Parks California’s first Vice President (VP) of Programs will create, incubate, and lead all of Parks California’s programs and strategic initiatives. The role will be challenging, multifunctional, and collaborative. The person selected for the position will impact the experiences of millions of visitors and users of California’s parks for decades to come. The VP will develop and engage partners in delivering projects that will increase access of new communities to the state’s parks and will expand the impact of visits to these parks. In addition, the VP will play a vital and foundational role on the executive team of this start-up nonprofit organization, participating directly in developing and refining the organizational strategy needed to meet its vision.

The Vice President of Programs will be located in Sacramento, California with significant travel throughout the state. They will report directly into the President and CEO of Parks California and will eventually manage a team of 1–3 people.


Develop and deliver programs and initiatives that benefit California’s parks

  • Work closely with the Department to engage stakeholders, local communities, and underserved audiences in California’s parks
  • Engage partners in communities across the state to identify priorities for different regions and locations that can be advanced with support from Parks California
  • Develop and refine programmatic objectives for Parks California which advance key priorities of the organization, the Department, and other partners
  • Oversee the development and implementation of projects and initiatives that support programmatic objectives
  • Recommend timelines, partners, and resources needed to achieve the programmatic goals
  • Manage the execution of projects, in collaboration with partners, within defined timelines and budgets
  • Measure and make adjustments to maximize the impact of projects

Develop and manage strategic cross-sector partnerships and alliances

  • Look for and establish opportunities to strengthen the partnership between Parks California and the Department
  • Actively represent Parks California with volunteers, board members, committees, partner organizations, and funders
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with government, nonprofit, and corporate entities in communities across the state
  • Inspire and motivate partners to champion the mission and priorities of Parks California in collaborative projects and in related activities

Participate in shaping the organization's vision, strategy, projects, and team

  • Assist the CEO in the development and refinement of the organization’s strategic plan
  • Integrate the lessons learned in programs and the needs of partner organizations into discussions about the organization’s strategic plan and annual priorities
  • Support other staff in the development of corporate partnerships, fundraising, and other activities required for the success of the organization
  • Participate in building and shaping the organization over time by recruiting, training, and leading a small team dedicated to program development and execution

 Raise the visibility of California’s parks and existing partners

  • Develop strategies with the Department and other partners to increase awareness of California’s parks in new communities
  • Work with the Department and other partners to develop communications and marketing plans, as well as events, that highlight successes of Parks California projects


The ideal candidate may come from a variety of career pathways. Critical to success will be a passion for the mission of the organization and a capacity to lead public-private partnerships and to develop creative programs. An entrepreneurial approach and exceptional program leadership skills are essential. Experience working with California state government and start-up organizations, as well as with established corporate, philanthropic, and/or nonprofit entities is valued. The Vice President of Programs has an unparalleled opportunity to create programs that improve the lives of generations of Californians.

The following are desired qualities:

  • Success in growing and supporting multiple networks of individuals and organizations collaborating to advance common priorities
  • Comfort and experience in working with state and federal government agencies, both with senior managers and with local administrators (e.g., park-level staff)
  • Diplomatic approach and adept at engaging, understanding, and integrating the needs of local communities and organizations into larger projects and initiatives
  • Experience managing large, complex programs, projects, or initiatives with multiple stakeholders
  • Experience managing a complex budget with multiple funding sources
  • Demonstrated staff leadership and development experience
  • Experience with contracting and task agreements
  • Adaptability and flexibility in the face of changing conditions; tolerance for adversity and uncertainty
  • Experience advancing projects by working collaboratively with a large group of influential board members, partner organizations, and stakeholders
  • Proven program leadership skills and the ability to inspire and motivate others
  • Excellent organizational development, communication, administrative, and personnel management skills
  • Strong project management skills
  • Strong cultural competence, interpersonal skills, and the ability to resolve conflicts and find common ground
  • Demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organizational priority
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and comfort with public speaking
  • Flexibility sense of humor, humility, and confidence
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