Director (WRI United States Program)

World Resources Institute (WRI)
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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About WRI 

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address six critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water and sustainable cities. 

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect. 

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world's greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people's lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact. 

We have grown rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $100 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of nearly 700 people with work spanning 50 countries. We have offices in Brazil, China, Africa,  Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States.  


The Director, WRI United States (U.S.) program will oversee and coordinate WRI's work in the U.S. across climate, energy, food, forests, water and cities—in collaboration with other Program and Center Directors—with the goal of building a low-carbon, resilient, and prosperous future for all. WRI's current U.S. portfolio consists of projects housed within the climate, energy, forests and water programs. Over the next two to three years, the primary responsibility will be to elevate the climate and energy work in the U.S. The Director will be responsible for ensuring WRI's overall portfolio in the U.S. is strategic, coherent and reflects excellence in research and analysis. In the medium term, we would expect the director to help further develop our programs in the other areas of the portfolio as well.    

This is an exciting opportunity for a talented and dynamic individual to join a rapidly growing and highly influential global organization. The successful candidate will build upon, and significantly enhance the impact and profile of the Institute within the U.S., working closely with WRI's management and partners. This position requires a combination of deep policy experience in climate and energy, strategic vision, partnership development, people management, fundraising, effective media relations skills, and a firm commitment to the values of the organization. 

The Director will manage the work of the U.S. Climate Initiative (USCI), overseeing a team of roughly 20 staff. The USCI catalyzes and supports constructive bipartisan engagement on climate policy. This includes direct engagement with ongoing efforts by states, cities, and businesses, as well as efforts to help lay the groundwork for federal action in the coming years.  

WRI builds support for strong action on climate policy and a sustainable future in the U.S. through rigorous analyses, coalition building and clear communications. These efforts aim to scale subnational action, galvanize the private sector, and use our analysis and convening to accelerate progress on climate and clean energy. In tandem, WRI works to ensure that federal actors, particularly in Congress, are prepared and ready to act rapidly when politically possible through timely and rigorous policy-related analysis and engagement. These include: extensive analysis and facilitation around carbon pricing; pioneering work on near and long-term greenhouse gas emissions scenario development and analysis, such as Can the U.S. Get There from Here and From Risk to Return; and new cutting-edge research on carbon removal. 

WRI's reputation, experience, and connections with the policy community and the private sector enable us to help shape federal and state climate policy, generating new ideas and practices for low-carbon development. Through our strong network of businesses, WRI supports voluntary action through projects like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Renewable Energy Buyers' Alliance, and the Science Based Targets Initiative, while building new coalitions for change through projects like U.S. Climate Action Partnership. 

Complementing our standing domestically, WRI's global reach and presence position us as a trusted global source of information about the state of play on climate and clean energy policy in the U.S.  As part of our work in this space, WRI is currently serving as an analytic partner for America's Pledge, while also leading a high-level Track II dialogue on climate and clean energy between the U.S. and China. 

The ideal candidate will be a well-connected policy expert with deep experience working at the federal, state and/or local level in the U.S. and a proven track record of developing and executing sophisticated strategies to achieve major outcomes. S/he will also have a sophisticated understanding of climate science, energy policy, economics and working with the private sector. S/he will be able to leverage WRI's analytical prowess to help engage and influence key audiences. S/he will adeptly manage simultaneous opportunities, with the ability to negotiate and close complex strategic partnerships while stewarding donors effectively. 

S/he will report directly to the Executive Vice President and Managing Director and will coordinate closely with the Global Climate and Global Energy Program Directors, and WRI's International Office Directors. 


Strategy and Leadership 

  • Design and drive WRI's strategy on climate policy in the U.S. This includes analysis, convening partnerships, and outreach aimed at advancing climate and clean energy policy and action at the federal, regional, state, and local level and the private sector. 
  • Oversee and coordinate WRI's U.S. focused work to help ensure coherence in our research and engagement activities. 
  • Build coalitions and partnerships to advance WRI's strategy in the U.S. This will consist of partnerships at all levels of government and with the private sector, other NGOs, and funders.
  • Leverage WRI's global reach and International Offices to support policy efforts in the U.S. and abroad by promoting awareness: 1) among key international audiences of efforts underway in the U.S.; and 2) among key domestic U.S. audiences of efforts underway globally. 
  • Increase the visibility of WRI's U.S. work through speaking engagements, media appearances and other outreach opportunities. 
  • Engage directly with WRI Global Board members and other influential members of WRI's community to advance WRI's strategy in the U.S. 


  • Directly oversee the research, convening, media engagement, and other activities of the U.S. Climate Initiative and its team 
  • Work with the Deputy Director and related staff to drive regular publication of rigorous and high-impact research and analysis. 
  • Recruit, motivate, and mentor world-class staff.
  • Oversee the budget of the U.S. Climate Initiative. 
  • Participate in the overall management of WRI as a member of the global management team. 


  • Lead fundraising efforts, with support from program staff and our Development team, with the aim of doubling the U.S. team in the next three years to broaden and deepen the team's impact.
  • Engage with donors and other strategic partners to identify ways to maximize the program's reach and impact. 
  • Work with WRI's Development team and other programs, centers and international offices on cross-WRI funding opportunities. 


  • Minimum 15+ years of work experience, including advanced knowledge of U.S. climate and energy policy and both public- and private-sector GHG emissions reduction strategies. Knowledge and experience in the domestic U.S. climate and energy policy space required; knowledge and experience in the international climate space a plus. 
  • Minimum 10+ years of experience in program or project leadership.
  • Advanced degree preferred in public policy, law, economics, environmental policy, natural sciences, political science, public administration, business administration, engineering, or related field.
  • Superb strategic thinking skills; a track record of creating and executing large, multi-year strategies.
  • Outstanding ability to communicate clearly, passionately and confidently to influence a wide range of audiences, including senior federal, state and local policymakers, non-government organization (NGO) and corporate leaders, and funders. Experience briefing journalists and speaking to the media.
  • Established network of senior-level federal, state and local government, NGO, private-sector and funder contacts and partners in the U.S. climate, energy and environmental field.
  • Strong team player with a demonstrated ability to successfully motivate and manage diverse teams to reach their full potential and achieve on-the-ground results.
  • A history of securing funding from donors on a large scale, including experience writing successful funding proposals and stewarding donors as impact partners, is preferred.
  • Ability to travel as needed.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants must apply online at to be considered.