The Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center (SDCC) is a not-for-profit lodging and event venue in Ajo, Arizona, located on the historic Curley School campus. Housed in the former elementary school, the SDCC welcomes groups for conferences, workshops, retreats, reunions, and weddings, as well as individual travelers. In addition, we host community events and the Sonoran Arts Residency, which draws visual and performing artists from across the country and around the globe. The SDCC is a supporting not-for profit of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA), a 28-year-old organization devoted to preserving and enriching the environment, culture, and economy of the Sonoran Desert.
The Director of the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center has a broad and diverse set of responsibilities – all aspects of running the business are in their hands, and they are the public face of the operation. It is a hands-on leadership position that requires an experienced professional who is comfortable managing a budget, creating unforgettable experiences for guests, representing Ajo at national conferences…and rolling up their sleeves to unclog a toilet when needed. We’ve divided the key responsibilities into five categories:
Oversee the daily functioning of the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center facilities, including guest rooms, meeting rooms, commercial kitchen, artisan’s shop, and courtyard spaces;
Implement and update systems and policies to ensure efficient, effective, and safe use of all SDCC spaces;
Hire and manage office, housekeeping, and overnight staff (team is currently around 15 people);
Collaborate with ISDA on the care of the historic buildings and grounds;
Collaborate with ISDA on the ongoing development of/improvements to SDCC facilities, including additional guest rooms and outdoor areas.
Marketing and Outreach
Lead marketing and outreach efforts to ensure consistent bookings and profitability of the SDCC;
Target groups for retreats, conferences, workshops, etc, with a goal of developing lasting partnerships and recurring events;
Tap into existing and new networks to increase visibility of the SDCC;
Partner with local organizations and leaders to create events;
Manage website, print, and social media marketing efforts.
Serve as the host and ambassador for group events, including speaking before groups, welcoming guests to meals, and giving tours of Ajo to guests;
Develop and implement mission-driven events and residencies (arts, desert scholarship, international border, local foods, etc);
Design and implement a menu of educational and cultural offerings for SDCC guests that draws on local entrepreneurs and resources;
Promote the commercial kitchen for a variety of uses including catering, cooking classes/demonstrations, micro entrepreneurs, and special events.
Budget and Financial Management
In collaboration with ISDA leadership and the SDCC board, develop and manage the annual budget, ensuring that the operation remains profitable;
Continuously review financial reports and present to the SDCC board quarterly on the state of the business’s finances;
Review and approve all payables and receivables for the ISDA bookkeeper;
Oversee payroll, including bonuses, pay increases and paid time off;
Oversee purchasing of all needed supplies for the operation of the business;
Make decisions on large expenses based on cash flow and occupancy rates.
Collaborate with ISDA on advancing the broader organizational mission and vision
Support fundraising and development efforts;
Provide physical space and logistical support for large ISDA events, including the biennial Tri-National Sonoran Desert Symposium;
Work with other local organizations and individuals to provide programming and needed resources to the Ajo community (in the past this has included providing free meeting space, serving free or reduced-cost meals, hosting guests of the community);
Represent ISDA and SDCC at local, regional, and national conferences and events;
Promote local entrepreneurs, job training, and micro enterprise.
Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center
Why Work Here?
Come lead the nation's finest - only? - not-for-profit inn, event space, and community hub, housed in a historic borderlands school!