The Alliance for the Great Lakes is pleased to announce an opening for the position of Finance & Operations Director. The Alliance is a mid-sized, non-partisan NGO with a vision of a healthy Great Lakes for all people and wildlife, forever. This new position will join the Alliance during a period of record financial growth, with an annual budget of $4 million and an asset base of $3.5 million that supports the mission-driven work of 25 staff.

The Finance & Operations Director will be responsible for bringing Alliance accounting services in house for the first time. The Director will be a proven financial professional with the ability to set financial strategy and direction to support the Alliance, and provide oversight to organizational Operations staff. She or he will use sound financial management to drive the organization to a higher level of strategic performance by ensuring timeliness, accuracy and transparency in all financial matters. The Director will be highly organized, tactful and collaborative across the staff and board. She or he will lead and mentor a team of two staff who are responsible for human resources, information technology, accounts receivable and payable, and office management.

The Finance and Operations Director reports directly to the President/C.E.O.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes sets a protection agenda for the Great Lakes, a resource of global significance and the world’s largest source of surface freshwater. The Alliance seeks to protect the Great Lakes from their greatest threats, build a resilient future for communities and instill the value of clean water throughout the region. The Alliance is a four-star Charity Navigator organization. Learn more about the Alliance at



  • Oversee all accounting and finance processes through planning, developing, organizing, implementing, and evaluating the organization’s fiscal functions.
  • Create and provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial reports and historical trends to inform fiscal decisions of the President & CEO, Leadership Team, and Board of Directors.
  • Oversee three – five year budget planning and expense management in alignment with strategic program objectives, capacity needs and revenue goals.
  • Ensure oversight and controls over investment fund risk and performance in collaboration with the President & CEO and Board of Directors.
  • Evaluate and advise on the fiscal impact of new organizational programs and strategies.

Financial Operations

  • Create an annual budget plan format that supports implementation of the organization’s strategy and equips organizational leaders to manage effectively within the budget.
  • Run the annual budget expense proposal and revenue commitment process with staff.
  • Create grant budgets and financial reports to private, corporate and government funders in support of the Development Team and program team leads.
  • Oversee monthly closing of books, monitoring of cash balances and creation of cash flow forecasts, and management of payables and receivables.
  • Create monthly reports including profit & loss statement, balance sheet, and program budget reports.
  • Close out books at end of fiscal year and coordinate with external auditors for annual audit manage organization side of audit process.
  • Advise on financial implications of work contracts.
  • Update and manage financial reporting dashboard for President & CEO and Board of Directors.
  • Monitor cash flow and recommend transfers between accounts as needed.

Institutional & Management

  • Enhance, develop, implement, and enforce critical operational policies and procedures of the organization as they affect financial management, human resources, IT and other areas.
  • Manage the Office Manager and Executive Assistant in their duties, with an emphasis on expansion and ongoing improvement of human resource services, bill payment, expense reimbursement, vendor management, IT contracting, and other essential institutional services.
  • Cultivate an internal and external brand of transparency, timeliness and customer service in financial matters.
  • Create opportunities to provide continuing education & advice on financial matters to staff team leads.
  • Keep Alliance leadership informed of the impacts of relevant regulatory changes.

Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies

  • Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or business required or relevant experience; MBA, CPA or related advanced degree is a plus.
  • Minimum of seven years of broad finance experience is required. A foundation in audit is highly preferred.
  • Minimum of five years of staff management and leadership experience in at least two roles.
  • Direct and/or oversight experience in human resources.
  • Demonstrated history of providing business leadership to an organizational executive(s).
  • Demonstrated excellence in managing finance, accounting, budgeting control and reporting.
  • Familiarity and use of general ledger and payroll systems, with QuickBooks experience preferred.
  • Strong Microsoft Office skills, with proficiency in MS Excel required.
  • Experience managing organizational change including staff transitions and improving internal and external fiscal practice & accountability.
  • Evidence of proficiency and innovation in financial management and budget development and monitoring.
  • Previous experience working with nonprofits and other Boards of Directors.
  • Broad experience working in process improvement and understanding how to implement efficiencies.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and problem-solving.
  • Ability and desire to build relationships and work effectively with people of diverse social, faith, economic, and racial backgrounds.
  • Excellent facilitator with strong listening, writing, and communication skills.
  • Ability to motivate others and communicate enthusiasm for shared goals.

Desired Behavior and Experiences

  • Team player with a collaborative and flexible style, and a strong customer service mentality.
  • Hands-on manager with integrity and a desire to work in a mission-driven environment.
  • Strong commitment to developing team members.
  • Excellent time management skills and the ability to effectively manage multiple projects, competing priorities, and deadlines.
  • Innovative thinker, with a track record for translating strategic thinking into action plans and output.
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem solving skills, including negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Self-starter that is highly effective at working both autonomously and as part of a collaborative team.
  • Commitment to and passion for the Alliance’s mission.

Job Parameters

  • This position is full-time and consistent with Alliance employment policy.
  • Salary to be commensurate with experience.
  • Excellent benefits including health, vacation and retirement plan, are included.
  • The preference is for this position to be located in Chicago, with occasional travel around the Great Lakes region.

Application Process

Please e-mail a cover letter, resume, references to: Include job title in the subject line.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt of their materials and further guidance and updates about the hiring process by e-mail, with interviews provided for finalists. No phone inquiries please.

About the Alliance for the Great Lakes

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The search process will reinforce the Alliance’s belief that achieving diversity requires an enduring commitment to inclusion that must find full expression in our organizational culture, values, norms, and behaviors.

The Alliance’s vision is a healthy Great Lakes for people and wildlife, forever. Its mission is to conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife. For more information about the Alliance’s programs and work, please visit us online at


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