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Executive Director

Clean Ocean Access
Job Title: Executive Director
Job Type:
Executive Director
Rhode Island
Job Search Ends:
December 31st, 2021
Organization's Website:


Established in 2006 and incorporated as a non-profit in 2014, COA is a growing community science environmental organization.  With $900 in cash with no employees in 2014, COA today has an annual operating budget of $1M and 10 employees. Located in Middletown, Rhode  Island, COA’s programmatic footprint focuses primarily on Aquidneck (Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport) and Conanicut (Jamestown) Islands.

Our vision:  A clean, healthy ocean that is accessible to all.

Our mission:  Inspire and educate the community to take action through environmentally-responsible behaviors.

We work to eliminate marine debris, improve coastal water quality, and protect and preserve  shoreline access. COA is a casual and intense work environment where creativity, flexibility, and  collaboration are essential and relies on planning, attention to detail, information technology, operational  excellence, and continuous investments for improvements.

To learn more about our programmatic goals, values and achievements, please see our website:  Our Focus – Clean Ocean Access


The Executive Director (ED) leads Clean Ocean Access (COA). The ED is the organization’s visionary leader, chief evangelist, and chief revenue officer, responsible for achieving transformative impact by implementing the strategic vision and plan and attracting new levels of philanthropic support.  The ED is responsible for building the organization’s culture, creating business plans, and overseeing day-to-day activities. The ED empowers the dedicated COA staff to ensure the business is operating efficiently and effectively to realize its short-term and long-term programmatic goals.  The position requires a  dynamic, mission-driven leader who fosters an excellent working relationship with the Staff and Board  of Directors and any working teams that support COA’s mission, vision, and values. The ED reports  directly to the Board of Directors.


1) Organization Mission, Strategy and Leadership: Works with Board of Directors and staff to ensure that the Mission, Vision,  and Values are fulfilled and that the programmatic goals are achieved.

  • Responsible for achieving COA’s vision, fulfilling the organization’s mission, and implementing COA’s strategic plan to ensure that the organization successfully creates the transformative change desired to impact the local and regional environment. 
  • Responsible for enhancing COA’s image through active and visible community participation  and by working closely with the business, philanthropic, government, and social service sectors whose roles are critical to COA’s success. 
  • Oversees all marketing, public relations and communications functions for the organization.
  • Serves as COA’s primary spokesperson to the organization’s constituents, the media, and the  general public.


2) Fiscal Sustainability and Viability:  Attract the financial resources necessary to ensure the financial health of  the organization.

  • Leverages philanthropic support by cultivating, soliciting and stewarding individuals, families, corporations, and foundations as partners and investors in COA.
  • Attracts earned income support by building COA’s fee for service business functions.
  • Secures government support and grants where appropriate to advance the organization’s programmatic goals.
  • Creates organizational sustainability by attracting multi-year investments and building the organization’s future reserves and endowment.
  • Builds and manages an annual budget to ensure the fiscal integrity of the organization.


3) Board Governance: Works with Board of Directors in order to fulfill the organization’s mission, vision,  and values.

  • In partnership with the Board of Directors, recruits, onboards, manages and inspires board member engagement to support achievement of the organization’s goals.
  • Engages the board in the development of COA’s strategic vision and leverages each board member as a thought partner and contributor in realizing the organization’s vision.
  • Communicates effectively with board leadership to help inform key business decisions.


4) COA Operations: Oversee the day-to-day operations and ensure its overall successful, long-term operational efficiencies and effectiveness.  In partnership with staff leadership, the ED:

  • Recruits, trains, manages and inspires a dynamic staff team to successfully build and implement the organization’s business plans.
  • Leads the effective administration of COA operations.
  • Ensures a positive working environment and an organizational culture that stands as the model for all other employers to emulate.
  • Establishes employment and administrative policies and procedures for all functions and for  the day-to-day operation of COA.  Reviews and approves contracts for services.


The ideal candidate for the Executive Director’s role is a proven community leader with a track record of successfully leading an organization to achieve new levels of scale and impact.  The ideal candidate embraces servant-leadership, leverages the unique talents of staff and volunteers,  empowers and inspires staff excellence, and have a proven track record of revenue generation.  Qualified candidates should bring:


  • 5+ years of senior management experience
  • 10 + years of leadership experience
  • 5 + years of fundraising experience
  • Advanced degree from an accredited institution or comparable experience


  • Brings a track record of effective leadership and proven results regionally and/or nationally scaling a performance- and  outcomes-based organization and staff.
  • Demonstrates strong relationship-building and solicitation skills, with a proven track record of philanthropic revenue generation.
  • Serves as a strong community advocate and public relations leader; engage a wide range of stakeholders to leverage philanthropic and earned income support.
  • Excels with outstanding organizational management skills with demonstrated ability to coach staff, manage and  develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget.
  • Brings past success working with a Board of Directors or similar entity with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships.
  • Excels as a high-level strategic thinker and planner complemented, featuring excellent listening skills; has the ability to  envision and convey the organization’s strategic future to the staff, board, volunteers, donors and community partners.
  • Excels at planning, delegating, program development and task  facilitation.
  • Brings a track record of strong written and verbal communication skills and is a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills.
  • Is action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning.
  • Brings passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, self-directed, and strong work ethic.
  • Enjoys working with a diverse group of people in different settings.


While the role can primarily be conducted during normal business hours, on occasion the ED role requires flexible work hours including nights and weekends to perform job duties.  As public face of COA, attendance at functions and activities is expected.


This position offers the right candidate an opportunity to transform the environment, which is vital to Rhode Island’s economy.  The identified leader will embrace this career opportunity and leave an indelible mark on all who will benefit from a clean and accessible ocean.  The salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.


Clean Ocean Access (COA) is an equal opportunity employer who strives to create an atmosphere where  diversity of identity, experience, and background are welcomed, valued, and supported. COA is  committed to considering candidates for employment opportunities without regard to race, color,  religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, disability and any other status  protected under applicable law, and provides reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with  disabilities. All decisions affecting employment at COA are made based on qualification, performance  and other pertinent work-related factors.


All decisions affecting employment at Clean Ocean Access are made based on qualification, performance  and other pertinent work-related factors, and without discrimination against any person based on race,  color, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or  expression, veteran's status or any other legally protected status.


Interested applicants should prepare and forward cover letter, resume and compensation requirements to the New Kensington Group at chuckgordon1979@gmail.com.


133 Federal Street, Suite 802 | Boston, MA 02110
Phone: 617.426.2606
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