Director, Water Equity & Climate Resilience


Oakland, CA, US

About PolicyLink

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®.  Please visit our website at: to learn more about our work, values, and impact.


Position Overview

PolicyLink is seeking a Director to lead to our growing portfolio work to advance transformative strategies for to advance water and climate equity. This includes ensuring that all people, including low income people and people of color, have safe and affordable water, benefit from climate resilient water management, have opportunities for training, employment, and contracting in the water and green infrastructure sector, and are empowered to shape water and climate policies that impact their lives. 


The Director will be responsible for working in consultation with senior leadership to set overall strategic goals and objectives for PolicyLink work on water and climate. They will lead and participate in diverse coalitions with participants ranging from grassroots and movement leaders to elected officials, government agency staff, and business executives, and deliver effective support and advice to local partners. They will facilitate high-level policy conversations and coordinate, develop, and participate in public policy forums, summits, briefings, and other events. They will also serve as a spokesperson on water and climate equity policy priorities, representing PolicyLink in internal and external meetings and before movement leaders, policymakers, experts, and funders. They will produce high-quality, timely, and relevant policy analyses and collaborate with the PolicyLink federal policy team to develop and implement advocacy strategies to advance policy priorities. The will produce framing papers, reports, articles, blogs and other written communications to elevate and build support for our priorities (often in partnership with other organizations and researchers). 


Current projects in the portfolio include: 


  • Convening and chairing the Water Equity and Climate Resilience Caucus, a broad coalition of frontline organizations working to address access to clean, affordable water and storm water protections; defend water sources from toxic pollutants; and build access for the next generation of people of color workers and businesses to design, build, operate and maintain green water infrastructure.
  • Supporting the Clean Water for All Campaign (CWA), a national campaign to pass an infrastructure bill that invests new federal resources in clean water green infrastructure; defend rollbacks of EPA and clean water law; and protect source water from toxic pollution.
  • Advocating for state and local policies that support the realization of the human right to water and build climate resilience.

The ideal candidate is passionate about racial and economic equity. They are ready to put forth new, transformative ideas about water and climate equity, they are skilled at policy analysis and coalition-building, and are a seasoned policy advocate. This position is an excellent opportunity for someone who is eager to work in a creative, fast-moving environment to advance an equity agenda. The Director will report to the Managing Director and will supervise the work of the five member water team.


Key Responsibilities

  • Set overall strategic goals and objectives for PolicyLink work on water equity and climate resilience.
  • Ensure current portfolio projects are implemented with excellence, with timely delivery of products and maximum policy impact including:
    • Lead federal advocacy efforts on water equity and climate resilience in partnership with external field leaders and the PolicyLink federal policy director, and our Congressional and Administrative liaison in Washington DC.
    • Develop and implement a suite of peer-learning opportunities, trainings, webinars, office hours, etc. to build capacity of key water and climate stakeholders.
    • Conduct qualitative research and data analysis and author strategic and timely research briefs, analyses, and articles on water and climate equity issues.
    • Build, maintain, repair, and grow partnerships that can successfully advance water equity and climate resilience results
  • Serve as a spokesperson on water and climate equity policy priorities, representing PolicyLink in internal and external meetings, and before movement leaders, congressional staff, policymakers, experts, and funders. 
  • Work with media as appropriate. 
  • Manage grants and project budgets.
  • Stay current with pertinent literature and research on water and climate equity. 
  • Facilitate internal and external processes to address structural racism; moving from talk to action to results with knowledge and sensitivity. 
  • When the pandemic risk has subsided, the position will involve travel (we estimate two trips per month).


Experience and Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in urban planning/policy, public policy, economics, environmental policy or related social science and ten years of policy-related experience, ideally in a fast-paced work environment characterized by multiple ongoing projects.
  • Experience managing a team.
  • Excellent analytical, writing, editorial, and research skills, including the ability to produce clear, rigorous, accessible, policy-relevant documents.
  • A commitment to advancing racial justice and economic and social equity, experience working with low-income communities of color to develop and implement solutions, and a well-developed practice of analyzing the equity impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class, and other group identities.
  • Self-starter with good time management skills and ability to effectively work on multiple projects and meet aggressive deadlines.
  • Ability to work as part of a team as well as execute collaborative projects independently.
  • Demonstrated public speaking and presentation abilities, including prior experience communicating policy ideas in public settings such as congressional hearings or major conferences. 
  • Familiarity with public policy and the legislative process.
  • Willingness to travel (estimated one to two trips per month).

Work Environment

  • Because of COVID-19 this position will be remote through at least June 2021. Once restrictions are lifted, the primary work location will be our downtown Oakland office (PolicyLink Headquarters); 
  • Occasional weekend and evening work assignments;
  • May be asked to travel a few times a year (when safe to do so), based on needs of the organization;
  • Fast-paced, complex work environment;
  • Leading and participating in frequent remote video and telephone conferences is required; and
  • All employees driving on PolicyLink business must hold a valid driver’s license and maintain a clean driving record, safe vehicle, and insurance. Driver record checks may be required as well.

Position Type

Exempt, 100% Full-Time, 40 hours per week


The salary range for this position is $110,000 – $130,000, dependent upon experience. Additionally, PolicyLink provides an excellent and comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, 401k match, ancillary benefits, access to Flexible Spending Accounts, commuter expenses, and generous leave benefits.

To Apply:

We accept online applications only.  

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Please note: No phone calls please. Only those selected to participate in our hiring process will be contacted.


PolicyLink strongly values equity and believes in a just and fair society where all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We work towards a more inclusive world and as such we are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, military status, pregnancy, or parenthood. PolicyLink is committed to maintaining a diverse and multicultural working environment.

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IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development