WWF - World Wildlife Fund

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Job Type: Full Time
Location: ,

World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, seeks a Senior Director, Oceans Area-Based Conservation, to be based in Washington, DC.

This is a momentous time to join the Oceans team at WWF. Oceans represent an unprecedented opportunity to bring about prosperity and peace for local and global communities. Oceans feed us, shelter us, protect us, inspire us, and connect us, but as demand for food, water, and energy rises, and climate impacts on oceans worsen, so does the risk of conflict and societal instability. WWF’s efforts to protect oceans, coastal places, and resources are a vital part of building resiliency for people and the planet, as well as ensuring healthy ecosystems and robust biodiversity.

Political momentum for ocean conservation is growing. The Biden Administration and many countries around the world have committed to protect 30 percent of national lands and oceans by 2030. The Bezos Earth Fund (BEF) has granted WWF-US $100 M for climate-related conservation. With new senior leadership in place and the Oceans team at the beginning of a five-year strategic planning cycle, the Area-Based Conservation program at WWF-US is poised for growth and impact. The Senior Director will have the opportunity to shape and lead the execution of this strategy at a crucial historical moment.

About the Role

Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Oceans, (SVP), the Senior Director is a member of the Oceans Leadership Team. The Senior Director is responsible for successfully executing the BEF Mangroves for Community and Climate project, with partners in Fiji, Colombia, Mexico and Madagascar. The Senior Director will help identify additional geographies and resources for area-based conservation as well as strategies for leveraging the entire Oceans team competencies (fisheries management, market driven initiatives, nature based solutions, conservation finance, policy and advocacy) to support conservation in those geographies.

This role requires an experienced conservation leader and practitioner who can inspire and mentor staff, design and implement large scale international conservation programs with minimal direction, who is eager to be hands-on day-to-day when needed, while also holding the big-picture context to serve as a strategic thought partner to the SVP.  To be successful, the Senior Director will need to have a bias towards action, tempered by grace under pressure; a disposition to go big, and a genuine commitment to communication, partnership, and collaboration.


Conservation Program Management and Implementation

    • Manage the execution of oceans area-based conservation programs
    • Project manage and successfully execute the BEF Mangroves for Community and Climate project, including:
      • Providing leadership for a cross-organizational team to execute, monitor and evaluate project implementation
      • Developing 12 and 18-month workplans for the five-year grant
      • Finalizing and supporting execution of M&E plan with the Global Science team
      • Negotiating and issuing project sub-grants to four country offices (Fiji, Madagascar, Colombia, Mexico), and the successful delivery of annual milestones
      • Developing innovative sustainable finance mechanisms with the Conservation Finance team for at least one country project
      • Participating in the cross-BEF project steering committee to ensure overall success of project coordination of deliverables and reporting to BEF
      • Identifying and pursuing opportunities for leveraging at least $50 million in additional funding
      • Advising on other existing resilient coastal ecosystem projects. 
      • Seeking opportunities and funding to grow the initiative

Staff Management and Team Leadership

    • Manage and mentor a growing team of 4-6 people, with two direct reports
    • Create and implement appropriate feedback processes and reporting structures
    • Leverage the capacities of a cross-disciplinary team

Stakeholder Engagement and Strategic Partnerships

    • Identify synergies and opportunities with other Oceans teams initiatives, as well as across WWF-US goal teams and the wider WWF network
    • Represent the Oceans team and WWF in communicating to internal and external audiences
    • Build NGO and academic partnerships/collaborations to generate meaningful conservation science that informs both policy and practice from local to internal arenas
    • Help build and advise on strategic partnerships with other key institutions, including partner WWF country offices


    • Identify and develop major funding opportunities from private foundations, individuals, and/or government aid agencies

Strategic Planning

    • Work with the SVP to develop a data driven-framework for the selection of geographies for area-based conservation



  • Minimum 12 years’ experience in the design, management and implementation of large-scale, multi-country area-based conservation programs, in partnership with local communities.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in conservation, marine science or related science fields. Master’s degree preferred.  Experience with mangroves and coral ecosystems a plus.
  • Five+ years staff management experience, including the ability to motivate, set objectives and manage the performance of an experienced, multi-disciplinary team.
  • Implementation of management practices and conservation approaches that foster diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience conceiving and implementing innovative conservation finance models, including blue carbon.
  • Success packaging big ideas for individual donors, government grants, multi-lateral institutions and foundations.
  • Track record of forging partnerships with a wide variety of players – local communities, government, and NGOs.


  • Excellent critical and creative thinking
  • Strategic implementation: able to assess and develop emerging opportunities, then set staff on a course that delivers results
  • Compelling written and oral communication, including grant writing, technical writing and public speaking
  • Able to work gracefully under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Working proficiency in Spanish, French, or other relevant languages a plus
  • Identifies and aligns with the core values of the WWF organization: Courage, Integrity, Respect, and Collaboration
  • Willingness to travel as necessary (post COVID-19 restrictions).  Travel is both within the US and internationally, approximately 10-12 trips/year.

Diversity and Inclusion

WWF values diversity and inclusion and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds and communities to apply. As an EOE/AA employer, WWF will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, or protected Veteran status.

WWF has long understood that the people who live in the places we work are critical leaders in conservation. Over time, WWF’s work with people has supported community efforts and led to transformative social and environmental results. This is a socially inclusive conservation approach. Together, WWF finds practical and beneficial ways for both people and nature to thrive.

 Read more about WWF’s approach to collaborative conservation here.

Compensation and Location

WWF offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience.  For more information, please visit WWF’s benefits page. The position will be located at WWF’s US headquarters in Washington, DC.

This opportunity is open to international candidates. WWF will sponsor HB1 visas and in some instances will cover relocation expenses.

To Apply

CEA Recruiting is assisting WWF with this search. To be considered for this position, interested candidates should use the apply button below to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal.

Please direct all inquiries to Tamara Evans, Senior Search Lead tamara@ceaconsulting.com.

Cover letters may be addressed to Johan Bergenas, SVP Oceans.

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

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