• Full Time
  • Remote

Website Council of the Great Lakes Region

Location: Remote


Reporting to the President and CEO, the Senior Program Director, Business & Sustainability, to be based in the United States, will be responsible for developing and executing the strategy for the organization’s focus on business and sustainability in the binational Great Lakes region. Currently funded by the Fred and Barbara Erb Foundation (Erb Foundation), this position will: 1) curate meaningful sustainability content and conversations that attracts, engages and retains the interest of key businesses in the region, 2) develop lasting relationships between business and CGLR, and 3) activate relationships toward addressing sustainability challenges facing the region and building strong business support for public policies to improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy. In addition, this position will oversee and support the strategic needs of the organization’s other sustainability priorities, initially the Circular Great Lakes initiative, which will be led by a program coordinator. The Senior Program Director will work closely with the President and CEO, Board Members, staff, and external consultants to complete this work, while also leveraging their prior relationships and experience in business, sustainability, circular economy, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues, preferably in the Great Lakes Region. The ultimate objective is to attract interest in, and partners to the organization and its sustainability programs.

Key Results for 2021

  1. Own the implementation of the Erb Foundation’s business and sustainability grant: develop, refine, and implement strategies to build strong business support for public policies to support a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem and economy and new, trusting relationships between industry, government, and environmental NGOs.
  2. Develop approved strategy for continuing and funding the Business and Sustainability project following the initial grant funding from the Erb Foundation, which is expected to end in 2022.
  3. Oversee the Program Coordinator for the GLCEP, with particular focus on ensuring the strategic planning and initiatives align with the organization’s overall business & sustainability priorities.
  4. Build relationships with key corporations, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations in the Great Lakes region that are aligned with the work of the Erb Foundation grant and the GLCEP, in order to build resources and commitments to meet the objectives of those programs and the overall mission of the CGLR.


Leadership and Management:

  • Develop the sustainability brand of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and the Great Lakes Economic Forum as a ‘go to’ resource for information, insight, connection, and collaboration on business and sustainability issues of importance to the binational Great Lakes region.
  • Lead the development of a series of sustainability dialogues through the Great Lakes Economic Forum (online, virtually, in-person) that attract key corporations, higher education institutions, and non-profit organizations in the Great Lakes region to the Council.
  • Provide day-to-day management and leadership to ensure the success of the organization’s focus on business and sustainability:
  • Prepare and submit an annual operating plan and budget for the Business and Sustainability Project to the CEO for review and approval by the Board, manage effectively within this budget, and report accurately on progress made and challenges encountered.
  • Ensure the continued financial viability of the Business and Sustainability Project through sound fiscal management and partner development.
  • Great Lakes Circular Economy Partnership:
  • Provide effective and inspiring leadership, as well as stewardship, in overseeing and supporting the Program Coordinator in developing and implementing the GLCEP.
  • Support the CEO, Program Coordinator, and human resources advisor in developing a staffing plan by the end of 2021 to implement GLCEP’s five-year action plan and assist in developing the Program Coordinator’s management skills to run that team day-to-day, with your oversight.
  • Partner with the CEO, as well as the GLCEP Program Coordinator, to update key funders and partners, as well as other stakeholder groups as required, on the management, achievements, and implementation challenges associated with the GLCEP and the Business and Sustainability Project.
  • Ensure that all of GLCEP and Business and Sustainability Project’s activities operate consistently and ethically within the mission and values of CGLR.

Operational Excellence:

  • Leverage strong strategic planning, project management and implementation experience and skills to ensure the success of the Business and Sustainability Project, to include:
  • Create and maintain comprehensive documentation for the project, both at the strategic level and at the implementation level.
  • Track strategic plan performance to ensure successful completion of short and long-term goals, within budget.
  • Perform risk management assessment to minimize plan risks.
  • Report and escalate project risks and adjustments to management and stakeholders as required.
  • Ensure that key learnings and outcomes are evaluated and leveraged for maximum future organizational impact, including coordination with the Marketing and Development teams.
  • Support the work of the Program Coordinator and external consultant in developing a strategic plan for the GLCEP and to successfully implement that plan by Q4 2021, to set the program up for success in 2022.

External Relationships:

  • Develop a network of at least 20 business leaders/executives committed to sustainability and interested in collaborative solutions to complex challenges in the region.
  • Engage and develop close relationships with these leaders through direct conversations in order to understand their interests, solicit their feedback on regional sustainability priorities, invite their participation in CGLR events as guest speakers, and encourage them to write blogs for the Great Lakes Economic Forum online.
  • Cultivate existing partner and funder relationships, as well as develop and manage new relationships with government agencies, companies and industry associations, academic institutions, environmental non-governmental organizations, and foundations.
  • Engage key businesses in the face of rapidly changing environments, and leverage CGLR’s expertise in circular economy and sustainability issues to focus conversations in the region on our expertise and partnership.


  • Serve as editor for the Great Lakes Economic Forum: Online and executive producer of the Great lakes Economic Forum Virtual Events
  • Oversee social media and affiliations with relevant thought leaders in the region and beyond


The Senior Program Director will be thoroughly committed to the Council of the Great Lakes Region’s mission and programmatic initiatives, specifically the GLCEP and sustainability efforts. Specific requirements include:

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience leading and executing initiatives in the public, non-profit, and/or private sector. Recent experience in the sustainability and/or circular economy field is an asset.
  • A strong external network of sustainability peers in companies, government, academia and the non-profit sector.
  • Progressive leadership and decision-making experience in a complex multi-stakeholder working environment.
  • Proven results in developing and implementing operational strategies and action plans.
  • A clear track record of managing diverse perspectives and interests, program development, issues management, and advocacy.
  • A proven and confident communicator with the media and other key external audiences.
  • Outstanding written communication and presentation skills.
  • A skilled facilitator and networker who is able to form productive relationships with companies, stakeholders, governments, and partners in delivering large projects.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • A university degree. Advanced specializations in fields related to the circular economy and/or sustainability are an asset.
  • Previous remote work experience is strongly preferred but not required.

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