Director (Palmyra Program)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Honolulu, HI, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
10+ Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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 serves as the principle contact to government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations and the academic community.  They may play a leading role in donor identification, cultivation and stewardship for the program.  The Director disseminates best practices, provides training and analyses to best implement organizational measures of success, and develop key partnerships with public & private organizations in order to identify and resolve technical issues and to widely communicate solutions, innovative scientific methods, analysis, tools and frameworks to address the natural system needs.  They establish the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within the area of responsibility.  They engage local community support for local conservation efforts, negotiate complex and innovative solutions with government agencies and landowners to conserve and protect natural communities, and develop and implement conservation strategies.  The Director reports to the Hawai'i State Director and supervises staff.




The Director provides strategic leadership for and overall management of the program, and is directly responsible for:

  • Public and private fundraising in collaboration with local, regional, national, and international staff and partners;
  • Building internal and external support for Palmyra as a world-class research station, a model for sustainable green infrastructure, and a rare example of the value of conservation management and protection of unique marine ecosystems around the globe;
  • Building and maintaining close, cooperative relationships with government agencies, research institutions and universities, and other partners supporting management, research, and fundraising at Palmyra Atoll;
  • Recruiting and managing a strong, stable team of dedicated staff and volunteers;
  • Planning, developing, implementing and managing budgets, contracts, grants and other financial transactions to ensure financial security and stability for the program;
  • Maintaining safe, secure, and reliable transportation to and from Palmyra; and
  • Ensuring safe, successful, and enjoyable field experiences on the atoll for partners, researchers and program supporters.

In addition, the Palmyra Program Director manages a team of dedicated staff in Honolulu and on Palmyra to ensure:

  • Collaborative conservation planning and management;
  • Ongoing transportation of people and supplies to and from the atoll;
  • Field station operations and maintenance, including clean energy production, runway maintenance, and the provision of clean and comfortable lodging;
  • Safe boating and diving operations; and
  • Successful coordination with TNC staff of multiple annual field trips to Palmyra for partners, researchers and program supporter.




  • Geographic/programmatic size and scope is that of a large, complex business unit, multiple small to mid-sized business units, division/regional or a large program area spanning parts of multiple states/divisions.                             
  • May be responsible for leading or co-leading a whole system program.                             
  • Recruits, retains and manages high quality and effective multi-disciplinary staff with responsibility for performance management, training and career development.
  • Broad management and leadership responsibility for 10+ staff members, both internal and external to the organization.
  • Develops long-term strategies and achieves strategic goals and objectives.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, ambiguous information, experience and judgment.
  • May require frequent travel domestically and/or internationally and evening and weekend hours.




  • BA/BS degree and 10 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Experience directing and maintaining optimal standards of performance for a program or project, including managing finances and supervising/coordinating the work of other professionals and partners while controlling costs and administering budgets.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.                                       
  • Experience negotiating complex agreements.
  • Experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans at the state or country level.


  • Multi- lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 10-12 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives and experience conceiving and implementing strategic initiatives.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Politically savvy and experienced in working collaboratively and partnership development (partners, community, government agencies).
  • Ensure program accountability and legal compliance including internal policies and external requirements.
  • Independent judgement.
  • Experience developing and implementing an adaptive management plan.
  • Experience collaborating with external partners
  • Experience developing and implementing a hospitality program for donors, stakeholders and other interested parties.
  • Experience managing a multi-disciplinary administrative and professional staff, with responsibility for setting clear direction and stretch objectives, performance management, training and career development.




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.




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