Job Posting for OCO Executive Director (Acting)

OCO is in search of an acting Executive Director to fill a 12-16 month maternity leave.

** Update: Deadline to apply has been extended until September 30, 2019. **

Full-time (contract) 

Job Title: Executive Director (Acting)

Salary: $55,000 to $62,000 depending on experience

Benefits: We offer a health savings account, but no health insurance plan.

BYOD: We have a Bring Your Own Device policy, including cell phone and laptop

Reports to: OCO’s Board of Directors/ Executive Committee

Location: Home Office (anywhere in Ontario); preference given to candidates who can work from our Toronto (720 Bathurst st.) or Guelph (5420 hwy 6 North) offices.

Start Date: November – December 2019

About OCO

Our Vision

Ontario is an organic leader,  inspiring innovation and improving the health of our economy, environment, and communities.

Our Mission

We foster excellence and encourage growth by acting as a unifying voice for Ontario organic, from field to plate. We protect and promote organic through advocacy, research, capacity building, and education.

About Us

OCO Staff and Board Members at a June 2019 Board Meeting in Guelph, ON.

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) is the Voice for Organics in Ontario. We represent over 1300 certified organic operators across the value chain, as well as the businesses, organizations, and individuals that help bring food from farm to plate. We work to catalyze sector growth, support research, improve training, increase data collection, encourage market development, protect the integrity of organic claims, and inform the public of the benefits and requirements of organic agriculture. 

About the Role

A visionary and strategic leader with knowledge of the Ontario food and agriculture sector, you believe in systemic change and have the patience and determination to make it happen. You are an inclusive, consultative, and empowering individual with experience hiring and motivating small and dynamic teams.  You are both a thinker and a doer, able to review and analyze complex regulatory issues one moment and lead a farm tour the next. You know what it takes to run a member-based association: you are always ready to listen reflectively, debate openly, and incorporate dissenting views without losing momentum in taking action towards a goal. You are a savvy communicator with political acumen:  you have the ability to identify the most important audiences and deliver messages to achieve your goals. 

You trust in the skills, ability, and capacity of others, are an excellent judge of character, and are always on the lookout for new opportunities that allow OCO to punch above its weight!  You have the courage to try new approaches, structures, and processes that are well-informed and well-reasoned, while understanding the historical and legal context in which you work. You are a systems builder, striking a balance between creating organizational structure and staying nimble and action-oriented. 

You have experience and confidence in managing complex, nuanced relationships across a broad spectrum of interests. You have a proven track record of successfully developing effective, lasting relationships with staff, members, funders, national and provincial partners, governments, and policy and change-makers.  You are entrepreneurial by nature. You juggle multiple projects and grants with a close eye on cash flow, while seeking new opportunities to achieve the organization’s mandate and build financial resilience.  

As Executive Director of the Organic Council of Ontario, and with support from our skilled board and staff, you will improve organizational effectiveness, build on our funding base and capacity, and support Ontario’s local organic food leaders to grow and thrive.   

Job Description

  • Vision and Governance: keeping the mandate and the financial sustainability at the heart of every decision, you inspire OCO’s board, staff, membership and partners towards new goals and directions that help grow the Ontario organic sector.
  • Strategic Thinking: seeing the bigger picture and direction of OCO, you identify and prioritize the most strategic initiatives, timing, and resources to deliver practical results on sector goals.
  • Networking: you develop and maintain key partnerships and relationships with  government decision makers, national partners, and ally organizations to strengthen OCO’s effectiveness and reach.
  • Organizational leadership: you communicate, lead and direct OCO’s Vision and Strategic Plan, monitoring and reporting results, and recommending course corrections.
  • Operations and Administration: you manage hiring, contract negotiations, financial reporting and controls.  You support the scheduling of monthly board meetings, project reporting and some aspects of office administration.
  • Policy and Government Relations:  you lead strategic thinking with respect to overarching policy issues, monitor current agrifood and organic policy and regulatory affairs, and identify emerging issues and opportunities.  Along with the Board Chair and Vice President, you represent OCO at government meetings and liaise with political officers. You work with staff to develop campaign strategies and policy briefings.
  • Fundraising: along with the Membership and Communications manager, you support  the development of new membership and revenue-generating opportunities and services.  You also manage grant writing, implementation and reporting. Developing new and innovative fundraising approaches is central to your role. 
  • External Communications: work with the Membership and Communications Manager to set a professional and accessible tone for the organization, facilitating transparency, credibility, and generating interest and engagement in OCO’s work and the benefits of organic.
  • Team leadership: overseeing staff, facilitating effective teamwork, and cultivating a fun, collaborative, and respectful work environment with all staff and volunteers. You are a problem-solver and trouble-shooter with an open-door, hands-on approach.

The ideal candidate will have:  

  • Minimum 3-5 years leadership experience in a non-profit or association 
  • Relevant project management and fundraising experience in a small non-profit
  • Strong knowledge of the Ontario agriculture and food landscape
  • Knowledge of Ontario political and policy environment or experience in government relations
  • Knowledge of organic sector and/or regulatory system
  • French language skills an asset

**UPDATED DEADLINE** To apply, please send your cover letter and CV in one pdf to by September 30, 2019 with “Executive Director” in the subject line. 

The Organic Council of Ontario supports employment equity and encourages applications from individuals in traditionally marginalized groups. We encourage applicants to self-identify in their cover letter or application if they are a member of a marginalized community.

We thank all applicants for their time and interest, however only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Interviews will begin the week of September 30th, 2019 or sooner.

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