CEA Consulting

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Job Type: Full Time
Location: San Francisco,

About the Organization

CEA Consulting is an environmental consultancy based in San Francisco, CA. For more than 35 years, CEA has worked at the intersection of markets, business practices, public policies, and philanthropic, nonprofit, corporate, and impact investment strategies to achieve positive outcomes for the environment. Our work is guided by a deep knowledge of the scientific, financial/economic, cultural, and sociopolitical underpinnings of our most pressing environmental problems.

With roughly 30 employees across the firm, CEA strives to create a work environment that is collaborative and inclusive and where all consultants are supported in doing the work they are most passionate about, developing their skills, and bringing their whole selves to work. We believe that a wide array of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences promote innovation and make our team more creative, flexible, and productive. CEA is explicitly working to create more diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization and has several active “DEI” working groups. For a more in-depth description of our services and examples of past work, please see our website: www.ceaconsulting.com.

CEA’s Philanthropic Practice Area

Our Philanthropic Services Practice Area consists of fifteen consultants supporting environmental foundations, nonprofits, sustainability-oriented businesses, and impact investors. We pride ourselves on being client-oriented, insightful, and responsive. Our work covers a wide range of environmental topics, and many of our projects are international in scope. While the preponderance of our work is related to marine conservation, climate change, climate resilience and justice, sustainable agriculture, land use and conservation, and freshwater management, we also work on transportation, wildlife protection, pollution, environmental justice, and urban sustainability. Our primary offerings include:

  • Program Design and Strategy Development
  • Programmatic Research, Analysis, and Modeling
  • Evaluation and Learning
  • Facilitation, Collaboration, and Grantee Convening
  • Grant Support: Sourcing, Conducting Due Diligence, Making Grant Recommendations, Grantee Management
  • Project Incubation, Nonprofit Business Planning, Organizational Development, and Staffing Support

About the Role

CEA is looking for a Research Associate to join our Philanthropic Services Practice Area. The successful applicant will support the day-to-day management of complex consulting engagements for clients, including large environmentally-focused foundations, family foundations, NGOs, impact investors, and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Our work environment is collaborative, intensive, and likely to require travel (when deemed safe). The position requires intellectual rigor, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, independence, attention to detail, and a passion for environmental issues. This exciting opportunity will provide opportunities for interaction with leaders in the environmental field and a wide range of critical environmental issues.

About You

You are a self-starter and find joy and fulfillment from a job well done. You can deliver your work on time, support your teammates, and help to create a collegial, inclusive, and healthy work environment. You are intellectually curious. You can work effectively in teams as well as independently. You are coachable and are excited to continue to grow your knowledge base and skillset.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Support the execution of projects in collaboration with team members.
  • Support project design and work planning.
  • Formulate and test hypotheses via research, modeling, expert interviews, and data analyses.
  • Conduct research and analysis independently.
  • Participate in group problem solving and brainstorming with project teams.
  • Liaise and communicate with clients.
  • Develop and communicate recommendations via clear and compelling deliverables (e.g., reports, presentations, briefs).
  • Ensure quality control of outgoing work products and correspondence.
  • Work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision and proactively engage with project managers.
  • Participate in a growing phase for CEA as it transitions to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization.


While each consultant at CEA brings different skills and experiences to their work, desired skills and experiences include the following.

  • A Bachelor’s degree and up to three years of work experience, including, relevant academic area of focus, internships, volunteer experience, fellowships, etc.
  • Degrees or work experiences that include training in research methods (quantitative or qualitative) and/or have a focus on environmental studies/natural sciences are preferred.
  • Content knowledge and professional interest in ocean conservation, marine fisheries, coastal communities and livelihoods and/or climate change science and policy, energy policy, climate justice, and climate resilience are preferred.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively communicate across internal teams and with external stakeholders.
  • Proficiency in qualitative research methods (e.g., interviews, expert consultation, case studies).
  • Proficiency in Excel and/or other analytical software (e.g., R, GIS, Tableau).
  • Ability to work, multitask, and prioritize to meet deadlines and respond and adapt to changing client needs.
  • Ability to handle sensitive matters with discretion and interact with a wide range of stakeholders (e.g., scientists, policymakers, advocates, and industry representatives) with diplomacy and enthusiasm.
  • A curious, pragmatic, and strategic mind.
  • An ability and desire to problem solve independently and contribute your insight to team projects.
  • We are open to candidates with a range of past professional experiences. Many of our current consultants have experience in environmental nonprofits, academia, finance/impact investing, engineering, government agencies, foundations, and think tanks.
  • Other content knowledge that will support CEA’s work includes land preservation, sustainable agriculture, freshwater management, forestry, environmental justice, and/or air quality, are a plus.
  • Professional proficiency in a foreign language and demonstrated cultural competency are a plus.

Work Location

CEA’s office is located in San Francisco, and about half of the team works remotely on a permanent basis. Our strong preference is for this position to work from our San Francisco office, but remote candidates will be considered. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all CEA staff are working remotely.  We expect Bay Area staff to return to our office in early 2022.

Compensation and Benefits

CEA offers a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience and an excellent benefits package. Compensation bands will be provided to candidates during the initial interview process.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must follow the link below to submit a resume and cover letter.

CEA is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to our legal and ethical obligations to protect job applicants and employees from employment discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment due to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation), age, disability, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military status, or veteran status. 

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