Managing Director

Ag Innovations Network (AIN), is now hiring a full-time Managing Director to lead our organization in its day-to-day operations. As Managing Director you will shape we how we work together as an effective team and what systems, skills, and programs we develop to meet the challenge of creating a more sustainable food system.

This position offers you a chance to bring together your passion about food systems with your practical and tested skills as a team leader and manager. You will work with a talented team of 10 that includes program staff focused on designing and facilitating impactful collaborations for change, administrative/accounting staff dedicated to serving the organization and the eight projects for which we act as fiscal sponsors (including the Sustainable Food Lab, Farmers Guild, and Academy for Systemic Change), and a support team that is building a powerful communications and fund development engine. You will supervise all line staff and help them achieve their goals and aspirations as both effective actors on Ag Innovation Network's behalf and as individuals who want personal and professional growth.

Your entrepreneurial spirit will be particularly important as you help us refine our unique and stable business model that combines consulting services and ongoing projects. You will be a key part of that mix, taking the program/service delivery lead in one of our impact areas: regional food systems, food system regulation, or health and justice.

If you are looking for a position that both challenges and inspires, that brings you in contact with incredible people across the state and the country, in an organization that cares deeply about its people and its work in the world, this position may be right for you.

Position Description

The Managing Director serves as the day-to-day leader of the Ag Innovations Network team and assures that the organization is meeting both its strategic objectives and mission. The position is approximately 70% internally focused and 30% focused on direct project work. Reporting to the president, with a dotted-line responsibility to the board of directors, you will:

  • Work with the president to establish the organization's short- and long-range goals and plans and assure the organization is continually adapting to address current challenges in food systems.
  • Co-create the organization's annual plan including programmatic, financial, and organizational development goals.
  • Oversee the organization in implementing its plan, providing support and leadership to staff to resolve challenges, adjust to new opportunities or necessary changes, and assure accountability on results.
  • Partner with the president and the development director in creating and implementing an effective fund development program for the organization. You will assure that the organization has the systems and resources necessary to succeed in this area.
  • Working with the finance team, assure the integrity of the organization's financial management processes including creation and management of budgets, financial reporting, and our fiscal sponsorship program.
  • Oversee the organization's communications program, including website, public documentation, and other programs designed to increase the efficacy of our collaborations and the knowledge of Ag Innovations Network.
  • Assure the organization has in place and complies with effective human resource management systems including performance management, staff development, and salary/benefit programs.
  • Organize the staff to best accomplish our goals. You will create reporting/team structures that best assure our ability to accomplish our goals and maintain an effective and productive staff.
  • Support the board of directors with programmatic and financial information and board logistics.
  • Take the leadership in one of the organization's impact areas (regional food, regulations, or health and justice) and:
    • Develop collaborative relationships and work with organizational leaders to identify needs, issues, obstacles, allies, approaches, and strategies for success.
    • Develop and maintain a current and in-depth knowledge and understanding of the relevant and pertinent issues and players in the topic areas of the projects.
    • Collaborate with the AIN facilitation team in the design of effective overall processes and meetings (both virtual and face-to-face) that accomplish the project’s objectives.
    • Create and/or review the written results of meetings to assure their accuracy and value to participants.
    • Compile written reports of the progress and results of the collaborations, as required by funding agencies and the communications needs of AIN and the projects.
    • Develop outreach, implementation, and communication strategies for effective and impactful dissemination of project findings and results, and collaborate with stakeholders and AIN team members on implementing these.
    • Participate as a member in the AIN learning community and contributing to that community your ongoing learnings about what is working and is needed in the field.


We are looking for a unique person with a combination of proven management and leadership skills with an ability to be effective in developing and leading one of our program impact areas. We are also keenly interested in someone who can bring a fun, creative, and joyful approach to her/his work.

Ideally you will have the following skills and experience:


  • Relevant education at the Master’s level or above that has prepared you to be an effective managing director and program lead. This generally will mean in the fields of food systems, agriculture, or nonprofit administration.
  • At least five years of direct experience as a program manager or above with demonstrated experience managing a medium-sized staff in the delivery of complex programmatic deliverables.
  • At least five years of direct experience (with a significant portion of that experience post-Masters) in the field of ecosystems, food systems, or a related field, preferably including project management. This experience may be concurrent with your management experience.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and implementing successful management systems.  Background or training in financial management, human resources, and business systems for growing organizations.
  • Significant experience and/or knowledge of California food and agriculture systems, and/or California ecosystems. Qualifying experience may include work in not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and the private sector.
  • Demonstrated capacity for building high quality teams and creating a strong performance management culture that enables continued professional development for staff.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills as demonstrated by experience working in and leading creative teams.
  • Proven project management skills including management of multiple simultaneous projects.
  • The personal flexibility and adaptability to be successful in an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization.


  • Experience with and in visionary, collaborative organizations.
  • A track record of collaborating and working with diverse stakeholders, including government and industry representatives and public interest advocates in multi-stakeholder initiatives. 
  • A demonstrated knowledge of or interest in effective group collaborative processes and methodologies for social change.
  • Demonstrated successful experience in developing projects from opportunity identification through assessment and to implementation.
  • Demonstrated project management experience, and meticulous organizational skills and abilities to keep track of multiple project efforts.

Compensation and Benefits

Ag Innovations Network strives to offer competitive salaries and benefits and a hospitable and collaborative work environment.

This position is a full-time, exempt, salaried position. Compensation is competitive for our region and dependent on experience. Applicants invited to the second round of interviews will be asked for a salary history, including current position. Paid vacation leave, employer-paid health benefits, and an employer-matching retirement plan are included as benefits.

Equal Opportunity

AIN is an equal opportunity employer. Our policy is to afford equal employment opportunities to qualified individuals without regard to any personal trait or characteristic that is not related to one’s ability to perform one’s job, including but not limited to those that are protected by law (i.e., race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, marital status, family status, veteran status, physical or mental disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic data, and age).

About Ag Innovations Network

Ag Innovations Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Sebastopol, California founded in 1999. We are dedicated to building a sustainable food system that serves farms and farmers, families and communities, and regenerates the environment upon which all life depends.

Our approach is unique. We create powerful coalitions of leaders and then lead them through the best processes we know to unlock creativity and generative thinking. Our combination of process skills and understanding of food system issues has proven to be both valued by stakeholders and effective in creating change.

We lead coalitions working both at the intersection of agriculture and the environment (the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, and the California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply), and on human systems (such as the Regulations Affecting Agriculture project and the California Ag Workforce Housing & Transportation project). We also consult and work in local communities on regional food system issues, train transformative leaders in collaborative change-making, consult as facilitators to a variety of public- and private-sector food-related clients, and act as a fiscal sponsor agency to a number of other related initiatives across the country.

Ag Innovations Network is uniquely qualified and positioned to serve as a hub for food system change work. In the next few years, we intend to respond to current needs and opportunities to launch additional collective impact initiatives in new topic areas and to expand our transformative leadership development, regional food systems, and other consulting programs. We recently launched a multi-year grant-funded capacity building and organizational effectiveness project to strengthen AIN’s programs and our communications, development, and administrative systems.

Position Location

This position is based in Ag Innovations Network’s Sebastopol, California office. The Sebastopol team is 10 passionate, committed, hard-working, intelligent, and experienced food system change professionals. The work environment is focused, thoughtful, collaborative, fun, and intentional. The office is located in downtown Sebastopol on the edge of a burgeoning food, art, and wine district known as the Barlow. Sebastopol is located in western Sonoma County, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco. The coastal climate and landscapes make for great farming and some of the most stunning scenery and best outdoor recreation (hiking, cycling, surfing) opportunities in the world. While the region is most widely known for its world-class wines, western Sonoma County also has a long history as a hot spot in the sustainable living, green energy, intentional communities, and organic agriculture/local food movements. The combination of a unique job in an evolving organization and fabulous location make this an ideal opportunity for professional growth, personal satisfaction, and overall enjoyment. We welcome and strongly encourage you to apply and come be a part of our team and life at Ag Innovations Network!

To Apply

Send your cover letter explaining how and why you would be an effective managing director for a growing organization and your résumé showing your training and experience in food systems, team leadership, and project management to The position will remain open until filled, however applicants who respond by January 1, 2015 will get priority review. The desired start date for the position is March 1, 2015.

 Dan Schurman
Director of Resource & Business Development, Ag Innovations Network
101 Morris St, Ste 212, Sebastopol CA, 95472

707-823-6111 x120 • Skype: danschurman24 

Sebastopol, California
Publicaton Date: 
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 12:00am
Company Name: 
Ag Innovations Network
Job Type: