Audubon Society Reviews

Updated March 22, 2015
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2.8
23 Reviews
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David Yarnold
16 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Summer Camp Counselor

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Audubon Society

    Pros

    Loved having a co-counselor. Definitely makes things more manageable.

    Cons

    I worked with the youngest age group and sometimes it ranged from 3 years old to 6 years old.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2. This bird won't fly

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Vice President in New York, NY

    I worked at Audubon Society full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Genuine, caring field staff. Under paid, under capitalized work settings, but hard working.

    Cons

    Dreadful management, from the top down. Serious donors take flight when Yarnold knocks. He's inauthentic and can't tell a chickadee from a chicken. He cannot articulate any compelling conservation challenge without sounding full of himself. A weak leader. He intimidates, coerces, threatens, and lies to staff. He's contemptuous of the conservation achievements of his staff, especially those who are smarter than him. He has failed to rally any new financial support for his "hemispheric wingspan". His narcissism is hard to take. I'm surprised the board keeps him around. David: when will Audubon acquire the 1 million members you've been promising since your arrival? Still think Audubon will be "insanely successful"?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Check your contempt at the door. Leave your petty differences outside the building. Focus on finding capital investment. Never think you know more conservationists than the state offices and field operations. Take $500K of Yarnold's $600K salary and invest that sum at on-the-ground conservation work. Now your talking meaningful work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    For The Birds

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Audubon Society

    Pros

    Great place to acquire new skills, great people (mostly).

    Cons

    Serious lack of competence in upper management, communication is terrible between superiors and subordinates, claim to have transparency policy - not the case.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. An amazing organization - tough to leave

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Center Director in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Center Director in Dallas, TX

    I have been working at Audubon Society full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    My last seven years with the National Audubon Society have been some of the best of my life. The organization is great and getting better. Salary and benefits have been competitive, retirement match: solid. Holidays and time off rival the best US companies. Audubon has wonderful core values that they strive to adhere to and the organization offers opportunities to be involved in meaningful conservation action. This is my last week at Audubon. I have been very well cared for and will miss the organization on many levels. The team has some of the smartest minds in conservation. Employees are friendly, professional, warm, and have great senses of humor.

    Cons

    Like many non-profits, an ambitious agenda of important work to accomplish on a tight budget.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I felt time-off policies were above average for most US employers. Work-life balance is a challenge, but I feel this issue is as much internal as it is external. When you are passionate about a cause, your tendency is to give 110%. Comp time policies seem rare today; Audubon has one in place. Office culture (decentralized and probably varied throughout the Audubon network) is young, progressive, innovative, ambitious. I appreciated the focus on environmental conservation wrapped in a culture of productivity and good business.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. Exciting and fulfilling

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Audubon Society full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    I’m a newbie, only been here about 6 months. This is my first foray into the non-profit world. I made the switch because I wanted to be proud of my day job and play a more active role in the conservation mission. Best people I've ever worked with from scientists to center directors, interns and volunteers who are just solid, energetic, passionate, high-integrity human beings! No question is too stupid and they patiently explain things to you until you get it.

    I met Mr. Yarnold a few times and each time he acknowledged me with a greeting or smile….more than I can say about my encounters with other CEOs who awkwardly look away or pretended I’m invisible.

    Other pluses:
    - Flexible hours
    - Innovative (constantly developing new education programs to engage the public, magazine team is fantastic)
    - Good mix of new employees (<1 year) and 5+ years striking a nice balance between tested knowledge and fresh thinking

    Cons

    Heavy workload (although there is no expectation to work beyond your scheduled hours, at least with my boss)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. Passionate advocates for birds and the environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Audubon Society

    Pros

    I've been here 2 years and it's an intense place - in a good way. Yarnold isn't the warmest or fuzziest CEO you'll meet but he has done an incredible job of reinvigorating Audubon and making it it relevant. I read some of these other reviews and wonder if these folks worked at the same place! It's fast paced, filled with dedicated people who are committed to doing good for birds and the environment

    Cons

    There's been a lot of change and for some, that's been overwhelming. But we were in a pretty bad situation from what I hear, and the change was needed. if you're looking for a calm, sleepy NGO - this isn't the place

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to break down the walls and silos, a lot of progress has been made towards a feeling of "one Audubon" but bot fully there yet

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. Proud Employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Human Resources Manager
    Current Employee - Human Resources Manager

    I have been working at Audubon Society full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Full disclosure: I work in Human Resources. That said, I'm amazed my some of the comments I see posted here because my perception is very different. I've committed my time and energy to Audubon and its employees for over four years, and I originally accepted a role here because I knew Audubon was on the verge of something amazing.

    We've worked to build a strong HR team that strives to engage staff, and supports the strategic decisions Audubon makes in order to be an innovative, competitive conservation organization in the 21st century. With a staff of 700, it's definitely a challenge to make everyone happy! But, please know that we welcome all feedback and work to incorporate suggestions from employees when developing programs and policies. Feeling like your work is meaningful is important to everyone, and that's what inspires our team to create a fun environment.

    I was not in the conservation industry before joining Audubon, and am undoubtedly a poor birder. But, like others who work in infrastructure/overhead positions, I'm here because I love our mission. Since starting , I've met some of the most interesting, talented people in my career, and this includes the senior management team. They work long hours and dedicate themselves to Audubon - because they care about our work.

    Cons

    Over the last five years, Audubon has had to spend a lot of time bringing the organization up to speed on the technology side. Until a few years ago, online systems and procedures were not available for employees, which I feel created some communication issues between the 100+ locations across the organization. We're now in a much better place, but I would have loved to see these up and running when I joined in 2010. Not necessarily a current "Con," but noteworthy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the amazing work and transparency. Let's continue to bring value-added programs and offerings to attract and retain the best talent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. Good Mission, Poor Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Audubon Society

    Pros

    Interesting work with good people, work you can feel good about

    Cons

    The organization has lost its focus on its conservation mission, and is now more about just fundraising. Administration pays itself too much

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remember what the mission of this organization is

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful

    Masochists only please...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Audubon Society full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked with great co-workers: dedicated, in many cases talented, and driven by the mission.
    There was a formerly good work/life balance, but increasingly there's a demand to be on call for the birds 24/7
    As is often the case in decentralized orgs, it was better working in field offices rather than at HQ

    Cons

    As others have noted, it often seems the new leadership team has minimal interest in conservation. They are however, sadists, seriously. Other comments corroborate that. Horrible people, who really shouldn't be leading others.
    Morale has suffered as a result, esp. in the moribund HQ
    Lots of energy expended on political intrigue and mind games.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Given the deservedly horrible reviews of the current CEO on Glassdoor (14% approval?), I'm surprised the Board hasn't fired him yet. 990 revenues don't seem to have increased.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 2 people found this helpful

    Heartless, soulless monster of a NY headquarters

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at Audubon Society full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Physical space has lots of natural light ... and as someone else said, there's A/C! (Although that's not really a pro because it's always cranked up too high (conservation organization?) and their solution was to distribute blankets to everyone. PS, the reason it's too high is because when the president knocked down a couple walls to make himself a bigger office, he created a corner space that's flooded with sunlight. So in order for him to be comfortable, everyone else has to freeze. Oh sorry, was this supposed to be the "Pros" section?)

    Cons

    Where to begin ... when the old president was forced out and the search committee was asked on an all-staff call what they were looking for in the next leader, the answer was one word: fundraising. They didn't care about conservation knowledge or passion, leadership, humanity, anything like that. Just dollar signs. While, they successfully hired Mr. Yarnold who has no knowledge or passion for conservation, no leadership, no humanity ... but unfortunately he's also a pretty terrible fundraiser.

    The obvious misallocation of money is stunning. In a year where they laid off dozens of employees (seeming to take great joy in spreading it out and keeping everyone in constant fear of perpetual layoffs), they had their first ever Gala .... at the Plaza hotel, where Mr. Yarnold was photographed leering amidst bikini-clad women painted as birds. AND they posted the photo to facebook, where the comments were deservedly shocked and disgusted. How oblivious can you be? But I guess they don't care about the sweet grandmothers in Idaho who don't want their $20 to go to a party at the Plaza; they care about the millionaire they might be able to seduce to the cause with a bird-lady lapdance at the Plaza.

    They changed the annual merit system to rob from the poor and give to the rich The merit increases used to be 3%, but they changed it to 1.5% to create a "bonus pool." Well, I talk to people and I don't know anyone making under 50k who ever got a bonus. So the essentially pooled all the bonuses of everyone making peanuts in order to give fat bonuses to the already fat cats. (Seriously - check out the 990. How many employees do you need making skywards of 200k?)

    Oh god, and the consultants. Every project necessitates a consultant who comes in, creates some Apple IIGS flow charts, and disappears into the night with a fat pay check and absolutely no impact.

    The HR department is by far the most incompetent bunch of useless sycophantic idiots you could ever hope to have the displeasure to work with. They've drunk the company kool-aid which forbids you from having any intelligence, common sense, or human decency. Even when you ask them questions that are clearly within their scope of work, their first response will always be "don't know" or "can't help." It's often easier to give up then to force them to do their job - exactly their strategy so they can sit all day taking their personal phone calls and shoe shopping online. Maybe they're not awful people (maybe), but they sure are awful employees.

    There are a few good eggs, intelligent, hard-working, and caring individuals ... none of them on the executive team. I just can't imagine why they're still there. IF YOU'RE READING THIS AND YOU WORK AT AUDUBON AND YOU STILL HAVE A SOUL, GET OUT! Maybe you've been in the abusive relationship so long, you can't see your way out. And sure, there are probably worse places to work out there. (Exxon?) But there are also workplaces where people smile and talk to each other in the hallways! Where people disdain politics and mind-games! Where the salaries are more evenly distributed! Where layoffs are not constantly held over your head! Where they have milk for the coffee and tea! I know it might sound like heaven if you're used to Audubon, but I promise these utopias exist. Save yourself!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cupcake parties can't fix the evil you've wrought. Choose generosity over evil. Bring back the 3% base merit increases. And stop making people take 3 vacation days when the office is closed the Christmas-New Year's week. Half your employees don't even bother to log any of their vacation time, and yet you penalize the honest ones further by forcing them to use vacation days for days they couldn't work if they wanted to? WTH is that about?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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