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Executive Director

The Opportunity | NC Coastal Land Trust

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (NCCLT) seeks a dynamic, visionary leader to serve as its next Executive Director, succeeding founder and current Executive Director, Camilla Herlevich.

The Area Served| Coastal North Carolina

The coastal plain of North Carolina is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, featuring barrier islands; lands along rivers, creeks and sounds; forests; natural areas of great beauty and abundant plant life; and conservation corridors where wildlife live, feed, and roam. Protected conservation lands include a National Seashore, a National Forest, state parks, and game lands, local parks and trails, and private reserves. Here, too, lands of considerable conservation significance remain privately held, their future as yet undetermined.

Cities and towns dot a primarily rural landscape in which hunting, fishing, farming, and forestry have long been part of the fabric of life, even as communities swell with an influx of retirees, growing student populations, and new businesses. Many top industries in eastern North Carolina including agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and the military, depend on healthy land and water.

The history of eastern North Carolina is one in which indigenous people were removed from the land, and where Africans were enslaved on antebellum work farms. This history has had repercussions on present-day patterns of land ownership and access to nature and remains an unaddressed issue.

Communities both inland and at the coast are beginning to feel the impacts of climate change, such as increased intensity and frequency of storms and flooding, and naturalists are documenting its effects on plants, animals, and ecosystems. Resilience is a new watchword for our region.

The Organization | North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (NCCLT)

The Coastal Land Trust is a high-performing, accredited, regional land trust with a reputation for excellence.  Established in 1992, it serves the coastal plain of North Carolina. Its assets include:

  • A portfolio of 12,000 acres of conservation lands under management including a nature preserve open to the public at Ocracoke Island. An additional 36,000 acres of lands under conservation easements. A total of 80,000 acres protected since 1992.
  • A diverse, engaged, and energetic 18-member board of directors comprised of leaders in law, biology, finance, philanthropy, business, management, and education.
  • Talented, experienced, and dedicated staff team of 13 who share a passion for nature and work from offices in Wilmington, New Bern, and Elizabeth City.
  • \Data-driven, science-based, strategic decision-making illustrated most dramatically in the adoption of a Top 40 list of priority conservation projects.
  • A commitment to collaboration with a wide array of partners including the military, timber investment companies, federal and state parks, wildlife agencies, local governments, and community groups.
  • Endowments in excess of $2.7 million and a $2 million Revolving Loan Fund. An operating budget of $1.5 million. 
  • A donor base of more than 1,000 households and businesses located throughout the coastal plain and piedmont regions of North Carolina and beyond; long-standing relationships with leading foundations and with state and federal grant making agencies.
  • A $36 million capital campaign nearing completion with $27 million raised or pledged.
  • An effective, multi-channel program of outreach and communications via website, social media, newsletters, emails, and earned media; a brand book and a marketing plan; popular, profitable, and established outreach events.

For more information on NCCLT, visit

Strategic Objectives and Near-Term Priorities

The goals of the strategic plan adopted in 2015 and updated in 2019 continue to guide the organization:

  1. By 2025, save and protect 75% of the highest priority sites at greatest risk within our 31–county geographic service area.
  2. Ensure that the NC Coastal Land Trust has the capacity for current and future needs for operations, stewardship, and protection of priority lands.
  3. Convey the urgent need to protect North Carolina’s unique coastal ecosystem; and that the NC Coastal Land Trust, with its unique talent, expertise, connections, and resources, has a crucial role to play in addressing this need.
  4. Forge connections with communities to further common goals, increase relevance, and foster appreciation of land conservation.

Near-term priorities:

  • In a time of declining public investments in conservation, raise private capital for land acquisition.
  • Increase the breadth and depth of the organization's major donor program, plan for subsequent phases of the capital campaign, and elevate the planned giving program.
  • In a region where race and class have historically conditioned or limited access to land and recreational resources, find opportunities to make conservation inclusive for all.
  • Find ways to be relevant to Millennials, Gen X, and cohorts beyond Baby Boomers.
  • Focus on greater organizational efficiencies in areas of land management, financial management, and new technology.
  • Explore earned revenue and other sustainable funding sources.

The new leader will work with board and staff to engage in a strategic planning process to develop a new 3- to 5-year strategic plan to address these and other near and longer-term priorities.

The Position | Executive Director

The NC Coastal Land Trust is on solid footing as an organization and is poised for the next executive leader. This readiness has been built through the planning and successful implementation of an ambitious capital campaign and through a thoughtful succession and strategic planning process completed over the last few years, which has included both board and staff, in partnership with consulting firms specializing in these areas.

The Executive Director is responsible for advancing the Coastal Land Trust's mission to protect priority natural, scenic, and/or historic areas in the coastal plain of North Carolina. The Executive Director is responsible for the programmatic, fiduciary, and administrative management of the corporation consistent with the policies of the Board of Directors, and for the day-to-day activities including fundraising, protection, land management, finance, outreach, and public relations. The Executive Director ensures continuance of accreditation and of sound and ethical business practices, and represents the organization with other conservation agencies, landowners, donors, and the public.

This individual is entering the life of the Land Trust at a time of significant transition and great opportunity (as the founder retires). The successful candidate will exhibit a strategic and visionary mindset: curiosity, energy and drive, outstanding communication and fundraising skills, enthusiasm, perseverance, and diplomacy.

Key Responsibilities

The Executive Director is the leader of the Coastal Land Trust and oversees its day-to-day affairs. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Provide visionary and strategic leadership and translate that vision into measurable strategies and concrete actions that advance the mission.
  • Serve as the primary fundraiser; lead staff and volunteer fundraising efforts with the goal of growing the donor base and achieving higher levels of support for operations, endowments, land acquisition, and other programs from individuals, businesses, foundations, and public agencies. 
  • Empower and support the Board of Directors and its committees, collaborating to fully utilize board member strengths and influence.
  • Ensure that appropriate land conservation, stewardship, and outreach programs and services are provided that are consistent with priority needs and organization mission.
  • Oversee budgeting and finances; ensure fiscal responsibility, integrity, and security in accordance with federal, state, and regulatory standards.
  • Oversee the operations of the organization and manage the leadership team responsible for the day-to-day operations.
  • Develop, augment, and expand key relationships with stakeholders, supporters (current and prospective), and partner organizations.
  • Nurture a corporate culture of teamwork, continual learning, collaborative decision-making, and commitment to best practices, as exemplified by continuation of accreditation. 
  • Ensure a safe, healthy workplace where employees, contractors, interns, and volunteers thrive.
  • Strengthen efforts leading to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization.
  • Participate in professional activities in community, state, and national associations.

Skills and Attributes

Qualified candidates must possess an undergraduate degree (graduate degree preferred), demonstrate a record of accomplishment in their chosen field, and bring a variety of experiences and attributes to the organization, including:

Skills and Experience

  • At least five years of progressively increasing senior organization leadership experience, preferably in the nonprofit sector.
  • Effective leadership, presenting the ability to set direction, gain alignment, and secure commitment of staff, board, donors, and key stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated interest in or commitment to conservation, the outdoors, or the environment.
  • Management experience and an inclusive management style that encourages staff to perform at their best and provides opportunities for professional development.
  • Strong business acumen and a high level of financial proficiency.
  • Comfort with and success in all aspects of fundraising and philanthropy – including individual, foundation, and corporate giving, as well as special events (capital campaign and planned giving experience a plus).
  • Masterful communication and listening skills; compelling presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Track record of building and sustaining strong relationships with internal (staff and Board) and external stakeholders, donors, and community leaders.
  • Natural propensity toward strategically developing and growing an organization (versus sustaining), with a demonstrated track record of growth.
  • Political savvy navigating complex public and private sector relationships and dynamics to achieve results.
  • Understanding of image building, marketing, and external relations.
  • Ability to recognize trends in the conservation and related sectors and to keep the organization responsive to new ideas and opportunities.

We seek a leader who possesses the following:

  • Love for land and nature, a respect for its meaning in our lives, and an understanding of its importance to our communities.
  • Familiarity with the state of North Carolina, its geography, institutions, people, and cultures.
  • Deep, knowledge-based understanding of organizational sustainability in the nonprofit, education, or business arena; an ability to evaluate projects and programs in terms of financial viability and mission impact.
  • Intellect that is rigorous, open, and curious, with a temperament to inspire colleagues to new levels of achievement, innovation, and collaboration.
  • Creative, patient, and innovative problem-solving mindset.
  • Enthusiastic and engaging presence with the ability to create and nurture genuine, respectful relationships with colleagues, partners, volunteers, donors, funders, and stakeholders.
  • Presence of professionalism with a spirit of warmth, humility, and sincerity.
  • Appreciation for prior accomplishments and a vision for future possibilities.
  • Drive for building upon the success of the capital campaign and charting the course for its next phases.
  • Willingness to welcome and utilize new technologies.

To Apply - Click Here

NC Coastal Land Trust has retained Capital Development Services to assist with professional recruitment.  Candidate materials must be submitted via email to or online.  Candidates should include a cover letter, a resume, and a list of three references.  Additional inquiries may be directed to Jen Tozier at Capital Development Services, 336-747-0133 x 208.