Audubon Society Reviews

Updated June 11, 2015
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2.8
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David Yarnold
18 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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  1. Program Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Washington, DC

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    working with many people who care about nature
    volunteers in branches across the country are great.

    Cons

    Mismanaged from the top down--run more like a cutthroat corporation than a collegial non-profit. Higher ups are ego driven and ambitious--can be cutthroat.


  2. Great place to work and grow

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

    I have been working at Audubon Society full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I started out as an intern and then joined full-time because I thoroughly support the mission of the Society. It has been a great place to gain work experience and learn new skills. The people I've worked with have all been incredibly supportive, helpful, and generally great. As it is a smaller organization, I've been able to gain some amount of exposure to a variety of different departments and as a person who is newer to the workplace, this experience has been invaluable in helping shape my future career goals and learn about the work that goes on behind-the-scenes in the environmental world. Work-life balance is also good.

    Cons

    A little more cohesiveness and camaraderie across the organization would be a nice touch. Providing more training opportunities for staff would also be good.

    Advice to Management

    Continue working hard and encouraging the next generation to take on this important cause.


  3. Great organization

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

    I worked at Audubon Society full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    --National organization with the capacity to respond to challenges in the workplace and give employees the resources needed to succeed.
    --Great benefits and competetive salary for a non-profit.
    --Non-profit with an upward trajectory
    --You really feel like you are part of something bigger because of the international scale of Audubon.
    --Very collegial work environment.

    Cons

    All the negative reviews here seem to come from local field staff who got angry when Yarnold came on and required the organization to act like the $91 million non-profit corporation that it is. Audubon is great, but these people are the issue that is holding it back.

    Having worked in a field office, I can say this is honestly the toughest challenge. I came to Audubon because it was a national organization, and sometimes the distrust the local staff that are holdovers from the pre-Yarnold era have for national make it difficult to work to achieve the goals set by the national office. The national staff and state executive directors/vice presidents that I worked with were phenomenal and were serving the whole organization. People working in the state offices who weren't vice presidents and were old hires were territorial and honestly harmed the organization.

    Advice to Management

    Centralize. Centralize. Centralize. Most of the disfunction in the organization comes from local employees thinking that they are part of a local non-profit rather than a national one. Audubon is already moving to a centralized model-- keep going this way.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Sad Times, Squandered Opportunities

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fundraiser in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Fundraiser in Washington, DC

    I worked at Audubon Society full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Dedicated staff members, particularly in the science and policy departments, although most flee when possible.

    Cons

    Very stressful work environment in the fundraising/development division, thanks to frenzied, caustic "leader". I was hired as the development writer at the national level, yet, from the beginning, I was treated dismissively. As one example, I was one of two people in my office who wasn't invited to the absurdly lavish annual shindig, held in 2013 at the (ridiculously expensive) Skamania Lodge in Oregon's Columbia Gorge. Yep—the chief fundraising writer for national and international projects was not invited, while administrative assistants were. What a squandered opportunity to meet with Audubon staff and volunteers from around the world to gather stories, ideas, and information that could have been extraordinarily helpful. When I asked the CDO why I was not invited, I was told that I was acting "accusatory"—apparently for having the gall to ask.

    Furthermore, I was hired for a key position on the basis of one phone interview and one brief Skype interview. Had I met this woman in person, I would have never accepted the job.

    Advice to Management

    Get it together! Employee morale is abysmal, and you have somehow managed to lose a "legacy brand." So sad. John Jacob Audubon would turn in his proverbial grave if he met the buffoons now running the shop.


  6. Helpful (1)

    David Yarnold, President is making over Half Million Dollars a Year

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

    I have been working at Audubon Society full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits.and paid time off.

    Cons

    Not for profit? You could have fooled me. Seems like National Audubon Society, Inc. to me. Seems like a corporation. David Yarnold, President claims "he comes to work to save the planet everday". Surely he jests. He comes to work every day to make his half a million dollars a year. This doesn't include the COO, CFO and the rest of upper management throughout the country. I plan on leaving, anyway. It's all a bunch of rhetoric, lies and persuasive speech. National Audubon Sicuety prints whatever they want and get away with it. They are also being sued for discrimination over the last 4 years.


  7. Helpful (2)

    Vice President

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Paid and volunteer personnel in the field are Audubon's biggest strength. Conservation is most effective when practiced at the local level.

    Cons

    Audubon is severely under-capitalized; it does not fund essential upkeep and care for its real assets. Its local centers and sanctuaries are decrepit; wasted and weakened by poorly funded maintenance. Buildings are failing and habitats are lost to invasive species and unwanted plant progression.

    National Audubon has unsuccessfully addressed a divide with its chapters and state-office operations, resulting in corrosive relationships with its strongest constituents.

    The current goal of National is "hemispheric conservation", which is devised to attract major donors, yet National is incapable of delivering on that promise. Audubon lacks the capacity to perform at a hemispheric level.

    Senior management is wasteful, untrustworthy, and vengeful. It is led by a narcissist of immense proportions.

    Audubon's employee benefits are dreadful. Its insurance and retirement programs fall short of standards in the not-for-profit arena. Shop around before coming to Audubon.

    Advice to Management

    I am leaving Audubon. I've wasted three years with this senseless organization. Holt Thrasher, the Chairman of the Board of National Audubon and the person who led the hiring of David Yarnold, has resigned from the Board and is no longer involved in any way with the organization. He has said "I've washed my hands of this place." I urge everyone to follow Holt Thrasher and exit this organization as soon as possible.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Disillusioned and disappointed....

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Genuine, caring, hard -working, local field staff actually trying to carry out the mission of education and conservation. Actual goals and on the ground work of organization are admirable. Good benefits.

    Cons

    Feels more like a corporation. Site-specific local management disconnected from mission, more interested in catering to potential donors than driven by desire to protect birds and habitat and connect people to the natural world. Toxic work environment. High turnover. Illogical decision making.

    Advice to Management

    Value your employees. Be authentic and transparent. Hire competent upper management.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Summer Camp Counselor

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Audubon Society

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    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.


  10. Helpful (4)

    This bird won't fly

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    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 Management

    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.


  11. Helpful (1)

    An amazing organization - tough to leave

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.



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