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Quail Springs Permaculture seeks Executive Director - Ventucopa, CA


Founded in 2004, Quail Springs is an educational nonprofit that sits on a 450-acre permaculture demonstration site in the Cuyama Valley, the ancestral lands of the Chumash people. Quail Springs is dedicated to exploring the possibilities of sustainable human community on land through practice, teaching, and advocacy. We believe that land health is human health and that the lessons of simple living provide direction towards a thriving Earth and society.


The residents and staff of the Quail Springs site and non-profit are a group of artisans, educators, designers, and farmers who work together to create regenerative land and community systems. The residents and staff of Quail Springs strive to create a vibrant community and balanced workplace through collaboration and respect.


Prospective candidates will embrace simple, remote rural living in a community while working in a nonprofit organization. In January of 2020, Quail Springs adopted a new organizational structure with the aim of empowering all employees with decision-making power in their areas of work and supporting a more equitable, efficient and engaging work environment. We are excited about this new structure and a successful applicant will have an interest in non-hierarchical workplace structures and a commitment to explore them with us.


You are emotionally intelligent, a strategic planner, a clear and compassionate communicator, financially savvy, and have a keen sense of organizational management. You are a person who is inspired rather than discouraged by challenges, who loves the outdoors, and who appreciates the vision of inspiring society at large about a future in which the principles of permaculture are widely valued and accepted. You have the physical and emotional resilience to live and work semi-communally on the land, specifically an off-grid rural site, where conditions can be challenging and include heat, wind, cold, and distance from the comforts of modern living.

Position Description

The Executive Director at Quail Springs manages the multitude of operational and financial details needed to keep the organization running, while also being able to hold, and invite others into, the bigger picture strategic view. The Executive Director represents the organization to the public, which includes communicating with donors, speaking at events, and networking with potential collaborators and funders. Because of our sociocracy-based structure (see above), the Executive Director shares decision-making power equally with the rest of the staff. Candidates must therefore be excited about, and ideally already comfortable with, working in a non-hierarchical workplace. We believe this makes for a more sustainable and enjoyable experience for an Executive Director!

Primary Responsibilities

Note that the Executive Director is responsible for holding most but not necessarily all of the below roles. There is also room for the Executive Director to take part in other parts of the organization’s work that are not listed here, where their skills and interests align.

Leadership and Visioning

  • Lead the strategic planning process and support goal setting and tracking
  • Be a service-oriented leader within the context of community and a non-hierarchical workplace
  • Facilitate increasing alignment of organization’s values and ethics with its structure, governance, and processes
  • Partner with the Natural Building & Advocacy Director to lead the ongoing efforts to permit earthen structures onsite
  • Support advocacy efforts to legalize earthen building and promote sustainable groundwater use

Operations and Administration

  • Maintain the legality of nonprofit status and for all tax exemptions (state and federal)
  • Maintain records for all aspects of the organization
  • Oversee HR tasks (hiring, onboarding, feedback, check-ins, payroll)
  • Support strategy, budgeting, and marketing for Quail Springs programs


  • Lead the collaborative process of creating an annual organizational budget
  • Maintain and present cashflow and budget reporting to staff and board regularly
  • Support the overall financial resilience of Quail Springs
  • Work collaboratively with Quail Springs bookkeeper and Santa Barbara accountant
  • Submit annual federal and state tax returns (or collaborate with a paid tax preparer)


  • Support the Development Director in designing and implementing fundraising strategies
  • Communicate with major donors
  • Collaborate with other QS staff to research, write, and edit grant applications and reports
  • Collaborate with the Development Director to maintain donor database records

Staff Support & Development

  • Support staff to successfully be in their roles, or shift roles as needed
  • Support increasing equity in the workplace
  • Support continued anti-racism training for staff
  • Model and support direct and compassionate communication

Qualities & Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate

  • 2+ years nonprofit leadership (or equivalent organizational management) experience
  • Experience facilitating a group to help align on mission, set goals, and track progress
  • Experience creating and tracking budgets (experience cashflow projections a plus)
  • Experience with project management
  • Ability to communicate financial picture of an organization in understandable terms
  • Ability to identify and connect with potential partners and funders for Quail Springs
  • Ability to contribute to an inspiring and motivating work environment
  • Clear and compassionate communication skills
  • Ability to create and manage your own schedule
  • A strong spirit of volunteerism and willingness to engage in community chores (laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc.)
  • Enthusiasm for living in community and working collaboratively
  • Cultural sensitivity and commitment to dismantling systems of oppression
  • Permaculture experience or PDC Certification is a plus
  • LGBTQ+ folks and BIPOC are encouraged to apply

Some people might hesitate to apply because they don’t have absolutely everything on the above lists of qualities and qualifications. Please don’t let that stop you! Most importantly, we’re looking for someone we can rely upon to thoughtfully manage important details of our nonprofit’s operations and finances.


Quail Springs is based near Ventucopa, California in the Cuyama Valley, 1.5 hours from the nearest urban/suburban center.

Working & Living Conditions

This position is approximately 30 hours per week. In addition to the 30 hours per week commitment, we all share in community responsibilities and dinners. The person hired for this position will live and work in the Quail Springs community setting, where there are anywhere from 10-25 other people living and working on the land. You will live in your own small cob house or yurt on the land. The site is remote, with limited communications: there is no cell reception, and the internet and phone service are limited to the central office area.


Quail Springs staff are compensated based on an equal pay structure that aligns with our non-hierarchical workplace. Please inquire via the website for details.

Application Process

Link to full job description and application: https://www.quailsprings.org/about-us/opportunities/executive-director/

Please take care to fully fill out our online application so we may best get to know you. If your application is approved, we will contact you to set up an interview. We are hard-working folks, so please be patient with our response time! But also don’t hesitate to check back in on the status of your application.

Before a final hiring decision is made, candidates are asked to come out to Quail Springs for a final interview and site visit to be sure of a mutually good fit.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to reviewing your application!

Application Deadline: May 28, 2021

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