Biodynamic Demeter Alliance
About Biodynamic Demeter Alliance
The Biodynamic Demeter Alliance is a newly formed organization focused on biodynamic agriculture and food systems in the United States. The organization is the result of a thoughtful unification and expansion process involving the two strongest and most visible organizations within the movement: the Biodynamic Association and Demeter USA. The combined organization offers a cohesive, networked association that can facilitate the practical growth and maturation needed to implement systemic change in the US food system and marketplace at large.
The Alliance works to advance the knowledge and growth of biodynamic practices, principles, research, markets, and certification in support of healthier landscapes, farms, and people, and improved economic, spiritual, and social wellbeing. By incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion practices as keystones, the Alliance works alongside all farmers, food entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts that share the goal of growing resilient, equitable, inclusive, and just food economies and systems.
As the Alliance builds out its team and programs, the organization will have three focus areas:
Certification: Continuing the work of Demeter USA, provide certification support and growth of US-grown certified products, review and revise standards as needed, train inspectors, and develop a comprehensive curriculum for certification
Market Development: In its position as a trade association, shift trade relations from competitive to cooperative, develop a diverse and fair biodynamic marketplace, create shared information systems, and coordinate logistics to bolster regional food systems as well as import/export distribution success.
Knowledge Sharing: Continuing the work of the Biodynamic Association, provide education through a matrix of regional hubs to promote the principles of biodynamics, land-based practices, certification schemes, research development, conferences, peer-reviewed administration, and advocacy.
As the biodynamics movement has its foundation in the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, these three focus areas map to Steiner’s conception of a healthy threefold society: Rights/Certification, Economy/Market Development, Culture/Knowledge Sharing.
As an early-stage organization, the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance does not yet have its own website. To learn more, visit the Biodynamic Association website at https://www.biodynamics.com/ and the Demeter USA website at https://www.demeter-usa.org/ .
About the Opportunity
The first-ever Executive Director of the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance is an exciting opportunity to join a long-standing movement of dedicated stakeholders across the US and the world, while working to build and scale a dynamic and nascent organization with the potential for high impact within the most pressing issues of our time, such as mitigating the effects of climate change and championing social justice.
Reporting to an active and engaged Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to build out and lead an executive team of program leads (Certification, Market Development, and Knowledge Sharing) and operational leads (HR, Finance, IT, Communications, Fundraising).
As a newly formed entity, the Alliance will benefit from the Executive Director’s leadership of a strategic planning process, plan for stakeholder engagement, and fundraising plan – all sprouting from two years of foundational ongoing conversations between board, staff, and other stakeholders.
Key areas of responsibility include the following:
Complete the Unification
Building on more than two years of thoughtful discussion and planning, the Executive Director will hone and implement the unification plan. In ongoing collaboration with board, staff, and external stakeholders, this individual will work to unify operational practices and structures. The ED will work with the current joint board, collaborating with legal experts as appropriate, to ensure a sound legal and governance structure is in place for the Alliance moving forward. With the underlying organizational structures in place, the ED will inspire, mobilize, and align board, staff, and partners toward future vision, mission, and values for the new entity.
Build the Organization
Highly committed expert staff from Demeter USA and the Biodynamic Association continue to serve in their roles and will provide continuity and context to the new Executive Director at the outset. As the Alliance expands in scope and impact, however, the ED will have the opportunity to develop a management structure and approach to support the Alliance’s aspirations, hiring for key roles to lead various aspects of the work. In parallel, the ED will establish and implement the organization’s strategy, guiding program development in concert with Board and staff.
The Executive Director will be responsible and accountable for the overall financial picture of a multi-entity non-profit organization with multiple earned and charitable revenue streams. This involves collaborating with financial management staff and Board to establish and maintain healthy and legally sound financial policies and procedures, while also collaborating with Fundraising staff to generate abundant financial resources for the organization.
Meanwhile, as leader of the organization’s growing staff, the ED will collaborate with board and staff to establish and maintain healthy and legally sound people policies, and to identify and recruit people into the organization for capacities needed to grow and manage the organization.
Represent the Alliance
The Executive Director of the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance serves as the public face for the organization, promoting the Alliance and the biodynamic movement nationally and in coordination with the international movement and representative bodies. It is essential that the ED embody social justice principles through engagement and actions both inside and outside the organization.
An exciting aspect of this role is to lead development of a brand strategy for the Alliance. Meanwhile, the ED will strategically collaborate with external partners as needed to build and nurture relationships and further the movement.
The Executive Director will also drive the development of the strategy and case statement for fundraising, while also overseeing the development and implementation of fundraising systems and processes. With the foundation in place, the ED will identify and cultivate new relationships to further the movement while increasing fundraising activities and results.
The Executive Director for the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance is a confident, experienced leader who drives progress through a collaborative and inclusive style. The Executive Director brings an entrepreneurial and holistic mindset, leading from a future-oriented perspective to transform and build systems to achieve a vision. A seasoned non-profit manager and leader, the ED brings the broad skillset required for an organization experiencing rebirth: financial management, people management, board development, vision and strategic planning and execution, and an external orientation to grow the Alliance’s member, partner, and donor network.
While direct knowledge of biodynamics is not required, it is essential to have curiosity about the approach and an ability to learn to speak out of the biodynamic impulse, including its spiritual dimensions. However, the Executive Director will need some background in an adjacent field in order to be credible. This may include leadership roles within regenerative/organic/Indigenous agriculture or land practices, food systems, food quality/nutrition, and/or relevant trade associations. Some understanding of certification schemes is necessary, as is some experience with sector-level marketing/public relations. The ED is also expected to bring a perspective on movement-building, if not direct experience.
The Alliance’s new ED operates with a high degree of candor and a naturally transparent and facilitative leadership style, working across stakeholders who have diverse perspectives and strong convictions to find commonalities and move the work forward. The Executive Director enjoys blending systems, teams, tools, and workflows, celebrating leadership at all levels and gathering input from the parts to form a cohesive whole. Strong experience working with boards and managing staff is essential, including demonstrated experience successfully creating a cohesive culture with a geographically-distributed team. Some experience with nontraditional organizational structures such as Teal or Holacracy is a plus.
Given the high degree of online collaboration required with staff, board, and other stakeholders, the Executive Director must be tech savvy with a high degree of comfort using Microsoft Office, Google Suite, CRM systems, Zoom, and other online platforms. Critical to success is the ability to manage multiple priorities, projects, and workstreams while remaining attentive to the relational aspects of both process and outcomes. The need for a high degree of organization, attention to detail, and accountability to self and others cannot be overstated.
Exceptional financial management skills are a must, with strong accountability for both expenses and revenue streams. The Executive Director must have a demonstrated ability to oversee the creation and implementation of robust financial and accounting policies and procedures to ensure reliable financial reporting for management, planning, and governance purposes. In parallel, this role requires creativity in identifying and seeking multiple revenue streams – both earned and charitable – and the ability to lead the expansion or creation of new revenue-generating programs as well as fundraising efforts. Understanding of both non-profit and for-profit financial management is strongly preferred.
Social justice is a central building block in the biodynamic community. The Executive Director is expected to embody active leadership, self-reflection, and continued learning on the issues of systemic racism and oppression, bias, and equity across a wide range of identities. Experience working with diversity, equity, and inclusion in food systems or adjacent sectors is strongly preferred.
Finally, the Executive Director of the Alliance is a well-rounded communicator: interpersonally and in small and large groups, verbally and in writing. The ED incorporates storytelling and imagination while tailoring style to the needs of both the audience and the form of the communication piece. Well-honed listening skills are understood to be an intrinsic characteristic of a strong communicator.
An understanding of initiatives, movements, or ideas inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, otherwise known as anthroposophy, is a strong plus but not required.
Candidates must have demonstrated experience successfully leading and building organizations through times of catalytic change. Experience within one or more of the following is also required: agriculture (with a strong preference for biodynamic/regenerative/organic); food systems; health & wellness products / nutrition; land trust/conservation; certification; trade association.
Location and Time Commitment
This is a remote position and the Executive Director can be based anywhere within the United States. The Biodynamic Demeter Alliance is a geographically distributed organization serving constituents across the United States and the world. While the administrative office is in East Troy, WI, all staff work remotely. Due to the spread across time zones, most staff meetings take place between 9am-2pm PT/12pm-5pm ET.
Working out of a pay equity and living wage framework, the Alliance expects to offer a salary in the $100K-$150K range, with a competitive benefits package.
The Biodynamic Demeter Alliance is an equal opportunity employer with a strong commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. People of color, people of all ethnic backgrounds and religious affiliations, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
To apply, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to include the following:
Cover letter including the following details:
Why you are interested in working with the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance
How your skills, interests, work history, and lived experience intersect with the responsibilities and qualifications of this role
Anything else you want us to know about you
Applications will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis. The start date is flexible based on the needs of both the candidate and the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance.
Candidates with questions prior to applying are invited to contact us at email@example.com. No phone calls, please.