Job Description

The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) is a respected non-profit organization in Seattle and national leader in maritime education with a mission to promote northwest maritime heritage through education, interpretation and hands-on experience in building, maintaining and using historic small craft. CWB serves over 100,000 visitors every year at its locations at the south end of Lake Union in downtown Seattle, at the north end of Lake Union near Gas Works Park, and at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island.

An educational innovator, CWB integrates the hands-on activities of a community waterfront center with traditional museum activities, such as providing interpretation and exhibits and caring for a collection of historic artifacts. The programs that are offered through CWB are varied and are available to visitors of all ages and abilities. CWB provides hands-on activities for the public through their participation in free public rides, livery rentals, an annual wooden boat festival, maritime skills workshops, field trips based in school curriculum, sailing lessons, boat restoration projects, model pond boat sailing, toy boat building, speaker series, and maritimeexhibits that tell the story of Lake Union and the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest.

Our collection of traditional small craft serves as the centerpiece of all of CWB’s programs.Preservation and care of these boats is of paramount importance, and CWB’s boatshop is a critical resource that facilitates the ongoing maintenance of the working fleet of sailboats, rowboats and powerboats to ensure that these vessels transport us into the next century.

The Executive Director (ED) is the senior staff officer, responsible to the Board of Trustees (Board), for the organization’s achievement of its mission, vision, and strategic plan and financial stewardship.



  • Uphold and communicate CWB’s mission, vision, values internally and externally

  • Provide strong day-to-day leadership for staff.

  • Oversee operations of a growing multi-campus organization.

  • Represent CWB externally by maintaining and strengthening positive relationships with current and potential partners, including community-based organizations, and governmental entities.


  • Ensure that the organization implements the strategic plan in a timely manner.

  • Develop and implement annual operational plan with Board and staff.

  • Partner with, and cultivate, the Trustees in their roles of fiduciary oversight, policy-making, and fundraising.

  • Create a sustainable multi-year business plan to fully capitalize the Wagner Education Center.


  • Direct prudent financial management for the organization, including planning and budgeting of operations and mission activities, and managing expenditures and cash flow.

  • Partner with staff to develop and manage the budget for sustainable growth, and execute action plans to achieve these goals.

  • Monitor and ensure that CWB is adhering to the budget with appropriate funding by providing timely and accurate financial reports to the Board.


  • Create and implement an organizational development plan, in cooperation with the Board of Trustees to include:

  • Sustain and grow individual major gifts program.

  • Grow grant portfolio in alignment with mission.

  • Steward and grow a membership base.

  • Strategically innovate and seek new funding sources.

  • Steward and grow current and potential donors and funders.

  • Develop and implement systems for reporting, measuring and supporting revenue generation.

Human Resources:

  • Maintain a culture that attracts, retains and motivates a highly talented, diverse and committed staff and volunteer group.

  • Motivate, empower, and delegate authority to staff to enable them to carry out their responsibilities and serve as personal ambassadors of CWB.

  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning, professional development, and a commitment to quality by assigning accountabilities, setting objectives, establishing priorities, and monitoring/evaluating results.

  • Periodically review and refresh human resources functions, i.e., training, development, job descriptions, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and performance evaluations.

Data, Technology, Risk Management:

  • Oversee processes necessary to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the organization’s data.

  • Ensure the organization operates with an appropriate technological infrastructure.

  • Ensure appropriate training of staff and volunteers to follow best practices involving safety and risk management in order to minimize risk.

  • Ensure CWB maintains appropriate levels of insurance coverage for all aspects of the organization

Board & Committee Relations:

  • Effectively communicate and present critical financial and operational matters at Board and committee meetings

  • Maintain lines of continuous communication, keeping the Board informed on all critical issues in a timely manner

  • Assist with recruiting, managing and supporting members of the Board and committees

Experience and Skill Sets


  • Minimum five years in an Executive or Senior leadership position in a Non-profit.

  • Managing an annual organizational or departmental Profit and Loss of $1.5 million.

  • Desired five-years personal or professional experience in shipwright, woodworking, sailing, education, or recreational boating.

Skill Sets

In order to fulfill the Executive Director Role and the Responsibilities, any candidate should possess highly developed skill sets in the following areas:

External Outreach

  • Networking skills to build, develop, and maintain a positive CWB relationship with the boating, neighborhood, and governmental community.

  • Inter-personal skills to build, develop, and maintain relationships with CWB’s primary donor base.

  • Delegation and management skills to leverage board members, as appropriate, to build, develop, and maintain relationships with secondary donor base and external relationships.

  • Marketing/sales skills to positively sell CWB’s mission, vision, and values and their benefits to the community.

  • Closing skills for major asks from individuals in the donor community.

Internal Leadership

  • High interpersonal (EQ) skills to build relationships and trust with Board, staff and volunteers.

  • Management skills to appropriately delegate functional and operational tasks to others.

  • Conflict resolution skills to positively resolve internal disputes, priorities, roles/responsibilities.


  • Financial acumen to understand what the financial reports represent about the health and stability of the organization.

  • Financial management skills to develop, or direct, a top down/bottom up realistic and achievable non-profit budget.

  • Strategic/transformational skills to scale up the organization.

  • Skills and acumen to understand and manage multifaceted programs and revenue streams.


  • Oral presentation skills to present passion for CWB’s status and vision at annual fund-raisers, and presentations to the community, media and governmental agencies.

  • Excellent written skills.

  • Effective communication skills to lead and manage staff to achieve their highest performance.

Wooden Boat Knowledge/Passion

  • Demonstrable ability to communicate personal knowledge and passion for the historic craft of wooden boats and/or for the boating community.

All applications are held in strict confidence. Applications must be received by February 14 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Start date is flexible, but not later than April. Please send a cover letter and resume to the search committee: and complete the Executive Director Search Questionnaire online.

The Center for Wooden Boats is a 501(c)3 museum that is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics.