Healing Our Waters - Great Lakes Coalition

Background on Healing Our Waters Coalition

The Healing Our Waters (HOW) – Great Lakes Coalition (Coalition), consists of more than 150 environmental, conservation, hunter and angler, community water advocacy and outdoor recreation organizations. Our member organizations represent millions of people who share a common goal of restoring and protecting North America’s greatest freshwater resource, the Great Lakes. The Coalition is widely recognized as a highly effective regional conservation coalition that has worked with both Republican and Democratic members of Congress to secure a long list of successes, including obtaining full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million per year, even after the program was recently proposed to be eliminated.

The Coalition is jointly operated by the National Wildlife Federation and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and is directed by a Governance Board made up of national, regional, state and local organizations. The Coalition represents a national model for successful collaborative impact. National Wildlife Federation and NPCA are the fiscal co-chairs for the Coalition and both provide professional staff. National Wildlife Federation provides the Director, two Communications staff members and a Field Director. NPCA provides a Policy Director.  The Coalition is active in all eight Great Lakes states, with Coalition leads representing each state.  There are standing board committees on policy as well as diversity, equity and inclusion.  The Governance Board sets the direction of the Coalition and elects 2 rotating co-chairs (in addition to the roles occupied by National Wildlife Federation and NPCA) to help manage and oversee day-to-day operations of the Coalition.

Role of the Director

The Healing Our Waters Director is responsible for directing a multi-million dollar ($1.5 million annual), multi-organization campaign to advocate for federal programs and policies that protect and restore the Great Lakes. The director’s responsibilities include designing a campaign strategy; building and maintaining a broad coalition; coordinating and following the directives of a Governance Board; coordinating media, field, and policy activities by dozens of organizations; fostering relationships with key funders and decision makers; managing campaign staff; and managing a multi-organizational budget.

The HOW Coalition is well-positioned for continued leadership on Great Lakes federal funding and policy. The Coalition is in the first year of a 3-year strategic plan that sharpens and expands the focus of HOW, including but not limited to work on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, water infrastructure, clean water policy and maintaining the basic programs and policies that protect the Great Lakes. In addition, the Coalition is in the second year of implementing specific goals around diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion, which has transformed the Governance Board and broadened the focus of the Coalition.

The Director reports to National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Executive Director, based in Ann Arbor Michigan, under the direction of the Coalition’s Governance Board. The preferred location for the position is Ann Arbor, with Chicago, Illinois or Washington, D.C. as possibilities as well. Depending on circumstances, other locations may be feasible.

The Director coordinates the deployment of staff resources supporting the Coalition from National Wildlife Federation and NPCA. This position involves frequent (approximately 1 week per month) travel, typically between locations within the Great Lakes region and Washington, D.C.

Areas of Responsibility

 Lead a regional coalition of conservation, environmental, and other organizations (the HOW Coalition)

  • Lead development of strategic plans and one-year campaign plans with the HOW co-chairs, Governance Board and staff participation;
  • Ensure that the strategic plans and campaign plans are implemented effectively and within budget;
  • Work cooperatively with Coalition Policy Director to develop a platform of policy issues and ensure Coalition member participation in executing advocacy;
  • Serve as a key spokesperson for the Coalition;
  • Supervise the Coalition staff and the effective implementation of legislative, field, and communications strategies;
  • Interact with key Great Lakes decision makers; and
  • Serve as the key conduit between the coalition co-chairs, Governance Board, and staff.

Coordinate effectiveness of the HOW Coalition

  • Develop agendas, schedules, goals and roles for Coalition meetings and committees;
  • Oversee the planning and implementation of the Great Lakes conference and Great Lakes Day;
  • Work with Governance Board, state lead organizations and other key groups and partners to foster their organizations’ robust involvement with Great Lakes restoration issues;
  • Work closely with the Coalition’s Equity Advisory and Action Committee; and
  • Manage the growth and trajectory of the Coalition’s membership.

Oversee finances and assist with fundraising

  • Lead development and management of annual Coalition budget;
  • In collaboration with key stakeholders, develop and implement a strategic fundraising plan, including funder communication to enhance the Great Lakes restoration campaign and ensure that appropriate grant reporting is completed;
  • Lead solicitation of sponsorships for Great Lakes conference;
  • Report on the financial health of the Coalition to the Board and other key stakeholders; and,
  • Coordinate and assist with the development of grant proposals and reports in collaboration with other staff and leadership from fiscal co-chairs.

Provide leadership within the National Wildlife Federation on ecosystem restoration issues.

  • Coordinate closely with National Wildlife Federation staff to ensure that regional and national campaigns are integrated and cohesive, including advising National Wildlife Federation senior leadership on national restoration agenda.

Core Competencies

 Significant experience in developing and implementing advocacy campaigns, grassroots organizing, media, and environmental advocacy;

  • Ability to effectively work on diverse teams with a diverse range of people;
  • Exceptional interpersonal and conflict management skills;
  • Strong strategic planning and program implementation skills;
  • Ability to collaboratively move a project forward through organizational and political barriers;
  • Well-developed communication skills, both written and verbal;
  • Knowledge of how to build a diverse, inclusive coalition that focuses on it goals through an equity lens;
  • Ability to work with political leaders across the ideological spectrum;
  • Ability to manage budgets;
  • Demonstrated ability to use good judgment to make quick decisions in a rapidly changing political landscape; and
  • Strong staff management skills.

 Salary and benefits

Salary is competitive and negotiable.The National Wildlife Federation offers excellent benefits, including 16 weeks of paid FMLA leave, competitive compensation, and a family-friendly, flexible work environment. National Wildlife Federation is committed to building a complementary team and strongly support candidates from all backgrounds to apply. If selected, a background check will be conducted.

Search Process and Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Position will remain open until filled. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and interested parties are encouraged to apply early.

The National Wildlife Federation strives to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. National Wildlife Federation recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law. National Wildlife Federation is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. The employee’s actions are expected to reflect the staff values of the National Wildlife Federation: collaboration, mindfulness, empowerment, inclusivity, and mission focus.

Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at https://www.National Wildlife  The HOW Coalition is operating under a strong diversity and equity mission statement and plan that is aligned with National Wildlife Federation’s values and commitments.

TO APPLY: Interested and qualified candidates please submit a cover letter and resume to: Please put only YOUR NAME in the subject line.

Questions and inquiries may be directed to SAL Consulting, Inc. at