We Are Hiring

Director, Climate Program


Rapidly accelerating climate change is one of the biggest threats to our planet and the ocean, and the communities that depend on them both. Each new scientific assessment confirms that the pace and scale of change is greater than previously thought. But the ocean is not just a casualty of climate change — it is also a critical part of the solution. Our deepening understanding of the links between climate and ocean systems underscores the need for urgent action to maintain the essential functioning of both. Indeed, we can’t save one without saving the other.

Ocean Conservancy is committed to pursuing durable, ocean-smart climate solutions that accelerate both mitigation and adaptation measures. While the need for ocean-smart climate policies is gaining traction, more work is needed to effectively integrate the ocean into actionable climate agendas. Ocean Conservancy is driving efforts to grow the understanding of ocean-climate links and to build the political momentum to better integrate ocean issues into climate strategies and vice versa. We are working with communities, stakeholders and decision-makers within the U.S. and globally to create policy drivers for action from the top down and models for community action from the bottom up. By leveraging these approaches across multiple scales of governance, we can ensure the ocean helps accelerate climate action worldwide.


The Director will shape and lead Ocean Conservancy’s growing Climate program.  A critical component of the Director’s responsibilities will include formulating high impact policy initiatives and creating advocacy strategies to effectively integrate the ocean into actionable climate agendas, and to increase Ocean Conservancy’s institutional footprint in the climate policy world. This will include engaging policy makers, partners, stakeholders, community leaders, and the media to build support for climate policy initiatives; promoting an integrated and cohesive approach to Ocean Conservancy’s Climate program by strengthening the program’s connections other Ocean Conservancy programmatic efforts; working collaboratively with Communications staff to increase Ocean Conservancy’s public profile on climate issues and to deploy sophisticated communications efforts; and promoting science and solutions-based approaches through the development of policy papers, reports, and presentations.

The Director is also responsible for overseeing the program budget, and working collaboratively with Development and other senior management to attract resources and support ongoing relationships with funders.  The Director reports to the Senior Director for Conservation Policy and Programs, and works in close collaboration with the Director of Ocean Acidification, Chief Scientist, and other policy and government affairs staff. This position is based in Washington, D.C. (though other locations may be considered), with considerable domestic and international travel to foster OC climate leadership and to develop relationships with key stakeholders and policy makers.


  • Program strategy development and implementation
    • Develop and advance the strategic direction and policy priorities of the Climate program, both international and domestic. This includes setting policy goals, and formulating high impact strategies, tactics, and tools to advance those goals.
    • Collaboratively lead a multi-disciplinary team of staff and consultants to implement Climate program strategies; Lead implementation of some strategies while effectively coordinating and supporting team members’ leadership on other strategies.
    • Ensure climate policy agendas are aligned across Ocean Conservancy programs, and across both international and domestic climate work.
    • Support Ocean Conservancy’s justice, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, including by proactively incorporating the perspectives of multiple communities in the Climate program’s consideration of impacts, outcomes, and policy solutions.
  • External leadership and relationship development
    • Represent Ocean Conservancy in external meetings and events; In partnership with other staff and consultants, ensure Ocean Conservancy’s participation and leadership in climate key climate venues both domestically and internationally.
    • Build and strengthen relationships with key influencers in climate policy; Build and maintain relationships with NGOs, public officials, funders, and other partners.
    • Support the growth of Ocean Conservancy’s public voice on climate issues; Communicate, in writing and through interviews and public speaking opportunities, Ocean Conservancy’s message on climate-related issues.
  • Program management and fundraising
    • Work closely with Ocean Conservancy Development staff to cultivate and foster new funding partnerships, and create fundraising materials to support program growth.
    • Coordinate and guide consultants, ensuring internal and external alignment.
    • Manage the Climate program budget.


  • A high-level performer who thinks strategically and sees the big picture but remains attentive to details, deadlines, and deliverables. The high profile and complex nature of this work requires someone with both leadership and management skills and an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • 8+ years’ conservation policy experience; Minimum of 2+ years of experience leading climate-related projects or teams.
  • Demonstrated climate policy expertise, with a thorough understanding of international and US climate politics and players, and a strong vision of how to more effectively incorporate the ocean into climate policy.
  • Proven experience developing and leading a program/policy initiative, including identifying new opportunities and creating new strategies; Able to effectively anticipate opportunities and roadblocks, and evolve advocacy strategies in response.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with past success in leveraging partnerships and managing a diverse partner and stakeholder network to affect change and build political will.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, particularly the ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to policy and lay audiences.
  • A collaborative leadership style with an appreciation of the benefit of a multi-disciplinary team approach; Demonstrated ability to effectively integrate across a wide variety of partners, consultants, and stakeholders.
  • Experience developing and cultivating funder relationships in climate and/or oceans philanthropy is strongly preferred.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, graduate degree preferred.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates may submit a resume and cover letter to Please note position title and #19-12 in the subject line.


Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Ocean Conservancy is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.

Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer.

  • Washington, DC (other locations will be considered)
  • Climate Program
Reports To
  • Senior Director, Conservation Policy and Programs
  • Full Time

More Open Positions