Director (Changing Planet)

National Geographic Society

Washington, DC, US

Job Description Summary

Reporting to the VP of Operating Programs, the Director will develop and lead projects within the three program areas of the Changing Planet thematic lens. This lens seeks to explore, protect and promote Earth’s natural systems. The Last Wilderness program aims to explore, map, monitor, protect and promote the last wild spaces on the planet. A closely connected program, Threats to Wilderness, seeks to identify and understand the primary threats to wilderness areas, and support the development of innovative solutions. The third program, Emerging System Level Threats, will identify solutions to specific threats (e.g. ocean plastics) and engage relevant audiences to take action. This position will be oversee current programs within the lens, and will work with the VP, Operating Programs and the lens lead for Changing Planet to develop new programs that will deliver on the organization’s goals.

Job Description


  • Build and lead teams tasked with executing high-impact projects in the Changing Planet thematic lens. Responsible for the execution of programs and budgets across divisions and to meet outputs, outcomes and impacts within stated timeframes. (40%)
  • Work with the VP, Operating Programs and Changing Planet lens lead to assess and develop new projects. Ensure projects are being designed to meet organizational objectives, identifying clear measures of success and ambitious, attainable timelines for deliverables. Develop multi-year program plans and budgets. (30%)
  • Identify, cultivate and maintain productive, ongoing relationships with high-impact communities and partners. Identify key opportunities for amplifying the program objectives. (20%)
  • Manage and mentor a high functioning team of programmatic staff.  Develop strong working relationships with other departments to create a dynamic network that cultivates innovation and team development. Work across Society divisions and external teams to maximize program impact and reach. (10%)

Minimum Education Required 

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Advanced degree preferred.

Minimum Years and Type of Experience 

  • 10 years demonstrated experience in development and management of complex programs with experience working with diverse and matrixed teams.
  • Conservation experience required.    

Knowledge and Skills Required 

  • Highly developed oral and written communications skills and ability to work with individuals and groups at all levels; strongly honed leadership/people skills.
  • Ability to manage a high functioning team and oversee diverse activities while meeting deadlines and delivering quality results.
  • Must have ability to work with scientific communities and business partners to create innovative public-facing programs.


  • 5+ staff members

Responsibility percentages may vary depending on business needs.
National Geographic’s headquarters is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. In addition to a unique and dynamic work environment, National Geographic offers its employees a comprehensive benefits package, including health and dental benefits, generous vacation and leave time, a 401(k) plan, and flexible work options. National Geographic is an Equal Opportunity Employer