Position available: Executive Director

Applications close:  No Deadline – please apply as soon as possible.

Contract: Full time. Three year contract, with option to renew.

Location: Sydney preferred. East coast capital city negotiable for the right candidate.

Salary: $100,000 - $120,000 annually, negotiable within the range.

The opportunity:

  • Lead a foundation organisation of Australia’s climate movement at this key moment for climate action
  • Increase the effectiveness and impact of the climate movement through influential strategic leadership and powerful collaborations
  • Increase the diversity and breadth of organisations actively engaged and working together in response to climate change
  • Work with CEOs and senior staff of Australia’s leading environmental and civil society non-government organisations acting on climate change to develop shared strategies and campaign opportunities – including the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), GetUp, Greenpeace, The Wilderness Society, Oxfam, WWF, Solar Citizens and many more.
  • Lead a small team of experienced social movement organisers and analysts to broaden the reach and impact of the movement.

Who we are:

The Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) supports our members and their allies to take actions to protect people at home and abroad from climate change, to safeguard our natural environment, and build a fair, clean healthy Australia for everyone.

To achieve this, we are creating a diverse network with distributed leadership that links people and organisations towards our shared vision. The network supports strategic analysis to inform campaigns and new opportunities, supports increased capacity, skills and diversity across the movement, and provides the underlying infrastructure that supports us to work together.

The Network Support Team (the CANA staff team) focus’ our work on three priorities:

  1. Strategy – through analysis, debate and coalition building, we lead and support the development and prosecution of a long term transformational agenda that delivers on our broad environmental and social justice ambitions as well as provide ongoing support to immediate priorities.
  2. Relationships – core to powerful collaborations and a functioning social movement are strong and trusted relationships. We support members and allies to deepen relationships between leaders, organisations, sectors and grassroots networks through shared campaigns, capacity building, and regular gatherings such as retreats and assemblies.
  3. Capacity Building - we build the capacity of our movement through shared learning and skill development; through funding and initiation of new cross-sectoral engagements; and through directly supporting grassroots community action through our Small Grants Scheme.

The role:

The CANA Executive Director is a linchpin role for the climate movement in Australia. The Director is a leader, strategist, network organiser, manager and fundraiser.

Three years ago CANA was revitalised to be able to support the growth of our movements’ reach and impact. Today, our members and allies have put climate change squarely back on the political and community agenda. Our investment in collaboration and capacity building is delivering results.

The opportunity now exists for an experienced social movement leader to build on this success and take CANA and our network forward into the next phase of growth.

About you – our next Executive Director:

You are passionate about solving the climate crisis and the role of powerful social movements to affect change. You have strategic leadership skills and experience within a social movement context. You’re an excellent collaborator, with a strong background in stakeholder engagement and building relationships across sectoral divides – your positive, empowering attitude to the role and relationships brings people together.

Ideally, you also:

  • Are a proven campaigner and leader in alliances and collaborations
  • have experience in fundraising and managing a budget
  • have worked within Australian social movements, and with climate and energy campaigns

Core responsibilities:

Strategic Leadership and Planning

  • Lead and coordinate development of strategy for both long term movement activities, and short-medium term campaign priorities including relevant state and federal election campaigns. This will include the development of CANA’s next three-year plan.

Relationship Building & Collaboration

  • Ensure ongoing engagement, collaboration and strengthening of relationships between CANA members through delivery of shared campaigns, regular retreats or other events and activities

Capacity Building

  • Support the CANA team to grow and diversify active members within the network, engage new and diverse organisations and communities, and provide skill development and learning opportunities across the network
  • Ensure the continued operation and success of CANA’s small grants scheme

Management and sustainability of CANA

  • Manage and develop staff to deliver outcomes and to grow in their roles
  • Achieve financial sustainability for CANA, including maintaining membership levels, securing new income including philanthropic gifts, and management of finances and reporting
  • Ensure all regulatory reporting and compliance obligations are met
  • Report to and work with the CANA board and ensure appropriate support for governance

Key Selection Criteria:

  • Leadership – Committed to helping organisations and leaders across Australian civil society to work together to adequately respond to climate change; demonstrated experience leading communities and/or organisations to achieve outcomes; track record of inspiring others into action and leadership; demonstrated ability to take initiative and drive outcomes.
  • Strategy – Excellent strategic analysis, planning and leadership; astute to political and other opportunities and threats; proven ability to lead others through a strategic process; ability to manage competing priorities such as short and long term strategies; ability to identify immediate priorities and bring other leaders on board; strong understanding of different theories of change and the role of different approaches in a complex strategy.
  • Collaboration – Deep commitment to collaboration as an essential element of successful social movements; demonstrated experience leading a collaboration or alliance; invests time and resources in building and maintaining active relationships and networks as demonstrated through strong and trusted relationships across Australian civil society; ability to manage relationships throughout conflict and disagreement.
  • Communication – Track record of developing and delivering persuasive communication that motivates people to join and act; ability to understand and engage diverse target audiences including peers, supporters and donors.
  • Campaigning – Strong understanding and experience of campaign strategy, planning, execution and evaluation. Demonstrated experience leading a civil society campaign.
  • Partnerships - Demonstrated ability to secure, develop and nurture sustainable, long term funding and pro bono relationships; Adept at articulating shared value propositions for members and partners.
  • Management – Demonstrated experience managing staff and development of a team; demonstrated experience managing budgets and reporting at a senior level; demonstrated experience managing delivery and administration of contracts; solid understanding of governance requirements for Australian NGOs.

Qualifications or work requirements:


  • Ability to work reasonable evening and weekend hours where required in order to engage with members and stakeholders
  • Ability for regular domestic travel to capital cities. Some flexibility for regional and international travel if necessary.
  • Relevant permits to work in Australia


  • Experience working on climate change and energy related issues
  • Experience in a leadership role within a social movement or organisation
  • Experience in facilitation and leadership of collaborative campaigns
  • Experience managing a team of staff, and work working as part of a distributed team
  • Experience with major donor fundraising
  • Experience reporting to a board or committee of management

CANA aims to be as diverse as the country we are trying to change. We are an equal opportunity employer and people who identify as ATSI, coming from a non-English speaking background, women or LGBTQ+ are encouraged to apply.

How to apply

Please submit your application including a cover letter and addressing the Key Selection Criteria to Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Chair of the Board, CANA – info@cana.net.au using the subject line: Executive Director application via EthicalJobs.

For questions or a discussion regarding the position please call Victoria McKenzie-McHarg, Chair of the board, on 0428 480 409; or Louise Tarrant, board member, on 0408 626 341.

Applications close: Applications will be assessed as submitted. Please apply as soon as possible.

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