Jobs |
Your shopping cart is empty.


Executive Director (posted 8/27/21)

Environmental Initiatives Program Director (posted 9/7/21)

Executive Director

[Download a PDF of the complete Position Profile]


The Executive Director will provide visionary leadership and comprehensive oversight for the Wisconsin Academy, including strategic planning, board governance, financial stability, programming, and staff management. The Wisconsin Academy’s Board of Directors seeks a strongly collaborative leader who will embrace the values of the organization while working collectively to set a future vision for the Wisconsin Academy that will inspire and guide the Board and staff. The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors through the Board President. Responsibilities include the following:


  • Direct the activities and growth of the Wisconsin Academy and work with staff and board members to build upon the vision, mission and strategic plan that guide programs and development.
  • Lead strategic and program planning for the organization.
  • Foster creativity and cooperation among staff members; supervise and evaluate staff and provide overall operational direction for programs.
  • Engage the Board of Directors in governance and fundraising activities. Cultivate board leadership and recruit new members, while at the same time broadening the Academy’s general membership and sponsorships and deepening their engagement.



  • Supervise program and senior development and financial management staff (currently 6 direct reports).
  • Ensure compliance with labor laws, hiring practices.
  • Contract authority for all Academy contracts with vendors, insurance providers, partnerships, and professional services/consultants.
  • Facilities management oversight: (ensure code and safety compliance, authorize maintenance and capital improvements working with the Building Manager and Outreach Coordinator).
  • Work with the Academy and Foundation Board Presidents to plan quarterly board meetings, committee strategies, meeting design.



  • Set financial goals and budgets that anticipate near-term and future challenges and opportunities.
  • Oversee and be accountable for Wisconsin Academy’s operations, including sound financial controls and reporting.
  • Develop the annual budget and financial strategies with the staff team and consultation with the Finance-Audit committee.
  • Manage the annual budget with the leadership team to meet financial and programmatic goals and objectives.



  • Oversee fundraising program strategies to ensure resources for and long-term sustainability and annual operations ($800,000 to $1 million).
  • Work closely with the director of development to coordinate a comprehensive fundraising program to achieve development goals and objectives including developing and stewarding personal relationships with major donors and grantmaking organizations and other personal cultivation as appropriate to support Academy operations and growth of the Foundation endowment.
  • Work with the Wisconsin Academy and Foundation boards to engage their leadership and participation in fundraising plans and their implementation.
  • Cultivate relationships with potential supporters to identify and connect with new sources of funding to meet fundraising goals.
  • Oversee compliance with grant obligations and restricted funds management with program directors and the business manager.
  • Serve as a key spokesperson, strategist, and champion for the Academy’s planned capital campaign. (Target goal is $ 4.5 million).


Represent the Academy

  • Be the steward and strongest advocate for the Academy’s commitment to DEI and its evolution for all organizational planning and programming
  • Identify opportunities to raise the public profile of the Wisconsin Academy and its core programs across Wisconsin.
  • Maintain and enhance current relationships and build new relationships with individuals, organizations and media that can assist the Wisconsin Academy in achieving its mission.
  • Represent the Academy on the Cultural Coalition and the Overture Center for the Arts Resident Companies Advisory Council and other formal and informal collaborations closely tied to mission and programs as appropriate.



The chosen candidate will need to establish strong and productive working partnerships with the Academy Board of Directors and Foundation Board; prior experience with such partnerships would be deemed useful. A familiarity with and understanding of Wisconsin regions, populations, educational and business sectors would also be a plus. The successful candidate will have the following skill sets and experience:

  • Strong passion for building a great institution that can grow significantly within the Madison community and across the state.
  • Demonstrated success in personally securing philanthropic support in a not-for-profit environment.
  • Detail oriented and methodical about organizational routines and processes.
  • A clear knowledge of the ramifications of programmatic and budgetary decisions and the need to align them strategically.
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate and lead a team focused on long-term objectives.
  • A collaborative style to engage staff, Board, and key donors.
  • A tenacity and drive to help the Wisconsin Academy continue to produce at a consistently high level.
  • Strong communication, social, and interpersonal skills in multiple social and business contexts.



The search for the Executive Director is headed by a ten-member committee, chaired by Kevin Reilly. The committee’s desire is to identify a candidate by November 2021 with the new Executive Director on site as soon as possible thereafter. The salary range starts at $100,000 annually and is negotiable based on background and experience. The compensation package includes health and life insurance as well as paid vacation/holidays.

Jason Palmquist and Jonathan West are the MCA consultants who will facilitate this search. Interested candidates are invited to confidentially send a resumé, cover letter, and at least three professional references (name, work relationship, email, phone). All materials must be in.pdf (preferred) or Word format with the applicant’s name included as part of the document file name and submitted through the MCA application portal for this search:

Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Phone: 203-353-0722

Questions about this search may be submitted to: With "Wisconsin Academy Executive Director Search" in the subject line.


Environmental Initiatives Director


Join an organization that is creating a better world by connecting Wisconsin people and ideas. The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters seeks a program director to lead its Climate & Energy Initiative. This position plays a key role in advancing climate solutions in Wisconsin through leadership development, collaboration, and policy analysis.  This individual will be an integral member of our team, working with program directors and other key staff. The staff position is based at our offices at 1922 University Ave, in Madison, WI. Remote working is an option during the pandemic at the discretion of the executive director. This is a 75% to 100% position (contingent on qualifications) with benefits. 


Program Management: Climate & Energy Initiative
The Academy’s Climate & Energy (C&E) Initiative is currently comprised of two complementary grant-funded projects designed to advance climate solutions through collaboration across diverse leadership sectors in the field, strategy development, and public communications. One project focuses on broader strategies to mitigate climate change (reduce emissions) and advance environmental justice; the other project has a deep focus on advancing land-based carbon sink strategies in Wisconsin and the Upper Great Lakes region. The program director will provide leadership for both projects.

The Climate-Critical Lands project is focused on policy analysis, gathering and synthesizing scientific knowledge, and leadership development for Wisconsin carbon sink conservation, protection, and restoration, with a focus on forests in fiscal year 21-22. Project activities and deliverables will include:

  • Convening policy experts, scientists and practitioners in the field to identify key strategies and opportunities in forest carbon storage/sequestration and to support peer learning and professional exchange.
  • Producing a collaboratively developed analysis identifying opportunities and recommendations for action on policies to optimize and rapidly advance carbon storage and sequestration in Wisconsin and Upper Great Lakes forests, no later than June 30, 2022.

The Climate Mitigation and Public Engagement Project includes the Academy’s broader work on climate mitigation, public engagement, leadership development, and climate justice. (The program director will provide leadership to achieve the following grant objectives:

  1. Involvement in convening a Wisconsin local government summit in the fall of 2021 to identify trends, needs and opportunities for collaboration on climate solutions relevant to local government leaders (e.g., mayors, county executives, municipal sustainability directors, etc.)
  2. Building new relationships with community-led organizations working locally on climate change and environmental justice in Wisconsin in order to support collaboration across urban, rural and other local communities, elevate leadership, and raise visibility for community needs, concerns, and opportunities, in the broader climate action agenda for Wisconsin.
  3. Planning and convening “Climate Fast Forward 2.0” a statewide climate leadership conference (estimated 400+ participants) scheduled for October 2022 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison, WI. Conference objectives will include tracking progress since the Academy’s 2019 Climate conference; advancing rapid implementation of solutions related to mitigation and resilience in Wisconsin, and continuing to raise public visibility around urgent and timely climate change issues.


Communications and Public Engagement

  • Convening up to eight events each year for our environmental lunch-hour series (virtual through the remainder of mask mandates; likely hybrid when feasible).
  • Provide leadership as the primary point person and spokesperson for the Initiative(s).
  • Oversee program content for the Academy social media on climate and energy, including Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
  • Oversee web content and other informational and promotional material on the C&E Initiative in coordination with the Academy’s webmaster.
  • Contribute content for project reports and Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine
  • Develop conference presentations and workshops for Academy or partner-organization events or public meetings on relevant content from the Initiatives.
  • Other public communications opportunities as appropriate within project budgets, in collaboration with the C&E program coordinator and the Academy communications and events manager.


Leadership Networks

  • Continue to develop and coordinate the statewide leadership network for the C&E Initiative through personal outreach, organization and facilitation of two to four meetings per year, producing and disseminating periodic project updates, peer-learning conference calls or meetings, and other contact.
  • Maintain contact with Waters of Wisconsin Leadership Network and provide periodic updates and outreach to this network (contingent on funding).
  • Involvement in other networks, such as the Wisconsin Climate Table.


Program administration and fundraising

  • Manage project budgets (including monthly meetings with the Operations Manager) to ensure compliance with the Academy’s annual budget, grant budgets, and accounting practices for nonprofit organizations.
  • Supervise one or more program staff (budget dependent) to achieve project outcomes through teamwork and clear division of assignments and responsibilities.
  • Take the lead on meeting reporting requirements for grant-funded projects, including ensuring that they are completed by stated grant deadlines.
  • Cultivate and maintain, in collaboration with the C&E program coordinator, positive working relationships with contributing volunteers (~ 50-to-75 individuals) who serve on project working groups, committees, and teams to achieve project objectives.
  • Provide a brief quarterly report for the Board of Directors on project outcomes and impact.
  • Develop the annual program budget in coordination with the executive director and director of development and manage program funds within the parameters of that budget, including tracking all program expenses in cooperation with the business manager and operations manager providing receipts and any other documentation as needed.
  • Conduct funding research and develop grant proposals for continued work in these project areas in coordination with the executive director and director of development.
  • Develop grant reports, content for the Academy annual report, and various public reports on project activities and outcomes.
  • Coordinate and execute data management with the director of development, associate director, and data & office systems coordinator.
  • As appropriate, develop project descriptions for student interns; recruit and supervise student interns for the initiative projects.



  • Occasional travel in Wisconsin for meetings and conferences.
  • Other assignments as required by the grants, or at the request of the executive director.



  • The successful candidate for this position will have:
  • A solid working knowledge of the climate change challenge in the context of Wisconsin, from mitigation to resilience.
  • Experience with grant proposal writing and management.
  • Excellent communication (written, verbal, and public speaking) and facilitation skills.
  • Strong skills in collaborative problem-solving, group facilitation and coalitional approaches to strategy development.
  • Experience with event design and logistics, from small groups to major conferences.
  • Social media skills (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other).
  • Virtual meeting and collaboration skills.
  • Experience managing budgets and supervising staff.
  • Competency across the Microsoft Office suite.



  • Web content management skills
  • Established professional networks in the broader climate change strategy community in Wisconsin in advocacy, research, state government, and policy
  • Experience in nonprofit organizations
  • Experience with project management software (e.g., Asana, Trello, others)


This position reports to the executive director.

$23.00 -$26.00/hour depending on experience and qualifications. Academy employees are eligible for our health insurance package and other benefits including paid holidays and personal time off.

TO APPLY: Please email a cover letter and resume to ;on or before September 24, 2021, for best consideration. Phone inquiries are not encouraged. 

About the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
The Wisconsin Academy is an independent nonprofit organization for people who are curious about our world and proud of Wisconsin ideas. We work to create a better world by connecting Wisconsin people and ideas. Learn more at

The Wisconsin Academy is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a welcoming environment for all employees. We provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability status, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and organizational need.

    Contact Us

    Follow Us
    FacebookTwitterGoogle PlusInstagram

    Wisconsin Academy Offices 
    1922 University Avenue
    Madison, Wisconsin 53726
    Phone: 608.733.6633


    James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
    3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
    201 State Street
    Madison, WI 53703
    Phone: 608.733.6633 x25