
  • Excellent oral, written, grammar, proofreading and communications skills that demonstrate capacity to present a compelling case, persuade, engage and excite while incorporating creativity and ensuring accuracy.
  • Experience working directly with a board of directors and providing regular briefings.
  • Ability to travel up to 15% annually including evenings/weekends (once pandemic-based travel restrictions are lifted).

Bachelor’s degree required / Graduate degree preferred.

Competitive compensation ranges and detailed benefits packages will be provided to candidates. 

Application Process
Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to submit a resume and cover letter to:

The Land Trust Alliance’s mission is to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Land Trust Alliance is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or marital status.


Job Level

C-level (CEO, President, Exec Director)


Nonprofit- NGO

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