Chief Executive Officer

Hill Country Conservancy
January 23, 2020
Austin, Texas
Job Type
5524 Bee Caves Road
Contact Name (not public)
Elissa Dumiak


Hill Country Conservancy

Chief Executive Officer

Position Announcement

Scion Executive Search ( has been retained to conduct a search for the incoming Chief Executive Officer on behalf of our incredible client, the Hill Country Conservancy; a renowned organization dedicated to the preservation of vital natural resources through conservation, community collaboration, and engagement for the Texas Hill Country, greater Austin, Texas area, and beyond. This tremendous opportunity is full-time and located onsite in the organization’s headquarters in Austin, Texas.


Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) seeks a dynamic and entrepreneurial CEO who will (i) lead the organization, (ii) expand its programs and impact and engage the community, (iii) lead efforts to establish resources for its programs and expansions, (iv) build organizational awareness, and (v) lead strategic planning and program creation efforts to achieve maximum impact and ensure a stable and sustainable financial future for the organization.

Reporting directly to the Board of Directors, the CEO will adeptly represent the organization to partners, landowners, as well as government and community organizational partners. The CEO will also be responsible for fostering the organizational scope and impact by proactively identifying new opportunities and avenues to support strategic growth.

This exciting and rewarding position offers a mix of inside and outside office opportunities. Duties outside the office include local travel throughout the greater Austin area for events, meetings with donors and partners, etc. Field trips in the Hill Country to meet with landowners and prospects are also quite common. The ability to meaningfully connect and engage diverse groups of people in both urban and rural communities while representing the work and mission of Hill Country Conservancy is essential to continued success. This position will require little-to-no overnight travel.


Hill Country Conservancy was formed in 1999, initially to strategically preserve large tracts of open space that conserve critical water features, preserve outdoor recreation opportunities, and help maintain the Hill Country’s unique quality of life. HCC is a tax-exempt land trust.

For decades, the 250,000 acres overlying the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer had been the prize in a war waged between the area’s business and environmental interests. Finally, after years of discord, leaders from the two sides agreed to a series of meetings. During six months of hard negotiations and getting to know one another, the suspicions and doubts on both sides slowly turned into mutual trust.

The parties realized they were fighting for the same thing: to preserve a quality of life unmatched anywhere in the nation. Everyone agreed the solution was the creation of a visionary land trust, and within a few months, Hill Country Conservancy was incorporated. Hill Country Conservancy’s Board of Directors is a coalition of leaders from the business and environmental communities who are turning the lessons they learned in those “peace talks” into answers for the future. The organization is committed to fashioning unique, farsighted solutions to protect water resources, open space lands, and the economy.

As a leading and highly respected organization, Hill Country Conservancy protects large strategic tracts of open space that conserve critical water features and wildlife habitat; provides much needed recreational access to nature via the Violet Crown Trail; and promotes a conservation ethic by cultivating awareness and transforming community.



  • Lead the organization in a manner that supports and guides the organizational mission as defined by the Board of Directors.
  • Act as HCC’s primary motivational team leader, inspiring the management, staff, Board, volunteers, and partners.
  • Review the organizational and staff responsibilities, structures, capabilities, reporting relationships, and identify opportunities to make strategic adjustments to best grow organizational impact while maintaining the organizations positive working culture.
  • Identify, plan, and make meaningful and impactful organizational strategic plan suggestions for programmatic expansion to the Board of Directors.
  • Work as a true partner with the Board of Directors to leverage the experience, knowledge, abilities, and connections of the group to guide the organization to wise and thoughtful strategic decision making on behalf of the organization.
  • Execute the strategic plan and establish and implement administrative and operating policies and procedures.
  • Direct and manage the development, implementation, and analysis of organization goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for programming; establish appropriate service and staffing levels; allocate resources accordingly.
  • Provide general oversight of specific programs, services, and activities which support the goals and objectives of the organization.
  • Plan, direct, manage, and review the organization’s strategic plan.


  • Maintain regular and ongoing communication and relationships with the entire Board; provide leadership and support to Directors at all times.
  • Attend all Board meetings and provide reports and updates on staff as well as all current work, project timelines, and project and organizational progress.
  • Meet with, update, and inform the Board on current work, project delivery timelines, and organizational progress.
  • Drive organizational growth by creating a consensus among Board members, volunteers, committees, and staff for needed projects, strategic plans, and/or organizational changes.
  • Analyze operations and program development to evaluate performance through assessments and communicate strategic vision for identified evolution opportunities to the Board.
  • Implement Board policies and procedures and build support for Board decisions amongst staff.
  • Promote a congenial, communicative atmosphere amongst Board members to foster approval on needed projects, strategic plans, or organizational changes.
  • Support and advise the Board members on their work and Committee assignments, identifying the organization's needs and making strategic recommendations to further the growth and mission of the organization.


  • Provide inspiring leadership which continues to build upon existing fellowship and camaraderie amongst the staff and the Board.
  • Meet with staff to identify and resolve problems; assign projects and further define areas of responsibility.
  • Select, train, motivate, evaluate, and mentor all organization personnel; provide and coordinate staff training and professional development opportunities; implement performance improvement plans and/or termination procedures as needed.
  • Continually cultivate the positive environment (culture) of Hill Country Conservancy with the staff, board, and partners.
  • Create, refine, and ensure effective programs are in place to best train and empower HCC managers to mentor and grow supporting staff.
  • Monitor and assess staff workload, administrative and support systems, as well as internal reporting relationships.


  • Lead the organization with an entrepreneurial outlook and spirit while balancing the need to make educated smart business decisions.
  • Develop and execute strategy within the context of the city, state, and national landscape as to HCC's programs, partnerships, and funding source creation.
  • Foster new ideas and initiatives; apply innovative thinking and performance measurements to analyze and support strategic decision-making.
  • Inspire and gain Board approval, participation, and support of strategic plans.
  • Work with the Board of Directors to ensure that the organization’s strategic plan advances the organization’s mission, establishes goals and objectives, and develops metrics to measure progress.
  • Lead strategic discussions as needed for Board approval and propose refined, actionable items (plans) that should be voted on, adopted, and/or embraced by the Board.
  • Stay abreast of new trends and innovations in the field of public and non-profit organization administration.


  • Supervise the build and administration of the annual budget, with Board approval, to ensure maximum utilization of resources and optimum financial positioning for the organization.
  • Prudently assist in managing all financials and other resources within established budget guidelines (and in accordance with current laws and regulations).
  • Provide data, analysis, and background for the Board to use in its budgetary review and approval process.
  • Negotiate contracts and solutions for a variety of administrative, fiscal, and special projects.
  • Analyze and prepare recommendations on special contract requests, monitor contract budgets, and effectively allocate limited resources.


  • Drive development and fundraising efforts, in collaboration with the Board and Committee, to meet organizational goals and objectives.
  • Work with staff and Resource Development Committee to review and refine HCC’s fundraising plan to ensure continued cultivation of existing donor relationships and establish new relationships.
  • Advise Board on prospective fundraising/development opportunities and executive related initiatives via direct hands-on fundraising initiatives in collaboration with the Resource Development Committee and staff.
  • Review the organizational fundraising successes/history and define current and future capabilities.
  • Develop organizational strategy and infrastructure implementation to best support growth and effectively meet the needs of future funding challenges.
  • Adapt to changing community needs and create new funding sources.
  • Drive strategic development and the creation of partnerships to meet organizational goals and objectives.
  • Ensure organization compliance with program grant requirements.
  • Proactively prepare for the second phase of a Violet Crown Trail capital campaign, and planning and permitting the second phase.


  • Lead outreach and community relations efforts at events, panels, and in the local and national community in a concerted effort to promote the organization’s mission, and programs in a consistent and positive manner.
  • Serve as both HCC’s representative and partner to elected officials and outside agencies.
  • Promote public and legislative awareness of HCC’s new programs while identifying and leveraging new potential funding opportunities.
  • Ensure the development and implementation of effective public relations efforts; oversee the preparation of news releases and public statements.



  • A true passion for the mission of Hill Country Conservancy as well as interest in land conservation and leading an organization that is dramatically impacting Austin, Texas and the greater Hill Country region.
  • 7-10+ years’ experience as a visionary, resourceful, and transparent leader of a progressive organization.
  • The ability to meaningfully connect and engage diverse groups of people in both urban and rural communities while representing the work and mission of HCC.
  • Prior successful experience working directly with and/or reporting to a Board of Directors.
  • History with successful management of a dynamic, multi-program organization; a strong understanding of what it takes to maximize program effectiveness, maintain deliverable quality, and optimize resources.
  • Exceptional business acumen with experience in making sound and educated business decisions.
  • The ability to establish and maintain positive partnerships.
  • Change management experience with proven track record of professional success as a business or nonprofit leader growing organizational capacity.
  • Knowledge of, and ability to lead strategic decisions.
  • Experience pertaining to easements/land preservation and conservation is a plus!
  • Experience utilizing technology to improve organizational processes.
  • Ability to interpret complex materials, assemble and analyze information, and prepare written reports and records in a clear, concise manner.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, and public speaking skills.
  • An innate ability to come up to speed quickly on all federal, state and local laws, codes, and regulations.
  • Four-year degree or higher from an accredited university.
  • Prior experience and/or exposure to the principles and practices of non-profit administration is a plus!


This full-time, onsite opportunity is responsible for making a significant impact in the Austin, Texas and greater Hill Country region. In addition to a competitive base salary (DOE), this incredible role provides a comprehensive benefits package which includes health insurance, paid time off, and other perks. This is an opportunity, position, and mission which will inspire you daily!


Austin is the state capital of Texas, and is an inland city bordering the Hill Country region. Home to the University of Texas flagship campus, Austin is known for its eclectic live-music scene centered around country, blues, and rock. Austin’s culture is appealing to many as the city provides phenomenal access to parks, hike and bike trails, good food, great music, and a thriving, collaborative, diverse community culture. In addition to being one of the fastest growing large cities in the United States, Austin was recently voted the No. 1 place to live in America for the third year in a row - based on affordability, job prospects, and quality of life.

How To Apply


Hill Country Conservancy has retained the services of Scion Executive Search, a national executive search firm specializing in mission-driven organization recruitment, to assist in conducting this important search. For immediate consideration please apply with your resume and cover letter, formatted in Microsoft Word, via:


Please address applications to:

Elissa Dumiak, Senior Executive Recruiter

Isaac Schild, Managing Partner

Scion Executive Search

(888) 487-8850


Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made.

Hill Country Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages diversity and equity in all facets of the organization’s work. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other protected class.


Scion Executive Search is a retained executive search firm connecting executive nonprofit leadership to nonprofit organizations and foundations across the country. Born out of the nonprofit sector, we provide expert search strategies and leadership for your organization. Our executive candidates are true agents for change, and we are experts at matching their talents, motivations, and passions to your organization’s mission. Scion Executive Search has led hundreds of successful executive searches. Information about our firm and successes can be found online at

Scion is an equal opportunity employer and service provider committed to not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, gender, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation or belief, or any other protected class. We are committed to the principals of Equal Opportunity Employment and are dedicated to making employment decisions based on merit and value, for ourselves, our client companies, and for the candidates we represent.

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