Sr. Program Manager, Science & Innovation

National Geographic
Washington, Dist. of Columbia, US
May 06, 2021
May 07, 2021
Climate Change
Employment Type
Salary Type
Sr. Program Manager, Science & Innovation

How You'll Contribute
The Science & Innovation team oversees the Society's grantmaking efforts in science, conservation and technology, develops and manages major mission programs, and establishes programmatic partnerships with like-minded non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

This position will support our flagship program that illuminates the impact climate and environmental change have on earth's critical life support systems through science, exploration, and storytelling. These environments, from the highest mountain peaks to the deepest parts of the ocean, are poorly understood yet they are expected to be the most affected by global environmental and climate change. Exploration and monitoring of these environments is critical to improve our understanding of our global vulnerability and inform ways to mitigate risks.

Reporting to the VP, Science & Innovation, the Senior Program Manager will oversee the development and execution of projects, including overseeing scientific expeditions to some of the most extreme and inaccessible environments on Earth, in partnership with National Geographic Explorers, to understand how Earth's critical life support systems (Oceans, Rainforests, Mountains) are changing.

In close collaboration with the VP, Science & Innovation, they are responsible for project development including development and management of the budget, workplan, and impact measurement/tracking. They will work closely with National Geographic departments to support relationships with external partners, scientific experts, sponsors, and other third parties, and will keep abreast of current and emerging work on the issues associated with these environments. The Senior Program Manager will also be responsible for day-to-day activities, including administrative, logistical, partnership, organizing/convening, and reporting.

The successful candidate will have experience managing multi-stakeholder initiatives, an excellent grasp of effective conservation strategies, and a proven ability to work with a matrixed team to deliver desired outcomes.
Your Impact

Responsibilities Include

Program Development and Management (45%)
  • Work with VP, other team members, Explorers/Fellows, subject matter experts, and other key experts to execute program needs and ensure alignment with broader NGS strategy and targets.
  • Develop and maintain detailed program strategy, annual workplans and associated budgets for individual projects and the program as a whole, in collaboration with the VP. Ensure accurate budget development, including cash flow projections and reporting, and ensure consistent and timely spend down.
  • Work with Measurement, Evaluation & Research team to develop and maintain a project logic model to inform the project workplan. Ensure the project is designed to meet organizational objectives/targets, identifying clear measures of success and clear timelines for deliverables.
  • Regularly track and report on progress, indicators, and impact for the project. Communicate relevant information across the organization.
  • Maintain the repository of project information/resources for team members to access and update as needed.
  • Manage across departments for ongoing coordinated strategy especially with Explorer Engagement, Storytelling, Education, Communications, Finance & Planning, Program Operations, Digital, Advancement, Grants, Marketing & Engagement, NatGeo Labs, Education, Digital, and with the full Science & Innovation team.
  • Assist and oversee other projects as assigned.

Internal Coordination and Communication (20%)
  • In partnership with the Communications team, coordinate between National Geographic Society (NGS) and National Geographic Partners (NGP) for greatest project impact. Liaise across departments on project-related content and timelines, including but not limited to: NGP Brand Marketing, NGM, NG Channels, NG International, NG Digital & Social.
  • Oversee information and communication to internal stakeholders across the organization and ensure that activities align with program strategy and outcomes.
  • Ensure alignment and consistency with scientific findings from research expeditions (informing messaging, inform/alignment with NGP, promotion, media, content use, etc.).
  • Regularly present project status to members of the NGS Senior Team to ensure consistent understanding and to obtain approvals as necessary for the project to advance.

Internal Administration (20%)
  • Provide logistical and strategy support for the program (assist and facilitate the process of expedition planning and execution, collaborate with Explorers and scientific experts to develop research plan, etc.), and elevate when/how additional support is needed.
  • In coordination with junior staff, oversee agendas, scheduling, and coordination for regular internal cross-functional meetings. Disseminate notes and next steps as needed. Manage ongoing project calendar.
  • Schedule external meetings and convening events.
  • Assist with contracts, legal, presentation preparation, invoicing, mailing, travel and logistics as needed.

Representation and Relationship Management (15%)
  • Create and maintain strong working relationships with internal cross-disciplinary team, including National Geographic staff (NGS+NGP) and talent (Explorers, Fellows, advisors).
  • Create and maintain strong working relationships with external experts and partners for the project. Coordinate and convene with external experts on technical inputs.
  • Attend key events as a representative of the project as required.
  • Support other departments and teams for external partnership relationship management (sponsors, corporate partners, media, etc.).

What You'll Bring

Educational Background

Bachelor's required, advanced degree preferred.

Minimum Years and Type of Experience

5 years demonstrated experience within middle to upper management positions with an environmental or related NGO. Background in climate or environmental science or related is required. Experience working in rainforest and/or ocean systems a plus.

Necessary Knowledge and Skills
  • Excellent coordination, communication, problem-solving, organizational, leadership, coaching and supervisor skills.
  • Strong writing and oral communication skills. Ability to create succinct documents and decks to communicate the program's strategy, work plan, and objectives.
  • Exceptional professionalism and ability to remain calm under pressure.
  • Ability to anticipate problems and find creative solutions to challenging situations.
  • Ability to perform in a fast-paced, dynamic environment and work with individuals and groups at all levels.
  • Ability to manage project workflow with little supervision
  • Focused on quality, and detail-oriented.

Desired Qualifications
  • Knowledge of the environment space, latest trends, and thought leaders
  • Ability to understand scientific findings and communicate to a non-scientific audience
  • High analytical skills, be able to see patterns, be a fast thinker and a good decision maker.
  • Experience working within a highly matrixed organization and/or managing programs with multiple stakeholders where managing without direct supervisory authority is a major component of the work.


1 staff member

W e encourage you to apply even if your experience is not a 100% match with the position. We are looking for someone with relevant skills and experience, not a checklist that exactly matches the job description. We want to help you grow and in return, you help us grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization.

The National Geographic Society uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world.

Our mission is only complete when our staff, explorers, educators, youth and partners are seen, valued, and heard. We embrace each person's identity, experiences, and abilities, and we commit to cultivating an environment where everyone benefits from opportunity, mutual respect and a sense of belonging.

We are committed to cultivating an environment that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion for our staff, explorers and educators and partners.

National Geographic's headquarters is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. We offer our employees a comprehensive benefits package, including health and dental benefits, generous vacation and parental leave time, a 401(k) plan, flexible work options, career development, and a thriving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. In addition to our generous benefits, we also offer unique perks which include free museum admission, discount to our museum store, film screenings, world class events with visiting speakers, an employee volunteer day and a robust wellness program.

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