Job announcement: Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Executive Director (ED)

Position Summary

AASHE is seeking a focused, strategic and energetic full time thought and innovation leader for North America’s premier membership organization dedicated to advancing the modeling of sustainability principles and actions across higher education, and fostering a vibrant sustainability community. The Executive Director (ED) will serve as the key visionary for the organization and, consistent with the direction of the Board of Directors of AASHE, will advance the execution of the strategic plan, maintain a strategically forward-looking membership organization, ensure sound fiscal management and innovative income models, and represent the public face of AASHE to external stakeholders using exceptional communication and public relations skills. The ED will demonstrate strong credibility within the sustainability field. The ED will lead a staff of talented individuals working virtually and must be able to build a strong virtual team who meet together rarely in person. In summary, an ED who demonstrates passion for the mission, is direct, confident, engaging and transparent.

ED must work from an office in the continental United States.

Duties and Responsibilities

The ED is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its financial objectives and execution of its mission. The ED will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for AASHE’s staff, programs, and expansion. S/he will initially develop deep knowledge of core programs and general operations as well as work with management staff and Board of Directors to establish long-term goals, strategies, business plans and policies.

Internal organizational leadership and management:

  • The ED is the motivational and administrative leader for all day to day operations of the organization including personnel, programs, project management, and budgets.
  • Determine how internal resources are allocated to the various functions consistent with the strategic plan’s goals and objectives.
  • Ensure that all functions operate at a high level of performance.
  • Maximize the effective use of resources.
  • Maintain high levels of morale and productivity.
  • Ensure that AASHE provides cutting edge vision and resources and is actively and continuously responsive to its membership; that the strategic plan is effectively executed; and that annual progress reporting is communicated effectively and in a timely manner.
  • Provide direct training/continuing education opportunities for staff, maintaining current knowledge of the literature, professional journals, and relevant press.
  • Exemplify the highest standards of ethical conduct in all interactions with all stakeholders.

External partnerships, outreach, income generation, and brand development:

  • Evaluate and develop partnership opportunities appropriate to advancing the strategic plan and consistent with the prudent allocation of resources.
  • Represent the public face of AASHE to all stakeholders and proactively choose opportunities to expand AASHE’s value to its members and maintain its reputation as the leading sustainability-related higher education association.
  • Identify, evaluate, and pursue innovative income generating opportunities appropriate and beneficial to AASHE.
  • Maintain and enhance AASHE’s brand through demonstrated skill in both internal and external communications, member and public relations.
  • Develop and implement strategies to grow membership & conference attendance.

Board of Directors support, engagement with, and responsiveness:

  • Carry out those directives approved by the Board in the form of resolutions, motions and delegated responsibilities overseen by the Executive Committee.
  • Report directly to the Chair of the Board of Directors and maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the Chair informed of all critical issues.
  • Provide administrative and planning support for Board meetings, retreats, and committees.
  • Serve as an ex officio member of all Board committees except the nominating committee.
  • Maximize and leverage a strong relationship with the Board of Directors and provide the strategic leadership necessary to assure full Board participation.

Minimum Job Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, finance, non-profit management or related field (or equivalent experience) and demonstrated leadership experience at the executive level for at least 5 years.
  • Three or more years managing a governing board, preferably of a non-profit organization.
  • Demonstrated strong, long-range strategic planning and implementation skills.
  • Proven track record of success in developing and implementing high-level programs, cultivating and maintaining donor, board and community relationships.
  • Demonstrated experience with managing budgets and evaluating financial statements. Strong commitment to fiscal responsibility.
  • Demonstrated experience in generating revenue from multiple sources including philanthropic sources.
  • Project management skills and commitment to leading process improvements.
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills with the ability to represent AASHE in a wide variety of forums; ability to be the strong “face” of the organization and a compelling public speaker.
  • Direct supervisory experience of a team. Strong experience developing, managing and mentoring a diverse staff.
  • Marketing experience.
  • Flexibility to work extended hours and travel as needed.
  • Background in sustainability research and/or practice in higher education.
  • Negotiation and conflict management skills.


  • Advanced degree in related field
  • Non-profit management experience.
  • Sustainability program management experience.
  • Experience managing programs in higher education setting
  • Membership association management experience.

Note: A more complete job description will be made available to candidates invited to interview.

Salary Range: Salary will be negotiated based on skills and experience.

Application Process:

  • Submit application and a letter of interest with resume or CV to AASHE’s applicant tracking system. Review of applications will begin September 27, 2013. For questions about applications after that date, email
  • New ED to start in January 2014.

Contact Information:

Questions can be sent to Ruth Johnston, Search Committee Chair, Associate Vice President, University of Washington, Email is preferred. If a call is preferred, contact Katya Lobanova,, to schedule. Please do not submit applications to this address.

AASHE is committed to providing equal employment opportunity and to achieving an inclusive, diverse workplace that values each individual. Members of under-represented groups are encouraged to apply. As an equal opportunity employer, AASHE does not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment based upon race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious beliefs, gender, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, U.S. veteran status, or any other protected classifications, activities, or conditions as required by federal, state and local laws.

AASHE conducts pre-employment screening on all candidates. AASHE in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) use an electronic system called E-Verify to assist employers further in verifying the employment eligibility of all newly-hired employees.

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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