Durable Freshwater Protection Director

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Arlington, VA, USA or where TNC has an office


Arlington, Virginia, USA


Remote home office; the location for this position is flexible within countries where The Nature Conservancy is a registered NGO and has an already established office. This position is not eligible for relocation or immigration assistance.




The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube   to hear stories from staff or visit  Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


Freshwater ecosystems are richer in species diversity per unit area than those on land or in the ocean, and they provide incalculable benefits to people and the planet. Yet they are also under threat like never before. As part of The Nature Conservancy’s 2030 Goals, we are determined to do more. We need solutions that create long-term protection for our rivers and other freshwater habitats through an array of policy, regulatory, and economic approaches that complement and enhance the durability of direct conservation efforts, deliver benefits of healthy rivers and avoid disproportionate harm to all people who are also part of these systems, and recognize the fluid nature of freshwater and climate impacts. The Durable Freshwater Protection Director will play an integral role in helping the Conservancy step up to this challenge through coordinated and collaborative approaches designed to build upon existing investments and bench strength of the Conservancy, particularly priorities of the Global Protect Oceans, Land, and Water, building a strategy for scaling or accelerating freshwater protection globally, thereby accelerating our collective progress towards the 2030 Goals for freshwater (1million kilometers of river systems and 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands).

The Durable Freshwater Protection Director will report to the Global Director of Freshwater Outcomes and be part of an organization-wide leadership effort related to freshwater. The location for this position is flexible within countries where The Nature Conservancy is a registered NGO and has an already established office. This position is not eligible for relocation or immigration assistance. May involve domestic and international travel of 15% or more.


Want to help safeguard the planet’s freshwater for both biodiversity’s sake and the people that depend on it? Through the efforts of The Nature Conservancy, we have protected about 5,000 river miles globally for people and nature. Our 2030 Goals have us reaching far beyond what we have achieved to date. From the headwaters to the estuaries, The Nature Conservancy is dedicated to conserving the vital freshwater resources that make our globe unique. This is an exceptional career opportunity for a highly motivated, capable individual interested in joining the world’s leading conservation organization!

We need an individual who has a track record of designing conservation, policy, regulatory, and investment approaches to help achieve longevity of impact in relation to freshwater biodiversity conservation at a variety of scales and settings (local to global), experience working in a highly complex organizational setting with global, regional, local and other cross-cutting business units to achieve results at scale; and skills in strategic, visual, and scientific analysis that help align efforts and pave a clear path forward. They should be energized by developing, implementing, and celebrating inclusive processes and interest in adapting approaches or engaging external experts from other settings or organizations to the challenges at hand. They will help integrate a focus on freshwater protection strategies and goals into major regional to global initiatives and investments at the Conservancy (e.g., 30×30, Enduring Earth, etc.), including priorities of the Global Protect Oceans, Lands, and Waters, contribute to global dialogues and conferences that help embed freshwater protection goals, and help embed a culture of accountability in service of progress toward freshwater-specific aspects of the 2030 Goal. They will engage effectively with marketing and communications staff, scientists and conservation practitioners, government relations and external affairs staff, as well as staff with the Global Protect and other teams. 

Key responsibilities and scope for this position are:

  • Articulates organizational priorities for durable freshwater protection, including our global policy and science agendas, in collaboration with others (e.g., staff affiliated with external affairs, Global Protect Oceans, Land and Water, Global Science team, regional teams, etc.). Identifies, designs, and implements innovative freshwater protection strategies that expand the scale of our impact and accelerate progress towards the 2030 Goals for freshwater.
  • Helps integrate freshwater protection into existing significant and potential significant organizational investments by working within highly matrixed and globally dispersed teams to deliver the kilometers and hectares associated with the 2030 Goals for freshwater (1 million kilometers of rivers systems and 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands).
  • Supervises and inspires staff (direct line of authority and by influence) to deliver technical assistance and mentoring to project staff and business units across the Conservancy to achieve the 2030 Goals for freshwater, encouraging the creation of a culture of learning and accountability.  
  • Advances fundraising campaigns or approaches that inspire and captivate multiple funders and help resource our ambitions, assists in the assessment and preparation of funding requests and reports, and writes proposals in response to grant/contract funding opportunities for program.
  • Manages priorities and works within a program budget to complete projects, negotiates and contracts with vendors as appropriate, and assists with budget development related to durable freshwater protection and related goals.      
  • Manages engagement with internal and external partners related to their programmatic goals, and develops reports, presentations, and assessments for communicating our engagement.
  • Builds cooperation from outside partners including NGOs, governments, and private sector to accomplish program goals.
  • Ensure programmatic commitments, Conservancy policies and procedures, financial standards, and legal requirements are met and managed for compliance.
  • Frequently makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and context.
  • Participates in and/or leads cross functional and cross-organizational teams.
  • Makes independent strategic decision based on analysis, ambiguous information, and context. 
  • Negotiates complex agreements, in a political environment.                                                                                      
  • Frequent travel domestically and/or 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 10 or more years of experience in conservation practice, policy, or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience of using policy at local to global scales to advance freshwater protection.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation and experience with brokering deals that engage multiple funders.
  • Experience directing a major program or project of strategic importance, including management/supervision of multidisciplinary teams and meeting deadlines.
  • Experience in developing supportive and collaborative partnerships with other non-profits, community groups and/or government agencies.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience negotiating.
  • Experience with financial management of a large program.


  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated. Experience working in multiple countries.
  • Ten or more years in the field of conservation, particularly moving ideas to strategies that accelerate freshwater conservation and protection at scale in diverse geographic settings and contexts.
  • Excellent communication skills and political savvy, including written and oral delivery and critical analytical thinking. Excellent English writing skills are essential.
  • Proven success as an inspiring leader with the ability to unite work around a vision, provide clear direction, willingness to identify and resolve issues and provide recognition and credit.
  • Knowledge of key actors and current trends, threats to freshwater biodiversity, and practices related to freshwater science and advancing durable protection strategies at regional and global scales.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing, and implementing conservation policy and plans.
  • Ability to thrive in a highly matrixed, decentralized, and collaborative organization, meet time sensitive deadlines, and mobilize capacity to achieve results. Possesses strong interpersonal skills and political savvy. Must be a team player.
  • Passion for building enduring capacity through partnerships
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives or related field.


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into 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 and partners, we impact conservation around the world! 

TNC offers competitive and comprehensive benefits packages tailored to the individual countries where we work. These may include health care benefits, retirement benefits, parental leave, paid time off, life insurance, and disability coverage as well as an employee assistance program and other life and well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on nature.org/careers. 

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports the health and well-being of the people we employ.


To apply for job ID 52066, submit your cover letter and resume online by using the Apply Now button at https://careers.nature.org/. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact [email protected]Application deadline is 11:59 pm EST, Sunday, September 11th, 2022.

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.

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.