Founded in 1980, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) was the first farmland trust in the nation to protect farms and ranches from mounting development pressures. Since then, MALT has become a national model for the conservation of agricultural lands.
MALT’s success derives from the broad coalition it has assembled, including farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, and community leaders. MALT continues to advance farmland preservation and supports the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices throughout West Marin, strengthening a thriving agricultural community and maintaining the economic viability of West Marin farms and ranches.
MALT-protected ranches offer sustainably produced foods to communities in the Bay Area and beyond. In addition, MALT’s stewardship of the protected lands has preserved and enhanced the habitat of more than 100 wildlife species and improved climate resiliency of Marin’s agricultural landscapes.
In its first 40 years, MALT has protected more than 54,000 acres of agricultural land, with 91 agricultural conservation easements. By purchasing easements, MALT permanently protects agricultural land from development, providing immediate and long-term public benefits. MALT-protected lands include 141 miles of creeks and streams, 702 acres of wetlands, 12,787 acres of forested habitat, and 38,391 acres of grassland and rangeland.
MALT actively works with landowners, guiding stewardship practices, and offering technical and financial assistance for stewardship and sustainable management. The Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP) funds projects that improve soil and water quality, increase agricultural productivity, protect habitat and natural resources, and make working farms and ranches more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
With intensifying drought conditions, MALT responded by launching its Drought Resilience & Water Security (DRAWS) initiative allocating additional SAP funding to projects specific to water development and security. In addition, MALT seeks to validate new tools to assure agricultural sustainability into the future.
MALT’s Board of Directors guides the organization and provides financial and governance oversight. The Board reflects the diversity of the community including farmers and ranchers, business professionals, lawyers, financial experts, and community members. MALT’s work is guided by policies and best practices including conservation easement acquisition guidelines, bylaws, and a conflict-of-interest policy.
MALT is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, whose standards help shape those policies. The Board, working with the Executive Director, creates the strategic plan to chart the organization’s future direction. Activities of the Board support the mission of permanently protecting Marin’s agricultural land for agricultural use and support the broader vision of a thriving agricultural community in a healthy and diverse natural environment.
The Executive Director provides leadership toward the development and achievement of MALT’s mission, strategy, annual goals and objectives. The successful candidate will lead and manage all functional areas of the organization including finance and budget management, advancement, easements, acquisition, conservation, stewardship, communications, and human resources. Reporting to the Board, the Executive Director oversees the coordination between all constituents focused to support the preservation of successful agriculture in West Marin.
MALT expects the Executive Director to maintain and enhance its key priorities and find creative and innovative ways to help the organization thrive into the future as the ecological, economic and social issues are ever changing. Relationship skills and a high emotional intelligence will be required to work with the many constituents including ranchers and farmers, local and state governments, the local community and their leaders, partner organizations, donors, Board of Directors, and staff. A respect and understanding of MALT’s history, the ranchers, farmers, and agricultural community it serves, are important to build trust and an evolving and collaborative vision for the future.
Priorities and Responsibilities:
Ensure that MALT’s mission is at the core of all staff functions. Collaborate with the Board to set goals and objectives for the organization and update the strategic plan. Implement the strategic plan. Review and refine roles and responsibilities, providing a clear vision for staff. Further develop a collaborative culture internally and with the Board. Create targeted and focused community and constituent outreach to strengthen MALT’s reputation.
LEADERSHIP – As the external face of the organization, proactively support the continuing efforts of the Board and staff to implement MALT’s mission, providing a vision for future strategic efforts and partnerships. Inspire and motivate staff and a network of partners and supporters to promote and fulfill the mission. Demonstrate high ethical standards in all aspects of work.
RELATIONSHIPS – Listen and act upon input from constituents in support of the mission and vision of MALT. Establish trust and strong relationships with the ranchers and farmers, the local community and their leaders, partner organizations, donors, Board of Directors, staff, and local and state agencies.
BOARD SUPPORT AND ADMINISTRATION – Establish and sustain a collaborative working relationship with the Board of Directors. Provide accurate information in a timely manner for the Board to function well and make decisions. Support the administration of the Board. Serve as the interface between the Board and staff as well as MALT constituents.
MANAGEMENT – Lead staff with respect and compassion for their diverse perspectives. Foster collaborative and supportive work environment among operations, conservation, acquisitions, stewardship for easements and sustainable agriculture, science and regenerative agriculture, fundraising, and communications. Foster a culture of trust within the organization.
COMMUNICATIONS – Ensure effective communications to strengthen MALT’S position as a valued community asset. Approve the communications plan and serve as the external face of the organization to local, regional, and national constituencies. Assure the organization and its mission and services are consistently presented with an aligned, strong, positive image to relevant constituents and the broader public. Represent communications between all constituents to ensure the success of MALT’s mission.
ADVANCEMENT – Serve as overall leader for fundraising for the organization. Work closely with the Director of Advancement to determine financial and advancement goals and expand the funding base. Actively support and participate in all advancement activities as a credible public speaker, representing an external face of MALT. Understand the public funding and municipal finance relevant to MALT and enhance efforts to continue that support. Be involved in ongoing cultivation of new donors and stewardship of existing donors.
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – Work closely with the Director of Operations to develop and recommend an annual budget for Board approval and manage the organization’s resources within those budget guidelines according to current laws, regulations and best practices. Prepare and present accurate, clear financial reports, including a comparison of actual to budget and a forward-looking forecast, on a schedule established by the Board. Interpretation of various budgets to the Board and committee chairs may be needed. Work with the Director of Operations to create and maintain appropriate fiscal delegation and policies.
HUMAN RESOURCES – Review and oversee the implementation of policies and procedures to maintain a positive work environment and team approach for the staff. Working with an outside human resources consultant, ensure the minimization of risk through compliance practices following all procedures and applicable laws relating to human resources.
TECHNOLOGY – Review systems and identify upgrades needed to bring cost effective efficiencies throughout the organization and related to finance, fundraising, and all functional areas of the organization.
CONSERVATION EASEMENTS and ACQUISITIONS – Build on MALT’s past successes and determine potential future innovations to expand MALT’s presence in Marin. Develop a sophisticated approach to structuring land conservation easements and land acquisitions. Work with the stewardship and conservation team to advance acquisition projects and help facilitate key decisions between Board and staff.
CONSERVATION STRATEGY – Guide a very complex set of issues in the conservation space. Specifically, integrating the ecological aspects of agriculture into the strategy.
EQUITY, DIVERSITY, and INCLUSION – Promote equity, diversity, and inclusion both internal and external to the organization. The Executive Director must embrace and incorporate the range of constituents in the county.
The Executive Director is someone who has successfully led and managed an organization, ideally in the nonprofit sector, or a private or public company with demonstrated interest in the values of MALT. The successful candidate is a team builder who creates a positive work environment for the staff and develops effective processes and systems within the organization. Experience working with or serving on a board is strongly preferred. This includes a demonstrated ability to collaborate with and effectively use the Board members’ expertise to further develop and implement an updated strategic plan.
- Previous experience running nonprofit, or private or public company with demonstrated interest in MALT’s mission.
- Relationship builder with internal staff and with external constituents. Consensus builder with the ability to motivate staff and diverse constituencies. Ability to develop relationships with staff, partnerships, relevant local and state government representatives, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector to further the mission of MALT. Proven track record of developing respectful, positive relationships with stakeholders.
- Demonstrated management experience and success. Ability to attract and retain talent, motivate team, delegate effectively, and manage performance. Respects the expertise of the staff and is supportive of staff development.
- Demonstrated achievement as a fundraiser. Embraces diverse constituencies of loyal donors, major donors, partnerships, and government funders.
Understanding of agriculture, land conservation and stewardship. Natural resource or land management experience. Experience with Land Trusts preferred.
- A big picture thinker who can understand the opportunities and risks going forward. Development of realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and support the strategic plan.
Excellent oral, and written communications skills. Experience presenting to Board of Directors, staff, and stakeholders. Effective public speaking skills and experience.
- Exhibits commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusivity. Proactive focus internally and externally embracing equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
- Bachelor’s degree is required. Advanced degree preferred. Degree in related field preferred.
- Strong work ethic with unquestionable professionalism and high integrity. A commitment to the overall mission.
- Leader who makes the team feel valued and heard. Someone who is excited about the possibilities of this organization and who is willing to be hands-on in making improvements happen.
- Active listener who seeks to gain respect and trust from her/his/their Board, staff, ranchers and farmers and all constituents related to MALT.
- Willingness to learn technical expertise related to agriculture, conservation, easements, stewardship.
The ability to be hands-on to support staff when needed, without being a micromanager.
- Charismatic, approachable, warm, person who exercises humility.
This is a full-time, non-exempt position. This position requires some presence in MALT’s office in Point Reyes Station, the West Marin community and some in-person collaboration with stakeholder groups including donors, agriculturalists, partners, and community members.
Marin Agricultural Land Trust welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities, and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to permanently protect Marin’s agricultural land for agricultural use. MALT is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace in which everyone is welcomed, valued, and supported. We are a team that works together to achieve our goals. We recognize that diverse teams make the strongest teams and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply.
Salary commensurate with experience.
For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact:
Jenifer Hartwell, Managing Partner Hartwell Group