Senior Vice President (Policy and Government Affairs)

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Washington, DC, US


The need to protect and restore the rich bounty of life on Earth has never been greater, or more urgent.  Wildlife populations have declined dramatically over the last fifty years. The devastating impacts of climate change – from rising seas to raging wildfires – threaten communities and national economies. As demand for food, water, and energy rises, more people face the specter of collapsing ecosystems and dwindling resources. The time for change is now and substantial action is needed to change course. Together, we can address the greatest threats to life on this planet and protect the natural resources that sustain and inspire us.


Over the last half century, WWF has helped drive large-scale solutions to our greatest conservation challenges. And one of the central pillars of achieving our mission is partnerships with the US government (USG) to influence policies and programs that help protect the world’s most important places, the bio-diversity they sustain, and the communities who inhabit them. The leadership role the US government plays to ensure the continued survival of wildlife, wild places, and communities around the globe cannot be understated, and we are making progress.


To that end, we are looking for a Senior Vice President (SVP) of Policy and Government Affairs to champion WWF’s engagement with the Executive and Congressional branches of the USG. This individual will support WWF’s mission to protect the natural world—and the communities it sustains—in the following ways:

  • Develop transformational partnerships with key Congressional and Administration leaders, key Congressional Committees and major governmental agencies like the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of the Interior
  • Mobilize and secure funding from US governmental agencies and Congress to strengthen conservation in the United States and around the world
  • Drive policy changes to help achieve conservation results in priority landscapes like the Amazon and the Arctic
  • Engage the public on issues where their advocacy can drive meaningful change, working closely with the communications, advocacy, and social media teams at WWF
  • Contribute advice and insights to the major programmatic and fundraising departments across the organization to help WWF achieve its strategic goals

The SVP manages 4 direct reports. This person is also a member of WWF’s Senior Management Team and is expected to collaborate with colleagues across our global network.


  • Strategic vision: Lead the organization in developing and implementing a strategy to influence US government policy, legislation, and funding to ensure significant conservation and sustainable development outcomes, in support of WWF’s programmatic and institutional priorities. Serve as a problem solver and deliver creative and effective results for often complex situations.
  • Negotiations and partnering: Serve as the leading advocate for US conservation outcomes while collaborating with the broader WWF network partners to ensure strategic alignment and positive working alliances with various stakeholders, including the following USG entities: the Department of State, USAID, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the US Geological Service, the Congressional authorities and appropriate communities with conservation jurisdiction, and key members of Congress and Congressional staff who impact international conservation.
  • Fundraising and communications: Establish and implement a strategy for securing funds from USG sources in support of conservation and sustainable development. Lead major fundraising efforts in conjunction with other relevant staff, in the US and across the global network. Engage policymakers and institutions in building public awareness and commitment through comprehensive campaigns. Accountable for annual fundraising goals and commitments.
  • Team building and management: Build and lead a team that manages WWF-US’s relationships with USG Executive and Legislative Branch entities, as well as state and local entities, as appropriate. Set goals and expectations, drive results, and measure and communicate progress on an ongoing basis. Create opportunities for recognition and development. Provide feedback, counseling, and coaching.
  • Other: Performs other duties as assigned.

Working Relationships

  • Internal: Interact regularly with staff at all levels, including programmatic experts across our main goal areas (Forest, Freshwater, Food, Ocean, Climate, and Wildlife), our marketing and communications staff, and other teams as needed. Works closely with partners throughout the global WWF Network. Participate as a member of the Senior Management Team of the organization.
  • External: Maintain regular contact with USG agencies and Congress. Interact with other NGOs, experts in the field, consultants, government, and multi-lateral and bi-lateral staff. Participate in forums, workshops, and conferences to network on behalf of WWF and to maintain regular contact with others in the field.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • Manages the Government Relations team and support staff of 12, along with consultants and/or external experts.


Education/Experience: A Bachelor’s degree is required. A Master’s degree in a related field is strongly preferred. Fifteen years of relevant work experience in the nonprofit, public, and/or private sectors is required. 


The ideal candidate will have the following skills sets:

  • Experience and proven track record in developing and implementing strategies to influence US government conservation and climate change policies and to secure financial support from USG entities (executive agencies and legislative branch)
  • Experience in administering, leading, and managing professionals engaged in development of policy and securing government funding
  • Experience on the Hill in conservation programs, policies, and appropriations
  • Experience administering USG programs that support domestic and international conservation
  • Experience working with NGOs engaged in the development of conservation policy and programs
  • Prior management experience is strongly preferred.
  • Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in other languages is an advantage.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills, with an emphasis on program and project management.
  • A high-level of interpersonal skills is required, with a priority on relationship management skills and the ability to work as part of a high-level international team.
  • Negotiation and facilitation skills are key to this position.
  • The ability to effectively prioritize and work accurately under time constraints.
  • National and international travel required (when conditions to do so are safe).

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in nearly 100 countries for over half a century to help people and nature thrive. With the support of more than 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat the climate crisis.


At WWF, our employees know they are making a difference every day. We share a spirit and devotion for wildlife and nature and our unique backgrounds and qualifications blend together to help us fulfill WWF’s mission. By joining our team, you have the benefit of knowing that everything you do is part of WWF’s global effort to conserve life on Earth.