Website Columbia Land Trust

Executive Director

Columbia Land Trust

Vancouver, WA




Our Mission:

Conserve and care for the vital lands, waters, and wildlife of the Columbia River region through sound science and strong relationships.


Our Vision:

The Pacific Northwest is a vast fabric of vital and productive lands and waters that are conserved, connected, and cared for, ensuring a thriving diversity of life. Natural areas and our lives intertwine, and people know, love, and respect the beauty and importance of nature. Human communities, including neighborhoods, businesses, farms, ranches, and working forests, complement the natural world, which provides all people well-being and an unrivaled quality of life.


What We Do:

Our work is driven by a 25-year Conservation Agenda launched in 2017.  The Conservation Agenda describes our approach to conservation, which is focused on ecological integrity and a strong relationship between people and nature. Our primary tools are the acquisition and restoration of land, the acquisition of conservation easements, and helping partners conserve and restore land, including engaging thousands of urban residents through the Backyard Habitat Certification Program, a partnership with Portland Audubon.  Today we are building on that work and adding a clear focus on climate resilience and climate mitigation. As we do this, we will continue our role as conservation leaders, innovators, and relationship makers. We will seek out new partners, new strategies, and new methods for understanding our impact.


Columbia Land Trust’s Strategic Plan defines our service area as extending from the John Day River (east of the Cascades) to the Pacific Ocean, stretching 50 miles from the Columbia River north into Washington and south into Oregon. Totaling 15 million acres, this area spans five distinct ecoregions and includes a range of cultural, economic, and environmental contexts.


We are committed to being good stewards, neighbors, and community members; we reject an us-versus-them mentality that leads to roadblocks. Land conservation can bring people together. We all value land, water, and wildlife (though not always in the same way). Differences do not dissuade us—they inspire us to find smarter, better solutions. It’s not always easy, but we find places where our values intersect.


Our positive, relationship-based approach has helped us become one of the most respected land trusts in the country. To date, we’ve conserved more than 50,000 acres and we have more than 3,700 supporters.


Our Approach:

Fearless Conservation is our annual campaign to support Columbia Land Trust’s 25-year Conservation Agenda. The objectives defined in our future-focused agenda require raising over $2M dollars per year from private donors, which will help us leverage $10s of millions worth of conservation.


In addition to our bold annual fundraising efforts, we are embarking on a transformational capital campaign. This campaign is in the feasibility stage and on track for Board approval in late 2022. Currently our campaign goal is estimated at $15M+ and presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure over 100,000 acres of land in the next 5-10 years.


Since 2017, the Conservation Agenda has integrated a strategic approach to ecological integrity, with key principles, and criteria for engaging people. Those concepts continue to guide the Land Trust’s conservation efforts. A 2021 update to the Conservation Agenda emphasized two additional important concepts – Climate Resilience and Climate Mitigation.


We are committed to fundamentally changing the pace and scale of conservation in the Northwest through innovative conservation strategies, collaboration, and tribal and community engagement. Ultimately, our success is not defined by dollars raised or acres conserved but measured in progress towards the four priorities listed below.


• Ecological Integrity- A state in which the nature of the Northwest is intact, functional, and supports a diversity of habitats, species and processes. Landscapes with ecological integrity are self-sustaining; able to evolve and self-regulate within a natural range of variability.

• Climate Resilience- Resiliency means that a system is able to deal with change (like fires and flooding) and continue to develop. Our definition includes human systems, and we work to build climate resilience by restoring natural systems that are capable of adapting to changing weather and climate.

• Climate Mitigation- Mitigation is taking action to limit the magnitude or rate of global warming and its related effect. The Columbia Land Trust aims to leverage natural climate solutions like forests and certain types of wetlands, which increase the rate of carbon sequestration by natural systems.

• Connecting People to Nature- Connecting with people and building relationships is at the core of our work. Our conservation strategies will not be effective over time if we do not build, broad, enduring support for conservation.  Furthermore, our conservation work needs to respond and adapt based on mutual learning and understanding.


For more information on the Columbia Land Trust, please visit our website:

Nature of the Northwest

or take a look at our most recent annual report:



With an annual operating budget of $8M and a talented, high-performing staff team of 40 professionals, the incoming Executive Director will have the rare opportunity to scale up a talented, innovative, financially strong, and nationally respected land trust to meet the ambitious objectives of its 25-year Conservation Agenda.


Inspired by a deep passion for conservation and guided by organizational values including excellence, collaboration, integrity, diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Executive Director will report to and work closely with an engaged and dedicated Board of Directors. The Board of Directors seeks an inclusive, confident, strategic leader who is committed to the Columbia Land Trust’s ambitious Conservation Agenda and has the skills and experience to lead implementation of the strategic plan as the organization continues to grow to higher levels of mission impact. This leader will bring vision and leadership to operations, staff, Board, funders, partners, and other constituents of the Columbia Land Trust.



The ideal candidate must possess a passion for the mission of voluntary, private land conservation and land stewardship that supports ecological health and the well-being of broad and diverse communities.


They will bring experience and authentic understanding to partnering with diverse representatives of our communities (including elected leaders in both rural and urban areas, tribal leaders, rural and urban community groups, timber companies, landowners, and many others) to help lead solutions around land conservation and community engagement. A connection to the Pacific Northwest is desirable but it is not required.


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


Strategic and Results-Oriented Leadership

• A pragmatic, results-oriented leadership style, allowing for nimble, creative, and strategic responses to opportunities and challenges. This leader unifies the land trust around decisions, exhibiting decisiveness and follow through while achieving consensus.

• Experience driving and articulating an ambitious and measurable path forward for staff, Board, donors, and partners, helping the organization grow to match its ambitious agenda.

• A commitment to, and understanding of, the continued integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of the Columbia Land Trust.

• Strong diplomacy skills to inspire cross-collaboration with wide-ranging stakeholders, including but not limited to rural and urban communities, elected officials, businessowners, landowners, tribal leaders, nonprofit partners, and donors.


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; an ability to understand complex transactions and the stewardship required for the business of conservation is desired.

• Experience in partnering with a Board of Directors and management team to facilitate and drive decision-making and goal setting.

• Keen analytic, organizational, and problem-solving skills which support and enable sound decision-making and empower others to contribute to the overall success of the Columbia Land Trust.

• Experience in providing an organization with clear leadership, and timely decision-making, balanced with collaboration and respect for staff.


Culture and People Leader

• An effective communicator with experience building deep and lasting relationships with Board members and staff.

• An ability to inspire, create trust, and to lead with integrity.

• Experience leading a team of staff with values of listening, respect, growth, empowerment, transparency, and equity at the forefront.

•    An ability to attract, cultivate, and retain diverse, high-performing teams, recognizing and lifting up the strengths of the staff while guiding the organization through change and growth.


Authentic Spokesperson and Skillful Relationship Builder

• A love for and understanding of land conservation to convey the importance of the organization’s work to existing and potential new funders and to the community.

• An authentic leader who can effectively convey the Columbia Land Trust mission and vision to inspire broad support for land conservation.

• Experience building or supporting effective coalitions with diverse partners and organizations.

• A high level of emotional intelligence and personal confidence with a demonstrated ability to engender trust and credibility with all partners.

• A respectful approach to relationships and appreciation for tribal, political, and community perspectives that may conflict.

• A high level of comfort engaging with people and public speaking experience to build on Columbia Land Trust’s elevated profile in the regional and national conservation community.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills.


Fundraising Expertise

• A track record of personal involvement in fundraising, ideally with knowledge of, and existing relationships with, relevant and aligned funders.

• Demonstrated success making asks for large donations ($25,000, $100,000, and up).

• Knowledge of fundraising operations, campaign experience a plus.




The annual salary range for this role will start at $190,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Columbia Land Trust also offers a generous and competitive benefits package.


Relocation assistance for the preferred candidate will be provided in the case of a long-distance move.


The Land Trust requires that all staff members be fully vaccinated against COVID 19.  Fully vaccinated status is defined as completing the initial vaccination series as well as receiving a booster dose.  The Land Trust follows the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and regulations of Oregon Health Authority, and Washington Department of Health and Washington Labor & Industries to determine work conditions and health and safety protocols to limit the spread of the COVID 19 virus.


The Land Trust has implemented a hybrid work environment which provides for collaboration with team members in a Land Trust office and time working from home.  Our offices are dog friendly.




Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. To express interest in this role please submit  your materials here, or email the search team at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Columbia Land Trust is an equal opportunity employer and committed to building a diverse workforce. We are committed to equity as a core organizational value. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a commitment to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQ+ people, and people from groups who are underrepresented in conservation spaces to apply for this opportunity.



Koya Partners, a part of 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.


At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.


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