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A Voice for our Ocean

Ocean Conservancy seeks Vice President for Justice and Equity

New position will help incorporate justice and equity in conservation and outreach initiatives

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ocean Conservancy is launching a global search for a vice president for Justice and Equity.

“We are investing in this position as a deliberate, overdue choice for Ocean Conservancy – to firmly imbed justice and equity in our work for a healthy ocean,” said CEO Janis Searles Jones. “The vice president for Justice and Equity will work in partnership with me, our entire leadership team and external partners and advisors to help shape and develop conservation and outreach strategies that protect our ocean and address the needs of people and communities that have been marginalized.”

The new position will lead Ocean Conservancy’s efforts as it incorporates justice and equity across programs, government relations and outreach strategies, and build new partnerships with other organizations focused on environmental and social justice. This work is funded by a $2 million, three-year investment approved by Ocean Conservancy’s board of directors at its November 2020 meeting.

The marine conservation sector is overwhelmingly white, especially in the United States. Its senior leadership has not historically reflected the identities of diverse ocean communities. According to Green 2.0, a non-profit organization aimed at increasing diversity among environmental organizations, progress is being made, but slowly.

“I’m encouraged to see this commitment by Ocean Conservancy, and would urge other organizations to name, resource and hire for this work,” said Andrés Jimenez, executive director of Green 2.0. “We can only achieve true conservation outcomes if justice and equity is treated as fundamental to the mission of conservation organizations, rather than an add-on or afterthought.”

The latest available data by Green 2.0 shows Ocean Conservancy’s senior leadership team and board is overwhelmingly white, while 20% of fulltime staff identify as people of color.  Green 2.0’s new report will be released on January 13, 2021.

“Clearly, we have more work to do. In addition to establishing justice as a core tenet of our conservation and advocacy strategies, we are committed to making Ocean Conservancy a more diverse and inclusive institution, and that includes its Board of Directors,” said Sue Woolsey, chair of Ocean Conservancy’s Board of Directors. “This is a top priority for me, and I look forward to working with Janis and the entire senior leadership team to make it happen.”

As part of Ocean Conservancy’s commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI), the organization recently hired Adrienne Loftin, Senior Vice President for People. Loftin is a seasoned human resources professional; she recently served as Head of Inclusion and Diversity at the MITRE Corporation and drove corporate culture and fostered best-in-class human resources. Loftin will work closely with Ocean Conservancy’s internal JEDI task force as well as oversee all human resources operations.

“I’m thrilled to join an organization that has made some positive steps on diversity and inclusion, and is now moving into the next phase,” said Loftin. “Equally exciting is that the internal work we will do as an organization will be leveraged alongside our new justice initiative. Making real impactful advances in justice, equity, diversity and inclusion does not and cannot occur in a vacuum. This is a holistic approach to a more just and equitable world as well as a more diverse and inclusive workforce—an approach that I believe has the greatest chance of success.”

Leaderfit, an executive search firm that supports mission-driven organizations, is leading the recruitment and search for the Vice President for Justice and Equity. Interested candidates can learn more and apply here.

About Ocean Conservancy:

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.

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Julia Robersom


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