Spark Northwest Executive Director



Spark Northwest Executive Director

Employment Type:

Full time


Seattle, WA



Application Contact:

Job Description:

Spark Northwest seeks to hire a strategic Executive Director adept at building relationships, and identifying and pursuing new opportunities to lead the organization into its next chapter. 

Applications submitted by June 12, 2019 at 5:00pm PST will be given full consideration. Interviewing will begin in mid-June.  Early applications are strongly encouraged.

Apply Here

Spark Northwest plays a unique role in the clean energy movement in the Pacific Northwest by helping to accelerate the shift to clean energy one community at a time, through on-the-ground projects and progressive policy advocacy.  Whether working with rural farmers to deliver energy efficiency workshops, designing a community solar program for a municipal utility, helping a Native American tribe chart a clean energy plan, or assisting a low-income neighborhood to launch a group purchase campaign, Spark Northwest activates communities to work collectively towards a cleaner, healthier environment for generations to come.

Successful candidates will be collaborative by nature, and capable of building and supporting an engaged staff and board team. They will be skilled at building robust external relationships and have a strong fundraising track record. Specific content expertise in renewable energy and energy efficiency is a plus, and we seek candidates who are deeply passionate about and committed to accelerating the shift to clean energy through equitable access, community empowerment, and advocacy.   

Organizational Overview – Creating Clean Energy Communities

MISSION: Spark Northwest creates communities powered by locally controlled clean energy.

VISION: Spark Northwest envisions a Pacific Northwest that is powered by clean energy.

Founded in 2001, Spark Northwest activates communities to work collectively towards a cleaner, healthier environment through community-led clean energy projects and progressive policy advocacy. We make it possible for people to take steps to reduce the impacts of climate change and pursue renewable energy and energy efficiency options to power their homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods. We have worked with over 100 communities across Washington and Oregon to catalyze hundreds of clean energy projects at the local level.

Many communities in our region are already experiencing the human costs of climate change with increased health risks, economic instability, and unpredictable energy costs. Historical injustices, coupled with rising temperatures, put low-income communities, Native American tribes, and communities of color disproportionally at risk. At Spark Northwest, we believe creating communities powered by locally controlled clean energy is connected to promoting a just society. We employ a dual-pronged approach - providing training and technical assistance on community-based energy projects and advocating for systems change through legislation and policy reform. We believe our approach works to reduce the negative impacts of climate change while also building wealth for historically marginalized communities.

For more information about Spark Northwest’s programs, please visit our website at

Spark Northwest Organizational Overview

Spark Northwest currently has a staff of 8, including the ED, with 6 working in Seattle and 2 working remotely in the region. There is an active and engaged 9-member Board of Directors. The 2019 organizational budget is $883,000 with diverse funding coming from public and private grants, earned revenue from fee-for-service, corporate giving, workplace giving, special events and individual donors.

The Spark Northwest office is located in a LEED-certified building in downtown Seattle with a view of Elliott Bay.

The work place fosters a culture of mutual respect and acknowledgement of each staff member’s expertise and honors the importance of work/life balance. The team shares a belief in a common mission, enjoys working together, and feels appreciated for what they contribute to the work and vision of the organization.

Executive Director Opportunities and Responsibilities

In collaboration with Spark Northwest’s Board of Directors and staff team, the Executive Director (ED) is responsible for overall strategic and operational leadership of staff, programs, execution, and expansion of the organization’s mission, advancing Spark Northwest’s goals of ensuring a just, fair and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.

The ED is guided by a strategic plan, and by opportunities and challenges that emerge within a rapidly shifting clean energy marketplace. The ED oversees a staff of 7 with 4 direct reports – Program Director, Development Director, Finance & Operations Manager, and Policy Manager. Specific responsibilities include:

Strategic Leadership & Community Building

Guide the Board of Directors and staff in articulating a strategic vision beyond 2019 that includes new project initiatives, policy advocacy, community outreach, and advancing the organization’s equity principles and values. Partner with the Board of Directors, fostering teamwork and accountability. Serve as the chief spokesperson and face of Spark Northwest, fostering relationships and partnerships that generate excitement about its mission and help the organization reach its program and advocacy goals.

Operational Planning & Management

Provide consistent and quality oversight of day-to-day operations, ensuring operational goals and organizational polices are established and in alignment with the strategic plan and equity values. Ensure that existing policies and practices are followed in order to implement effective programs that meet the expectations of Spark Northwest’s clients, Board, and funders.    

Fiscal Management & Fundraising

Ensure Spark Northwest’s fiscal health and financial resiliency by building short and long-term working capital, and making sure financial needs are met through an annual budget and fundraising activities. Lead the development team and Board in creating and implementing a diversified fundraising strategy with a primary focus on major donor giving and multi-year funding to support the organization’s capacity to meet its mission and strategic goals.

Human Resources Planning & Management

Establish staffing requirements and resource needs to advance the mission, and align resources and organizational structure to optimize staff skills and program delivery. Recruit, hire, supervise and prioritize support and development for the entire staff team. Foster a work-place culture that is based on collaboration, accountability, staff input, and work/life balance.

Program Planning & Management

Ensure on-going programmatic excellence is aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Stay on the leading edge of community energy models and distributed energy trends. Work closely with policy staff to formulate positions and represent Spark Northwest’s policy positions in local, state, and federal settings. 

The Ideal Candidate

Spark Northwest’s next Executive Director is someone who is passionate about working with communities to accelerate the transition to clean energy with strategies rooted in equity, justice, and fairness. The clean energy industry is undergoing significant transformation with constant and fast change; the successful candidate needs to be attuned to this – being proactive and creative in order to lead the organization to new opportunities. The successful leader will be a “people person” – an effective communicator skilled at building relationships and working collaboratively both internally and externally.

Spark Northwest’s next Executive Director will be:
  • A leader who has at least some understanding of clean energy technologies and economics (solar, energy efficiency) on day-one – with the capacity to build further content-area expertise and credibility quickly.
  • Strategic and analytical – someone who is able to plan for the coming year, effectively problem solve, and set goals for the next 5 years, remaining nimble and adaptive to a rapidly shifting landscape.
  • Able to lead on equity – centering the organization’s work on its goals of a fair and equitable transition from fossil fuels. A background of working with under-served or marginalized communities is a plus.
  • A strong fundraiser – with a demonstrated track record of success in engaging with foundation program officers and major donors.
  • A collaborative manager – able to foster a thriving work culture and manage people skillfully, respectfully, and with joy; able to nurture the team as a whole, encourage cross-project collaboration, and empower each staff member to do their best work.
  • A skillful relationship builder – adept at bringing people together, building partnerships, and connecting with funders, clients, and community members.
  • A “pragmatic optimist” – takes a can-do and creative approach to solving tough issues and has high energy and enthusiasm for the work.
  • A compelling presence for the organization – able to stand in front of a room and hold people’s attention and get people excited.
  • An effective communicator – capable of translating complex program details to high-level discussion points to equip the Board of Directors to govern and keep external stakeholders and partners well-informed and engaged.
Commitment to Equity

At Spark Northwest, we are actively working to shift our internal culture so that equity values are centered and deeply embedded within our policies and programs. Our goal is for Spark Northwest to emerge as a trusted ally and for frontline communities to directly benefit from our work. We believe that having a staff and board team with diverse backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates a vibrant environment where all members of the Spark Northwest community thrive.

Spark Northwest is an equal opportunity employer that celebrates and honors diversity and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, race, color, physical or developmental ability, or ethnic origin in the hiring of its personnel.  We strongly encourage applications from people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time salaried position requiring a willingness to work some evenings and weekends with occasional travel throughout the state of Washington and Oregon. The expected salary range is $90,000-$105,000, depending on qualifications and experience. Spark Northwest offers generous benefits including medical and dental insurance, retirement, generous time off, and other benefits. More information available upon request. 

Apply Here

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 Spark Northwest’s goals, mission, and vision for the future as described in this announcement.
Applications received by June 12 at 5pm PST 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; in-person interviewing will begin in mid-June.  
Clover Search Works
5901 46th Ave. SW
Seattle, WA, United States

Organization Profile