Water Program Director

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Arizona, USA 🇺🇸



 Remote from home office in Arizona, USA


The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want a better insight to TNC? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube on Glassdoor.  

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued. We’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. In addition to the requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of inclusion! Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote myriad TNC staff members, “you’ll join for our mission, and you’ll stay for our people.”


Based in home office within Arizona (with travel to Phoenix 2-3 times/month).  Arizona Water Program Director oversees Arizona’s diverse water program and ensures integration with the TNC’s Colorado River Program.  Provides strategic leadership and support for the Conservancy’s conservation planning work and establishes overall freshwater conservation priorities for the Arizona Business Unit and its contribution to the Colorado River Basin goals.

Director manages water policy portfolio and oversees water projects throughout Arizona.  Director sets strategic priorities for policy work to 1) reduce barriers to project implementation and 2) maintain or increase protections for water quality and quantity of Arizona’s freshwater resources.  Director oversees the water project program leads to ensure projects are achieving conservation objectives, support collaboration with other program areas and supporting local policy work as needed. 

Director will play a leading role in donor identification, cultivation, and stewardship for the water program. Director disseminates best practices, provides training and analyses to best implement organizational measures of success, and develops key partnerships with public & private organizations to identify and resolve technical issues. Widely communicate solutions, innovative scientific methods, analysis, tools, and frameworks to address the natural system needs. Director establishes the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within freshwater management in Arizona, define conservation priorities, lead and manage team(s) which supports and improves conservation efforts, and builds strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field.


Water Program Director position work is divided into three primary areas.

  1. Water policy portfolio management (40%)
  • Develop and ensure key partnerships and relationships are in place – with Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Colorado River Collaborative, Salt River Project, Central Arizona Project, Bureau of Reclamation, municipal and agricultural water users, and other important interests in water – and works with these entities to identify and implement strategies to increase the scale and pace of river/water conservation in Arizona and the basin.
  • Directly and through management of consultants, review and comment on relevant water policy legislation and agency rules at the state, federal and local level in coordination with External Affairs Program.
  • Identify policy barriers to project development and implementation within TNC’s conservation program and with other key project implementors and develop potential solutions with External Affairs and Conservation staff.
  1. Oversight and support of Water Projects Conservation Objectives (30%)
  • Maintain and develop community support for conservation efforts, negotiate complex and innovative solutions with interested parties to assure that the Chapter is represented in appropriate state and regional councils, organizations, forums.
  • Provide strategic direction to the Water Program geographic area directors (Verde and San Pedro) and ensure progress towards conservation objectives.
  • Effectively recruit, manage and develop direct reports (Verde and San Pedro Program Directors), including annual objective setting and reviews; performance and career coaching; effective and timely handling of performance issues, etc.  Demonstrate behaviors that are those of a role model in TNC’s Competencies, Code of Conduct, Values and Psychological Safety areas.  Ensure Program Directors are managing their staff to these same expectations.
  • Provide guidance and support for water management projects being implemented in other program areas including Land Protection and Stewardship.
  1. Water Program Collaboration and Management (30%)
  • Maintains the Conservancy as a major conservation partner, defines conservation priorities, leads and manages team, which supports and improves conservation efforts, and builds strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field in Arizona.
  • Coordinates with other program and functional leads in developing resources and sponsors cross-functional teams to address key water challenges and supports the water security team in developing resources for implementation.
  • Contribute to AZ Business Unit and Colorado River Program strategic planning processes, on-going coordination, and assists with public and private fundraising efforts to support local, basin and global water programs.
  • Play a leading role in donor identification, cultivation, and stewardship for the water program; this includes donor interactions, development of funding proposals, tracking of state and federal funding opportunities and coordination of requests amongst program areas.
  • Completes necessary administrative and programmatic management functions such as completion of performance reviews, staff meetings, and time and expense coding.


  • Travel statewide, as needed, particularly to the Verde, San Pedro, and Phoenix areas.
  • 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.                             
  • Recruit, retain and manage high quality and effective multi-disciplinary staff with responsibility for performance management, training and career development.
  • Broad management and leadership responsibility for one direct report and four indirect reports.
  • Develop long-term strategies and achieve strategic goals and objectives.
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, ambiguous information, experience and judgment.
  • May require frequent travel domestically and/or internationally – including overnight, evening and weekend hours.
  • May work in variable weather conditions at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. May be walking or standing on varying types of terrain.
  • Timely and accurate completion of required administrative duties such as expense reports, timecards, Performance Check-ins and evaluations.
  • Able to push, pull, lift, move up to 25 pounds.
  • Other duties as required.


  • BA/BS degree and 12 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Experience designing, implementing, and directing complex or multiple projects of strategic importance, including managing finances, supervising multidisciplinary professionals and coordinating the work of partners while meeting deadlines.  
  • Experience working with current trends and practices in relevant discipline(s) and geographic regions.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.   
  • Experience networking with high level conservation contacts.
  • Experience working with methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives.
  • Experience conceiving and implementing strategic and creative initiatives.
  • Experience negotiating.
  • Experience working with related software (MS Office Suite, internet research, etc.).
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Youth qualified (within initial 30 days of employment; annually thereafter).


  • Multi- lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Master’s degree and 12-15 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience developing practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
  • Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs. 
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Politically savvy.


Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. Through grassroots action, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff, we impact conservation throughout the world!

The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan to include employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits in the Culture Tab on nature.org/careers.

We’re proud to offer a work environment that is supportive of the health, well-being, and flexibility needs of the people we employ!


The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including; health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan including employer match, accrued paid time off (including annual, personal, and sick leave), life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work wellness benefits. Benefits may be subject to generally applicable eligibility, waiting period, contribution, and other requirements and conditions.  Learn more about our benefits at nature.org/careers. We’re proud to offer a work-environment that is supportive of the health, wellness, and flexibility needs of the people we employ.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with TNC’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.” To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/careers/recruitment/ under the FAQ section.

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 for job ID 51720 submit your current resume and a cover letter online by using the Apply Now button at https://careers.nature.org/. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact [email protected].

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 people 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.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to [email protected] with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19.   By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.