The Canal Corridor Association (CCA) is accepting applications for a Managing Director reporting to our office in Lemont, Illinois, with regular travel to the I&M Canal Visitor Center & Canal Boat in LaSalle, Illinois. This is a full-time, executive leadership position that is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization including staff hiring and development, and all programming initiatives for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area (IMCNHA).

Founded in 1981, the Canal Corridor Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization designated by Congress to coordinate partnerships and activities in pursuit of our mission to enhance and promote the cultural, natural, recreational and economic resources of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area. The IMCNHA became the nation’s first designated national heritage area in 1984. There are now 61 other national heritage areas, with many more in development.

Our organization is part of a National Heritage Area System within the National Park Service that uses a public-private partnership model in which local non-government coordinating entities collaborate with government agencies. As the local entity, the CCA takes the lead in determining how to best promote the area’s heritage and stories relevant to local interests and needs as well as to visitors from across the country and globe.

CCA receives some funding from the government. All federal funds must be matched dollar-for-dollar on the local level. Donations and revenue streams are crucial to our organization and programs like the mule-powered, 1840s-replica canal boat tours, bike share program, I&M Canal Jr. Ranger Days and lectures, events and activities throughout the year.

If you are interested in our mission to preserve and promote the region’s natural resources, history, and nationally significant stories, please consider joining the Canal Corridor Association team.

Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled. Send a cover letter describing interest, resume, and professional summary/portfolio of work to [email protected].

TITLE: Managing Director        
LOCATION: Canal Corridor Association Office, 315 E. Illinois Street, Lemont, IL 60439
CLASSIFICATION: Permanent, Full-Time (40 hours/week) 
HOURS: Standard office hours 8:30-5 Mon-Fri and occasional evenings and weekends, flexible work environment

Reporting to the President/CEO, the Managing Director is responsible for the leadership and direction of all programmatic initiatives, staff hiring and development, and other areas of organizational operations and administration for the Canal Corridor Association (CCA) and the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Area (IMCNHA). In this new position the Managing Director will oversee and implement policy development, program planning and execution, program marketing, day-to-day operations of the I&M Canal Visitor Center and Canal Boat and bicycle rental program. The Managing Director will build a strong team, fostering a positive organizational culture while strengthening programs and partnerships throughout the IMCNHA.

The Managing Director serves as a liaison between the IMCNHA partners and other identified stakeholders. The Managing Director promotes awareness of and advocates for the IMCNHA to local, regional, state, and federal units of government and elected officials. The Managing Director will operate in compliance with CCA bylaws.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

 Vision and Strategy

  • Provide effective and thoughtful leadership by building strong relationships with stakeholders at all levels of the organization including staff, contractual vendors, community partners, volunteers, visitors and program participants while continually reinforcing the IMCNHA mission and vision.
  • Provide vision and motivation, assisting in the implementation of the strategic plan. Provide strategy and assistance around the budgeting for future programming, staffing, training, infrastructure and organizational needs to more effectively carry out its mission with a focus a continual quality improvement.

Staff Development

  • Oversee recruitment, on-boarding, selection, hiring and training for CCA staff, including drafting and updating job descriptions and conducting interviews.
  • Foster a working environment that encourages learning and growing together. Provide training and staff development opportunities for all staff that enhances the staff’s professional capabilities through training and coaching.
  • Conduct regular staff evaluations, strengthening the structure and process to ensure a smooth, intentional and proactive evaluation process. Oversee conflict resolution process as needed to build a cohesive, positive work environment.
  • Lead efforts to celebrate successes for programs and staff through a consistent annual plan.
  • Make recommendations to President/CEO regarding adding or eliminating positions and staff to support effective programs and operations.

Program Oversight

  • Manage day-to-day program operations, strengthen programmatic policies, create and implement strategic program planning structure.  
  • Evaluate programs, develop new methods, and lead program improvement initiatives.
  • Set meeting and check-in schedules on all levels, facilitate program meetings and weekly all-staff meetings. Create consistency and structure for staff calendars and internal meetings.
  • Implement practices and develop new policies that reinforce the mission and purpose of IMCNHA and CCA.
  • Work with National Heritage Area Partners to provide education and training for resource, program and staff development.
  • Cultivate relationships with community partners to further enhance and support programming throughout IMCNHA.
  • Lead efforts to promote, market, advertise, and communicate across the IMCNHA about all programs and initiatives for CCA led events, as well as partner led happenings.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Act as a liaison with local units of government and other agencies to encourage involvement and partnerships that supports the IMCNHA and CCA.
  • Attend all CCA, IMCNHA, and other industry related meetings, trainings and conferences as appropriate or directed by President/CEO.
  • Remain informed of best practices with regard to staff administration, programming, organization culture, and capacity building.
  • Become well-versed in the geography, history, current status, and offerings across the entire IMCNHA.
  • Demonstrate accountability in all work and commitments.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned.

Training & Experience

To perform this new and critical position successfully, the Managing Director must be able to fulfill all of the elements of the job description to the highest standard, and be able to work well with others in a high energy and collaborative work environment. All employees are expected to contribute to ongoing growth and improvement via excellent job performance and proactive communication.

Minimum requirements:

  • Seasoned management professional with a minimum of 5 years experience in a similar leadership position. Experience in non-profit/public sector organizations preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university required. Master’s degree strongly preferred.
  • Proven track record of effectively building and leading diverse programs and staff in a museum, nature center, or another similar history or community focused organization.
  • Strong management, analytic, and decision-making skills including the ability to influence, engage, and lead others to new levels of effectiveness and programmatic impact.
  • High emotional intelligence and ability to coach, mentor, relate and listen to staff and others.
  • Exceptional written, oral, and presentation skills with the ability to effectively interface with CCA leadership, Board, staff, and external stakeholders.
  • Experience with program evaluation, staff evaluation, and improvement planning.
  • Superior project management, organizational, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated computer expertise with Microsoft Office, Google application, databases and other computer systems used in CCA administration.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity to diverse issues and communities, comfort in multicultural environments, and ability to effectively communicate and operate within these settings.
  • Self-motivated, results driven, detail oriented, and adaptable.
  • Able to exercise good judgment, discretion, and confidentiality. Ability to juggle multiple priorities at once.
  • Must submit to and successfully pass a criminal history background check.
  • Must possess and maintain a current valid Driver’s License and have access to reliable transportation to get to and from work sites, meetings, partner sites, and other duty stations or events.

Organizational Relationships

Reports to: President/CEO

Works closely with: Communications Manager, Office Manager, Visitor Center Manager, Contracted Service Providers, part-time and seasonal staff, CCA volunteers, and Board of Directors

Working Environment and Conditions

Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Physical Demands:  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit, stand, walk, bend, lift and carry objects, and drive. Job requires frequent verbal and written communication. Computer, telephone, copier, and fax use are required.

Physical Effort: Ability to lift up to 40 lbs. on occasion.

Working Conditions: Ability to work out-of-doors with occasional exposure to moderately disagreeable weather.

Hazards: Negligible

Salary and Paid Time Off (PTO)

Salary: $85,000-105,000 (2,080 hours annually)

Paycheck: Biweekly

Paid time off: 10 days per year to be used for sick, vacation, or other planned time off plus designated holidays