Job Details

The Wilderness Center - Executive Director

Location:   Northeast Ohio

Salary:   based on experience



  • Are you passionate about experiencing and preserving nature and inspiring conservation throughout the region?
  • Do you enjoy being the face of an organization with community partners, donors, business leaders and volunteers?
  • Can you develop and execute strategy with a talented management team and committed Board of Directors?
  • Are you ready to lead an organization into its next phase of growth and community impact?


The Wilderness Center (TWC) in northeast Ohio is hiring a new Executive Director to report to the Board and lead the organization to fulfill its mission and ensure continued financial health. The Executive Director will lead an experienced management team and a total staff of 18, augmented by a 400-person volunteer network.


ABOUT The Wilderness Center:


The mission of The Wilderness Center is to connect our community with nature, educate people of all ages, conserve natural resources, and practice environmental stewardship.


Based on a 600-acre headquarters property in Wilmot, Ohio, the first professional staff began working in 1965 and in 1974 TWC constructed the Interpretive Building, which was expanded and remodeled in 2000.  TWC boasts 10 miles of hiking trails, an Astronomy Education Building featuring a digital planetarium and observatory, a Native Plant Nursery and a Nature Playscape. TWC is open to the public year-round and admission is free. 

TWC remains relevant and continues to stay ahead of the curve in terms of its involvement in environmental science education and land conservation. Its education department today serves more than 14,300 individuals each year.  Last year TWC held 860 educational programs for all ages and served 110 local schools.

TWC’s conservation department protects approximately 3,200 acres in seven counties, including land held directly and managed through conservation easements.  Starting with a mere 324 acres in 1964, TWC lands now comprise more than 1,400 acres of forest, meadow, and prairie, 500 acres of wetlands and 14 miles of freshwater streams.  TWC operates a revolving land fund to assist other organizations obtain critical parcels of land. In this way, TWC has become an important community collaborator.




The Executive Director will provide leadership and administrative oversight for all strategic and operational aspects of The Wilderness Center and its subsidiaries, Foxfield Preserve and TWC Consulting Forestry—toward successful and sustainable fulfillment of the organization’s Mission. This position serves as the chief executive officer, working with and reporting to the Board of Directors.


Key areas of focus include:


Leadership & Vision

  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors to complete a new strategic plan, and drive the successful execution of that plan
  • Foster effective team work between and among the Board, the Executive Director and staff
  • Oversee the efficient and effective day-to-day operation of the organization
  • Provide visionary leadership to keep TWC at the forefront of environmental education and conservation trends and programs


Program Planning & Management

  • Oversee the creation, implementation and evaluation of the organization’s programs and services
  • Ensure that the programs and services offered by the organization contribute to the organization’s mission and reflect the priorities of the Board
  • Cultivate a culture of innovation to maintain and enhance TWC’s leadership position in the fields of nature education and conservation science


Financial Stewardship and Fundraising

  • Work with staff and the Board Finance Committee to prepare a comprehensive annual budget
  • Manage the budget and business operations to maintain the financial integrity and health of the organization, ensuring accurate, timely and transparent reporting
  • Identify and evaluate the risks to the organization’s people (clients, staff, management, volunteers) property, finances, goodwill, and image and implement measures to control risks
  • Take a leadership role in the development and execution of a robust fundraising plan, including an annual campaign, major gifts, special events, grants, sponsorships, and other sources of funds
  • Gain the support of the Board and other key stakeholders to ensure success of fundraising initiatives


Community Engagement

  • Engage with community organizations, colleges, universities, chambers of commerce, and other constituents in the four-county region to enhance TWC’s profile and increase participation in programs and services
  • Work with staff to develop and implement a strategic marketing plan to increase TWC’s visibility and fuel growth in visitors, membership, sponsorship, and overall engagement


Team Management


  • Determine staffing requirements for the organization to ensure effective program delivery
  • Establish a positive, healthy and safe work environment for all staff and volunteers
  • Recruit, interview and select staff that have the right technical and personal abilities to help further the organization’s mission
  • Coach and mentor staff to achieve performance objectives and provide professional growth and development opportunities




  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of The Wilderness Center and a passion for the environment and conservation.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Education, Non-profit Management, Environmental Studies, or related field is preferred.  Master’s degree in science, education, business or communications a plus.
  • Strong business acumen, with overall management and P&L responsibility for a non-profit agency or business entity
  • Meaningful fundraising success for a non-profit organization
  • Experienced and comfortable with being the face of an organization with community agencies, donors, and a variety of stakeholders to increase awareness and establish new partnerships
  • Track record of developing creative marketing initiatives to increase awareness and visitor traffic
  • Proven ability to build, mentor and effectively manage a committed and highly competent management team
    • Experience in the fields of environmental education, conservation, and related disciplines preferred.
    • Demonstrated success working with an engaged Board
    • Well-organized with strong communication skills, including the ability to prepare and deliver presentations to diverse community groups.



  • A collaborative relationship-builder
  • Confident, natural leader
  • Visionary with an innovative spirit
  • Strategic
  • Strong commitment to financial performance and reporting rigor
  • A sense of humor
  • Inspires and empowers staff
  • Exceptional communicator, listener and learner
  • Willing and eager to be hands-on when the need arises



  • Lead a financially sound organization positioned for growth and expanded community impact.
  • Work with an experienced, passionate management team and staff.
  • Collaborate with an engaged and supportive Board.
  • Live in an affordable, low-stress, culturally-rich community
  • Enjoy coming to work every day in an inspiring setting!


Learn more about The Wilderness Center at  or by visiting our Facebook page ( 


Michele Plessinger, Partner