Washington Trails Association Chief Impact Officer

Seattle, Washington, United States Full-time

Washington Trails Association seeks a Chief Impact Officer to help power our work. 

As a key strategic partner to the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors, the Chief Impact Officer will play a pivotal role in bringing to life Washington Trails Association’s (WTA) vision of trails for everyone, forever. This newly created position will join WTA’s executive team with responsibility to drive mission delivery and impact through leadership of WTA’s strategic initiatives and programs. 

The Chief Impact Officer role is an exciting opportunity for an experienced leader with excellent strategic planning and operational skills who wants to inspire a strong team to take WTA’s work and impact to the next level, foster collaboration across programmatic functions and help shape the organization’s future direction.

Beyond a personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we are looking for candidates with past experience integrating equity and inclusion best practices into strategy, programs and community engagement. People who have lived experience in historically marginalized and excluded communities are especially encouraged to apply.

About Washington Trails Association

VISION: Trails for everyone, forever

MISSION: Mobilizing hikers and everyone who loves the outdoors to explore, steward and champion trails and public lands

Washington is home to extraordinary hiking destinations, including desert dunes, wild beaches, tranquil mountain tops and raging rivers. Washington is also home to a community of people who are passionate about exploring and protecting these places. This constituency—our members and supporters—is key to the future of trails in Washington. 

Washington Trails Association (WTA) is the nation’s largest state-based hiking and trails organization. Powered by hikers for more than 50 years, we help our community of 15,000 member households, nearly 5,000 volunteers and over 100,000 online constituents to discover, preserve and protect trails and public lands. WTA's strength is in our community and our future success depends on fostering an inclusive organization and hiking community, where everyone feels welcome and represented. For more information about WTA’s work, please visit our website HERE.

WTA's Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We believe Washington’s trail system and its hiking community must grow and evolve as new generations of trail users do, while honoring all the ways that people hike based on their history and identities (including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, class, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, ability and background). WTA has a responsibility to ensure all people have equitable opportunities to experience trails and discover hiking. We are committed to:

  • Fostering an inclusive hiking community, where people of all identities are represented and feel welcome;
  • Cultivating an inclusive culture and environment at WTA where staff, volunteers and program participants of all identities feel valued; and
  • Advancing equitable access to trails so that barriers don’t stand in the way of people getting outside.

To learn more about WTA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, please visit our website HERE.

Trails for Everyone, Forever

WTA’s vision of trails for everyone, forever is the anchor of the strategic initiative that will guide our work over the next five years. Bringing together all of WTA’s programmatic functions communications, engagement, trail maintenance, advocacy, partnerships and leadership development the Trails for Everyone, Forever initiative works to ensure that Washington’s trails stand the test of time and that everyone has connections to the outdoors from backyard adventures to backcountry explorations. 

Faced with booming demand and decades of underinvestment, the challenges facing Washington’s trails are significant, and we believe our hiking community can lead the way to a sustainable trail system. Organized around four coordinated campaigns, the Trails for Everyone, Forever initiative mobilizes our community and amplifies its impact by providing focused opportunities to give back and speak up to ensure Washington’s trails go the distance and are enjoyed by all.  


We are working to reverse the trends we’ve seen in recent years by enhancing Washington’s robust and diverse network of trails in remote places, within easy reach of population centers and close to home. Because the challenges and solutions for remote trails are very different from those for urban trails, we’ve organized our work around three campaigns: Lost Trails Found, Trails Rebooted and the Trail Next Door, each working on an important piece of Washington’s trail system.

For Everyone.

We know that social inequities impact all aspects of our lives, including connection to the outdoors, and that significant barriers have prevented many people from hiking. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the many benefits of hiking and nature. Still in the planning stages, WTA’s fourth campaign works to break down the barriers people face in experiencing Washington’s natural wonders and to create new opportunities for people to connect with nature and discover the joys of hiking.

The Opportunity

The Chief Impact Officer provides a unique opportunity to translate WTA’s vision and strategy into delivering our mission and making a lasting impact for Washington’s hikers and trails. The position will play a crucial role in actualizing WTA’s vision of trails for everyone, forever by leading WTA’s cross-functional initiatives and programs, and will help position WTA as a leader on trails and outdoor recreation at the local, state and national level. In addition, as a key member of WTA’s executive team, the Chief Impact Officer will have an important role in shaping the organization’s future direction and strategy.

Key Responsibilities of the Chief Impact Officer

The full-time, exempt Chief Impact Officer position will guide strategic planning, implementation and evaluation across programmatic functions--communications, engagement, trail maintenance, advocacy, partnerships and leadership development--to deliver the Trails for Everyone, Forever initiative and supporting campaigns. The position will also have operational oversight of the trail maintenance, advocacy, partnerships and leadership development teams and manage four staff: Trail Programs Director, Advocacy Director, Director of Community Partnerships & Leadership Development and Strategic Initiatives Manager. Key priorities and primary responsibilities include:

Leadership & Strategy

  • Develops, evaluates and refines long-term goals and strategy for initiatives, ensuring they align with organizational priorities and are focused on desired results. 
  • Manages and inspires staff and teams with an emphasis on professional development and results-oriented performance.
  • Collaborates with and supports the CEO and Board of Directors in setting organizational vision and strategy. 
  • Leads the development of strategies to make WTA’s programming, community engagement and mission delivery more inclusive and equitable, and collaborates with WTA’s executive team to foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.
  • Fosters a culture of innovation, experimentation and cross-functional collaboration that enables staff to perform at their best.

Planning & Implementation

  • Leads the planning and implementation of multi-year initiatives to advance WTA vision, mission and intended impact.
  • Facilitates cross-functional alignment, planning, collaboration and mission delivery.
  • Leads performance monitoring and impact evaluation, working closely with program directors, the executive team and other key staff.
  • Prepares and manages annual and multi-year budgets. 

External Relations

  • Develops and advances major organizational partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders including volunteers; community, recreation, conservation and government leaders; and current and potential high-level funders.

  • Works with the CEO and Development Director on resource development priorities to fund strategic initiatives.

  • Partners with the CEO and Communications Director to publicly represent WTA with external constituents and the media.

Our Ideal Candidate

First and foremost, we seek candidates who are passionate about our vision and mission and committed to building an equitable organization and outdoor community. 

We are looking for an accomplished leader with a demonstrated track record of leading cross-functional teams and guiding organizational programmatic strategy, including a minimum of 3 years in a senior leadership role. 

In addition to a personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, we are looking for a candidate with experience integrating equity into strategy and programs. People who have lived experience in historically marginalized and excluded communities are especially encouraged to apply.

The successful candidate will be a results-oriented strategic thinker with a proven track record of translating vision and strategy into multi-year plans and budgets. They will be adept at setting priorities and making decisions. They will model accountability and adaptability, as well as embrace initiative and innovation. 

The successful candidate’s approach to leadership will build trust, foster collaboration and demonstrate humility. They will excel at building strong relationship to inspire buy-in and galvanize staff around a common sense of purpose.

The successful candidate will be an exceptional manager of people and teams. They will have a strong track record of inspiring excellence, creating a culture of feedback and supporting staff members in their growth through mentoring and professional development. 

Experience in the nonprofit sector or with conservation and outdoor recreation organizations is a plus, but it is not a requirement to be successful in the role. 

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time salaried position requiring a willingness to work some evenings and weekends and occasional travel throughout the state of Washington. The expected salary range is between $110,000 - $130,000, depending on qualifications and experience.

WTA offers a generous benefits package including medical, dental, vision, retirement, disability, transportation and holiday, vacation and sick leave. The organization’s offices are located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood.

Commitment to Equity

Washington Trails Association is committed to advancing equity through our work and becoming a more inclusive organization. People of color and others with underrepresented identities (including but not limited to: gender identity, class, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, ability and background) are strongly encouraged to apply.

WTA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, gender identity, marital status, military status, national origin, political ideology, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, genetic information, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or any other characteristic protected by law.

How to Apply

Online applications only, please no email or paper submissions. You will be asked to upload a cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please describe, as specifically as you can, how your experience, interests and values are a fit with WTA and this newly imagined position.  

Applications received by October 7, 2019 at 5pm Pacific time will be given full consideration; early applications are strongly encouraged! All applications will be acknowledged via an email receipt. Consideration will be given to applications as soon as they are received; phone and in-person interviewing will begin in October; a final hiring decision is expected by mid-November.