Following an extensive national search, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary board of directors selected Sean Grace as the president of the world’s oldest and largest member-supported raptor conservation organization in the world. Grace will assume duties at Hawk Mountain in January 2018.

Grace, who most recently served as both the center director at Audubon Sharon and leader for Audubon’s Healthy Forest program across Connecticut. He brings to Hawk Mountain a passion for raptor conservation science and education, along with nearly 20 years of conservation leadership experience.

“Sean has the perfect mix of non-profit leadership and business skills along with a genuine passion for wildlife,” said Fred Beste, the Sanctuary’s chairman of the board. “He’s a perfect fit.”

Grace expressed his excitement for the position. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Sanctuary and its global raptor conservation mission. I’ve always had a personal connection to birds of prey and, over the years, have been a long-time visitor at the Sanctuary. Being selected to lead this organization feels to me a bit like coming home.”

Grace has broad experience in conservation science and education, wildlife research, business, and retail marketing, as well as management and fundraising success. In addition to his role overseeing operations at Audubon Sharon, his other past positions have included director for Wildlife Expeditions in Wyoming, director of the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Plainsboro Preserve, and district manager for Blue Ridge Mountain Sports.

After earning a degree in business management from the University Of Massachusetts, Grace went on to complete a graduate-level professional residency in environmental education at the Teton Science School accredited by the University of Utah. In 2000, he completed his M.A. in Environmental Studies at Montclair State University.

“I look forward to joining this group of dynamic staff, board, volunteer core, and local and international community supporting the Sanctuary,” Grace said.

The president is the Sanctuary’s top-ranking position, responsible for directing effective, creative, and productive mission-based programs. The president manages the professional staff, programs, budget, fundraising, and physical facilities at Hawk Mountain and reports to the board of directors. Grace replaces Dr. Keith Bildstein, the Sanctuary’s Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science who served as interim president during the national search.