Pacific Institute

Berkeley, CA, US

The Pacific Institute seeks an experienced and dedicated President to build on the organization’s achievements to date and lead the Institute to its next level of success. The President will provide overall supervision of the Institute’s programs and operations, represent the Pacific Institute and its work to diverse audiences, raise significant funds to finance all research and outreach efforts, leverage and foster partnerships to promote sustainable water policy, and work with the staff and board to implement the Institute’s new strategic plan and continually renew and reshape the organization’s programs in pursuit of its mission. This is a high-profile opportunity for a dynamic and skilled leader who is passionate about the Pacific Institute’s mission and committed to the organization’s vision and strategic direction.

The Pacific Institute will consider candidates with a range of backgrounds whose core values and leadership abilities match the demands of the President role. The President will report to the Board of Directors.

About the Organization

The Pacific Institute, an independent water policy research organization, provides science-based thought leadership with active outreach to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. The Institute conducts groundbreaking work on the threats of climate change, conflicts over water resources, the human right to water, and corporate water stewardship. The Institute works with a wide array of stakeholders, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to disenfranchised communities, to deliver meaningful results. For example, the Institute

  • Conducted among the first assessments and warnings to policy makers of the dangers of climate change for fresh water supplies,
  • Was the organizing force behind the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, which brings global corporations and international organizations together to adopt water sustainability practices,
  • Developed best practice guidance for governments to help them cope with severe drought conditions,
  • And pioneered and promoted the human right to water and the “soft water path” concept, which calls for a new and comprehensive approach for managing water infrastructure, demands, and institutions.

In late 2015, the Pacific Institute adopted a new strategic plan that will guide the organization’s work over the next three years. The new strategic plan focuses on maximizing the Institute’s mission impact by leveraging the organization’s unique expertise to achieve measurable results in addressing the world’s most pressing water challenges. In implementing that strategic plan, the Pacific Institute will advance solutions in pursuit of the following objectives:

  • Balanced and integrated approaches for water use and management
  • Climate-resilient water systems
  • Safe and affordable access to water and sanitation for all
  • Productive agricultural systems within the limits of available water
  • Vibrant urban and industrial systems within the limits of available water
  • Healthy aquatic and riparian ecosystems

The Pacific Institute collaborates with partners from government, industry, academia, and the nonprofit community to fulfill its mission and achieve its goals. Building and expanding these partnerships will be an important element of the Institute’s new strategic plan.

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Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The President will perform the following and other duties as assigned:

Strategic Vision & Leadership

  • Working closely with the board and staff, refine, renew, and implement the Pacific Institute’s overall organizational vision, strategy, and programmatic priorities.
  • Ensure the organization’s goals and programs build on accomplishments to date and further strengthen the quality, relevance, and profile of the organization.
  • Explore new models for dramatically expanding the Institute’s ability to execute on its mission.
  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic goals.
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors; seek and build board involvement with strategic direction; ensure that the board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.
  • Lead, coach, develop, and retain a high-performance senior management team.
  • Ensure effective systems are developed and maintained to track progress and regularly evaluate program components in order to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.
  • Ensure a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people. Ensure that job descriptions are developed, that regular performance evaluations are held, that individual staff development is encouraged, and that sound human resource practices are in place.
  • Lead the strategic planning process for organizational growth.

External Relations

  • Actively engage and energize the Institute’s partnering organizations, funders, volunteers, board members, event committees, and alumni; publicize the activities of the organization, its programs, and goals.
  • Support existing partnerships and begin to build new partnerships, establishing relationships with funders, political organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders in alignment with the strategic plan.
  • Expand revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations and future expansion.
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations—with the goal of creating an even stronger brand.
  • Use external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities.
  • Serve as an external local and national presence, publishing and communicating program results.

Organizational Management

  • Ensure the development and maintenance of sound financial practices.
  • Work with the staff, Finance Committee, and the board in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines.
  • Ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.
  • Jointly, with the president and secretary of the Board of Directors, conduct official correspondence of the organization, and jointly, with designated officers, execute legal documents.


The successful candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Significant experience in a relevant leadership role required, experience in nonprofit management preferred
  • Commitment to and passion for Pacific Institute’s mission and vision
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget
  • Experience in or knowledge of current water issues and trends and familiarity with research, analysis, and publications pertaining to water strongly preferred
  • A strong understanding of public policy and experience building alliances and achieving results through outreach and advocacy preferred
  • Strong reputation and network among environmental and water organizations and leaders in the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, and for-profit sectors highly desirable
  • Proven track record of success leading and scaling a regional or national performance- and outcomes-based organization or program, and demonstrated experience developing and operationalizing strategies that have taken an organization/program to the next stage of growth
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation
  • Team-building skills and a collaborative leadership style with the ability to empower and inspire staff and encourage staff development
  • Past success working with a board of directors and the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships
  • Strong marketing and public relations experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising or business development
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills and a persuasive communication style
  • A high level of diplomacy and pragmatism and the ability to collaborate with a wide range of individuals and organizations at the regional, national, and international level
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, orientation towards action, strategic mind, adaptability, and innovative approach to business planning
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, a positive attitude, mission-driven approach, and self-direction
  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree in a relevant field (e.g., MBA) preferred
  • Willingness and ability to travel occasionally

Compensation and Location

The Pacific Institute offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. This position will be located in Oakland, California.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must click “Apply to this Job” to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements. CEA Recruiting is assisting the Pacific Institute with this search. Please direct all applications and inquiries to CEA Recruiting. This position will remain open until filled.

The Pacific Institute is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a broad and diverse applicant pool. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply and will be evaluated on a merit basis.

CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit