Executive Director

Reports to:  Board of Directors

Location:  Minneapolis, MN  

Position:  Full-time

Salary:  $125,000-$130,000 plus benefits


North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS) is dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways. We imagine a new North American food system that regenerates wealth and improves health in Native communities through Indigenous food-related enterprises. 

Reclamation of ancestral education is a critical part of reversing the damage of colonialism and forced assimilation, and food is at the heart of this reclamation. NāTIFS will drive sustainable economic empowerment and prosperity into tribal communities through a reimagined food system that also addresses the health impacts of injustice. 

By providing education and training that give Native people access to healthy, local, indigenous food, we can not only address serious issues of malnutrition, food-related illness, and economic impoverishment on tribal lands, but also, we can use our shared heritage to build bridges and build power within and between Native communities and our allies. With skills and support from the Indigenous Food Lab (IFL), trainees will be equipped to open satellite food businesses in their tribal communities. After the successful launch of the Minneapolis Indigenous Food Lab, we envision Food Labs in urban areas across the country, featuring the Native culinary traditions unique to each region.

NāTIFS has opened the Indigenous Food Lab (IFL) in the Midtown Global Market on historic Lake Street in Minneapolis as a professional Indigenous kitchen and training center covering all aspects of food service; research and development; Indigenous food identification, gathering, cultivation, and preparation; and all components of launching and running a successful culinary business based around Native cultures and Indigenous foods.

For more information about NāTIFS, please visit our website at:  www.natifs.org


NāTIFS is actively seeking a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization in the next phase of our service to the community and the development of a healthier Native food system throughout North America. This will be accomplished in partnership with Chef Sean Sherman and the 31-member staff, as we expand at our headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, and in locations across the country. 

The Executive Director will be passionate about food, regenerative food systems, and Native food sovereignty. They will have excellent internal systems skills and experience growing a start-up organization to a full-fledged national nonprofit. The Executive Director will manage two major strategies: (1) Managing day-to-day operations for continued growth; and (2) engaging potential partners to continue expansion of Indigenous Food Labs to other parts of the continent through partnerships, donations, and contracts. The Executive Director will share the vision of an organization that provides resources, opportunities, and connections for our partners.


Board/Organization Management

  • Serve as a strategic support and guide for NāTIFS’ board, including board development.
  • Assess NāTIFS’ operational and financial processes and governance protocols, recommend enhancements, and implement recommendations in collaboration with the board and in furtherance of NāTIFS’ indigenous organizational culture. 
  • Provide support for a strategic planning process conducted by the board, in partnership with appropriate staff.
  • Strategize with professional contractors (to the extent necessary and appropriate) on matters relating to nonprofit governance, employee management, etc.
  • Develop organizational policies and procedures that empower staff to succeed and promote NāTIFS’ indigenous organizational culture.
  • Oversee and participate in NāTIFS’ communications with an eye toward cultural relevance and accessibility, including web, print, social media, and curriculum.
  • Maintain a visible and positive profile for NāTIFS in the community by participating in events, seminars, and conferences, both locally, regionally, and nationally, as appropriate. 


  • Provide supervision and support to the staff and oversee the overall management of the staff, including directly managing staff who directly report to the Executive Director, all while ensuring that the staff performs, develops, and executes successful strategies to advance NāTIFS’ mission. 
  • Create and maintain a collegial work environment that seeks healthy, sustainable growth with a commitment to transparency, trust, and collaboration across a rapidly growing and diverse organization.  
  • Hire and retain a diverse, highly qualified, and engaged staff at our headquarters in Minnesota, as well as at new locations and Indigenous Food Labs developed over time. 
  • Promote and engage in career coaching, growth, and personal development for staff. Manage staff matters including positive changes, issues, or difficulties, including hiring, promotions, disciplinary actions, employment terminations, coaching and performance management.


  • Oversee the financial strength of the organization, including ensuring that the person who serves the function of a chief financial officer maintains a fiscally responsible Finance Department that develops and implements consistent inventory and cost accounting policies, procedures, and operational reporting/metrics.
  • Understand the complexities of nonprofit vs. for-profit entities and monitor interactions between NāTIFS’ projects and separate Indigenous food enterprises, including Owamni and others.
  • Advise on fiscal sponsorships and subsidiaries in the development of franchise-type programs.
  • Oversee and ensure a fiscally responsible annual budget development, monthly and quarterly reviews, annual financial audit, tax filings, and maintenance of correct and complete records required for the healthy operation of the organization. Manage contracts and legal compliance.
  • Prepare accurate and timely analyses for the board that capture and communicate results, variances, and performance trends.
  • Approve major systems implementations related to cost and inventory control. 

Fundraising/Resource Development

  • Oversee the development of a strong fundraising plan, including ensuring that the person who serves the function of a chief development officer develops and maintains a plan to meet the fundraising needs of the organization. Hire staff as appropriate.
  • Review reporting mechanisms and ensure quality of grant reports.
  • Build and maintain relationships with local funders, donors, and corporate partners.
  • Establish priorities, gift acceptance policy, and fee-for-service policies.


  • 8+ years’ experience in nonprofit management including fundraising, organizational development, board governance, and operations.
  • 5+ years’ experience in related topics that may include one or more of the following: public policy; food systems; fund development; Native cultures and institutions; etc.
  • Management skills with staff diversity including language; culture; protected characteristics such as ethnicity, gender, etc.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Lived experience working in Native American/First Nations communities.
  • Experience in upper-level management in a Native-led or other BIPOC organization.
  • College degree.
  • Bi-lingual Native American/First Nations, Indigenous, or Spanish language.


For the ED position, NāTIFS presently provides 11 paid holidays, four weeks’ PTO, 100% of employee health insurance premium paid (and 30% for dependents), $1,000 annual contribution to Health Savings Account, 3% salary contribution 403(b) retirement plan (if employee contributes 1% or more). Relocation stipend available as needed. 

Application Information:

Nonprofit Professionals Now is pleased to be working with NāTIFS on this key leadership role.  Applications for this role should include a cover letter addressing your experience working in Native communities, nonprofit management, food sovereignty, and the like.

All applications received will be reviewed and all applicants will receive a response.  NPN and NāTIFS take your time seriously and appreciate all applicants for considering this role.

Application link: https://bit.ly/NATIFSED 

Application Deadline: April 15, 2023

NāTIFS is committed to the principle of equity. We actively encourage women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals to apply for this position and all positions at NāTIFS.

  • NāTIFS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to any protected category under federal or Minnesota law, including but not limited to the following categories as and to the full extent protected by applicable law: age; race (including traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists); color; creed; religion; national origin and/or ancestry; sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, related medical conditions); sexual orientation; gender identity and/or expression; marital status; familial status; disability; military and/or veteran status; status with respect to public assistance; membership or activity in a local commission; genetic information; citizenship; or any other protected characteristic as established by law.