Website The Coastal Conservation League

Executive Director

The Coastal Conservation League

Charleston, SC




The Coastal Conservation League is South Carolina’s largest and most effective environmental advocacy organization. Since 1989, we have worked with communities, businesses, government leaders, and citizens to protect what we love about South Carolina’s coastal plain.


From sandy beaches, healthy marshes, freshwater swamps to pine savannas, we protect natural habitats and the wildlife that depends on them. We support the communities we live in by ensuring we have clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, and sustainable energy to power our homes and places of work. Most of all, we strive to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the same spaces and quality of life here that we do today.


This future includes smart, sustainable, economic growth that maximizes the potential of our community. This future ensures the availability of natural resources and opportunity for our children to enjoy those resources. This future has good policies and protection in place so that we do more than fight an endless series of battles against an endless series of threats.


Our work is divided among the following program areas:



Clean water, protected land, and abundant wildlife are essential to our health and quality of life in South Carolina. We work to educate the public, media, industry, and local and state policymakers on the science and economics of clean air and water policies. Our advocacy brings attention to the latest scientific research on air/water pollution and public health issues. In addition to promoting policies to protect our natural resources, we ensure policies are enforced by monitoring permit applications and approvals along the coast and appealing permits that would result in serious harm to the environment or public health.



Reining in unbridled growth is central to the Conservation League’s mission. We help to influence the way developers, citizens, and public officials view and value their communities and landscapes—promoting thoughtful, balanced development, and land conservation in the right areas, at the right scale. We weigh in on zoning codes and highway route and provide technical, professional, and other assistance to residents of the region to help and empower them to preserve the South Carolina coast.


Transportation and infrastructure planning is essential to any livable community. Appropriately planned roads that allow for pedestrian and bicycle access can complement a community and improve quality of life, while roads that are poorly designed can overpower the area, contribute to sprawl, bisect property and leave a scar that is difficult, if not impossible, to erase. We work with a variety of transportation planners, local municipalities, and state agencies to promote transportation projects and policies that support rather than harm our communities.



Electricity is a necessary fixture in our daily lives, and its production and distribution have vast environmental footprints. New technologies, fuel sources, and strategies for meeting demand hold great promise for minimizing these impacts. We promote the implementation of progressive local, state, and federal energy policies related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change.




Local farms and farmers are critical to our food supply and to land preservation. GrowFood Carolina, South Carolina’s first food hub, helps smaller farms thrive by giving them access to new markets. When farmers are thriving, they are less vulnerable and less likely to sell their property to developers. Supporting sustainable agriculture benefits individuals, communities, the environment, and the economy.  GrowFood works with farmers, government agencies/officials, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and communities to support food and agriculture through planning, infrastructure, technical assistance, and outreach and communications.


For more information on The Coastal Conservation League, please visit



With an annual budget approaching $5 million and a talented and passionate staff of 30+ professionals, the Coastal Conservation League seeks a dynamic, innovative, and adaptable leader who can lead the conservation effort on behalf of the South Carolina coastal plain. Building and leveraging authentic and deeply rooted relationships with individuals and communities in South Carolina, the new Executive Director has the opportunity to take risks within a creative, stable framework to address some of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change, equity, and biodiversity and natural landscapes under ever-growing threat.


The Board of Directors seeks an inclusive, thoughtful, and strategic leader who is committed to the Coastal Conservation League’s mission and who has the skills and experience to lead the organization to a higher level of mission impact. The Executive Director will build on the Coastal Conservation League’s reputation for integrity, collaboration, and excellence, and expand on its financial, programmatic, and organizational success.



• Own and articulate the “why” for the Coastal Conservation League team and community, creating and implementing a vision for the future that prioritizes natural resource conservation, wise land use and infrastructure decisions, clean energy deployment, equitable policy and regulatory choices, and sustainable agriculture.

• Create, augment, and oversee innovative programs and projects that address pressing issues with foresight and as they arise, both anticipating and prioritizing resources nimbly and creatively with the team.

• Manage a highly motivated and committed team, creating paths for leadership and career progression, and coaching and empowering staff.

• Exemplify sound financial planning, oversight and accountability, with the ability to clearly communicate financial status to the Board.

• Network with, maintain and deepen existing partnerships, while cultivating new partnerships with constituents, community leaders, industry, government decision-makers, and NGOs.

• Utilize, enhance, and promote the use of technology to facilitate organizational management, fundraising, public education, lobbying, and outreach.

• Engage thoughtfully with community members across a wide variety of backgrounds, prioritizing the voices of underrepresented communities and strengthening the Coastal Conservation League’s ongoing commitment to equity and the environment.



The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:


Strategic and Visionary Leadership

• A strategic and results-oriented approach, with experience building a vision for an organization in partnership with a Board and staff.

• An ability to build effective teams grounded in strong executive presence, creating an inviting culture, and staff progression and recognition.

• Commitment to transparently setting goals and holding the team accountable in a collaborative manner.

• Self-confidence honed by experience with relevant challenges, such as conservation verses urban-growth negotiations, and a track record of success. This role requires the mindset of constantly looking for aligned opportunities.

• Experience developing and implementing strategic plans and priorities.


Ambassador and Adept Relationship Builder

• Ease and comfort being the outward-facing voice of the Coastal Conservation League, helping to authentically communicate the organization’s vision, purpose, and impact to all stakeholders.

• Superb written and verbal communication skills with a persuasive and passionate communication style.

• Excellent interpersonal, networking and relationship management skills and a track record of building and maintaining strong external partnerships.

• A high level of diplomacy and pragmatism, with the ability to collaborate, negotiate and network with a wide range of individuals and organizations at both the local, state and regional level.

• An ability to speak fluidly and extensively about South Carolina’s conservation history, to tell the story of the Coastal Conservation League, and to persuasively articulate its future direction.


Development Expertise

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

• A strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives.

• Ability to analyze the connections between fundraising goals and donor interests.

• Proactively identify and develop additional revenue sources in alignment with Coastal Conservation League’s mission, values, and goals.


A Passion for the Mission and the Region

• Unwavering commitment to and passion for conservation and the Coastal Conservation League’s mission, vision, and values; a passion for crafting effective programs and data-driven evaluation and solutions to enhance and protect South Carolina.

• Firsthand expertise and understanding of South Carolina’s communities, conservation organizations, and citizen groups, or an ability to quickly acquire such knowledge. A network of relevant relationships and connections would be considered a plus.

• Awareness and foundational knowledge of environmental justice issues facing the South Carolina coastal region, particularly the coastal region, or an ability to quickly acquire such knowledge.


Advocacy Acumen and Political Savvy

• Experience leading community and grassroots movements and building creative and effective coalitions.

• A working familiarity with South Carolina’s complex context and history.

• Deft political acumen, and skill with influencing and persuading policymakers and other key decision-makers.


An Organizational Leader and Trusted Manager

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

• Emotional intelligence, a collaborative, trustworthy fair-minded nature, with the ability to attract, cultivate, and retain diverse teams, recognizing and lifting up the strengths of the staff while guiding the organization through change and growth.

• Integrity and a commitment to excellence and high standards of performance, setting the tone for a welcoming and inclusive work environment that fosters professional growth.

• Demonstrated commitment to and advanced understanding of issues related to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion—ideally with a track record of creating a more diverse and inclusive staff and Board.

• Ability to strategically refine and enhance the operations and reputation of the Coastal Conservation League, building upon its many strengths and assets to ensure the organization’s prominence as a leader for coastal conservation and environmental work in South Carolina.



The annual base salary for this role will start at $170,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Coastal Conservation League also offers a comprehensive benefits package.



Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Kara Teising and Heather Ferguson are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express interest in the role, please visit this link ( All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. To contact a member of the search team, please email


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.


The Coastal Conservation League is an equal opportunity employer. We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other legally protected status.


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