Executive Director – Position Announcement

Location:                                                                    Olympia, Washington

Status:                                                                        Part-time

Proposed start date:                                                October, 2019


The Puget Sound Estuarium connects people of all ages with Puget Sound’s estuary environment. We inspire our community to learn about estuarine and marine animals, shores and waters through outdoor exploration, educational programming, and our interpretive facility in Downtown Olympia.

Executive Director: The Executive Director is the internal leader and external voice of the Estuarium. The position works with the Board of Director on strategic planning and is responsible for implementing the Estuarium’s goals and programming. The Executive Director forges partnerships, promotes the Estuarium and seeks opportunities for collaboration throughout the community. The position currently oversees four part-time employees who coordinate education programs, outreach, volunteers, and our interpretive facility. The Executive Director also arranges contract staffing as needed for events, education and facility maintenance.  The Executive Director drafts an annual budget, reviews funding needs, and works with the Board and volunteer teams on education, outreach, fundraising, grants and events.

The Estuarium looks for a leader who will connect with local partners, expand relationships with sponsors and donors, and work with the Board of Directors to implement our mission and expand our long-term vision. This position does not require a marine sciences background.


We seek to hire someone who is:

  • Passionate about the Puget Sound Estuarium’s mission
  • An engaging leader who takes initiative make connections and inspires confidence
  • A team builder who is capable of delegating assignments and managing staff
  • A flexible thinker who sees the big picture and finds solutions
  • Eager to make a lasting difference in the ecology and community of south Puget Sound


We need someone who can:


  • Communicate well with the Board, donors, partners, volunteers and throughout the community
  • Manage a motivated part-time staff, including hiring and training staff when necessary
  • Speak clearly and persuasively in public forums
  • Spearhead a fundraising effort (with Board, volunteer and staff support) to raise funds from donors and sponsors


  • Work proficiently or quickly learn computer, tablet, phone app, and other office systems
  • Work twenty hours a week, including at least ten hours regularly scheduled on-site at the Estuarium in downtown Olympia, record days and hours worked on a monthly timesheet, and be available as a contact for occasional after-hours emergencies

We require the following experience:

  • At least three years of experience in a management or supervisory capacity at a growing nonprofit organization, small business, or similar experience
  • Development and fundraising experience including familiarity with grants, donor relations and sponsorships
  • A post-secondary degree or demonstrated lifelong learning in a field related to the Estuarium’s operations or mission

Job Duties

Program Leadership

  • Work with Board to develop our next five-year Strategic Plan and the corresponding Business Action Plan for annual implementation
  • Develop and implement programs aligned with the Strategic Plan and Business Action Plans
  • Increase public support for the Estuarium through outreach, education and programming

Community Engagement and Communications

  • Serve as Estuarium spokesperson with media, government agencies, partner organizations, foundations, donors, and the general public
  • Build relationships with new and existing community partners by identifying and prioritizing event attendance, developing and meeting with contacts, and coordinating contacts between Board members and community partners
  • Raise the Estuarium’s profile in the Olympia area and around Puget Sound
  • Strengthen partnerships between Estuarium and other environmental education organizations
  • Oversee clear and consistent outreach publications and press releases to create meaningful communications for our stakeholders

Fundraising and Finance

  • Develop annual budget, in partnership with the Board and with input from staff; provide timely reports of the organization’s financial position to the Board; and manage budget compliance and variances.


  • Work with the Board to identify appropriate grant funding and coordinate grant applications to government agencies, private foundations and philanthropic organizations
  • Expand donor development program by building on existing donors and recruiting new donors
  • Expand local sponsorship from local and regional businesses and community partners
  • Build reserve and endowment funds


Management and Administration

  • Supervise and support skilled staff in a collaborative work environment. This includes developing and monitoring monthly workplans, meaningful teambuilding and conflict resolution, training and performance evaluation practices, and occasional hiring and training of new employees
  • Manage annual work planning to anticipate needs, staff events, and ensure staff have time available to complete program goals
  • Oversee efficient and secure records management, primarily online through cloud server document repository. Produce (or coordinate) necessary grant and financial reports
  • Oversee management of the Estuarium facility and equipment inventory through supervision of staff (who coordinate volunteers, aquarist and animal husbandry needs) and contract for facility maintenance when required.

Salary: This position includes paid sick and vacation leave. Salary is based on twenty hours per week. Additional hours may be available as needed to fulfill position responsibilities.  Ongoing funding of this position is dependent on donor, sponsorship and grant support.

TO APPLY: Qualified candidates should send a cover letter and resume, via e-mail, to  Board@SSEAcenter.org by September 9, 2019. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt.   All candidates will receive a response.



The Puget Sound Estuarium is a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2007 to provide marine and estuary focused environmental education.