Senior Director (Blue Nature Program)

Arlington, VA, United States 🇺🇸



Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of all for over 30 years. Through science, policy, and partnerships, CI is helping build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet. 


The Senior Director, Blue Nature Program provides strategic and programmatic leadership for CI’s Center for Oceans, specifically its Blue Nature program. S/he plays a key and visible role in leading the delivery of high-impact outputs and developing innovative projects and proposals to achieve CI’s vision and goals for sustainable development related to oceans, particularly in the areas of protected area management, economics, and policy and governance. S/he is responsible for senior-level program management, ensuring that program strategies, initiatives and outcomes advance Conservation International’s (CI’s) human development and conservation priorities. Duties are complex and include leading the design, implementation and integration of program strategies related to blue nature within CI’s Center for Oceans and across CI. The Senior Director provides broad programmatic, project, monitoring and technical oversight and continuously engages key internal and external partners critical to program success. S/he ensures compliance with CI policies, program and funding agreements and local requirements.

The Senior Director, Blue Nature leads fundraising efforts for the program, including developing project proposals and actively pursuing new sources of funding. For proposals written by others across CI for Blue Nature related work, s/he plays a leading role in facilitating communication and ensuring coordination, reviewing and providing input on proposals, and advancing funding relationships with key partners and donors to secure program funding for regional and field activities. S/he continuously represents CI to engage and influence key external stakeholders including government and NGO officials, donors, and other parties critical to program success.  As appropriate, s/he builds and leverages strategic alliances with NGOs, businesses, or other entities that can further CI’s mission.  The Senior Director, Blue Nature collaborates with staff throughout CI to ensure the program is integral to achieving organization-wide goals.  S/he identifies capacity gaps and provides high-level oversight in implementing strategies that build capacity and drive program objectives forward.

The Senior Director, Blue Nature directly manages staff and interdisciplinary teams, and leads engagement with outside partners as needed. S/he works with a high degree of independence and professionalism. 


Programmatic Leadership:

  • Develop program strategies, objectives, work plans and metrics.
  • Provide strategic vision, oversight and team leadership to effectively implement program activities and ensure high-impact outputs.  Lead and inspire program and technical staff.
  • Provide support to leadership in strategic planning, partner engagement, and Center for Oceans program priorities.
  • Lead program alignment and integration with Center and CI-wide conservation priorities.  Engage CI leadership and other senior staff.
  • Build a global team of experts within CI to carry out shared program strategies and objectives.
  • Develop and lead innovative and highly visible projects on issues related to sustainable ocean economies, natural capital accounting and valuation, ocean policy and governance, and place-based ocean conservation and protected area management.
  • Develop integrated, inter- and multi-disciplinary programs and approaches to achieve key elements of the ocean strategy related to Blue Nature.
  • Represent CI at key ocean conferences and meetings. Represent the SVP, Center for Oceans as needed internally and externally. 


  • Monitor, measure, interpret, and share results on a regular basis.  Distribute financial and progress reports.  Modify strategies, work plans and strategies as needed.


  • Ensure financial sustainability of the Blue Nature program by securing necessary funding and support. Regularly partner on funding proposals and regional/global fundraising efforts.
  • Work with CI development staff to identify potential sources of support.
  • Pursue fundraising efforts targeted for but not limited to program strategies related to Blue Nature within CI’s Center for Oceans and the Global Field Programs.
  • Oversee reporting to donors to ensure it accurately reflects the work completed for the support offered.

Brand Building:

  • Advance and influence stakeholder understanding and support through the development of proactive communication materials, publications and thought pieces.
  • Champion knowledge sharing and cross program collaboration to build capacity and address capacity gaps.
  • Explore ways to share CI’s expertise, best practices and amplify success with key audiences.
  • Continuously represent the organization externally.  Serve as a trusted and visible point of contact for CI. 


  • Local and/or international travel of 30% or more, sometimes in difficult travel conditions.
  • Ability to work in remote locations or under difficult working conditions.
  • Flexibility in work schedule in order to accommodate time differences among HQ, regions and field programs.



  • Graduate level studies and 10 years or more related experience.  Advanced degree strongly preferred.
  • Senior-level program or project management experience, preferably in the global conservation, NGO, advocacy or related for-profit arena. 
  • Ability to work with diverse teams across many regions of the world and engage staff who are not direct reports in carrying out program strategies and objectives.
  • Demonstrated ability to function as an agent of change, strategy development and program management.
  • Clear passion for achieving human well-being through biodiversity conservation, highly desired.
  • Ability to inspire colleagues and partners to engage in successfully launching this new global program.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex projects or initiatives involving multiple internal and external stakeholders.
  • Superb oral and written communication skills.
  • Global understanding of marine conservation issues, with some working knowledge of conservation in multiple regional geographies.
  • Experience designing, building and/or carrying out on-the-ground conservation programs.
  • Excellent technical and analytical skills, including demonstrated experience in strategy development. 
  • Demonstrated organizational and time management skills, with proven ability to turn vision and strategies into outcomes.
  • Outstanding people management skills, including 3 – 5 years of experience managing high functioning, multi-disciplinary teams. 
  • Direct experience in personnel management and human resources.
  • Proven leadership skills and success in effectively inspiring and engaging diverse works groups in a multicultural environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to fundraise with governments, foundations, and private individuals, and experience managing multimillion dollar program budgets with numerous sub-grantees and partners.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • A record of success partnering with, and influencing, key stakeholders and building strong partnerships across public and private sectors and civil society.
  • Proven ability to prioritize and meet deadlines. Adept at working in a fast-paced environment with changing priorities with limited supervision. 
  • Fluency in English required.

To apply please submit your resume, cover letter and references.

Conservation International is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer of minorities, females, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.  It is the policy of CI to afford equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment. CI offers reasonable accommodation in the employment process for individuals with disabilities.  If you need assistance in the application or hiring process to accommodate a disability, you may request an accommodation at any time.  If you require an application accommodation due to a disability, please e-mail your request to [email protected] and include “accommodation” in the subject line.