<< Back

President & CEO

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Nature Conservation, Ecology, GIS
Town/City Newburyport
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Board & Executives
Deadline 30/08/2021
Company Name Koya Partners
Contact Name Libby Cornelssen
Telephone (866) 282-0955
Email dcooke@koyapartners.com
Website Further Details / Applications
Also Listing:

President & CEO
Maine Coast Heritage Trust
Topsham, Maine preferred


About Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) is a leader in Maine’s nationally recognized land conservation movement. Since its early years pioneering the use of conservation easements, MCHT has evolved into a dynamic, multifaceted organization with initiatives ranging from securing coastal access sites, stewarding public preserves, and addressing needs like food security, to protecting marshes for tomorrow, reconnecting coastal rivers, and making the coast more resilient to climate change.

Mission Statement: Maine Coast Heritage Trust conserves and stewards Maine’s coastal lands and islands for their renowned scenic beauty, ecological value, outdoor recreational opportunities, and contribution to community well-being. MCHT provides statewide conservation leadership through its work with land trusts, coastal communities, and other partners.

The 2020-2024 Strategic Plan affirms the organization’s commitment to the ecological health of Maine’s Coast, calls for new emphasis on increasing coastal resilience, highlights the need to enhance community connections to conserved lands, and describes the essential role MCHT plays as the thought leader and advocate for Maine’s land trust community.  

MCHT’s mission and strategic plan are backed by a broad and dynamic donor base that includes community supporters and major philanthropic leaders. In 2019, the organization completed the largest coastal conservation campaign in Maine’s history. More than 7,500 people donated $130 million to keep the coast open, healthy, working, and beautiful. The campaign affirmed MCHT’s strategic priorities and fully funded existing stewardship responsibilities. A $100 million endowment funds a third of the organization’s almost $10 million annual operating budget.

MCHT is a Land Trust Alliance accredited land trust with more than 50 staff working from offices in Southern, Midcoast, and Downeast Maine. This local presence along the length of the coast fosters productive partnerships with landowners, town officials, schools, businesses, and other organizations. MCHT staff play a vital role in supporting the work of Maine’s statewide network of 80+ local land trusts. MCHT’s leadership and planning have built consensus around regional conservation priorities; the organization has the staff capacity, legal and transactional expertise, long-standing partnerships, and creativity to complete 30-40 land transactions annually and to manage almost 40,000 acres – including 148 preserves open to the public.

Through partnerships and collaborations and by broadening the connections between the lands and people of Maine in a manner that is deep and lasting, MCHT strives to establish conserved and sustainable working lands as a vital piece of the ecological, social, cultural, and economic fabric of Maine now and in the future.

The Work

Nighttime satellite images show Maine’s unique position along the Atlantic seaboard: light pollution does not illuminate vast interior forests or dominate the iconic shoreline. Maine’s relatively pristine environment boasts wild coastal islands that provide refuge for seabirds and migratory birds moving along the Atlantic Flyway. Coastal river systems provide local communities with pure water. Intact salt marshes serve as nurseries for fish and shellfish, and undeveloped land is still available so that these marshes can move and adapt as sea level rises.

These resources are increasingly threatened. The Maine coast, already home to three quarters of the state’s citizens, is the fastest developing part of the state. Sea levels are estimated to rise by up to six feet in Maine by the end of the century, taking an unprecedented toll on coastal communities, natural resource-based economies, and native plants and animals. Pressures will further increase as cities to the South become hotter and more seasonal visitors and new residents take refuge in Maine. This reality is unfolding now, with people seeking shelter from the coronavirus pandemic.

To maintain healthy ecosystems and build resiliency in a changing world, conservationists must add to the existing tapestry of coastal conserved lands and restore the connections between the communities and these protected areas. Thanks to the world-renowned beauty and relative accessibility of the Maine coast, MCHT’s achievements here inspire millions of visitors from around the world each year – benefiting the cause of conservation well beyond the state’s 3,478-mile coastline.

MCHT’s current programs and activities aim to:

  • Help people get to the coast 

“Back when I started clamming 45 years ago, there were 15 or so places where clammers could access flats in Brunswick. Now, there are just a few.” — David Toothaker[SH1] 

Maine has the fourth longest coastline in the United States, but many coastal communities do not have permanent access points to reach the ocean. Through efforts like the recently completed Woodward Point preserve, MCHT has been involved with more than 60% of all new coastal access sites established in Maine since 2013. At places like Bailey's Mistake, MCHT is making improvements to secure and enhance coastal access for both commercial fishermen and recreational users. 

  • Respond to the needs of communities

At MCHT’s 148 (and growing!) public preserves, the organization is investing in facilities and programs to facilitate community engagement, increase food security and public health, and address barriers to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Places like Erickson Fields Preserve and Milbridge Commons demonstrate the power of conserved land to benefit all people.

Deep listening informs our management plans and community programs and is guiding our discovery process with Wabanaki representatives to explore mutual goals, potential partnerships, and avenues for deeper engagement with the land conservation community. 

  • Advance conservation interests statewide[SH2] 

“Maine has over 80 land trusts that work incredibly hard to conserve our region’s best lands.  We’re all independent organizations, but MCHT is the umbrella organization that brings us together, helps us learn from each other and from outside experts, and keeps us informed about state and national information.  In addition, their work in the Legislature is critical.  We’re not the biggest or richest state, but with MCHT’s help, we do some of the best conservation in the country.” – Doreen MacGillis, Executive Director, York Land Trust and Chair, Maine Land Trust Network

MCHT is regarded as a land conservation leader among state and national agencies and peers such as Forest Society of Maine, Maine Farmland Trust, The Conservation Fund, and The Nature Conservancy. As the leader and voice of Maine’s land trust community, we coordinate advocacy efforts in Maine and in Washington to strengthen policies and increase public funding for land conservation. Our staff serve on advisory committees responsible for shaping Maine’s conservation future and lead and contribute to statewide initiatives such as First Light and the Nature Based Education Consortium. Through our Land Trust Program we lead the 80-member Maine Land Trust Network with a commitment to support thriving organizations that provide tangible environmental and social benefits to Maine communities.

  • Make the coast more resilient to climate change

The goal of conserving 30% of the planet’s lands and waters by 2030 is a climate crisis strategy that is being amplified at many levels. It is central to the national Conserving and Restoring American the Beautiful report, as well as Maine’s new climate action plan. In collaboration with diverse partners, MCHT works holistically to conserve and restore the land, marshes, islands, and other natural resources that will help make coastal Maine more resilient to climate change. We’re also incorporating 30x30 into a public education strategy aimed at centering land conservation as a climate change solution.


I will never forget the first MCHT preserve my husband and I ever visited. We decided to take a day trip from our vacation in Bar Harbor to Boot Head in Lubec. Stepping out onto the trail was like entering a whole other world. The fog from the ocean hadn’t receded yet and the trees were shrouded in the beautiful cool mist of the morning. We made a loop, visiting the bog first. I saw a species of bird new to me then, the white-throated sparrow, singing from a tree top perch. We continued the loop along the rocky cliffs of the coastline. I had never seen anything so rugged, wild, and beautiful before. It exceeded my expectations. Since then we have tried to visit down-east every year and every time is just as magical as before[SH3] ! – Amber Jones

Maine Coast Heritage Trust began in 1970 to protect what makes the Maine coast unlike any other place in the world: wild islands, pocket beaches, vast spruce-fir forests, traditional trails, tidal marshes, agricultural lands, pristine rivers, local swimming holes, coastal access sites, and a way of life connected to the land and sea. Thanks to visionary founders, generous landowners and individual donors, private foundations, businesses, and municipal, state, and federal programs, the organization’s first fifty years have made a deep and lasting impact on the Maine coast and beyond.

  • Almost 160,000 acres and more than 300 islands conserved. Seven regional project managers work with landowners, towns, and communities to identify and conserve important land on the coast.
  • More than 90 miles of trail and 148 preserves free and open to the public. A team of eight regional land stewards manages MCHT preserves for ecological diversity, scenic beauty, low impact year-round recreation, and other community benefits.
  • A commitment to help other land trusts succeed. MCHT formed and continues to lead the Maine Land Trust Network, hosting an annual Maine Land Conservation Conference and providing training, funding, and networking opportunities for Maine’s entire conservation community.  We helped launch the Land for Maine’s Future Program and co-founded the Land Trust Alliance to strengthen land trusts in all fifty states.
  • Partnerships shape the organization’s work. By collaborating with towns, schools, state agencies and other organizations, MCHT facilitates conservation projects that help meet local, regional, and state environmental and social needs.

To learn more about Maine Coast Heritage Trust, visit the website: https://www.mcht.org/ 

The Opportunity

Maine Coast Heritage Trust seeks an innovative and dynamic leader to serve as its President and CEO and to help shape the future of land conservation in Maine.

With the assistance of both a dedicated and experienced staff and a highly engaged board, the President and CEO will advance MCHT’s land conservation and stewardship work, aligning the organization’s expertise and resources to address Maine’s most critical conservation needs, to galvanize the state’s land conservation community, and, as a member of the Land Trust Alliance, to help strengthen land conservation across America.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust ’s reputation is based on trust, integrity and a history of effective collaboration. The new President and CEO will harness these strengths to drive forward-thinking and transformative solutions to keep the Maine coast open, healthy, working, and beautiful. 

The President and CEO will report to the Board of Directors and oversee a staff of over 50 talented and committed team members.

The President and CEO will:

  • Lead the organization and harness the strength of a highly energetic and engaged Board so that it may set and accomplish strategic goals, establish policy, and grow human and financial resources to assure continued success.

  • Champion and articulate MCHT’s mission with existing donors and new prospects, communicate regularly with funders and strategically build new relationships and revenue sources to enable MCHT to fulfill its mission.

  • Serve as the spokesperson and public face of MCHT - taking a “place at the table” with other major conservation and environmental organizations at the state and national level.

  • Inspire, supervise and hold accountable an experienced staff while maintaining an environment of collaboration and collegiality; ensure that organizational changes are implemented with participation, transparency and respect.

  • Maintain sound financial policies, practices, and procedures, including submission of annual operating and capital budgets to the Board for its approval. Seek opportunities to enhance productivity using technology.

  • Ensure that the systems, processes and structure of the organization support effective and efficient operations.

  • Recommend program directions and modifications based on the existing strategic plan with an eye to leading board, staff and stakeholders through the next strategic planning process.

  • Ensure that day to day operations and programs are effectively administered, follow best practices, and demonstrate leadership in the field.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate must possess a passion for the mission of land conservation and land stewardship that supports ecological health and the well-being of communities. They will bring experience and an authentic commitment to partnering with diverse stakeholders to drive solutions around land conservation, community engagement and coastal needs. A connection to Maine is desirable but is not a requirement.

 The most competitive candidates for this position will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Strategic and Visionary Leadership

  • A pragmatic, results-oriented leader who is flexible and adaptable to change, who can nimbly and strategically respond to opportunities and challenges.
  • Experience envisioning and articulating an achievable and measurable path forward for staff, Board and partners.
  • A commitment to integrating a diversity and equity lens into the work of MCHT.
  • Tactfulness to inspire cross-collaboration with stakeholders, including but not limited to communities, businessowners, landowners, tribal leaders and donors.
  • Expertise in developing concrete plans, actionable goals and meaningful metrics and in being accountable to achieving milestones and timelines. 

Authentic Spokesperson and Adept Relationship Builder

  • An authentic ambassador who can effectively convey MCHT’s mission and vision to motivate partners and inspire public support for land conservation.
  • Experience building effective coalitions with diverse partners and organizations.
  • A high level of emotional intelligence with a demonstrated ability to build trust and credibility with all partners.
  • A humble approach to relationship-building, particularly with landowners and residents, rooted in respect and grace.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. 

A Proven Fundraiser

  • Demonstrated success making large asks, individually and in partnership with volunteer ambassadors.
  • A track record of personal involvement in fundraising, ideally with knowledge of, and existing relationships with, relevant and aligned funders.
  • Public speaking experience and charisma to raise the profile of MCHT and Maine’s land conservation community locally, statewide, and nationally.
  • A love for and understanding of coastal landscapes to convey the importance of the organization’s work to existing and potential new funding partners.

Culture and People Leader

  • An effective communicator with experience building relationships with Board members and staff.
  • An ability to inspire, to foster trust, and to lead with integrity.
  • Experience leading a team of staff with values of listening, respect, growth, transparency and equity at the forefront.
  • A movement leader who can galvanize the Maine Land Trust Network and be a culture carrier for prominent issues and conversations facing the land trust community state-wide.

Operational and Financial Management Skills

  • A seasoned leader with a track record of success in managing complex organizations and knowledge of best practices in nonprofit management.
  • Expertise in partnering with a Board of Directors to facilitate and drive decision-making and goal setting.
  • A systems thinker with a process mindset and experience implementing best practices for a similarly sized organization.
  • Keen analytic, organizational and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision-making and empower others to contribute to the overall success of MCHT.   

Maine Coast Heritage Trust does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. We are an equal opportunity employer dedicated to creating an inclusive culture where employees from diverse backgrounds can thrive and support our mission. MCHT is committed to working to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive land conservation community and we encourage candidates from historically marginalized communities or identities to apply. 


Maine Coast Heritage Trust offers a competitive annual salary and a generous benefits package commensurate with qualifications and experience.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Kara Teising, Naree Viner and Libby Cornelssen are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express interest in the role please visit this website or email mchtpresident@koyapartners.com. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

Apply for this position
Add to My Account
<< Back