We Are Hiring

Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs (Plastics)

Ocean PLASTICS Portfolio

Trash in the ocean compromises the health of humans and wildlife and threatens those whose livelihoods depend on a healthy ocean.  Ocean Conservancy, a long-time leader in this field, has a growing portfolio of initiatives working to end plastic inputs to the ocean by 2030. Ocean Conservancy works to leverage new and existing resources and partnerships to bring the public, scientists, industry, government, and civil society partners together to analyze, develop, and implement solutions. The Ocean Plastics portfolio includes Ocean Conservancy’s Plastics Initiative, Global Ghost Gear Initiative, International Coastal Cleanup, science and monitoring of the incidence and impacts of marine debris, as well as the Trash Free Seas Alliance® –a partnership of industry, science, and conservation leaders to advance solutions to the ocean plastic crisis.

For more than 30 years, Ocean Conservancy has organized and collected data on marine debris through the International Coastal Cleanup – the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean.  Over the last decade our work has expanded to support scientific and economic analyses of the major ways plastic waste reaches the ocean. Through partnerships with key corporate, government, scientists and civil society leaders, Ocean Conservancy has led efforts to implement multi-million dollar initiatives and strategies to invest in impactful solutions.  Strategies have included catalyzing a $150 million impact investment fund for waste collection and recycling in Southeast Asia, awareness campaigns, technical assistance, policy advocacy at the international, federal and state level, and development of on-the-ground partnerships in key countries.


The Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs is responsible for setting the short- and long-term strategic direction for Ocean Conservancy’s ocean plastics portfolio.  The Vice President will oversee a $5-7 million budget, two senior direct reports, and approximately 12 indirect reports.  Leveraging the organization’s talent and resources, the Vice President will develop, expand, and drive the strategic growth and execution of impactful solutions both in the U.S. and globally.   A leader in this field, the Vice President is accountable for delivering concrete outcomes and building strategic relationships as they relate to our international coastal cleanup program, global ghost gear initiative, science agenda, corporate partnerships, and international and domestic policy goals.  A strong decision-maker and innovative thinker, the Vice President is responsible for ensuring that the program directors and teams within the portfolio have the direction, resources, and guidance needed to achieve program goals and objectives.  This includes ensuring program effectiveness, fiduciary oversight of multi-million dollar grants, integration within the portfolio and across other Ocean Conservancy programs and functions, and promoting Ocean Conservancy as a global leader on ocean plastics.

The Vice President is an integral member of the Executive Team driving strategy to improve organizational influence, impact, and effectiveness.  The Vice President will work closely with other Executive Team members to provide organizational leadership and set strategic direction to expand the scope and impact of the Conservancy’s initiatives.  As a member of the Executive Team, the Vice President is responsible for modeling and supporting Ocean Conservancy’s organizational values and social norms.   Along with other members of the Executive Team, the Vice President ensures alignment and integration of Ocean Conservancy’s programs and cross-cutting and supporting services, and acts as a program resource for other VPs and departments.   The Vice President will work with the Executive Vice President to identify and assist in the development of new program initiatives designed to achieve programmatic goals and further Ocean Conservancy’s brand both internally and externally.


Leadership & Strategic Direction

  • Lead development and growth of global strategies and initiatives that result in the organization’s increased capacity to end plastic inputs to the ocean by 2030.
  • Ensure an integrated and cohesive approach to Ocean Conservancy’s plastics strategy by expanding internal programmatic efforts and building key external partnerships and opportunities.
  • Serve as a key leader and visible influencer in the ocean plastics field; develop a strong global network of durable relationships with scientists, industry, government, and NGO partners to tackle ocean pollution.
  • Serve as strategic thinker, entrepreneur, and catalyst for innovation and creativity within Ocean Conservancy.
  • Identify new opportunities for enhanced, public-facing leadership on ocean plastics and for expansion of impact of initiatives in key geographies.
  • Advocate for Ocean Conservancy policies and positions before international, national, state and private sector decision-makers.

Management & Organizational Effectiveness

  • Manage and oversee Plastics Initiative and Trash Free Seas program teams, including providing regular direction and advice, mentoring, and support that leads to excellence and accountability.
  • Oversee the development of effective policies and strategies as well as the development and execution of effective work plans, program budgets, and funding proposals to ensure success.
  • Ensure the tracking and coordination of program activities and progress; keeps others in the organization informed of these activities and progress.

Fundraising and External Relations

  • Represent Ocean Conservancy throughout key international and domestic fora and raise its profile and visibility to funders, partners, policymakers, and the public.
  • Serve as Ocean Conservancy’s spokesperson and thought leader on ocean plastics in the media and at major conferences and speaking events.
  • Build and maintain strong working relationships with national and international opinion leaders to advance plastics strategies and effectiveness in key geographies.
  • Working closely with Ocean Conservancy program and development staff, lead fundraising efforts and engage key partners and influencers through strategic communications to deliver resources and impactful solutions.


  • 10-12 years of professional conservation, business, public policy, international development, program management, or other relevant field experience; at least 3 years demonstrated management experience.
  • Strategic thinker and leader that will develop sustainable, outcome focused initiatives to support Ocean Conservancy’s continued growth and impact; forward-thinking, with the intellectual and analytical skills to help drive strategic planning along with the Executive Team and Board of Directors.
  • Proven experience developing and leading strategies to advance international policy and global solutions, including identifying new opportunities and creating new strategies; ability to effectively anticipate roadblocks and evolve advocacy strategies in response to new information.
  • Creativity, energy, discipline and commitment needed to drive and expand the Conservancy’s plastics strategies; a track record of delivering results across complex settings; experience turning ideas into practical on-the-ground action and solutions.
  • Proven management and fiduciary experience in leveraging available resources effectively to meet program objectives.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, manage, supervise and motivate a multi-disciplinary team in achieving concrete and meaningful outcomes. Experience managing a geographically distributed team is a plus.
  • Knowledge of one or more of the following is essential: plastic production, consumption, circular economy and waste management systems; ocean conservation; marine/coastal resource management; natural resource/environmental policy.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with past success in deepening and leveraging partnerships to affect change and build political will; ability to mobilize and manage a diverse partner network; and ability to communicate complex scientific or technical concepts to policy and lay audiences.
  • Experience working with media and serving as spokesperson on a range of issues and tailoring messaging and framing for a variety of different audiences.
  • Willingness to travel up to 30-40%, including significant international travel.


  • Advanced degree in law, public policy, business, management, a relevant science or interdisciplinary specialty, or another field closely related to coastal/marine affairs or environmental policy.


To be considered for this position, interested candidates must submit a resume and cover letter to and note position title and #19-19 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 strongly preferred (other locations will be considered)
  • Conservation Policy and Programs
Reports To
  • Executive Vice President
  • Full Time

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