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The Search for a New Executive Director

Lawrence Taft, our current Executive Director, is retiring at the end of 2022 after a long career with the organization. Here you can find updates from Audubon Board President Owen Heleen on our search process to hire a new Executive Director.


November 14, 2022

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island Board of Directors named Jeffrey C. Hall as the new Executive Director of the organization on November 10, 2022. Read More

July 14, 2022

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island Executive Director position is now available! Below is a letter from Board President Owen Heleen on the position announcement.

Dear Audubon Members,

Last month, Audubon’s Board of Directors hired a firm to perform a national search to replace long-time executive director Larry Taft.

The firm, Development Guild DDI, was selected from many excellent companies for their approach to leadership search and their professionalism.

The Board is committed to a seamless and successful leadership transition.

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island marks its 125th anniversary with a long history of strong conservation leadership and expanding impact. We began in 1897 with a single purpose – to stop the slaughter of birds for their feathers. Today, Audubon preserves habitats and ecosystems across the state to protect threatened wildlife and to ensure access to nature for all.

The Board is fully aligned to sustaining Audubon’s new strategic plan to expand our conservation impact, grow a more diverse membership, and continue to invest in capabilities while increasing our financial resources.

We have tremendous confidence in Audubon’s talented and committed executive leadership, staff, and volunteers.

We enter this leadership transition in a solid financial position, with a growing membership, and we are excited about our future.

We look forward to celebrating nature and Larry’s contributions to The Audubon Society of Rhode Island at our Annual Meeting on October 23, 2022. 

We will keep you informed as the Board works with the senior leadership team to guide a transition that ensures continuity while adding new talent to the organization. As always, we sincerely appreciate your support as we strive to conserve and protect nature for all people. 

To view the job description or for contact information for Development Guild DDI, please use this link:

View the Position Announcement


Owen Heleen, President
Audubon Society of Rhode Island Board of Directors

June 24, 2022

Audubon staff members had the chance to meet with the lead for our search, Tracey Marshall (senior vice president of Development Guild DDI). They were given the opportunity to share key things they would like in a new Executive Director and to learn more about the search process. Senior Audubon staff met with Tracey separately.

June 2, 2022

We have formed a search committee and recently contracted with Development Guild DDI, based in Boston, to conduct the search in partnership with the search committee. The lead for our search is Tracy Marshall, DDI’s senior vice president. Tracy can be reached at Individuals with questions about the search or how to apply should contact Tracy.

March 4, 2022

Dear Audubon Members,

Today, I am writing to you to announce that the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s Executive Director Lawrence Taft has informed the Board of Directors that he intends to retire at the end of this year.

All of us sincerely wish to thank Larry for his contributions to Audubon over the last 23-years of serving as Director of Conservation and then Executive Director. As a result, Audubon is in a stronger and more dynamic position than ever, and we are rising to the challenges of the day.

Over the next several months, our search committee, with the assistance of an executive search firm, will recruit and select a new executive director to carry out the critical work of our organization.

We will celebrate Larry’s career at our Annual Meeting on October 26, 2022.

If you have any questions about the search, please feel free to contact me at my email address -

Thank you for your support for birds, wildlife, and the work of Audubon.


Owen Heleen, President
Audubon Society of Rhode Island Board of Directors

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