Deputy Director of Climate & Soil Health (Fully Remote)

American Farmland Trust

The Position

Reporting to the Climate & Soil Health Director, the Deputy Director provides operations management leadership and collaborates on strategic leadership for the historic growth and impact of the Climate and Soil Health National Initiative. The successful candidate will have a strong interest in building AFT’s efforts to catalyze a new conventional agriculture that protects the land, promotes soil health and resilience, and exhibits environmentally sound farming practices to create equitable, economically viable, climate neutral farming and ranching operations for future generations.

Position summary

As an integral part of the Climate and Soil Health division, the Deputy Director oversees internal operations related to diversified program planning, communications, financial spenddown, staff development and, to a limited extent, Director support in fostering external partner relationships. The Deputy will take an active role in defining the division’s programmatic growth strategy and annual work plans to ensure the successful achievement of committed award outcomes and budget targets. This effort will require the engagement of cross-functional staff to evaluate the impact of new funding on existing project timelines, staff capacity and/or other required parameters.

Duties and Responsibilities

Staff Support

  • Hire (if/as needed), mentor, and manage a team of diverse Climate and Soil Health staff while fostering a high-performance and equitable culture
  • Manage daily staff activities related to communications, project/program management and professional development efforts.
  • Lead weekly Climate and Soil Health staff meeting to discuss management approaches, upcoming deadlines, key capacity constraints and/or shared initiatives, co-lead programmatic, technical, and strategic discussions with Director.
  • Support Climate and Soil Health staff with collection of relevant project metrics and updates/summaries for Executive Bullet, Board Book and/or other reporting purposes upon request.
  • Support Director and division staff and assigned Project Manager(s) with management of division led projects, subawards, and/or program components to ensure successful execution of committed work on time, within scope and budget.
  • Support Director in defining priorities for Scientist(s) or other technical experts as needed.
  • Help Director foster synergy across AFT’s National Initiatives and Regional Programs to leverage diversified insight, education and skillsets of cross functional staff.

Programmatic & Financial Management

  • Partner with Director on development of annual division work plan that establishes fiscal year deadlines, staff hour allocations, other expenditures, and committed outcomes in accordance with award agreements.
  • Oversee division development of annual budget that establishes fiscal year revenue projections, operating expenses, and associated labor costs in accordance with award agreements.
  • Collaborate with Director and partners to execute and monitor subawards on projects.
  • Participate in quarterly work plan and financial reviews to establish overall program status, deviations from budget, foreseeable delays and management actions required.
  • Monitor division level budget on a monthly basis in partnership with the Project Management Team (PMT) and Finance to track YTD spenddown, revenue recognition, identify coding discrepancies, and escalate >8% budget deviations to VP of Programs for National Initiatives with plans for correction, and to Finance during quarterly financial reviews.
  • Support Project Manager(s) in validating data for interval reports to state/federal agencies, foundations, and other funding partners, and support Director and staff in progress reporting, in accordance with Accounting and Development led processes.
  • Advocate across AFT Departments for dedicated cross-functional staff support and commitment to division led projects.

Strategic Growth Planning

  • Serve as thought leader alongside Director to define current and future programmatic areas (i.e. scaling up diverse producer adoption of soil health practices, biochar integration, climate mitigation and resilience, etc.) to evolve the Climate & Soil Health division.
  • Identify opportunities to develop new partnerships in areas that elevate AFT’s mission to expand education and outreach to underserved communities with a specific focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ).
  • Support Director in the development of compelling proposals to secure multi-year funding opportunities for priority programmatic areas.
    Support Director in stewardship of current and prospective funders, including individual, foundational, corporate, and government agencies.
  • Work with National Communications staff to actively communicate about the Climate and Soil Health initiative, including op-eds, blog posts, press releases, websites, etc.

Qualifications

  • Projects: History of successful design, planning and execution for interconnected portfolios/programs/projects on time, within scope and budget. Experience in annual strategic planning and operating plan processes.
  • Financials: Experience managing complex federal/non-profit/or other budgets and grants with ability to translate financial concepts to staff at all levels of the organization.
  • Funding: Familiarity with state and federal grant management processes, contracting procedures and compliance, and other contracting or accountability systems required by universities, corporations, or foundation partners.
  • Contracting: Experience developing contracts with both for/not-for-profit partners for a variety of contract types and funding sources.
  • Communication: Timely, effective and responsive verbal and written interpersonal communication across various platforms for internal/external team members with ability to distill complex information into concise, actionable tasks
  • Leadership: Ability to effectively listen, respond to, and motivate internal/external team members to achieve common goals in a collaborative, highly matrixed and/or remote environment. High emotional intelligence.
  • Mindset: Self-driven, highly organized, systematic problem-solver with strong ability to exercise authority and effective collaboration within division, while excelling at welcoming, valuing, and, integrating diverse perspectives.
  • Adaptability: Proven ability to adapt quickly and support the effective management of conflicting priorities in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Systems: Proficient in using Microsoft applications such as Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; comfortable learning new systems.
  • DEIJ: Dedication to practice, learning, and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within AFT and across agriculture with a focus on social/cultural barriers that may impact practice adoption.
  • Agriculture: Basic familiarity with and deep interest in agriculture and/or conservation, climate change, soil health, carbon sequestration and/or regenerative practices with a desire to learn in support of AFT’s mission to holistically improve agricultural systems.

Education & Experience

  • BA/BS in agribusiness management, business management, natural resource management, soils, agronomy or related field
  • Master’s in Business Administration or Management would be beneficial; 2 years of additional relevant work experience can be substituted.
  • 5-7 years’ experience working in a Program Lead/Management or Supervisory role with strong experience and demonstrated confidence in budget, people and program management.
  • Additional non-profit work experience or professional accomplishments in one or more of the disciplines noted may substitute for the Masters.

Working Conditions

This job operates in a teleworking or professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, and phones. Occasional work in the evenings or on weekends may be required to meet deadlines.

Travel

  • Requires up to 25% travel, including to national headquarters office in Washington, D.C., other offices, and elsewhere in the country.

Physical requirements

  • Ability to safely and successfully perform the essential job functions consistent with the ADA, FMLA and other federal, state and local standards, including meeting qualitative and/or quantitative productivity standards.
  • Ability to maintain regular, punctual attendance consistent with the ADA, FMLA and other federal, state, and local standards.
  • The person in this position frequently communicates with partners, stakeholders, and staff who have inquiries and must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations.

Direct reports

This position has management responsibility for:

  • Direct supervision of two Climate and Soil Health Coordinators (one focused on logistics and operations, the other focused on external outreach and communications) and with programmatic growth may have potential to take on additional direct reports.
  • Will provide backup staff management support for the other team members who are managed by the Director as needed.

American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and helped thousands of farm families make a go of it (primarily through programs that increase farm viability and/or enhance farmland access). Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture’s most pressing needs and opportunities.

We believe diversity drives innovation. We are inclusive. We embrace differences. We recognize and respect the fundamental value and dignity of all our employees. We celebrate the unique traditions, heritages, and experiences our employees bring to the workplace. We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive culture that promotes and values diversity, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work every day. Please see AFT’s statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted ONLINE.  must include a resume AND cover letter to be considered. Applications will be accepted until the role is filled.