Operations Director | Sonoma Ecology Center

Sonoma Ecology Center is a 30-year-old nonprofit with a mission to work with our community to identify and lead actions that achieve and sustain ecological health of our community’s land, air, water, and biodiversity – the foundation of our high quality of life.

Each year, we provide in-depth environmental science instruction to over 1,200 students, manage over 4,000 acres of public and private land including Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, raise thousands of native plants and restore critical native habitat, and provide research and technical support on timely issues affecting the region. With an annual budget of $2 million, our professional staff manage numerous large grants and contracts, often in partnership with other nonprofits and agencies that, by working together, significantly leverage our work and impact. Our organization was selected in 2019 as a California Nonprofit of the Year.



This position is responsible for a wide range of duties and requires a deep knowledge of varied organizational processes. The Operations Director manages our organization’s day-to-day operations and ensures its effectiveness by providing leadership for all financial and operational functions. The Operations Director must be highly competent in  planning and operational management; an excellent leader who can inspire staff participation in organizational goals and actions; and entrepreneurial, to help the organization discover and then apply the most efficient ways to run the business.  A key goal of the position is to safeguard and augment the efficiency of the organization’s operations, accelerate its development and facilitate its long-term success. The position reports to and works closely with the Executive Director.


ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (including but not limited to)

  • Manage and monitor the organization’s day-to-day operations
  • Partner with the Executive Director (ED) to develop an annual operations plan
  • Partner with ED and managers to develop strategic goals for programs and operations
  • Translate and implement strategic goals into specific operational objectives
  • Supervise technical program managers and administrative staff, providing leadership, guidance, and constructive feedback
  • Set departmental goals and targets with reporting managers; supervise implementation
  • Oversee all financial operations
  • Lead annual budget process and prepare budget for approval from ED and Board
  • Recommend effective strategies for the organization’s financial well-being
  • Create financial and grants reports
  • Bill and invoice larger, more complex grants and contracts as necessary
  • Devise strategies to ensure growth of programs, and identify and implement process improvements that maximize output and minimize costs
  • Review all contracts and contract budgets prior to project execution
  • Provide guidance on contracts to project managers and/or other staff
  • Regularly evaluate the efficiency of the organization’s operations to identify and apply improvements
  • Revise and/or formulate organizational policies and promote their implementation
  • Ensure that the organization is in legal compliance and fully meets established regulations



  • Proven experience as Director of Operations or equivalent position
  • Solid understanding of financial management & GAAP
  • Ability to work effectively in a highly collaborative and team-oriented structure
  • Excellent organizational and leadership abilities
  • Outstanding communication and people skills
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Decision-making ability
  • Knowledge of nonprofit legal rules and guidelines
  • Working knowledge of QuickBooks
  • Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the values and mission of SEC



  • Salesforce CRM



  • BA in business administration or a related area of study
  • 3-5 years’ experience as an Operations Director or equivalent position



This is an office job, with prolonged periods of sitting/standing.  One must be able to see, hear, and speak in order to use a computer, use office equipment, and use a telephone.  Some bending will be required for filing.  One must be able to safely lift up to 30 lbs.



After successful completion of the 90-day introductory period, full-time employees are offered the following:

Eligibility to enroll in one of two Kaiser Permanente health insurance plans, of which, SEC pays 60% of the employee’s premium (not that of dependents), paid holidays, vacation accrual, sick accrual, and the ability to enroll in a self-funded TIAA 403(B) account.

All qualified applicants will be given equal consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, veteran, military status, genetic information, and marital status or familial status.  Sonoma Ecology Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Equal access to programs, services, and employment is available to all persons.  Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or interview process should notify our Human Resources Department.

To apply: Please submit a resume, cover letter, and a list of three references, preferably in one document to Celina Briggs, Human Resources Specialist at humanresources@sonomaecologycenter.org, with Operations Director in the header. No phone calls, please. For more information about the Sonoma Ecology Center, please visit www.sonomaecologycenter.org.

Classification:                                                             Reports to:

Exempt                                                                        Executive Director

40 hours per week

Salary DOE