Protect Land and Water Director

Salary will be determined based on experience/skills and geographic tier
Oct 30, 2018
Nov 30, 2018
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Full time, Permanent
Salary Type

Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) 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. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, 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 is seeking a leader to stimulate our core business of land and water protection by advancing priority strategies of the Protect Land and Water (PLW) management grouping in the North America Region (NAR).  The PLW Director will provide strategic leadership and support all aspects of this priority that encompasses complex cross-border projects and partnerships.  The Protect Land and Water priority in the NAR is a large body of work consisting of four priority strategies:  (1). Protection of Land and Water (doubling protection in NAR by 2025 through strategic land conservation with resiliency science that allows nature to move and adapt to climate change at a continental scale, advancing science and protection in freshwater and oceans);  (2). Public Policy and Conservation Finance (enhancing TNC’s influence in public policy and conservation funding in close association with US Government Relations, increasing impact capital in partnership with NatureVest, and enhance private funding for land and water conservation working closely with TNC philanthropy teams);  (3). Supporting the Capacity of Others (advancing a partnership with the Land Trust Alliance for producing high performing land trusts to enable them to do land projects with resiliency science, and identifying partnership capacities for freshwater and oceans);  (4). Living with Fire.

The PLW outcomes of doubling land protection by 2025 and protecting of an additional 25% of lands and waters by 2050 are not TNC’s alone.  The PLW Director will help lead an effort to address and execute systems level innovations so that protection and effective management of lands and waters can be accomplished at a scale and pace that matters.   


The PLW Director will be the primary staff person responsible for leading, managing and implementing the PLW priority strategies described above. The PLW Director will be supervised by the PLW Committee Chair and work closely with North American Leadership Team (NALT) and TNC Senior Leaders that serve as members of the PLW Steering Committee to advance these strategies.  They will also help develop meeting agenda for regular calls and occasional meetings of the PLW Steering Committee.  The Director will lead efforts to take these strategies through the Innovation Pipeline with semi-annual TNC management reviews to accomplish the established theory of change. The PLW Director will work closely with Division teams to develop, review, and ultimately approve protection plans to ensure continental scale outcomes and consistency across divisional and ecoregional boundaries. In addition, the Director will regularly update protection planning guidance to the field as our PLW strategies mature including the principles and filters recently established at the global level for protection.  The PLW Director will serve as the principle contact to government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations and academic community and will develop key partnerships to influence the use of resiliency science broadly. They will play a leading role in donor identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship for the PLW strategies for both private and public fundraising. They will disseminate best practices, provide training and conduct analyses for organizational measures of success.  The Director will develop key partnerships, especially in supporting the capacity of others, and delivering effective management of lands and waters, including leading a team to address catastrophic fire solutions. The PLW Director may manage an implementation team comprised of field practitioners and will engage the field through presentations at conferences and webinars on protection of land and water, help advance resiliency science development, and mobilize field talent to help NAR accomplish established protection outcomes.  


  • Responsible for leading, organizing, shaping, and raising financial support for the PLW vision and strategies in North America.
  • Develops long-term strategies and achieves strategic goals and objectives.
  • Provides leadership, both internal and external to TNC, and works collaboratively with TNC state chapters and other programs in the NAR to implement priority PLW strategies. 
  • Develops and promotes resiliency science internally and externally for use in protection planning and execution.
  • Promotes strategic land conservation within TNC and stimulates protection of land and water across North America. 
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, experience, and judgement to advance the PLW strategies. 
  • Management and leadership responsibility for staff assigned to PLW work and for Coda Fellows assisting with strategy development. 
  • May recruit, retain and manage high quality and effective multi-disciplinary staff and teams to assess legal, financial, reputational, and policy risks for issues related to land and water protection. 
  • Responsible for helping design a protection tracking system in both the HUB and Legal Links to assess progress of protection as well as providing platforms for resiliency science to the public.
  • Ensures that programmatic commitments, financial standards and legal requirements are met.
  • May require frequent travel domestically and/or internationally and evening and weekend hours.


  • BA/BS degree and 15 years’ experience in land and water conservation or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience directing a major program, state chapter, whole system, or other projects of strategic importance.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation. 
  • Experience leading, motivating, setting objectives and managing performance.  
  • Experience working with highly effective, multi-disciplinary teams and meeting deadlines. 
  • Experience working with current trends and practices in land and water conservation in North America. 
  • Experience developing partnerships with non-profit partners, community groups, private sector entities, and/or government agencies.  
  • Extensive networking skills with high-level conservation contacts.
  • Experience negotiating, influencing, and implementing conservation policy and plans at the state, division and/or regional level.
  • Experience with financial management of a large program. 
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and meet time sensitive deadlines.


  • Master’s degree or above in related field of land and water protection, conservation and management.
  • Experience developing and implementing practical applications of landscape, watershed and seascape science and planning.
  • Familiarity and experience with TNC land and water protection practices and approaches.
  • Demonstrated leadership and visionary qualities and ability to work effectively with and through others and drive toward results in a decentralized, highly matrixed and geographically dispersed organization. 
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising including writing proposals, cultivating and soliciting high level donors interested in supporting our core business.
  • Technical understanding of land and water ecosystem processes and dynamics including fire dependent habitats.
  • Knowledge and experience in developing, influencing, and implementing land and water public policy and conservation finance.
  • Experience in doing land protection transactions and similar transactions in for rivers and oceans.  
  • Experience in community-based conservation in local communities and partnerships. 
  • Experience working with methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Political savvy and systems thinking. Good people skills and a team player. 
  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.

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