Executive Director @ Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Executive Director


Location: Virtual (see note below)

Role: Executive Director

Organization: Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)

Reports to: Board of Directors

Salary: $190K – $200K

Benefits: USDN Benefits

About USDN

Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) strives to create equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities. USDN convenes local government sustainability practitioners to gain knowledge, resources, and partnerships to bring change in communities across the country.

USDN is dedicated to creating healthy environments, advancing racial equity, and building thriving and resilient communities. Our work prioritizes those who experience the most vulnerability to climate change, disproportionate exposure to environmental injustice, and the biggest barriers to benefiting from climate solutions.

USDN also serves as a host and fiscal sponsor for other related organizations including: the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Green Cities California, Center for Regenerative Justice, and the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network. These partnerships provide built in opportunities for the Executive Director to gain a wider perspective of changes in the field.

Position Responsibilities

  • Facilitate a member led network to accelerate urban sustainability in U.S. and Canadian communities.
  • Lead local government policy that addresses climate and sustainability work across the U.S. and Canada as the field undergoes rapid change creating exciting new opportunities and complex new challenges.
  • Collaborate with the Board, the Network Advisory Committee (NAC), and USDN members to implement (as well as refine and update) the strategic plan in alignment with USDN’s core mission.
  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board, NAC, and staff team ensuring open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.
  • Provide inspirational leadership and direction to ensure continued team morale.
  • Cultivate a working environment that aligns with USDN values, strategic goals, and commitments.
  • Provide knowledge around global current events, as they relate to USDN work.
  • Formulate and execute comprehensive development strategies that will ensure deep and robust relationships with funders to ensure their long-term commitment to and understanding of the value of USDN.
  • Ensure USDN programs facilitate a high level of member peer learning, collaboration, and leadership to address common problems and develop innovative solutions.
  • Oversee the management of strategic working relationships with USDN hosted projects.
  • Guide and support the team to continually improve and increase the effectiveness of member programs and services, consistent with USDN goals.

Infrastructure and Operations

  • Manage and coach a virtual staff to ensure the organization remains responsive to member needs and its strategic objectives.
  • Leverage the teams’ skills, and expertise to promote growth and professional development.
  • Provide a culturally responsive environment that brings value to its members and the organization.
  • Facilitate team collaboration and strengthen internal communications with employees throughout the organization.
  • In partnership with the Director of Finance, People and Culture, oversee the financial status of the organization including developing long- and short-range financial plans.
    • Develop and monitor the budget.
    • Ensure sound financial controls are in place.
    • Set financial priorities to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs of members, programs, and staff.
  • Support and model continuous improvement.
  • Support strategic adaptability to changing contexts through clear communication and organizational change management strategies.

Equity and Inclusion

  • Personal and professional commitment to USDN’s Equity Principles and Commitments and understanding of USDN’s broad range of equity programs and initiatives.
  • The Executive Director will be expected to be a leading voice within the network of creating a local government climate and sustainability field that prioritizes equity in principle and action.
  • Advance USDN initiatives that strengthen organizational equity programming and deepen staff commitment to equity principles.
  • Successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team and supporting an inclusive work environment.
  • Serve as the executive sponsor for organizational efforts to embed equitable and inclusive practices into internal systems, structures, policies, and processes.
  • Support member-driven equity activities and identify strategic opportunities to advance the work through funding, partner, and field level opportunities.


Education & Experience

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • 6+ years of nonprofit and/or government/public sector or equivalent leadership. Preferably as an Executive Director, CEO, Interim Director, Deputy Director, or Department Head.
  • Experience leading networks, membership organizations, or associations is a plus.
  • Experience managing a remote or multisite organization is preferred.
  • Experience managing nonprofit finance and compliance needs.
  • Experience building and maintaining relationships with funders.
  • Demonstrated nonprofit fundraising experience.

Required Knowledge

  • Experience managing high-functioning teams.
  • Experience in change management, identifying systemic change opportunities, and managing and growing a rapidly evolving organization.
  • Competency in the field of sustainability.
  • An understanding of the US federal funding context.
  • Social-impact networks, network building, and network structures.
  • Facilitation, mediation, problem-solving, and negotiation techniques and processes.
  • Climate change policy, action, and planning along with associated areas including sustainability and resilience.
  • Depth of knowledge and experience moving principles of equity and inclusion into action.

Key Skills

  • Fundraising abilities: different sources including federal government, philanthropy, national and international partners, and other sources.
  • A financially savvy and politically astute leader with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems.
  • High emotional intelligence, cultural competency, with the humility and perspective of a lifelong learner.
  • Keen analytic, organization and problem-solving skills, which support and enable sound decision making.
  • Excellent relationship building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external partners; able to achieve consensus among differing opinions.
  • Outstanding presentation and communication skills and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson, relationship builder, and fundraiser.
  • Strong commitment to the professional and personal development of staff.
  • Board development, fundraising, change management, and fiscal management experience preferred.
  • Experience building and growing high performing teams and organizations.

Virtual : This is a fully remote, work-from-home position. USDN has no central office, but staff collaborate extensively via video call meetings and through periodic in-person convenings. The candidates must furnish their own quiet office space for conference calls. USDN provides an IT stipend to cover internet and phone use, computer, software, and other home office supplies.

USDN is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws.

How to Apply

How to Apply : Applicants can apply online. You will be asked to provide a cover letter and resume. Applications must be submitted no later than October 30, 2023 at noon EST.






2023-09-28 00:00