The BirdNote Board of Directors seeks an Executive Director. The Executive Director is the chief staff position for BirdNote, providing leadership to staff, contractors, and volunteers in the development of content, fundraising and overall strategy to fulfill the organization’s mission. Working closely with the BirdNote Board of Directors, the Executive Director manages the organization’s annual budget, financial plans, and organizational policies. The Executive Director manages the day-to-day business operations of BirdNote including hiring and supervision of personnel, and works collaboratively with the officers and directors of the board to ensure there is effective governance, policy development, financial oversight and ongoing board development.

The Executive Director works closely with:

  • The board president and officers - to build and maintain an active and engaged board of directors
  • The development team - to implement and support fundraising efforts towards meeting the organization’s financial goals and future sustainability
  • The production team - to oversee production, marketing, and distribution of content. 

The person filling this position brings passion for BirdNote programming along with enthusiasm for the growth and success of the organization.  Working in concert with a national board of directors, virtual staff, contractors and volunteers, the Executive Director ensures that progress is achieved towards BirdNote’s goals in the current strategic plan (and with the new Executive Director, we look forward to creating a new plan in the near future).

Our Mission

Birds connect us with the joy and wonder of nature. By telling vivid, sound-rich stories about birds and the challenges they face, BirdNote inspires listeners to care about the natural world — and take steps to protect it.

Our Vision

As listeners tune in to the lives of birds, their connection with nature deepens. They become champions for conservation and stewards of places important to birds and people.

Together, the staff and Board of BirdNote has developed a profile of the ideal next leader of the organization. We will consider candidates who most clearly possess and have a track record of success with the following attributes and skills:


Highly developed public and private interpersonal skills, including:

  • Being a skillful listener who powerfully grasps meaning and reflects it back to the speaker;
  • Enjoys/is comfortable being in a public situation and being “the face” of the organization;
  • Is an organized thinker, effective writer and speaker;
  • Is personable, inspiring and respectful;
  • Is an articulate, effective spokesperson for BirdNote and its mission.


Excited about building resources for BirdNote. Effective fundraiser with demonstrated track record, knowledgeable of and expert at the Executive Director role in fundraising and resource development, who is:

  • Strong as mission spokesperson and in relationship management aspects of fundraising (both individual and institutional);
  • Is comfortable with asking for money for BirdNote;
  • Able to continue to develop BirdNote organizational (Staff and Board) fundraising capacity.
  • Is creative and capable at conceiving and developing alternative revenue streams.

Mission Orientation:

Our next Executive Director will understand and be highly committed to BirdNote’s mission and:

  • Lives the mission and creates and maintains our workplace in line with our organizational values;
  • Has proven ability to articulate and explain organizational mission to staff as well as external stakeholders and the public at large, stand behind it, and interpret its applications for others.
  • Frequently refers to the mission and incorporates it into daily activities.


Our most important asset is the trust our staff and listeners/consumers have in our work and in BirdNote as an institution. The BirdNote Executive Director will:

  • Have clear, high personal standards;
  • Be both trustworthy and know when and how to be trusting;
  • Be transparent;
  • Be an honest, sincere, courageous, ethical person of substance, with a strong awareness and sense of self; and
  • Demonstrate a record of being able to identify, confront, analyze and resolve ethically ambiguous issues and potential or real conflicts of interest, both for (her or him) self and others in the organization.


We seek a powerful leader who collaboratively builds and compellingly communicates a vision for BirdNote, including in the power of storytelling, conservation and the importance of birds. An energetic, externally focused individual with a high level of emotional intelligence, who will help BirdNote become an even more significant institution, that remains financially healthy and increases its service to our mission, and:

  • Has great people skills, including being able to flex style, comfortable and effective at engaging a wide range of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and outlook – from a single member to high-end donors;
  • Has an open style, but is also an effective decision-maker and change agent;
  • Is adaptable, accessible and enthusiastic;
  • Is not risk averse;
  • Provides direction and accountability for individual staff and organizational results, including clearly communicating strategy, goals and expectations.


Displays ability to project BirdNote’s needs out into the long-term future; sees and understands future trends in media, in conservation, in related fields and the world as well as the impact on BirdNote’s operations and:

  • Is an inclusive, big picture person with an orientation toward the future;
  • Has a vision specifically for BirdNote’s organizational future, including how to continue to transform our structure and offerings in response to digital;
  • Develops vision with input from stakeholders and across the organization, and able to enroll others in working together to execute the resulting vision;
  • Balances vision with doing.

Industry Knowledge (media, Internet, podcasting, etc.):

Knowledge of and experience with media, trends in technology and consumption of media, including:

  • A high level of understanding of dynamics, issues and trends in media and conservation, and ability to lead BirdNote in these areas;
  • Is technologically competent, comfortable with/aware of digital and social media, able to keep us abreast of and current with multiple platforms.

Strategic focus:

Powerful understanding of and use of strategy in organizational life:

  • Knowledgeable of dynamics affecting current and future environment of BirdNote (especially the volatile media environment) and effective at maximizing the organization in response to these dynamics;
  • Highly developed skill at prioritizing, and accomplished at sequencing change;
  • Has understanding and makes use of networking with and benchmarking other organizations to increase BirdNote effectiveness;
  • Able to continuously develop, execute and evaluate strategic plans, in concert with other stakeholders, and to champion strategic perspectives.

Diversity/ Equity/ Inclusion:

Clear commitment to and proven record growing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace and in audiences and communities we serve, as well as:

  • high level expertise in best practices in DEI.
  • Cultural fluency, awareness and empathy – respect for values, treating people as individuals and using different perspectives, and with experience in other cultures;
  • Expert at diversity-focused hiring practices, from position announcements to recruiting and interviewing;
  • Lifelong learner – adapting to context, openness, curiosity, tolerance for ambiguity.


Highly energetic person who is inspired by the direction and public service mission of BirdNote and:

  • Has authentic enthusiasm for and commitment to the heritage and future of BirdNote, and for developing and deploying new and innovative service delivery mechanisms;
  • Communicates passion in a way that engages others and generates action by staff, the Board and the community, including potential funders.

Duties and Responsibilities


Optimize production and distribution of BirdNote content, from the daily show, to extended podcasts and videos to reach and inspire a broader and more diverse audience to care about birds and conservation. The Executive Director sees that the organization’s staffing and resources align with the needs of expanded digital capacity for new content, distribution, and marketing to reach new audiences.


The Executive Director sees that the organization’s staffing and resources align with the need to increase the number of stations broadcasting BirdNote, especially in major markets, and deepen the engagement of stations and their producers by offering new content, assets, and opportunities to collaborate in order to reach a broader, more diverse audience.


The Executive Director works hand-in-hand with BirdNote’s Director of Development to establish a broad base of sustainable funding, and enables BirdNote to operate at a budget approved by the board through: cultivation of new and existing donors, stewardship to donors, foundation grants, corporate gifts, matching funds, listener engagement, sales revenue from branded books, notecards, and calendars, earned revenue through sponsored trips, and donor events, all while ensuring sound business practices and adhering to established ethics of fundraising. 

Board Relations/Board Development:

Working with the board president, help to ensure that each director is knowledgeable about their roles and responsibilities and can contribute in meaningful ways. Inform directors on the condition of the organization and the important factors influencing operations. Support board development through opportunities for training and education.

Management and Finance:

Maintain an effective management team and plan for change and transition. Create an organizational climate that attracts, keeps and motivates a diverse staff of top-quality people, with opportunities for education and professional development. Ensure sound business and financial practices.


The salary for this position will be between $90k and $115k and negotiated depending on qualifications.

To Apply

BirdNote is being assisted in this search by Livingston Associates.

As part of your application process, you are asked to submit a resume and a letter of introduction including your vision for the future of public media and how you will be the ideal person to lead BirdNote in achieving that vision. These documents should be uploaded when you apply.

Date for full consideration: July 18th, 2021

Inquiries are welcome with Livingston Associates at (410) 243-1974.



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