Associate Director (Resilient Communities & Watershed)

 (via Indeed)
Sonoran Institute
Denver, CO, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Outstanding career opportunity with leading community-based natural resource conservation organization serving the North American West. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of seven years of experience managing natural or water resource programs. Strong program management, stakeholder facilitation, fundraising, and communications skills are required. We are seeking a team-player with a passion for our work. If you are ready to help make the West great again then keep reading and prepare yourself for an opportunity like no other.

Who we are

Sonoran Institute is one of the West’s leading and most innovative environmental organizations. Founded in Tucson in 1990, we are leading efforts to restore the Colorado River Delta and the Santa Cruz River, and are working on innovative approaches to better integrate water and land use planning throughout the Colorado River Basin. We celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2015 and are in the midst of a robust marketing and fundraising effort to support our 2040 Vision.

We have over 25 years of experience in the Colorado River Basin helping communities plan and adapt to change. The Colorado Growing Water Smart program helps communities bridge the gap between water management and land use planning to build a more resilient future. This is especially important for Colorado as its population continues to rapidly grow. From 1 million people in 1930 to over 5 million today, projections now anticipate that Colorado’s population could nearly double by 2060. To sustain this growth, Colorado will need to better manage its water supply. Although Colorado is a headwater state, the state’s water supply faces increasing uncertainty with over-appropriated river basins, longer droughts, and more frequent fires. The Colorado Water Plan predicts that by 2050 the state could have a supply gap of up to 560,000 acre-feet.

General Overview

The Associate Director (AD) is responsible for directing and overseeing the design and implementation of the Colorado Growing Water Smart program, focused on an integrated approach to water and land use planning. The AD will manage a state-wide training and assistance project, overseeing consultants, liaising with program partners, cultivating program donors, and serving as the primary media spokesperson for the project. The AD may assist in the assessment, development, and implementation of similar training and assistance programs in other states.

The AD will report to the Senior Director of Programs. At the outset, the AD will have no supervisory responsibilities, but should program activities continue to expand, there may opportunities to directly supervise staff. The AD also will serve as a member of the Sonoran Institute’s Leadership Team comprised of senior managers from Sonoran Institute US and MX.

Key Responsibilities

  • Serve as the Sonoran Institute’s representative in formal and informal collaborations around water and land use planning in Colorado
  • Oversee development and adaptation of program, including workshop agenda and curriculum and delivery of technical assistance
  • Oversee consultants responsible for workshop design and facilitation, technical assistance, development and application of project metrics, and communication of program lessons learned and best practices
  • Develop and update program budgets and review financial reports, complete purchase orders, employee reimbursements, and other payment requests in a timely manner, and review and approve all program vendor contracts and grant agreements
  • Draft donor proposals and reports and ensure all donor requirements are met, cultivate donors as directed by Development staff
  • Maintain regular contacts with program partners in the public and private sectors, update them on activities in a timely fashion

Education & Experience

  • Advanced degree or equivalent experience in natural or water resource management, communicating public policy or climate science, land use, urban/regional planning or related field
  • Seven or more years of increasingly responsible experience in relevant fields is desired


  • Demonstrated verbal, written and graphic communication skills
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas and information to a broad range of audiences.
  • Strong analytical and project management skills
  • Experience in group facilitation and public engagement
  • Experience in successfully fundraising from foundations, government agencies, or individual donors
  • Proficiency in using the suite of Microsoft Office 360 programs
  • Current valid driver’s license
  • Ability to travel by car or plane in the United States


  • Experience with training or public process design and stakeholder engagement and outreach
  • Experience with research and analysis relevant to planning, development, resource management and policy
  • Sound grasp of linkages between urban and regional planning, economic development, and natural resource conservation, best policies and practices
  • An understanding of public policy and administration, community and economic development, local government finance, capital improvements planning, zoning, and development codes
  • Understanding of natural resource planning and conservation issues, and best practices
  • Experience in training and outreach
  • Proficiency in the principles and practice of community development
  • Experience with website/digital/graphic design/video or other new media tools
  • Proficiency in using Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop

What Sonoran Institute Offers Employees

We offer our employees a comprehensive benefits program that includes: employee only medical 100% paid, dental base plan 100% paid, employer paid life and LTD, flexible spending account, retirement plan with employer match, paid holidays, paid time off (20 days first year), and also voluntary vision, STD, and life insurance.

This position will be located in Denver and will work from their home, with an option to secure a desk in co-working location.,