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JOB: Director, Program Development

Ocean Conservancy

Job Type: Full Time
Location: WashingtonDC


For more than 40 years, Ocean Conservancy has been championing science-based policy solutions to protect the healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems that support our planet. Through our programs, we provide leadership on the protection of special places, restoration of sustainable fisheries, the reduction of human impacts on ocean ecosystems, and the need for comprehensive management of our nation’s ocean resources and ecosystems. Informed by science, our work guides policy and engages people in protecting the ocean and its wildlife for future generations.

Ocean systems have always been incredibly complex and dynamic, making them challenging to manage. Add in the more recent climate-related changes due to warming waters and acidification, and the only thing we can say with absolute certainty is that the degree of uncertainty in the system is increasing at an unprecedented pace. We have a sys­tems challenge now, and a global one: How do we maintain the functionality of ocean systems in this new reality of unprecedented resource demand, shifting stocks, and ecosystem regime change? How do we deal with nonlinear risk, with low probability/high consequence events? Ocean Conservancy is undertaking a major effort to rethink the tools and policies that will allow us to protect the ocean in this new normal. Ocean Conservancy has developed and launched a major global campaign to advance a scalable solution to plastic pollution in the ocean, and is in the midst of a major modeling effort to reimagine fisheries management.

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Director, Program Development

The Director, Program Development serves as a hub for Ocean Conservancy’s programs, responsible for developing, implementing, and enhancing strategies to support ongoing, annual and long-range planning across all of Ocean Conservancy’s core program areas. The Director will be responsible for orchestrating all of the organization’s major planning processes, including annual work planning and budgeting, development  of large grant proposals, and monthly board reporting. This position will be the program liaison with the Development and Finance departments and will support both the Executive and Program Director teams on an on-going basis with the goal of facilitating strong internal communication and alignment, as well as identifying opportunities for streamlining internal processes.

This is a fantastic opportunity for a non-profit professional looking to deepen his or her understanding of non-profit management and ocean conservation. The ideal candidate will have at least 5 years of relevant experience working in the non-profit or conservation field; success in this role will require impeccable interpersonal and written and verbal communication skills, as well as resourcefulness and independent initiative. This position will report to the President.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The Director, Program Development will perform the following and other duties as assigned:

  • Work in partnership with legal, policy, communications, scientific and fundraising staff to develop individual program strategies, annual work plans, and budgets to underpin the organizational budget and work plan.
  • Work collaboratively with executive team to craft the annual organizational work plan that outlines fiscal year priorities, investments and challenges submitted to Board of Directors and relevant board committees to support the adoption of annual proposed budgets.
  • Support the programs in assessing progress against work plans, document achievements and failed strategies, and adapt programmatic approaches.
  • Facilitate reporting to staff, Board of Directors, foundations and partners to demonstrate impact and approach across Ocean Conservancy’s program areas particularly for institutional priority projects and critical funding partnerships.
  • Provide strategic capacity to individual programs as assigned to support grant proposal development and/or to refine and adjust programmatic approaches.
  • Serve as a liaison between the Program, Finance, and Development departments to ensure internal alignment, effective budgeting and grant management, and programmatic impact.
  • Identify and implement tools, processes, and trainings to improve the effectiveness of Ocean Conservancy’s program team.
  • Design internal learning opportunities to highlight best practices and new approaches in the environmental, business and social sectors.
  • Manage current intranet (aka ‘Fintranet’) and hold responsibility for the overall visual design, site navigation, site content, engagement and training of users, coordination with key stakeholders and oversight of the technology.


The successful candidate will have the following minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of non-profit experience that includes experience in project management, fundraising, and program planning.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills and the ability to communicate complex scientific or technical concepts to policy and lay audiences.
  • Must have a demonstrated track record of working effectively with diverse individuals and across different levels within an organization.
  • Must be creative, detail-oriented, and well-organized.
  • Strong familiarity with Microsoft Excel and Powerpoint required; comfort with technologies and software tools that encourage information sharing and collaboration across teams strongly preferred.
  • Proven ability to work independently, handle multiple tasks and thrive in a fast-paced, demanding work environment in good humor.
  • Highly collaborative, with excellent interpersonal skills and an appreciation for a multi-disciplinary team approach.
  • Commitment to conservation, background in environmental work, knowledge of fundraising, and familiarity with ocean issues is preferred.

Compensation and Location

Ocean Conservancy offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. This position will be located in Washington, DC.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must click "Apply" above to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements. CEA Recruiting is assisting Ocean Conservancy with this search. Please direct all applications and inquiries to CEA Recruiting. This position will remain open until filled.

Ocean Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer.

CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit

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