President and CEO

President and CEO
Organization Belle Isle Conservancy
Location Detroit, Michigan
Job Type
Application Deadline Jan 20, 2024

The mission of the Belle Isle Conservancy (BIC) is to protect, preserve, restore, and enhance the natural environment, historic structures, and unique character of Belle Isle as a public park for the enjoyment of all – now and forever. Belle Isle is important to residents of Detroit and the surrounding region, used by over 5 million people for a multitude of events and recreational activities (

The BIC, established in 2012, works in partnership with the State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the City of Detroit, and island partners to bring much needed resources to Belle Isle to help preserve this natural jewel. We’re looking for a highly skilled President and CEO to help us fulfill this important undertaking.


Reporting directly to the Board of Directors, the President and CEO will be an experienced senior executive ready to lead with passion, authenticity, curiosity, and integrity. By establishing a vision for sustainability and impact, this innovative thinker will oversee the strategic and operational efficiencies of our programs, partners, staff, and volunteers. Above all, the President and CEO should be a highly effective leader, having a strong sense of accountability, and possess a desire to explore new ideas and innovative approaches.

This seasoned leader will not only possess a high level of broad business and management skills but will also have experience in developing and implementing a successful fundraising plan dedicated to shared and measurable goals. As the “Chief Mobilizer”, the President and CEO will leverage the power of relationships and networks, working across private, public, and corporate sectors to fulfill the BIC ‘s mission to ensure our future success.

The President and CEO is the steward of the brand and understands his/her/their role in growing, protecting, and enhancing the reputation and support of the BIC. Along with establishing and maintaining relationships with the DNR, the City of Detroit, and island partners, he/she/they is responsible for building trust of the BIC and its relevance in the community.


  • Work closely with the Board of Directors to assess and address issues affecting the organization
  • Oversee daily operations of the organization, providing executive direction for program strategies and efficiencies, compliance, and quality assurance
  • Identify and address staffing requirements for efficient operations, and maintain a strong and inclusive work culture that attracts and retains people while driving the organization’s mission
  • In partnership with the Board of Directors, develop an actionable plan to achieve aggressive annual fundraising goals, by securing financial support from foundations, corporations, individual donors, and government funding sources
  • Serve as the face of the organization and participate in external events to increase visibility, credibility, and market brand, and develop strategic partnerships to further increase community awareness and expand programs


Organization Management 

  • Provide thoughtful and visionary executive leadership that is inclusive, transparent, and empowering in a manner that supports and guides the BIC’s mission as defined by the Board of Trustees
  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the BIC by establishing goals, objectives, and operational plans in collaboration with the Board of Directors
  • Build and lead high-performing teams, ensuring alignment and collaboration to achieve desired organizational results of successful programs, community engagement, and fundraising
  • Manage and motivate staff, overseeing processes such as hiring, separation, ongoing staff development, performance management, and compensation and benefits
  • Directly supervise, organize, motivate, and mentor senior leaders to strategically grow the BIC’s impact, programs, and fundraising success
  • Ensure DEI goals among staff and volunteers are met by continually fostering a culture that encourages collaboration between departments and recognizes positive contribution

Fiscal Management

  • Drive key results in fundraising by identifying, cultivating, and soliciting prospective donors and key leaders of potential new corporate partners
  • Manage relationships by leveraging/converting personal and professional contacts into fundraising opportunities
  • Promote a culture of fundraising in the organization, both at the staff, volunteer, and Board level
  • Actively advocates for state financial support for Belle Isle as well as private sector support to enhance the park
  • Assume responsibility for the fiscal integrity of the organization within policies set by the Board of Directors

Government Management

  • Key liaison to the DNR Parks and Recreation Division and the City of Detroit
  • Work collaboratively with the DNR in executing BIC’s strategic plan and agreements with the DNR and City of Detroit
  • Coordinate BIC’s projects and initiatives with the DNR that operates and maintains Belle Isle Park
  • Work closely with DNR to ensure City of Detroit elected and appointed leaders are appraised of the progress being made and needs of Belle Isle Park

Strategic Management 

  • As the key visionary, work with the Board of Directors, staff, and diverse stakeholders to identify, shape and build support for Belle Isle improvements and operations
  • Work with the Board of Directors and its committees to set policy and priorities
  • Work with staff to develop organizational goals for Board approval
  • Ensure coordination and alignment of all BIC activities to the organization’s strategic direction

Board Governance

  • Maintain regular and ongoing communication to build strong relationships with the entire Board, always providing leadership and support to Board members
  • Communicate effectively with the Board by providing members with all information necessary to continually function properly and make informed decisions in a timely and accurate manner
  • Attend all Board meetings and provide reports and updates on staff as well as all current work, project timelines, and project and organizational progress
  • Implement Board policies and procedures and build support for Board decisions among staff and volunteers
  • Work closely and openly with the Board and its committees, ensuring ongoing communication of risks, issues, as well as successes

Community Engagement 

  • Understand the interests of the diverse communities vested in Belle Isle and work to build positive relationships with many constituencies so that Belle Isle serves them all well
  • Establish and build relationships with top leaders in the community, including those representing the highest levels in business, government, and non-profit sectors, and actively participate in community initiatives related to Belle Isle


  • Bachelor’s degree or advance degree required
  • Five or more years of experience in strategic leadership position required
  • Knowledge of leadership and management principles in the nonprofit sector and interacting with volunteers and a Board of Directors
  • Experience in or across multiple sectors, including nonprofit, public, and corporate environments
  • Government relations experience preferred
  • Entrepreneurial mindset, with a history of successfully generating new revenue streams and improving financial results:
    • Active fundraising experience
    • Excellent donor relations skills and understanding of the funding community
    • A track record of success with funders, donors, and partner agencies
  • Experience in developing partnerships, building teams and conflict management
  • Strong organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development, task facilitation
  • Experience in hiring, managing staff and volunteers is required
  • Promote and support the values and importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the organization
  • Strong financial management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision making and reporting
  • Ability to envision and convey the organization’s strategic future to the staff, the Board of Directors, volunteers, and donors
  • Exceptional verbal, written, and visual communication skills
    • Ability to effectively communicate the organization’s mission to donors, volunteers, and the overall community
  • Dynamic and charismatic team player who enjoys being the public face of an organization
    • Ability to command the confidence and respect of stakeholders

Interested applicants should send their resume and cover letter to

The Belle Isle Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team. We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active-duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know.

Application Link