Mississippi River Basin Director

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Mississippi River Basin, , US


Chicago, Illinois, USA.

This location can be flexible within the Mississippi River Basin.





Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. 

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. Whether it’s career development, work/life balance, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all of our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued.


The Mississippi River Basin Program Director provides strategic leadership and integrates all aspects of the Mississippi River Basin whole system project – including conservation planning, policy and relationship development, outreach and communications, and fundraising support. This program works through a team structure and has been built on strong collaboration between divisions, states and regional programs. Priorities are aligned to shared goals of increased floodplain protection, reduced nutrient loading to the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, and improved governance based on a collaborative, systems approach. The Mississippi River Basin Program Director also plays a key leadership and support role in building collaborative, shared leadership competencies to plan, coordinate and facilitate the work of various implementation teams.



The Mississippi River Basin Program Director serves as the principle organizing force within the Mississippi River Basin and is responsible for leading/facilitating the collaboration between participating divisions, states and associated staff in the development and implementation of regionally scaled strategy. This position designs, facilitates and supports teams to synthesize and integrate investments made in conservation strategies across the basin. With these teams, the director also develops learnings and recommendations from a basin-level perspective to influence future investments, thus creating a virtuous align-act-adjust cycle of conservation in the Mississippi River Basin. The Mississippi River Basin Program Director also engages North America (NA) Program and Policy leads to ensure whole system strategies are aligned with NA and Global priorities – working particularly close with the NA Agriculture Team. The director establishes the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within the basin, plays a leading role in managing major public agency and elected official relationships unique to the Mississippi River, and supports public and private fundraising programs of Mississippi River Basin and participating business units. The director may coordinate and support the development of complex and innovative solutions with government agencies, major institutions, and landowners to conserve and protect natural communities at regional scales. This position reports to a division director and lead sponsor and may also supervise a number of direct reports.


  • Is responsible for the coordination and implementation of whole system conservation strategy, including strategy specific to floodplain protection, nutrient reduction for improved water quality, and better governance. Seventeen states actively participate in the whole system effort.
  • Works with the state and NA staff on the development and implementation of the program.
  • Organizes, coordinates, and facilitates collaboration in and between strategy teams focused on a variety of projects which may encompass multiple programs and involve coordinating the work of other professionals, inside and outside the organization.  Incorporates cross-disciplinary knowledge to support program objectives and communication among participants.
  • Highly diversified work involves participation in the formulation and evaluation of broad policies and/or long-term programs, or making decisions, which typically have broad organizational impact.
  • High level management and leadership responsibility for 10+ staff members which may or may not report directly to the director, both internal and external to the organization.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.                                                                                                                                                
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, ambiguous information, experience and judgment.
  • May require frequent travel domestically and/or internationally and evening and weekend hours.


  • BA/BS degree and 10 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Experience directing a major program or project of strategic importance, including management/supervision of multi-disciplinary teams and meeting deadlines.
  • Experience working with current trends and practices in relevant discipline(s) and geographic regions.
  • Experience with supervising; including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or   government agencies.                                        
  • Experience negotiating.                                               
  • Experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans at the state or country level.
  • Experience with financial management of a large program.


  • Multi- lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 10-12 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Developing practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives and experience conceiving and implementing strategic initiatives.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Politically savvy.


To apply to position number 49443, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. The application deadline is 11:59 PM EST on March 29, 2021.

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