Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer

Our Story:

Founded as—and still officially named—the San Diego Society of Natural History (The Nat), the organization traces its roots to an enthusiastic group of amateur naturalists who came together in 1874 to study the unique flora and fauna of our region. Now known as the San Diego Natural History Museum (and affectionately referred to as The Nat), the organization focuses on the natural history and unique biodiversity of our binational region. With a $12M annual budget and 170 employees, we welcome nearly 400,000 people to the Museum each year. In addition to our location in Balboa Park, The Nat hosts environmental education programs in the community, and we are engaged in scientific research throughout Southern California and the Baja California Peninsula.

While many people know The Nat as a flagship institution in Balboa Park, we are much bigger than our building. The world we live in is an amazing place. We want everyone to understand it better, enjoy it more, and love it as much as we do, so we’ll all protect it for the future. Because we believe that nature is the biggest exhibition of all. For more information, please visit:

Leadership & Culture

As a member of the executive team, the CFO/COO will report to CEO, Judy Gradwohl who joined The Nat in July 2016 as the organization’s first woman president and CEO, following more than 30 years at the Smithsonian Institution. Judy’s passion for and wide range of experience in natural history research, science communication, and museum management has taken the organization to new heights. Under her leadership, the Museum developed a new strategic plan that focuses on regional science, collections, education, and conservation. The CFO/COO will join a convivial and dedicated team of exceptionally talented staff, working collaboratively to help shape the organization’s future. It is also an incredible time to join The Nat, as we prepare to embark on the largest capital campaign in the organization’s history. The CFO/COO will play a key leadership role in laying the financial groundwork for the $50M campaign and managing the important infrastructure investments it will fund.

Benefits & Features

⦁ Salary: $160,000 – $170,000
⦁ Medical, dental and vision coverage
⦁ Flexible Spending Accounts: Health, Dependent and Transit
⦁ Life Insurance for annual salary up to $150,000.
⦁ AD&D and Long-Term Disability
⦁ Voluntary Life or Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
⦁ Retirement Plan eligible to contribute immediately. Employer match, after one year of employment.
⦁ 10 paid days off
⦁ 10 paid sick days
⦁ 15 paid holidays
⦁ Park Employee discounts at stores, coffee carts and restaurants.
⦁ Free admission into all of Balboa Park’s museums and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
⦁ See our website for more information on benefits of working at the Museum:


This role will need to work primarily on site in Balboa Park and there is some flexibility for remote work.

Position Summary

With a new strategic plan, the upcoming capital campaign and our 150th anniversary fast approaching, the CFO/COO will have a real opportunity for impact. The Nat is a key player in conservation conversations and is actively addressing environmental issues that will shape our region for future generations. The CFO/COO will report to the CEO, and work closely with the Board of Directors, including the Finance, Audit, and Investment Committees. They will manage our $12M annual budget, with overall strategic and operational responsibility of the finance, operations, and administrative departments for one of San Diego’s most beloved institutions. This includes building facilities, accounting, HR, and IT/AV, as well as our museum store retail operations and food & beverage sales. In addition, the CFO/COO will leverage their business acumen to help us grow our contract services division, which provides environmental consulting services throughout the region. Currently a $2M business for The Nat, this division has very exciting growth prospects.

The CFO/COO will lead a dynamic and talented team, managing five to six direct reports and a total team of 25 staff altogether. A key member of our senior leadership team, this is a high-profile position, both within our organization and our sector locally, as they collaborate with executives at other leading cultural institutions. The CFO/COO role offers an excellent opportunity for a candidate with exceptional inter-personal skills and collaborative, transparent and inclusive management ethos.

Priority areas for this position in the first 12 months include:
⦁ Provide strong financial and strategic support to the CEO.
⦁ Collaborate with the CEO to develop a comprehensive business plan to expand The Nat’s earned revenue streams, such as environmental consulting, events, retail, food and beverage.
⦁ Finalize the rollout and implementation of the new accounting software, Sage Intacct.
⦁ Lead a compensation analysis and salary modeling for all positions across The Nat to support equity and retention.
⦁ Ensure all departments are prepared for The Nat’s capital campaign.
⦁ Hire and oversee a project manager responsible for managing the capital improvement projects tied to the campaign.
⦁ Prepare for and oversee the audit.

Duties & Responsibilities


⦁ Oversee cash flow planning and ensure availability of funds as needed.
⦁ Oversee cash, investment, and asset management.
⦁ Oversee financing strategies and activities, as well as banking relationships.
⦁ Develop and utilize forward-looking, financial analyses to provide insight into the organization’s operations and business plans.

Planning, Policy, and Donor Relations

⦁ Coordinate the development and monitoring of budgets.
⦁ Develop financial business plans and forecasts.
⦁ Participate in corporate policy development as a member of the senior management team.
⦁ Engage the finance committee of the board of directors to develop short-, medium-, and long-term financial plans and projections.
⦁ Represent the Museum to financial partners, including financial institutions, donors, foundation executives, auditors, public officials, etc.
⦁ Remain up to date on nonprofit audit best practices and state and federal law regarding nonprofit operations.

Accounting and Administration

⦁ Oversee the accounting department to ensure proper maintenance of all accounting systems and function.
⦁ Ensure maintenance of appropriate internal controls and financial procedures.
⦁ Ensure timeliness, accuracy, and usefulness of financial and management reporting for federal and state funders, foundations, and the board of directors; oversee the preparation and communication of monthly and annual financial statements.
⦁ Ensure timely and accurate accounts receivable transactions for Museum business ventures.
⦁ Coordinate audits and proper filing of tax returns.
⦁ Ensure legal and regulatory compliance regarding all financial functions.
⦁ Ensure excellent customer service and effective communication between accounting, staff, vendors, and clients.
⦁ Utilize existing systems and additional technology solutions to streamline processes and maximize the amount of time not spent on administration

Building Operations and Support Functions

⦁ Oversee the operations of building support staff and security functions to ensure safety and comfort of visitors, employees, and collections.
⦁ Oversee capital improvement projects and prepare capital budgets.
⦁ Pursue energy savings projects where applicable to the Museum operations.
⦁ Oversee operation of information technology function and develop priorities regarding investments in IT infrastructure and cybersecurity.
⦁ Oversee the human relations function to ensure compliance with the employee manual and all state and federal employment laws.
⦁ Manage insurance and legal needs.


⦁ Participate in museum management and supervise, coach and mentor staff to achieve departmental and museum success.
⦁ Work effectively with peers on Executive Management team to anticipate and solve problems and create sound policies.
⦁ Actively communicate with staff inside and outside division to ensure that they have the tools, training and direction needed to be effective in their jobs. Provide feedback, and model respectful and collegial behavior.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility

⦁ Incorporate principles of IDEA into all departments, including hiring, management of staff and volunteers, and activities for the public
⦁ Promote IDEA in all Museum interactions

Background Profile

⦁ Strategic and hands-on approach to finance, accounting, and operations; adept at analysis, business planning, forecasting, and committed to the Museum’s mission.
⦁ Demonstrated experience with audit, legal compliance, and budget development.
⦁ Strong knowledge of organizational development and HR management principles.
⦁ Excellent communications skills, written and oral; comfortable communicating key data, including presentations to senior management, the board, and outside stakeholders/partners.
⦁ Ability to multi-task while maintaining vigilant attention to details.
⦁ Minimum BA, a CPA and/or MBA preferred.
⦁ Prior nonprofit experience desirable.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

In compliance with the San Diego Natural History Museum’s mandatory vaccination policy, the Museum requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accommodations based on medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director, Blair Search Partners
1855 First Avenue, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101