As Director of Market Development for the American Forest Foundation (AFF), you will lead our efforts to develop markets for the forest values – carbon sequestration and storage, wildlife habitat, wildfire risk reduction, clean water, and others – that family forest owners produce through sustainable management of their woodlands. You will analyze markets, learn the needs of potential customers and partners, and work with our internal teams to develop the products, messaging, and materials which support and align with the interests of our stakeholders, championing initiatives to identify, develop, and secure access to ecosystem services markets for the impact products created by our on-the-ground conservation work. Your work will help AFF expand from a philanthropic model into impact-related funding from buyers who are interested in supporting specific lines of work.
Building on our 80-year legacy of family forest stewardship, AFF is entering a new phase of rapid innovation. In our trusted position at the center of the family forest network, and with the financial strength of $160 million in reserves, we’re developing and deploying sustainable business models that support forest owners as they address important environmental, social, and economic issues. The technology company we recently acquired has helped us significantly increase our ability to connect private landowners with educational and financial resources, technical experts, government agencies, and conservation organizations. We’re reinventing the carbon market for family landowners and we’re helping companies that source wood from family forests to do so sustainably. Our partners are some of the leading companies and financial institutions, the U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and conservation groups like The Nature Conservancy.
In your first year, you will gain familiarity with our existing lines of work: accelerating natural carbon sequestration and storage, enhancing biodiversity, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, helping companies meet their sustainable wood fiber goals, ensuring the long-term sustainability of white oak forests, and enhancing community assets. You will take a deep dive into customer discovery and financial modeling (metrics, scale, pricing, etc.) for at least one of the lines of work – determining its feasibility and identifying the resource and capacity needs to operationalize the plan.
Reporting to the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and supervising the Western and Southeast Regional Strategic Partnerships Managers, you will also work closely with the Director of Philanthropic Development, product owners, and other colleagues across the organization to ensure coordination with market development activities. As a team lead, you will provide opportunities for staff to upgrade their knowledge and skills related to market development and/or to identify gaps where additional hiring or training may be beneficial.
Family and individual landowners own the largest single chunk – 38% – of our nation’s forests (more than the federal government). These landowners also supply more than 50% of the wood used in all forest product supply chains. Solving some of the most urgent environmental and economic issues of today – cleaning our air, filtering our drinking water, sequestering carbon, creating wildlife habitat, reducing the risk of wildfires, increasing biodiversity, and supplying sustainable sources of wood – requires careful stewardship of our forests. Because individuals and families own 270 million acres of America’s forests, empowering family forest stewardship is an essential yet often overlooked piece of the forest puzzle. The American Forest Foundation is leading the way in empowering family forest landowners to tackle these urgent issues and achieve significant impact.
Responsibilities of the Director of Market Development
Increase, over time, the amount of impact-related revenue at AFF by increasing the acceptance and purchase of our impact products by various buyers in the marketplace and securing early-stage financial and/or concessionary capital to assist in product development and piloting efforts.
Establish and maintain a professional network of relationships, traveling frequently to meet with key existing and potential customers, investors, and donors.
Coordinate with the philanthropic development team to make sure that market development efforts are broadly consistent with, and ideally reinforcing, AFF’s philanthropic endeavors.
Organize and coordinate market development efforts with programmatic staff at AFF by hosting regular internal meetings to improve their understanding of impact-related funding (helping them migrate from a philanthropic approach to a more scalable and sustainable market-based approach to their work) and identifying and prioritizing resources for greatest impact.
Supervise the Regional Manager of Strategic Partnerships (Southeast Region) and the Regional Manager of Strategic Partnerships (Western Region) to appropriately prioritize and resource their activities.
Lead one or more product development initiatives that match AFF’s supply capacity with buyer demand and willingness to pay. Provide technical assistance to other product development teams, helping them identify hypotheses and develop and pilot scalable and sustainable business models that balance costs and revenue. Identify methods for obtaining relevant data from customers, investors, and donors to enable the refinement of business models over time.
Qualifications of the Director of Market Development
Bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of related experience piloting, scaling, and managing social impact products, including experience with program budgets and constructing and validating business and financial models. Master’s degree a plus.
Experience engaging customers, donors, investors, and program staff in the design of new programs and products. Experience working effectively with volunteers and staff in cross-functional teams.
Experience managing and coaching staff.
Proficiency in Microsoft Office, database applications, and cloud technology.
Ability and willingness to travel as needed, up to 40%.
Attributes of the Director of Market Development
Entrepreneurial. You love the challenge of creating new solutions and overcoming the obstacles along the way. You are a problem-solver, not satisfied with the status quo, always looking for ways to add value for customers and partners.
Collaborative. You thrive in a collaborative team environment and develop strong working relationships with colleagues throughout the organization. You are personable and flexible with the ability to work under pressure and adapt based on what is learned.
Diplomatic. You find common ground, manage a smooth process, and build consensus for workable solutions. You know how to take a stand and disagree without being disagreeable.
Leader. You have the proven ability to manage up and sideways and engage peers and supervisors, coaching and mentoring staff (either in-person or remotely).
Quick Learner. You can process complex information quickly and formulate theories of action based on that information. You don’t require complete information to make sound decisions. You are adaptable based on the new information that crosses your desk every day (or even every hour).
Project manager. You have excellent judgment in allocating resources, time, and energy to the most important projects. You plan, coordinate, and problem solve to manage multiple priorities, always delivering work ahead of schedule with minimal reminders.
Rapport builder. You have strong interpersonal skills with the ability to interact with a wide variety of constituencies, including colleagues, business and community leaders, partners, donors, board members, volunteers, public officials, and the public at large, in a wide variety of settings.
Self-motivated. Your entrepreneurial spirit is paired with an enthusiasm for self-directed work. You are a self-starter with strong initiative, tenacity, resilience, and high energy.
What’s Attractive to the Right Director of Market Development Candidate?
You’ll be doing the best and most important work of your career, creating the kind of legacy you can be proud of. Your success in this role is essential to our ability to deliver innovative, sustainable, forest-based solutions to urgent issues (such as climate change).
You will be activating family forest owners, who are currently overlooked by the conservation community as a potential solution to the challenges we face. Once they are activated at scale, the impact will be massive (for example, if we engage 20% of landowners by 2030, it’s possible to sequester 2 Gigatons of carbon). Similar impacts are possible in a range of other areas: enhancing biodiversity, reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, helping companies meet their sustainability goals, ensuring the long-term sustainability of white oak forests, and enhancing community assets.
The nature of your work will be complex, creative, innovative, and ever-changing.
Your colleagues are exceptionally talented and passionate individuals who are dedicated to their work and supportive of your work.
We offer a flexible work environment that respects your life outside of work.
AFF is financially sound and growing and offers a comprehensive and very competitive benefits package.
To Apply for the Director of Market Development position:
Simply email your resume to Ellen Greenwood at email@example.com with “AFF – Director of Market Development #2020-2563 ASAE” as the subject of the email. Please include your resume as a Word or PDF attachment to the email and paste your cover letter in the body of your email.
Please note: Our practice is not to disclose the salary ranges our clients would consider. Any salary information included in this posting was estimated without our input.
Staffing Advisors has been engaged to find the right candidate and is committed to helping create a diverse work environment for our client. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. This position may require pre-employment screening potentially including a criminal background check, verification of academic credentials, licenses, certifications, and/or verification of work history.