Director (Water, Climate and Energy)

Santa Fe, NM, US

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in 69 countries, all 50 United States, and your backyard. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit to learn more.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


The Director of Water, Climate and Energy leads and oversees the New Mexico Field Office conservation programs in freshwater, climate change and energy. The Director advances our strategies through conservation planning, large-scale project design, and establishes overall conservation priorities for the programs.


The Director of Water, Climate and Energy Programs provides leadership, technical and program support to Conservancy field operations. S/he serves as the principle contact to government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations and the academic community. S/he establishes the Conservancy as a major conservation partner in freshwater, climate change and energy production and efficiency, defines freshwater, climate, and energy conservation priorities, leads and manages a team which supports and improves conservation efforts, and builds strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field. The Director develops key partnerships with public & private organizations in order to identify and resolve technical issues and to widely communicate solutions and best practices. S/he also engages local community support for local conservation efforts and works with the Director of Science to develop innovative scientific methods, analyses, tools, and frameworks to address the natural system needs. S/he negotiates complex and innovative solutions with government agencies, water users, landowners and other stakeholders to conserve and protect natural communities and develop and implement conservation strategies for freshwater and climate change, energy and for emerging conservation issues and challenges.


  • Primary geographic size and scope is the State of New Mexico, and for freshwater systems, the Colorado River Program whole system and multi-state Rio Grande Basin, but scope may evolve to include regional and continental scale conservation challenges
  • Supervises staff, including staff at remote locations.
  • Provides leadership for strategy development to scale up programmatic capacity to address freshwater conservation, climate change and energy related issues.
  • Works across state boundaries (e.g. Colorado River Program and Rio Grande Basin) to meet habitat restoration and environmental flow objectives.
  • Works with TNC global and North America staff and with external partners to create and implement coordinated, integrated and impactful programs for climate change mitigation and adaptation and for avoidance and mitigation of energy development and use.
  • Leads teams of staff working on freshwater conservation and climate and energy.
  • Establishes and maintains optimal performance standards within budget.
  • Writes requests for proposal (RFPs) for grant/contract funding for program.
  • Works closely with the Associate State Director and the Director of Philanthropy to identify resources and to raise private and public funds to support conservation strategies and programs.
  • Frequently makes independent strategic decisions based on analysis, ambiguous information and judgment.
  • Negotiates complex agreements in a political environment.
  • May require travel domestically and possibly internationally, evening and weekend hours.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.


  • BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in natural resource practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including securing public funding through grants and contracts, and identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing finances and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience developing partnerships (partners, community, government).
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Meeting facilitation skills.
  • Demonstrated strong verbal and written communication skills including public presentation proficiency.


  • Master’s degree.
  • 7-10 years’ experience in natural resource conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in freshwater conservation including river habitat restoration, environmental flows and innovative water transactions for conservation; 5+ years’ experience preferred
  • Knowledge of climate change science and projected impacts in the Southwestern U.S.
  • Knowledge of conservation science and strategies for avoidance and/or mitigation of impacts from energy development, or expertise in energy efficiency practices.
  • Knowledge of, and experience with, global conservation challenges and strategies.
  • Ability to develop practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages; ability to give compelling presentations to technical and non-technical audiences; ability to persuade and influence decision makers and partner organizations.
  • Politically savvy and experienced in partnership development (partners, community, government).


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


To apply to position number 44631, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 16, 2016.

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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of *The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.*

Job Title: Director of Water, Climate and Energy

Location: New Mexico

Job ID: 44631

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Full/Part Time: Full-Time