Location United States of America
Job-type Permanent
Salary US$190,000 - $210,000 Per Annum + 100% Health/Vision/Dental
Reference 14698

The Executive Director works collaboratively to lead USDN in pursuit of its long term vision that governments are leading the way to a sustainable and equitable low-carbon future.

The Executive Director will play a leading role in shaping and supporting local government climate and sustainability work across the U.S. and Canada as the field undergoes rapid change creating exciting new opportunities and complex new challenges.

The Executive Director will lead a large, highly engaged member network to accelerate urban sustainability in U.S. and Canadian communities.

The Executive Director will lead an exceptionally talented team of staff while ensuring that USDN's fiscal, operating, fundraising, communications, human resource, technology, and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented across the organization.

Who We Are

USDN is a highly engaged member-driven network that serves as the leading space for local government climate and sustainability practitioners to widen and deepen their practice and impact across the U.S. and Canada. USDN supports its members through strategic cross-sectoral partnerships, peer-to-peer learning activities, access to targeted funding opportunities and field-leading innovative projects.

USDN also serves as a host and fiscal agent for other related organizations including: the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Green Cities California, Urban Drawdown Initiative and the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network. These partnerships provide built in opportunities for the Executive Director to gain a wider perspective of changes in the field.

USDN has a close-knit culture that places a high priority on member-advised decision-making, open communication, and active collaboration among USDN staff and stakeholders. The Executive Director advances this culture in all professional duties and activities.

Responsibilities - What You Offer Us

Leadership & Strategy

  • Collaborate with the Board, the Planning and Advisory Committee (PAC), and USDN members to implement (as well as refine and update) the strategic plan in alignment with USDN's core mission.

  • Provide inspirational leadership and direction to the network and ensure the continued development and management of a professional and strategicorganization.

  • Establish effective decision-making and operational processes that will enable USDN to achieve its long- and short-term goals and objectives.

  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board and PAC, and ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.

  • Cultivate a strong relationship with a highly engaged Board that is diverse and inclusive.


  • Maintain, develop and grow robust relationships with current and new funders and partners ensuring USDN keeps pace with the changing funding landscape.

  • Oversee development and allocation of resources and funding sufficient to ensure USDN's fiscal health based on the present needs and future commitments

  • Ensure there is funding for USDN to make continuous progress toward the achievement of its mission.

  • Formulate and execute comprehensive development strategies that will ensure deep and robust relationships with funders to ensure their long-term commitment to and understanding of the value of USDN.


  • Personal and professional commitment to USDN's Equity Principles and Commitments and understanding of USDN's broad range of equity programs and initiatives.

  • The Executive Director will be expected to be a leading voice within the network on the vision of creating a local government climate and sustainability field that prioritizes equity in principle and action.

  • Advance USDN initiatives that strengthen organizational equity programming and deepen staff commitment to equity principles.

  • Successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team and supporting an inclusive work environment.

  • Support member-driven equity activities and identify strategic opportunities to advance the work through funding, partner and field level opportunities.

Infrastructure and Operations

  • Supervise and collaborate with staff Team Leads from across the organization to ensure the organization remains responsive to member needs and its strategic objectives.

  • Ensure the delivery of high-quality member services that encourage member engagement while managing for current and future growth.

  • Foster a supportive, caring, and thriving staff culture that promotes connectedness, capacity building, and creativity that empowers staff and Team Leads to meet members needs and organizational values.

  • Facilitate cross-staff collaboration and strengthen internal communications with employees throughout the organization.

  • In partnership with the CFO, oversee the financial status of the organization including developing long- and short-range financial plans.

    • Develop and monitor the budget

    • Ensure sound financial controls are in place

    • Set financial priorities to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs of members, programs, and staff.

  • Support and model continuous improvement.

  • Support strategic adaptability to changing contexts through clear communication and organizational change management strategies.

Member Services and Program Development

  • Ensure USDN programs facilitate a high level of member peer learning, collaboration and leadership to address common problems and develop innovative solutions.

  • Ensure USDN programs follow a coordinated programmatic strategy that gives clear direction and alignment of activities with goals.

  • Continually improve and increase the effectiveness of member programs and services, consistent with USDN goals.

  • Increase efficiencies and consistency throughout the organization by (where applicable) developing and implementing standardized structures, services, and communications.

Partner, Community, and Field Relations

  • Establish strategic working relationships with USDN hosted projects; ensure the Board and PAC is updated on all hosted projects' progress.

  • Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with key programmatic partner organizations.

  • Represent the programs and point of view of the organization to stakeholders, organizations, and the field at large.

Qualifications - What We Are Asking For

Education & Experience

  • Minimum of a Bachelor's Degree or equivalent experience.

  • Diversity of experience in a variety of institutional settings (non-profit, government, higher education, corporate, etc.).

  • Experience managing a remote or multisite organization is preferred.

  • Competency in field leadership and capacity building across an organization.

  • Demonstrated fundraising experience.

Preferred Knowledge

  • Social-impact networks, network building, and network structures.

  • Facilitation, mediation, problem-solving, and negotiation techniques and processes.

  • Climate change policy, action, and planning along with associated areas including sustainability and resilience.

  • Local government structures, functions, and policy levers.

  • Racial equity theory and practice in a personal, organizational and governmental context

  • Applying systems thinking approaches to complex problems.

  • Management of high-functioning teams, team building, and familiarity with a variety of leadership structures.

  • Experience in change management, identifying systemic change opportunities, and managing and growing a rapidly evolving organization.

Preferred Skills

  • High emotional intelligence, cultural competency, with the humility and perspective of a lifelong learner.

  • A financially savvy and politically astute leader with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems.

  • Keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills, which support and enable sound decision making.

  • Excellent relationship building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external partners; able to achieve consensus among differing opinions.

  • Outstanding presentation and communication skills and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson, relationship builder, and fundraiser.

  • Strong commitment to the professional and personal development of staff.

  • Board development, change management, and fiscal management experience preferred.

  • Experience building and growing high performing teams and organizations.

What We Offer You

Position Details

  • Status: Full Time

  • Location: Remote, located in the U.S.A

  • Salary: Range from $190,000 - $210,000 based upon experience


  • 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance for staff and dependents

  • 401(k); USDN will contribute a 3% Safe Harbor contribution

  • Flexible Leave/Unlimited PTO

  • Support from a coach

USDN's Commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity

Studies have shown that women, people of color, and other under-represented groups are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they are able to perform every task in the job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. USDN will consider any equivalent combination of knowledge, skills, education and experience to meet minimum qualifications. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and skill set for the role.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Equal Employment Opportunity at USDN: USDN affirms that inequality is detrimental to our staff, members, and the communities we serve. Our goal is to impact lasting change through our actions. Together, we unite for equality and equity. USDN is committed to equal employment opportunities regardless of any protected characteristic, including race, color, genetic information, creed, national origin, religion, sex, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, lawful alien status, ancestry, age, marital status, or protected veteran status and will not discriminate against anyone on the basis of a disability. We support an inclusive workplace where our team excels based on personal merit, qualifications, experience, ability, and job performance. The more inclusive we are, the better our work will be.

To learn more, please immediately contact:

Deborah Dols, Acre, Principal Consultant | deborah.dols@acre.com

Richard Kent, Sr. Research Consultant | richard.kent@acre.com

Acre is retained as an executive search partner to recruit for this role with USDN. Acre is a sustainability specialist search firm, focused on securing the world's best sustainability leaders and their teams for mission driven organizations from our offices in New York, London and Amsterdam.