Executive Director; Coastal States Organization

Job Title: 
Executive Director
Job Location: 
Washington, DC
Full-time permanent
$110,000 - $125,000/year
Application Deadline: 
Monday, September 21, 2020

The Coastal States Organization (CSO) is seeking an Executive Director. CSO is a small, 501(c) 4 nonprofit organization founded in 1970. CSO represents the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes states, commonwealths, and territories on legislative, regulatory, policy, and program matters related to the conservation, development, and management of coastal and ocean resources. CSO’s Governor appointed delegates serve as the membership that work with organization staff to achieve consensus positions on long-rooted and emerging national coastal and ocean policy matters. This year, CSO celebrates its 50th anniversary. To learn more about CSO and its work, visit www.coastalstates.org.

POSITION OVERVIEW The Executive Director is responsible for advancing CSO’s mission by promoting shared state interests on coastal and ocean issues with Congress, the administration, and a wide range of regional and national, public and private entities. This exciting position requires a passionate and dynamic leader eager to move the needle on national coastal and ocean policy matters on a range of levels. This position is based in Washington, DC, manages a small office of professional staff and contractors, and assures the sound fiscal management of CSO. The Executive Director reports to the Executive Committee, comprised of delegates appointed by the Governors of the nation’s coastal states, commonwealths, and territories.


o Dynamic leadership

o Strategic vision

o Exemplary interpersonal and written communication

o Policymaking and coalition building experience o Demonstrated fundraising and partnership development

o Vibrant public speaking and steadfast composure

o Passion for the CSO mission and coastal management issues


Federal Outreach and Communication

 Represent the interests of the Governor appointed delegates of coastal states and territories before Congress, federal agencies, and other entities needed to support federal policy goals and objectives and advance mission.

 Build champions and conduct outreach and education on behalf of the coastal states before Congress in support of federal appropriation priorities and legislation such as the Coastal Zone Management Act, Water Resources Development Act, and issues such as regional ocean governance, climate change, coastal hazards, public access, OCS revenue sharing, hazard mitigation, and other areas of coastal and ocean policy.

 Build coalitions and develop networks of relevant and strategic individuals and organizations to advance major state coastal and ocean policy initiatives at the national, regional, state, and local levels that can support mutually beneficial or CSO specific goals.

 Establish sound working relationships with federal agencies, coastal and ocean partners, and other entities.

 Harness communication mediums and strategies to educate relevant parties and as appropriate, the general public, to achieve and advance the mission of CSO.

 Dynamic and Strategic Leadership

 Engaging and persuasive public speaking to a range of audiences, large and small, including governmental, non-governmental, academic, and other audiences at conferences, hearings, and more.

 Creative, proactive, and strategic performer that works to find constructive approaches and solutions to organization needs and goals.

 Ability to maintain and forge new and enduring strategic partnerships across a range of like-minded and, even traditionally not like-minded entities.

 Serve as leader in the field, have finger on the pulse of, and be a part of, significant national developments.

Member Engagement

 Assist the states in developing and articulating consensus-based policy positions.

 Support technical and professional exchange of information among coastal states.

 Work closely with members to determine when work groups are needed to address emerging policy issues, develop tangible goals for the work groups that advance CSO’s mission, and ensure membership active participation in the work groups.

 Identify leadership opportunities for state representatives (at federal, regional, other levels) and promote active and broad participation of state representatives in all areas of CSO’s work.

Office Operations, Staff Management, and Human Resources

 Maintain a professional and supportive office and staff environment, which attracts, retains, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality employees.

 Encourage staff development and education, and assist program staff in relating their specialized work to achieve CSO’s goals. Budget and Financial Management

 Develop and maintain sound financial practices, grants management procedures, official records and documents, and compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

 Ensure staff payroll, benefits, and related items are appropriately administered.

Contractual, Legal, and Financial Management and Negotiation

 Draft, negotiate, review, and edit proposed contracts with explanation of legal concerns for a wide range of partners, contractors, and funders, including government and non-government entities, private foundations, academia, independent contractors, and other scientific, for profit, and nonprofit entities.

 Fundraising and program building capacity to support organizational operations and advancement.



 Leadership and management experience

 Hill experience or significant proven success on federal legislation

 Experience working for or with federal agencies  Knowledge of issues (coastal management, natural resource, CZMA, other relevant federal policy

 Experience with drafting, negotiating, and managing contracts

 Level of charisma and engaging qualities

 Impactful public speaking and a high degree of composure in a range of settings

Highly Preferred

 Knowledge of issues and experience working with relevant partners and entities in the field

  Experience working for or with state government, particularly coastal management or natural resources agency

 A Juris Doctor degree from an accredited school of law, OR postgraduate degree from an accredited University or College in an area related to natural resource management, coastal or ocean policy, nonprofit management, finance, planning, or science

Other Qualifications and Skills

 Demonstrated ability to be an organizational leader, reflecting the interests of a diverse membership and constituency groups, developing consensus, and establishing clear direction

 Excellent communications and interpersonal skills, including both written and oral

 Experience and knowledge in congressional and federal agency affairs, and ability to interact effectively with high-level officials on important national issues

 Strong writing, analytical, and problem‐solving skills

 Knowledge of principles and practices of organization, planning, basic accounting, records management, and general administration

 Experience developing and managing organizational budgets and ensuring all required financial and reporting documents are timely submitted

 Experience in raising funds; meeting planning, and grants management

 Effective personnel management and motivation style compatible with small office environment.

 Enthusiasm for the CSO mission and energy and commitment to achieving the strategic goals of the Organization and/or a passionate interest in public policy and responsible resource development, protection, and management


$110,000 – 125,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience. Excellent benefits package includes health, dental, disability, and retirement.

TO APPLY Submit cover letter, including short statement of interest and relevant experience, and resume by COB September 21, 2020. Electronic applications strongly preferred. To ensure proper receipt, please submit materials with “Executive Director Application” in the subject line to: jobs [at] coastalstates.org. Or, if you wish to mail materials, please notify jobs [at] coastalstates.org for further instructions. Coastal States Organization is an equal opportunity employer. Coastal States Organization provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability or genetic information. In addition to federal law requirements, CSO complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination. Moreover, CSO seeks and encourages diverse candidates for this, and all positions. Applications will be accepted until COB on September 21, 2020. 

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