Sustainable Food and Water Program Director

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Boulder, CO, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

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.




Colorado’s Sustainable Food and Water Team is pursuing a future where people’s food and water needs are met in a way that supports local economies, conserves important species and long-term ecological resilience and minimizes negative impacts to the environment.  The Sustainable Food and Water Program Director (Program Director) provides senior leadership and expertise to guide the development and implementation of strategies and projects that deliver important outcomes toward this future for Colorado and the nation. The Program Director is a member of the Conservation Management Team and contributes substantively to cross-functional strategic thinking, collaboration and coordination.  The Program Director leads and mentors a team with expertise in science, policy, business development and on-the ground land and water management.  The Program Director must be able to balance multiple priorities, navigate complex and sometimes contentious situations and work effectively with a diverse range of partners and stakeholders. The Program Director has overall responsibility for a project portfolio that includes direct engagement in land and water management; leverage through innovative policy, market and funding opportunities; collaborative partnerships; and development of networks and communities of practices.

Strategic Thinking - Leads the development and implementation of strategic conservation initiatives that support sustainable food and water management, long-term ecological resilience and local livelihoods.    
Leading Teams - Leads and empowers staff and project teams to advance approaches that 1) improve flow conditions and river functions for both people and nature in priority rivers in Colorado and the region and 2) promote best practices for agriculture and grazing land management that benefit both landowners and ecosystems.   
Building Partnerships - Establishes and maintains key partnerships with non-government organizations, academic institutions, local, state and federal agencies, land and water managers, relevant businesses and supply-chain drivers and others to protect freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems and help Colorado and the region find innovative solutions to meet their growing food and water needs.  
Fundraising - Plays a direct role in securing public and private funds, including impact capital, for conservation activities.


  • The geographic scope of the Sustainable Food and Water Program Director will be largely within the State of Colorado but may include multi-state, regional and/or national collaborations, partnerships and projects.
  • Supervises staff and manages teams working to achieve program goals with responsibility for performance management, training and mentorship and career development.                                                                   
  • Plans and works directly on multiple projects that may include policy, science, stakeholder engagement, collaborative planning, and design and implementation of on-the-ground action.
  • Frequently makes strategic decisions based on analysis and judgment.
  • May negotiate land and water transactions and complex agreements, in a political environment with potential for financial, legal and/or reputational risk.  
  • Contributes substantively to cross-functional strategic thinking, collaboration and coordination in the Business Unit.
  • Works effectively under pressure and meets deadlines.
  • Resolves complex problems independently with minimal supervision.                                                                                 
  • Travels frequently and on short notice, sometimes on weekends.
  • Works in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.  


  • A combination of education and experience equivalent to a BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in natural resources management, conservation, science, business, law or another related field of study.
  • Experience developing partnerships and working with a wide range of people, such as landowners, decision-makers, public agencies, non-governmental organizations and private industry.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects and associated financial, contracting partnership functions.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation and stewardship.
  • Experience working with computers, including database and spreadsheet management.


  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience preferred.
  • Advanced degree in natural resources, science, conservation, business, law, or policy and 10 years of relevant experience.
  • Knowledge of current trends in Colorado water policy and law, watershed management, sustainable grazing land management and/or soil health practices.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and executing complex projects and agreements with diverse stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with agricultural communities and stakeholders.
  • Comfortable in a dynamic, complex, and often fast-paced work environment.
  • Capable of communicating with the public and/or media both in writing and verbally.
  • Able to think strategically, develop practical applications of scientific concepts, and encourage innovation.
  • Proven experience managing time and diverse activities under deadlines while delivering quality results.
  • Able to work effectively with and through others in a decentralized and geographically dispersed organization.
  • Politically savvy and experienced in partnership development.
  • Enthusiasm for traveling regularly to meetings and field sites throughout Colorado.




To apply to position number 47564, 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 Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Click “submit” to apply for the position or “save for later” to create a draft application for future submission. Once submitted, applications cannot be revised or edited. Failure to complete required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration.

If you experience technical issues, please refer to our applicant user guide or contact