Director of Strategic Conservation Initiatives

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Montpelier, VT, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-9 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.




The Nature Conservancy in Vermont seeks an accomplished conservation leader and proven manager to serve as Director of Strategic Conservation Initiatives. S/he will lead the conservation team to meet its conservation goal of creating a resilient and sustainable future for Vermont. The Director for Strategic Conservation Initiatives is responsible for working with colleagues to develop conservation strategy, ensuring results, tracking progress, and managing the chapter’s internal conservation teams. S/he is a member of the chapter’s leadership team and is supervised by the State Director.

The Director serves as the chapter’s chief conservation officer and is responsible for leading, directing, coordinating and overseeing conservation initiatives for the chapter and achieving its goals of conserving priority landscapes and freshwater resources. S/he effectively manages and is responsible for the Chapter’s conservation work by providing conservation vision and leadership, facilitating the development of high-level strategy, evaluating program effectiveness, inspiring and empowering staff, trouble-shooting barriers, and communicating and coordinating to ensure results.  The Director will build on the Chapter’s conservation successes and will provide strategic leadership for conservation activities within the context of Vermont, the New England Division, and TNC’s Global priorities.


The Director of Strategic Conservation Initiatives supports the State Director by directing and managing a significant segment of the chapter’s program and assuring its capacity to advance conservation priorities. S/he has primary responsibility for establishing the overall conservation priorities of the chapter and will oversee the development and implementation of specific strategies and initiatives designed to achieve those priorities. S/he directly supervises the conservation team and will have overall responsibility for developing and/or coordinating strategy, implementing work plans, evaluating outcomes and adjusting priorities to ensure successful short-range, intermediate and long-lasting results. The Director works with the State Director to coordinate on cross-cutting work priorities between the chapter’s employees and across multiple functions within the Chapter and the New England Division


  • Leads and coordinates conservation initiatives for water, lands, stewardship and science and works cross-programmatically with policy, communications, philanthropy and operations.
  • Provides supervision and management to a highly-skilled team of professional.
  • Aligns resources, systems and skills; defines roles and responsibilities and fully integrates teams, strategies, plans, and results to keep pace with the increase in scope and scale of the Conservancy’s vision.
  • Provides clear, concise, and timely communication, guidance and decision-making; building clarity and consensus around goals and measures, and promotes cross-functional collaboration to empower staff to implement projects with a high degree of understanding and accountability.
  • Partners with the State Director to position the chapter to build a positive, collaborative, integrated, and disciplined approach to achieve conservation impact at a scale and pace that matter.
  • Works with the State Director, chapter leadership and Board of Trustees to design, implement, prioritize and evaluate annual and multi-year conservation strategies.
  • Supports and communicates with the State Director on chapter priorities, operational and strategic issues, opportunities and challenges
  • Serves as a principle contact to other conservation organizations, foundations, government agencies and the academic community.
  • Assists with donor cultivation and raising capital and operating funds.
  • Serves as a catalyst for adaptive, creative approaches and ideas; encouraging big-thinking and responsible risk-taking.
  • Manages risk responsibly; assesses consequences of decisions prior to action.
  • Broad management and leadership responsibility.  Recruit, retain, and manage high-quality and effective staff.    
  • Significant responsibility for financial management of program, including setting financial goals, analyzing results, and taking corrective actions.
  • Ensures that programmatic commitments, financial standards, and legal requirements are met.
  • Publicly represents the Conservancy with the media, speaking engagements and VIP’s.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 7 years’ relevant experience, including working at a senior level.
  • Management and supervisory experience including ability to motivate, lead, set objectives, and manage performance of individuals and multi-disciplinary teams. 
  • Experience delegating responsibility and authority to staff and clearly define expectations.  
  • Experience developing programmatic strategies, complex or multiple projects, including managing finances and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.   
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.                                        
  • Experience negotiating complex, high-profile or sensitive agreement.
  • Experience with time management and organizational skills.
  • Experience with presentation skills.
  • Ability to travel frequently throughout the state, domestically and internationally


  • Expert knowledge of current and evolving trends in conservation related fields; strong understanding of government relations and non-profit management.
  • Fundraising and/or grant writing experience, including identifying funding prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Proven strategic and analytical abilities at a senior level to help identify, evaluate, coordinate and implement multiple system-wide strategies; manage highly diverse, high profile, complex programs and policies of significant size and importance; and implement long-term programs with broad organizational impact.
  • Capable and comfortable making timely, strategic decisions with limited information.
  • Seeks opportunities to lead, convene and advance work strategically. Experience building networks or organizational capacity, collaborating with diverse stakeholders, facilitating informational sessions, increasing internal knowledge and capacity, and identifying key stakeholders.  
  • Demonstrated skills in implementing innovative and consequential results in nature conservation and related business and financial management.
  • Excellent team player with experience working in multi-disciplinary teams, using influence and interpersonal skills, active listening, good judgement, diplomacy and tact to build strong relationships with governments, corporations, partners, diverse stakeholders, donors, volunteers, and all levels of staff.
  • Proven success as an inspiring leader with the ability to unite work around a vision, give clear direction, set stretch objectives, innovate, and establish accountability; willingness to confront and resolve issues, and provide recognition, appreciation and credit; ability to leverage talent and foster an environment of creativity and professional growth.
  • Self-starting, with ability to work independently, lead effectively and work strategically in a decentralized and geographically-dispersed organization.
  • Superb communication and presentation skills, and ability to support and influence with consistent and clear messages and information; well-organized, self-directed and a relationship builder.
  • People-oriented, intuitive, collaborative, creative, adaptable, exacting, comfortable with ambiguity and risk, and values that align with The Nature Conservancy.
  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.




This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with the Conservancy's Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.