Executive Director - March 2018

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), a non-profit, marine conservation organization is seeking to hire an Executive Director based at the REEF Campus in Key Largo, FL. The campus serves as an educational center for visitors and groups and an operations center supporting a membership of over 65,000 engaging in REEF’s international programs. As REEF heads in to its 25th year, this is an exciting time of growth at REEF, and this role is ideal for a mission-driven and self-directed individual eager to take an established organization toward greater significance and reach.

Position Description and Responsibilities

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for REEF’s staff, programs, and execution of its mission.  With 9 full and part time staff working from 3 locations, the Executive Director will often be called upon to jump into all aspects of operation.  Priority tasks and duties will include, but may not be limited to, the following responsibilities. 

  • Ensure ongoing programmatic quality and rigorous program evaluation. Oversee the consistent quality of financial management, program administration, fundraising, communications, and operational systems. Recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals.
  • Actively engage and energize REEF members, donors, volunteers, partnering organizations, and board members.
  • Support the Board of Trustees by serving as a representative on all committees; seek and build board involvement with strategic direction for both ongoing operations and long-term program development.
  • Promote an organizational culture that fosters communication, collaboration, teamwork, and trust.
  • Provide leadership, direction, and support for all staff, including senior staff and other direct reports.
  • Employ vision and imagination to help REEF capitalize on its current successes through short and long-range strategic and operational planning.
  • Maintain human resources systems including health insurance, processing payroll, tracking and reporting of time-off, and the employee manual, ensuring that all policies and procedures remain current.
  • Ensure effective systems to track organizational growth and regularly evaluate program components. Measure and communicate successes to the board, funders, and other constituents.
  • Lead a comprehensive fundraising program with development personnel to support existing program operations, future program expansions, and facility improvements.
  • Prepare annual financial plans and budgets for review and adoption by the Board, and compile quarterly financial reports for review by the Board Finance Committee.
  • Oversee staff work plans and activities to ensure tasks are supporting implementation of strategic goals and priorities within the organizational budget.
  • Ensure that the bookkeeping records and files are maintained in good order and that all financial records are, at all times, in compliance with all non-profit reporting and other legal requirements.
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to public relations, with the goal of creating a stronger brand that garners new opportunities.
  • Strengthen capacity building efforts to support REEF’s Volunteer Survey Project, Invasive Species Program, Grouper Moon Project, Explorers Education Program, and other related REEF activities.
  • Oversee planned campus improvement projects, and initiate new efforts as appropriate.


The Executive Director will be thoroughly committed to REEF’s mission to conserve marine environments worldwide. The position requires a highly positive attitude and aptitude for working as a self-starter in a fast-paced non-profit organization, with a willingness to adapt to accommodate organizational growth. The successful candidate needs to be agile and able to work in a sometimes unpredictable environment, in a busy office of staff, interns, visitors, and program participants. All candidates should have proven leadership, coaching, and relationship management experience.

Specific requirements include:

  • At least 5 years of management experience with a track record of effectively leading a performance and outcomes-based organization and staff. Ability to point to specific examples of having developed and implemented strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth.
  • Advanced degree or equivalent work experience in a relevant field required.
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation.
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performing teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage budgets.
  • Team-building skills and a collaborative leadership style with the ability to empower staff, as well as the capacity and ability to enforce accountability of staff members for success.
  • Past success working with a Board of Trustees with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships.
  • Experience managing Capital Fundraising Campaigns preferred.
  • A strong reputation and network among conservation organizations and leaders in the non-profit, diving, and government sectors.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Strong interest in ocean life, marine conservation, and citizen science a must.
  • Action-oriented, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning. Ability to work in a diverse and collaborate team across multiple disciplines.
  • Willingness and ability to travel domestically and abroad.
  • Willingness and ability to work weekends and holidays when required.

Position Term, Compensation, and Work Environment

This is a full-time position with a salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include health insurance, accrued paid time off (PTO), option for flex-time work weeks, and 7 paid holiday days per year. The position will be based at REEF’s Key Largo, Florida Campus.  Travel to domestic and international locations will be required for trade shows, conferences, and meetings.   

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to jobs@REEF.org.  The position is currently open and awaiting the perfect candidate.

Organization Background

REEF conserves marine environments worldwide. Its mission is to protect biodiversity and ocean life by actively engaging and inspiring the public through citizen science, education, and partnerships with the scientific community. REEF programs include marine life education, field research, and one of the largest citizen science programs in the world, supported through unique partnerships with private, governmental, scientific, and educational sectors. REEF’s programs directly benefit and help to protect marine life worldwide.

REEF was founded in 1990 to educate scuba divers and snorkelers in marine life identification and to utilize their marine life sightings. Patterned after the successful Audubon and Cornell birding programs, REEF has grown into a 65,000 plus member organization with programs in place throughout the western hemisphere. Primary among these programs is the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, enabling marine enthusiasts to conduct surveys and submit sightings data from throughout the world’s oceans. Data are managed by REEF staff and made available to researchers, scientists, managers, and the public free of charge via REEF’s on-line database at www.REEF.org. To date more than 200,000 marine life surveys have been submitted.

In addition to the Volunteer Fish Survey Project, REEF maintains a large and active diver education program with standardized course materials for each of its survey regions. Strong partnerships within the diving industry and effective outreach provide opportunities for thousands of divers to learn about marine life and take part in surveying activities throughout the year. REEF manages the July-long Great Annual Fish Count; the Grouper Moon Project – researching grouper spawning aggregations; the Exotic Species Program – tracking the impact and control of non-native marine fish species, particularly the human-induced invasion of Indo-Pacific lionfish

into the Tropical West Atlantic; Special Projects – assessing fish population changes in and around marine reserves and on and around newly developed artificial reefs; printed and e-newsletter communications; and, numerous field survey and data gathering expeditions. REEF maintains strong partnerships with federal, state, and local government agencies as well as other US based and international agencies, NGOs, and business entities.

REEF is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

Design by Joanne Kidd, development by Ben Weintraub