Director of Government Relations

Ocean Conservancy

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

LOCATION: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT: Government Relations

REPORTS TO: VP of External Affairs

HOURS: Full Time


Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.


The Director of Government Relations is responsible for overseeing Ocean Conservancy’s domestic lobbying efforts, which mostly focus on advocacy in Congress and the federal government, but also include state-level lobbying in a small number of key priority states. The Director manages our domestic government relations team of lobbyists and external lobbying consultants and is responsible for collaborating closely with all of our programs and departments. The Director also serves as a crucially important strategic partner for all of Ocean Conservancy’s programs, plays a key leadership role in helping drive our institutional advocacy strategies, and is responsible for cultivating our organization’s long-term ability to influence public policy.

The ideal candidate will bring a proven commitment to environmental conservation with direct experience in some combination of Congressional or government service, lobbying, advocacy, and/or government relations work. This individual will have deep knowledge of Congressional and government policy-making.

This position is based in Washington, D.C. and the successful candidate will be expected to register as a federal lobbyist.


  • Lead Ocean Conservancy’s domestic government relations team and provide strategic oversight and management of the team’s lobbying efforts.
  • Oversee Ocean Conservancy’s development of Congressional and executive branch relationships, development of state-level government relationships, maintenance of our organization’s political reputation, and promotion of our visibility among government decision-makers.
  • Collaborate with staff across programs and departments to ensure that the government relations team serves not only as a service provider for programs, but also as a strategic thought partner in developing program policy objectives, building advocacy strategies, and executing lobbying efforts.
  • Collaborate with relevant Ocean Conservancy programs and leadership to oversee and manage outside lobbying contracts that support our advocacy work.
  • Spearhead planning processes to prepare Ocean Conservancy and our programs for shifts in political power, such as election scenario planning and administration transition planning.
  • Serve as Ocean Conservancy’s representative to relevant environmental community coalitions and forums, as necessary.
  • Manage the domestic government relations team’s lobbying budgets (direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying)


  • 6 or more years of relevant environmental policy, advocacy, government or lobbying experience.
  • Proven record of experience in government/Congressional service, lobbying, and/or government relations work.
  • Extensive knowledge of Congressional processes and dynamics, as well as executive branch policymaking and state-level governance.
  • A collaborative leader that is able to both manage a high-performing team and collaborate across other programs and departments and earn trust as a strategic thought partner.
  • Savvy political operator with an ability to understand the motivations and incentives that drive members of Congress and other government decision-makers.
  • Strategic planning and program implementation.
  • Knowledge of environmental legal and policy issues and ability to quickly become proficient in new issue areas.
  • Exceptional cultural competency and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Proven skills in facilitation, relationship management, and negotiation.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, second languages highly appreciated.


Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent years of experience


Ocean Conservancy is committed to equity in its pay practices and posts the minimum and midpoint of the range for each of its open positions. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with the skills, years of experience, and unique background of the candidate. Salary minimum is $115,566; salary midpoint is $144,509. Salary may be higher as appropriate for the selected candidate, with internal equity being considered.


If you think you’d be a great fit for the job and are interested in joining Ocean Conservancy’s team, please apply here.


You will be required to provide proof of full vaccination status or submit to regular masking and testing, as a condition of employment at Ocean Conservancy’s meetings, gatherings, and offices. You may request accommodation for medical or religious reasons.


Ocean Conservancy provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

We encourage applicants who have a diverse level and range of relevant skills and experiences to apply. A 100% match is not required. We want to support employees’ career growth and in return, our employees help Ocean Conservancy grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization.






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development