Colorado Nonprofit Association

Executive Director

About Water Education Colorado

Water Education Colorado (WEco) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing policy-neutral news and informational resources, engaging learning experiences, and empowering leadership programs focused on Colorado’s most critical natural resource: water. Since 2002, WEco has been working statewide to ensure Coloradans are knowledgeable about key water issues and equipped to make decisions that guide our state to a sustainable water future. We have a trusted reputation in and outside of the water sector and are widely considered the leading organization for informing and engaging Coloradans on water matters. 

Our programs target a range of audiences in service of our mission, including lawmakers and other decision makers, water sector professionals, business leaders, students, educators, and interested community members. We publish Headwaters magazine and the Community Guide series, offer the annual Water Fluency and Water Leaders programs, convene and support the Water Educator Network, provide a variety of tours, workshops, webinars and outreach events, and co-host the annual Sustaining Colorado Watersheds conference, among other activities. We collaborate with partner entities around the state to accomplish our programs and strategic goals. Increasingly, we are working to reach underserved audiences across the state with a focus on equity and inclusion. 

WEco currently has an operating budget of just over $1 million per year. We are guided by a 25-member Board of Trustees and perform our mission with a team of eight professionals.  

We offer a collaborative, flexible, supportive, and rewarding work environment in a great location at the new CSU Spur campus at the National Western Center in north Denver. Working with WEco’s dynamic team, audiences, and broad-based community of supporters provides opportunities to engage within all major river basins in the state and to network with a wide variety of educators, resource managers, and decision makers.

Learn more about the organization and its programs at watereducationcolorado.org. 

Position Summary

WEco seeks a skilled and enthusiastic Executive Director to join our collaborative team. The Executive Director is responsible for strategic direction and overall leadership of the organization. They will serve as the public face of the organization and work to collaboratively advance WEco’s mission. The Executive Director will guide all programs and lead all fundraising activities.  

The Executive Director reports to and collaborates with a committed, supportive, and engaged volunteer Board of Trustees to shape the future of the organization and its programs. They work to ensure WEco’s financial integrity and supervise the organization’s staff of seven as well as contract personnel. 

The Executive Director must uphold the organization’s 22-year reputation as a trusted, independent and nonpartisan source of information and education on water for all Coloradans. It is critical that the Executive Director establish strong working relationships and cooperative partnerships with the full array of stakeholders across the state and maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field of Colorado water.

The ideal candidate brings extensive experience in nonprofit leadership, shares our passion and enthusiasm for the future of water, and recognizes the value of our policy-neutral approach to building a water-aware Colorado and informing decision making and civic engagement at all levels. They enjoy connecting with people, create inspiration around mission and vision, and lead through innovation and excellence. 

This is an exciting opportunity for a talented and dedicated professional to make a significant impact on Colorado’s water sector.  

Qualifications and Responsibilities

The successful candidate will have proven experience leading a program or organization that serves a diverse community. They will bring a commitment to and passion for education. The ideal candidate will bring a deep knowledge and understanding of, as well as professional background, in water issues in the Western United States and, ideally, Colorado. 

This job is a combination of management, education, media/communications and community building. The Executive Director sets direction for all publications, trainings and workshops, and serves as a key educational resource for water leaders throughout the state. The Executive Director must maintain a high profile for the organization and its work with our members, funders, and others in influential circles through regularly speaking at and attending outside events, writing for WEco and non-WEco publications, and meeting with stakeholders. 

The position requires statewide travel and periodic attendance at events occurring outside of regular business hours.

Education and Previous Experience  

● Bachelor’s degree required in a field relevant to the position. 

● 5-10 years of professional experience in a leadership position in education, media, public affairs, or nonprofit management. Preference given for experience in a water-related organization. 

● Financial management skills, including experience with budget preparation and fiscal oversight.

● Proven experience successfully managing professional staff.

● Experience working for and collaborating with a volunteer Board of Directors.

● Experience crafting and building support for a long-term strategic vision, and overseeing human and financial resources to carry out that vision.

● Demonstrated history of collaborative leadership and ability to build effective partnerships.

● A proven track record in fundraising and development, cultivating major donors and ensuring foundation, government and business philanthropic support.

Skills, Qualities and Abilities

● A strong belief in WEco’s mission of advancing a sustainable water future for Colorado through growing public awareness, informing decisions, and equipping and empowering leaders.

● Embraces a policy-neutral approach to education and information programs.

● Strong background knowledge of Colorado’s water resources management and policy. 

● Highly self-motivated, hard-working and enthusiastic in the pursuit of excellence, and can work well under pressure in a fast-paced environment.

● Ability to engage and work effectively with a broad set of individuals and interest groups.

● Excellent written and verbal communicator with a strong public presence – articulate, optimistic and energetic – with an ability to motivate and inspire people to action. 

● Public presentation skills and high degree of comfort and confidence presenting to large groups.

● Facilitation skills to develop, structure and lead educational events and programs alongside other team members

● Exceptional project management skills, adept at managing multiple projects simultaneously, meeting deadlines and delivering results.

● Strong analytical abilities, able to assess performance using key performance indicators and make improvements and adjustments based on the data.

● Ability to hire, promote and develop the best people.

● Exhibits an authentic commitment to equity and inclusion in the workplace and in the field.

● Computer usage, including proficiency with Microsoft, Adobe, and Google applications, and experience with databases, websites and email marketing software.

● Availability for intra-state travel, including some weeknight and weekend activities.

● Valid driver’s license, personal vehicle, and ability to drive required.

● Must be able to read, write and communicate fluently in English. Spanish fluency is an added plus. 

Leadership Competencies

Leadership competencies are skills and behaviors that lead to successful performance for leaders. WEco is looking for a candidate that is both visionary and action-oriented, composed under pressure and approachable, and politically and interpersonally savvy. Critical management skills of working with a team to set clear priorities, motivate, and provide accountability are critical to the success of the selected Executive Director. The selected candidate should be strategic in focus, managing expectations through vision, purpose and, most importantly, integrity. These leadership competencies reflect WEco’s important core values.

Physical Requirements

Job duties include a general office environment, spent sitting and operating a computer and other office machinery. Events supported by this position may require the transportation of equipment and supplies. Must be able to occasionally lift up to 40 pounds, for moving or transporting outreach materials and other needs.