Are you a visionary leader passionate about environmental conservation and sustainable land management? The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts is seeking an exceptional Executive Director to spearhead our mission of preserving and enhancing the natural resources of Illinois. As the driving force behind our organization, you will collaborate with diverse stakeholders, advocate for effective policies, and foster innovative solutions to address critical soil and water challenges. If you possess a proven track record of strategic leadership, advocacy, and a deep commitment to environmental stewardship, join us in shaping a greener and more resilient future for Illinois. Your expertise will make a lasting impact on our state’s landscapes and communities. Apply now to lead the way towards a more sustainable tomorrow. Position announcement below!


The Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD) was established in 1948 as a non-profit organization with the mission to promote and advocate for the responsible management of natural resources throughout the state. Over the years, the AISWCD has played a vital role in advancing soil and water conservation efforts in Illinois through advocacy, education, outreach, and collaboration with local districts, government agencies, and stakeholders. Through their initiatives, the association has contributed significantly to preserving and improving soil health, water quality, and overall environmental sustainability. With a rich history of over seven decades, the AISWCD continues to be a driving force behind effective conservation practices, ensuring a more sustainable future for Illinois and its residents.


To represent and empower Illinois’ Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The AISWCD supports the mantra “Clean Water, Healthy Soils.”


The Executive Director is key to carrying out the mission and goals of AISWCD and ensuring it has the resources needed to achieve its vision. The Executive Director role is divided between three primary responsibilities:

1: Organizational Management

  • Articulate and advance a cohesive vision for continued organizational growth and development.
  • Work collaboratively with the Board of Directors to ensure the organization’s health and wellbeing through frequent and constructive communication.
  • Develop programmatic work in partnership with the Board of Directors and management team that aligns the mission, strategy, and financial needs of AISWCD.
  • Maintain an effective and efficient operational infrastructure and ensure that an effective management team is in place with frequent communication and consultation.
  • Oversee effective communications strategies and serve as a visible spokesperson.
  • Be accountable for financial performance and work in partnership with the financial officer to oversee finances, develop and monitor an annual budget, and provide strategic communications to the board and staff.

2: Advocacy

  • Represent the AISWCD, in collaboration with AISWCD’s contractual lobbyist, in legislative and regulatory matters, engaging with lawmakers, government officials, and relevant stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with local conservation districts to identify key issues, concerns, and priorities, ensuring their voices are heard in the advocacy process.
  • Develop and implement advocacy strategies to promote soil and water conservation policies and programs at the state and federal levels.
  • Plan and organize advocacy events, such as a legislative day, workshops, and public awareness campaigns, to raise awareness about soil and water conservation issues and garner support for the association’s initiatives.
  • Work closely with the board and committees to develop a unified advocacy agenda and consensus on key issues, fostering a cohesive approach to advocacy efforts.

3: Member District and Partner Engagement

  • Build and maintain relationships with allied organizations, environmental groups, and industry partners to strengthen the AISWCD’s position and influence in the conservation community.
  • Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with member soil and water conservation districts, ensuring open lines of communication and addressing their needs and concerns.
  • Organize and facilitate regular meetings, conferences, and workshops to provide opportunities for networking, information sharing, and collaboration among member districts.
  • Collaborate with partner organizations, government agencies, and industry stakeholders to build strategic alliances and foster productive partnerships in support of soil and water conservation initiatives.
  • Identify and pursue opportunities for grant funding and sponsorships from external sources to support member and partner engagement activities.
  • Support member districts in their capacity-building efforts by providing technical assistance, training, and resources to enhance their conservation programs.
  • Promote awareness and recognition of member districts’ achievements and success stories through various communication channels, such as newsletters, press releases, and social media.
  • Attend relevant conferences, forums, and events to represent the association and its members, establishing the AISWCD as a respected and influential voice in the conservation community.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as environmental science, natural resource management, public administration, or a related discipline and or equivalent experience.
  • Proven leadership experience at a senior management level, ideally with a minimum of 5 years in a similar executive or leadership position within a non-profit organization or a related field.
  • A successful track record of advocating for environmental and conservation issues, with a deep understanding of public policy, legislative processes, and relevant regulations at the state and federal levels.
  • Knowledge of soil and water conservation principles, environmental issues, and sustainable practices, enabling informed decision-making and guidance for member districts.
  • Strong financial management skills, including budget development, fiscal responsibility, and resource allocation to ensure the organization’s financial stability and growth.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, capable of effectively engaging and collaborating with diverse stakeholders, including board members, member districts, government officials, and partner organizations.
  • Ability to represent the association professionally and credibly in public settings, including conferences, media interviews, and public events.
  • Demonstrated experience in team management, with the ability to inspire and lead a team, fostering a positive and supportive work environment.
  • A strategic thinker with a proven ability to develop and execute long-term plans, set organizational priorities, and adapt strategies in response to evolving challenges and opportunities.
  • Experience in fundraising and securing grants from various sources to support the organization’s programs and initiatives.
  • Commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization and the broader conservation community.
  • Strong organizational and project management skills, capable of managing multiple priorities and deadlines effectively.


The salary range is $80,000 to $100,000 with a competitive benefits package including health insurance, retirement plan with an employer match of upwards to 3%, and paid time off.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and interested parties are encouraged to apply early. To apply, send the following to current Executive Director Grant Hammer at with only AISWCD SEARCH and YOUR NAME in the subject line. Additionally, please include the following:

  • A cover letter that speaks to the applicant’s core competencies and qualifications outlined above, and
  • Current resume


AISWCD is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate against any employee or job applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic. We encourage qualified candidates of all backgrounds to apply and join our team as we work together to achieve our mission and make a positive impact on those we serve.


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