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Executive Director *Remote*

Tall Ships America
Rhode Island, United States
$100,000.00 - $125,000.00
Closing date
Mar 17, 2024

Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization commended by Congress as The National Sail Training Organization representing the United States. We support and promote the ships, people, and programs of sail training and the tall ships through relationships with government and regulatory agencies, advocacy, professional development and training, the Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series of races and events, scholarships and grants, and the biannual publication of Sail Tall Ships!, the world’s definitive directory of sail training.

Tall Ships America seeks an innovative and entrepreneurial professional to lead the next phase of the organization’s growth. The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American Public, and support education under sail. Sail training is defined as education, team building, leadership, and character-building experiences aboard sailing vessels.

The Executive Director leads a fully remote organization that:

  • Serves some 100 vessel-operating members comprised of a diverse combination of owners and business models;
  • Functions as the professional association and lead advocate for sail training vessels and their crews;
  • Hosts an annual conference serving members, stakeholders and enthusiasts;
  • Presents the Tall Ships Challenge, an annual series of ocean races and port events;
  • Engages government and regulators on issues relevant to the interests of the membership;
  • Inspires successful platforms and programming for leadership development, maritime preservation, and education by coordinating events (such as regional meetings), and by providing resources and subject matter expertise.


  • The Executive Director will focus on the board-approved strategic plan, which includes:
  • Ensuring Financial Sustainability of the Organization.
  • Significantly raising awareness of the value of experiences aboard sailing vessels.
  • Establishing and reinforcing Tall Ships America’s position as an authority on sail training and education, sailing vessel operations, and hosting tall ships in port.
  • Increasing excellence across the fleet.
  • Building and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders.
  • The Executive Director will:
  • Provide leadership, management expertise, and financial oversight, working in partnership with the board and staff.
  • Develop a solid approach to achieving the objectives of the strategic plan, aligning this approach with organizational capacity and executing the plan.
  • Serve as key fundraiser; develop and execute a fundraising plan—with a well-articulated case for support—that includes, but is not limited to, a portfolio comprised of individual giving, grants, and corporate sponsorships.
  • Nurture the regular gathering of member organizations and enthusiasts to reinforce connections across our community.
  • Prioritize organizational efforts and communication to support a commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion.
  • Articulate Tall Ships America’s mission and value to a broad variety of stakeholders and in service of strategic objectives, executing marketing, social media and other outreach efforts that build the organization’s brand, including publication of the Sail Tall Ships! directory.
  • Lead the successful planning and execution of Tall Ships America’s signature event, the Tall Ships Challenge, including leading contract negotiations with representatives of ports and member vessels and all aspects of sailing vessel participation.
  • Engage with government and regulatory agencies to support the safe, compliant, and thriving operations of member sail training.
  • Oversee the planning and execution of a successful and content-rich Annual Conference.
  • Lead collaborations with other maritime and heritage organizations that advance education-under-sail programs in service of communities and the world.
  • Interested candidates should email a resume and cover letter detailing their relevant experience in confidence to The position is open until filled, but priority will be granted to applications received before close of business on March 15, 2024.
  • Tall Ships America is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of race, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.


  • Candidates are encouraged to apply from backgrounds in public service, advocacy, constituency-service organizations, and any other sectors in which they served the needs of a diverse membership or constituency. The successful candidate will be a proven leader with strong business acumen, demonstrated fundraising success, excellent presentation (both in writing and in speech), and a diplomatic demeanor.

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