Executive Director; Friends of the San Juans

Job Title: 
Executive Director
Job Location: 
Friday Harbor, WA
Full Time
Commensurate with qualifications and experience and will be comparable with similar nonprofits
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Application Information: 

The Friends of the San Juans, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, is seeking a new Executive Director.

About the Friends of the San Juans

The mission of the Friends of the San Juans (“FSJ”) is to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea for people and nature. Accordingly, FSJ’s programs foster wild and healthy shorelines; promote thriving and sustainable communities; conserve forests, farmlands, freshwater, and prairie habitat; and ensure the health of the marine ecosystem. FSJ works both locally and throughout the Salish Sea region with US and Canadian partners.

FSJ was founded in 1979 and is based in the town of Friday Harbor, Washington. Our annual budget approaches $1 million. FSJ is supported by private donations, innovative public-private partnerships, state and federal grants, and volunteers. Please refer to the FSJ website at sanjuans.org for more information.

The Position

The successful applicant will be knowledgeable about the environmental issues facing our region and have demonstrable capabilities to lead scientific, legal, and public policy campaigns to address those issues in a posture of advocacy. They will also have experience in fundraising, community and public relations, partnerships, and nonprofit management. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader working with FSJ’s eight professional staff and be comfortable as the public face of FSJ in the community. FSJ fosters relationships and collaborations with members, partner organizations, government decision-makers, First Nations, and Tribes.

The Executive Director will be required to reside in the San Juan Islands and work in the FSJ office in Friday Harbor. Salary for this full-time position will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and will be comparable with similar nonprofits. Health benefits, sick leave, vacation, and a retirement program are part of the compensation package. The starting date is negotiable but anticipated to be late summer or early fall of 2020.

Why you would love this job

You will make a positive impact in the San Juan Islands community and the Salish Sea region. You will work on significant issues affecting marine and terrestrial life, land-use, and communities. You will feel secure knowing that your organization has a science-oriented approach that obtains results. You will work with talented staff and a passionate involved Board of Directors, and you will enjoy enthusiastic support from our members and the community. 

For those new to the islands, life in rural San Juan County may require adapting to a seasonal tourist-based economy, a relatively thin job market, and the quirky service of the Washington State ferries. In return, you will enjoy the community’s friendliness, island tranquility, incredible natural habitats and outdoor recreation opportunities.


The ideal candidate will have the following knowledge, skills, and experience:

●      REQUIRED: A master’s degree (or a bachelor’s degree with five years of equivalent relevant experience) in marine affairs, environmental science, planning, public policy, or a related field;

●      At least five years relevant experience in senior management of a nonprofit organization of similar size, preferably with an environmental/conservation focus;

●      Proven ability to be a visionary and to develop and implement strategic plans, prioritize workloads, and supervise professional employees as a team;

●      Experience as a leader of environmental campaigns;

●      Successful fundraising skills including grant procurement, government appropriations, endowment or capital campaigns, planned giving, individual donor development, and corporate sponsorships;

●      Sound financial management acumen and demonstrated knowledge of nonprofit accounting protocols including the ability to monitor income and expenditures and ensure that the organization maintains a financially strong foundation;

●      Experience working collaboratively with a Board of Directors and volunteers;

●      A track record of working effectively within and across a variety of governmental, tribal, business, and nonprofit structures;

●      Excellent oral and written communications skills, including the ability to communicate with tact and diplomacy; and

●      Solid analytical skills with a reliance on data when making key decisions.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted through June 11 or until the position is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Please send a resume and a cover letter that describes why you are excited about this position and how you are uniquely qualified to fill it to hiring [at] sanjuans.org ().

Your application materials must be combined into a single Adobe PDF file. Please name this file and the subject of your email with your last name so that it reads: “your last name-ED Application.” References and writing/communication samples will be requested from the finalists. Please email questions about the application process to hiring [at] sanjuans.org ().

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still hoping to have in-person interviews in July. Nonetheless, if necessary, we will take precautionary measures including, but not limited to, replacing in-person meetings with virtual meetings. Health and safety are extremely important to us and we encourage any questions or concerns on this topic.

FSJ endeavors to provide equal opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants for employment. All aspects of employment will be governed on the basis of qualifications, merit, and competence, and will not be influenced by race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or any other basis prohibited by law.

Please note that all jobs are automatically removed once the application deadline passes. Jobs without a deadline are automatically removed after 30 days.