Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) Senior Land Transactions Manager—Pending Announcement

Painter Executive Search is supporting Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) in a search for a Senior Land Transactions Manager to join a high-functioning team developing and stewarding complex land conservation transactions on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

Since its founding in 1977, POST (headquartered in Palo Alto, CA) has been helping create a network of protected lands where people and nature connect and thrive. More than 79,000 acres of permanent open space, farms and parkland in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties in California have been conserved by POST with support from a deeply committed set of partners and funders. These conserved lands are now part of the National Park system, National Wildlife Refuge system, California State Parks, county and city parks, regional preserves, as well as private farmland and collectively contribute deeply to the quality of life and resiliency of the region.

POST is a key partner in ensuring that strategically important lands are conserved and the connectivity and capacity for a healthy, biodiverse region will continue to thrive in perpetuity. POST brings together many organizations and individuals to ensure that open spaces are permanently protected, benefiting the community, the environment, and the economy. POST plays a central, catalytic role in complex transaction and funding processes, coordinating with multiple public agencies, and adjusting its approach based on each unique situation.

A leader in thoughtful conservation, POST approaches this work holistically, informed by science and undaunted by scale or complexity. To join this team is to engage in the highest quality conservation work, adding your strengths to the collective capacity of the organization and benefiting from its extraordinary experience and legacy of success.

POSITION SUMMARY

Reporting to the Director of Land Transactions and joining a deeply experienced team of conservation real estate transaction experts, the Senior Land Transactions Manager (Transactions Manager) will work independently and collaboratively to advance opportunities for land conservation. This individual will serve as an internal project lead for complex real estate transactions and will act as a key day-to-day liaison between staff, property owners, and partners. The Transactions Manager plays an important role in POST’s mission by developing and implementing successful transaction strategies. This requires aligning with conservation partners’ priorities, successful development of key relationships with landowners, shaping thorough purchase agreements, and supporting the funding necessary to complete these complex transactions.

Working in this region requires a broad range of relationship building and technical skills. Landowners are sophisticated and diverse and range from multi-generational family ranchers and farmers to corporate and venture-backed commercial developers. Working through the intersections of priorities and possibilities requires a thoughtful and solutions-oriented approach combined with a deep passion for land conservation. The Transactions Manager will have a personal portfolio of projects and will be expected to lead efforts for those key transactions, while being a partner in support of other team members in a range of project development areas as needed.

BACKGROUND and CURRENT LAND PROGRAMS

POST is one of the premier land trusts in the U.S., renowned for its deep technical understanding of the local lands and expert ability to define and implement complicated land transactions of many types. Since its inception, POST has worked closely with local, state, and national agencies as well as land trusts and other organizations to collaborate on regional land conservation priorities. In this highly cooperative environment, POST is the nimble expert that can act quickly and creatively to take advantage of unique opportunities for conservation, as well as hold the long vision of possibility and sustainability over time. Current successes are ensured by decades of effective partnership development and strategic relationship building. Doing conservation work in this high-cost region requires diverse and creative sources of funding and POST’s funding partners have catalyzed some of POST’s largest successes. Collectively, they have had unparalleled success with large and significant projects across the region.

Currently POST operates four programs for regional conservation each with a unique strategy. Those programs are focused on Public Access, Redwoods, Wildlife Linkages, and Farmlands and each has a lens that supports overarching priorities and long-term goals. Program Managers with subject matter expertise shape the strategy for each program area to achieve POST’s vision for a network of protected lands. Working closely with the Program Managers, this role provides the transaction expertise to execute on the land protection components embedded in these program strategies.

A strategic initiative within the Wildlife Linkages Program, Coyote Valley is a case study in the power of POST working with strong partners to realize complex visions of conservation through decades of efforts. This set of successes demonstrates the tenacity and power of POST’s land conservation team.  Read about the recent success of this effort here: Coyote Valley Protected.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Serve as the transaction expert for a portfolio of transactions across POST’s programs and other strategic opportunities. This includes developing acquisition strategies in collaboration with the Director of Land Transactions and program managers and leading the implementation of project opportunities;
  • Negotiate with landowners, and their representatives and with public agencies and funders;
  • Lead the preparation and review of acquisition and transfer documents (e.g., purchase agreements, agricultural and conservation easements, appraisals, transfer agreements, title documents, escrow instructions, etc.);
  • Coordinate implementation of acquisition and transfer activities with internal staff and external partners and funders;
  • Hire and manage consultants, service providers, and subject matter experts as necessary to complete transactions (such as appraisers, attorneys, surveyors, land use planners, environmental consultants, and biologists);
  • Oversee property due diligence for acquisition projects in coordination with other members of the Land team;
  • As needed, assist with preparation of stewardship and management plans to protect the natural resources, implement recreational opportunities, and address the management concerns on conservation properties;
  • Present to the POST Executive Team, the Board’s Land Committee, and full Board of Directors on specific project transactions as well as overall portfolio strategies and status;
  • Supervise external resources as required (including consultants and service providers), and project task and timeline oversight to support staff;
  • Work closely and proactively with members of the Land Department as well as members of the Development and Marketing teams in developing transaction projects and providing updates on status and project strategies;
  • Support the Development and Marketing teams by attending periodic events (e.g. hikes, tours, luncheons) and interacting with donors, funders, and members of the public.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS

Experience

A successful Senior Land Transactions Manager candidate will likely have:

  • Significant experience in conservation real estate and/or land transactions including conservation easements; 
  • Strong track record demonstrating initiative and results in a complex and fast-paced environment;
  • Proven negotiation and deal development skills; capable of managing sophisticated, potentially high-profile engagements;
  • Experience managing internal and external resources for a portfolio of complex, time-sensitive projects;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; Strong public speaking and presentation skills;
  • Outstanding planning and analytical skills including experience with project budgets and accounting;
  • Demonstrated ability to attract support, build relationships and develop strategic partnerships;
  • Undergraduate degree in business, real estate, or natural resources, with a post-graduate degree preferred. Equivalent work experience will be considered in lieu of a college degree;
  • Knowledge of current California tax and conservation laws;
  • Knowledge of natural resources;
  • Familiarity with POST’s working geography is preferred.

Attributes

  • Deep personal commitment to land conservation and to POST’s mission and vision;
  • Capable of managing diverse tasks in a timely and effective manner;
  • A strong listener; willing and able to find common ground;
  • Emotionally mature, someone who is confident and truly enjoys working with people;
  • Both a self-starter and highly collaborative; inspires confidence and trust;
  • Tenacious, able to respond creatively to challenges; a person who can see how to move things forward;
  • Solutions-oriented with attention to detail; pragmatic with an eye to the future;
  • Political savvy; experience navigating the complex political landscape;
  • A hard worker, willing to be hands-on and brings optimism and a high energy level to daily work;
  • Exercises high ethical standards;
  • Knows when to stop work and have fun and celebrate with co-workers and partners.

Other Skill Requirements: 

  • Must possess mobility to work in a standard office setting and to use standard office equipment, including a computer, and strength to lift and carry materials weighing up to 20 pounds; vision is required to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech are required to communicate in person and over the telephone.
  • Must be able to drive.
  • Must be able to hike rough terrain.
  • This position requires occasional evening and weekend work.

For additional details or to submit your experience for review, please contact;

Nancy Painter

Nancy@painterexecutivesearch.com

(415) 202- 6240