Program Director (Climate Resilience)

Sonoran Institute

Phoenix, AZ, United States 🇺🇸

Professional Area: 
Land-Use Management
7-10 years
AICP Certification: 


Outstanding career opportunity with leading community-based natural resource conservation organization serving the North American West for experienced financial executive. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of eight years of experience working in natural resource management, public policy, law, or land use planning. Strong program management skills, leadership and management, board relations, and integrity, ethics, and strong character that can effectively communicate in a diverse environment and with all members of the organization are a must. We are seeking a team-player with a passion for our work or the desire to learn about and develop a passion for the work of the Sonoran Institute. If you are ready to help make the West great again then keep reading and prepare yourself for an opportunity like no other.

 Who we are

The Sonoran Institute’s mission is to connect people and communities with the natural resources that nourish and sustain them. We work at the nexus of commerce, community, and conservation to help people in the North American West build the communities they want to live in while preserving the values which brought them here. We envision a West where civil dialogue and collaboration are hallmarks of decision making, where people and wildlife live in harmony, and where clean water, air, and energy are assured.

The Sonoran Institute has a track record of helping communities plan and adapt to change. Across the North American West, population growth, shifts in the region’s economies, and the impacts of a changing climate are affecting communities and the natural resources that nourish and sustain them. Effective strategies to increase climate resilience, manage growth, and ensure economic prosperity requires sound information, problem-solving tools, collaboration across boundaries and sectors, and improved laws and policies at all levels of government.

General Overview

The Director of Climate Resilience (DCR) leads program activities around the theme of climate resilience. These include directingResilient Communities and Watersheds, a joint program with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy that addresses a fundamental lack of integration between land use planning and water management in response to drought and other climate impacts. The DCR also serves as an advisor to the Lincoln Institute’s newly established Water Center, co-located with our Phoenix office, and its initial program efforts focused in the Colorado River Basin. Lastly, the DCR is responsible for expanding the community “water resilience” toolbox for regulating growth and development, planning for extreme weather events, conserving and re-using water, and protecting and restoring watersheds. 

The DCR currently supervises a two-person team but is expected to grow their team through program development and fundraising. In this capacity, s/he will be expected to engage in donor cultivation and fundraising, serve as a spokesperson to the media, and represent the organization at various partner meetings, conferences and other public venues. The DCR also serves on the organization-wide Leadership Team, which provides input on organization-wide policies and practices.  As a member of the Leadership Team, the DCR sets an example of leadership and professional behavior for their program and the organization. The DCR reports to the Senior Director of Programs.

Key Responsibilities

  • Serves as principal liaison between the Lincoln Institute and the Sonoran Institute leadership and staff 
  • Responsible for development and implementation of the joint program annual agreement and work plans as well as reporting under the terms of the agreement
  • Collaborates with Sonoran Institute staff to develop new program initiatives, from initial conceptualization to management, financial oversight, and implementation
  • Contributes to content development of program-related reports, papers, and other materials designed for technical and lay audiences
  • Serves as an organizational spokesperson to the media, decision makers, partners, funders, and the general public
  • Responsible for program-restricted fundraising activities, focused primarily on private foundations, government agencies, and corporations

Education & Experience

  • Advanced degree in natural resource management, public policy, law, or land-use planning.
  • At least eight years of related professional experience; additional work experience may be substituted for advanced degree.


  • Experience working on natural resource, public policy, or land use issues at the community level
  • Experience using and adapting technical information and resources for lay or non-specialized audiences
  • Experience leading, facilitating, or participating in stakeholder processes or other collaborative initiatives
  • Experience speaking in various public venues, forums, or media
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Experience securing foundation, government, or corporate grants, including proposal writing and donor contacts
  • Experience managing program finances and personnel
  • Current valid driver’s license and passport
  • An ability to travel by car or plane in the US and Mexico


  • Experience working in the western United States
  • Experience working on natural resources, public policy, or land use issues at the state or federal level
  • Experience working in a non-profit organization
  • Proficiency in Spanish language

What Sonoran Institute Offers Employees

We offer our employees a comprehensive benefits program that includes: employee only medical 100% paid, dental base plan 100% paid, employer paid life and LTD, flexible spending account, retirement plan with employer match, paid holidays, paid time off (20 days first year), and also voluntary vision, STD, and life insurance.

This position will be located at Sonoran Institute’s Phoenix office, which is co-located with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and its new Water Center.

How to Apply

Please submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]  Application deadline is April 30, 2017.