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Director, Climate Resilient Water Systems

Environmental Defense Fund
Oakland, California, US
Closing date
May 26, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
Put your passion and skills to work for the planet. Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, and we need people like you to help us build a vital Earth - for everyone. We're Environmental Defense Fund, a fast-paced nonprofit with a growing staff of more than 850 people in nearly 30 countries. We deliver game-changing solutions that cut climate pollution and strengthen people's ability to thrive despite the effects climate change is already having. We work wherever we can have the most impact, from local communities to top companies to governments worldwide, and even in space. Our culture, values and commitment to diversity make EDF an exciting and meaningful place to work. Every job here makes a difference. Won't you join us?
EDF's Climate Resilient Water Systems The Climate Resilient Water Systems (CRWS) workstream is dedicated to developing water management and policy solutions that balance water supply and demand and increases the resilience of water systems. EDF focuses on strong science, uncommon partnerships, and economically sensible approaches to develop and implement practical solutions that serve the water resource needs of people and the environment. EDF has established a reputation as both a trusted and credible partner with diverse stakeholders, governments, and water agencies; and as an advocate for transformational change in water policy and practices that incorporate ecosystem goals. The work currently is focused within Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas, with active exploration of new work in New Mexico and Oregon and a handful of other locations around the world. Overall Function EDF seeks a talented and self-motivated Director to play a leading role in the development and execution of EDF's water strategies across California, including implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and advancing holistic approaches to create more resilient water and land systems across the state, with a focus on the Central Valley. The Director will serve as connective tissue between various California work streams to ensure mission staff and leadership are working in a coordinated and strategic manner, are meeting milestones, and that opportunities for leveraging resources are identified and implemented. Additionally, the Director will build and advance strategic relationships with agricultural, environmental justice, conservation, and other partners, develop and direct research projects and analyses, and fosters new and existing collaborations among NGO's, agencies, academic institutions, water districts, and agricultural partners. While initially focusing on California, the Director will play a key role in taking lessons learned from EDF's work in California and applying these lessons to advance outcomes in other domestic and international geographies and serving as a key thought leader on the team that is guiding EDF's water work. An important component of this work will involve leading efforts to bring together EDF's suite of tools and approaches into a Groundwater Solutions Center for broad dissemination. Reporting to the Associate Vice President, Climate Resilient Water Systems and working closely with other members of the Water and broader People and Nature team, along with select advisors and consultants, the Director will shape and advance the People and Nature's Impact program priorities for lasting environmental change. Responsibilities Oversee core components of EDF's California water resilience portfolio, including our SGMA portfolio, independently determining approaches for completing projects and managing work using broad discretion and experienced professional, scientific and technical judgment.Function as a member of the CRWS leadership team with the goal of improving the impact of the overall work and aligning and integrating projects under the candidate's purview with broader objectives of the Water workstream and EDF's broader People and Nature Impact Area.Support workstreams and strategic planning towards establishing a Groundwater Solutions Center to expand and scale development of the EDF Water Accounting and Trading Platform and other tools and approaches across California and the Western US, and eventually more broadly in the U.S. and internationally. This will also involve engaging with both new and existing external partners.Directly supervise, manage and mentor junior staff and interns and identify opportunities for professional growth and development.Lead and coordinate work of teams with internal and external colleagues and engage academic scientists, policy experts, and others to solve complex water management problems and achieve defined outcomes. Team management often includes directing members who have no direct reporting responsibility to candidate or to EDF.Demonstrate a mastery of written and oral communication skills, including public speaking and apply these skills to influence and lead others, gain cooperation and facilitate problem resolution to advance programmatic goals and objectives.Develop and oversee plans and budgets for projects under the Director's purview, review and update budget and strategic planning documents and work plans. Develop and apply an appropriate means for measuring project success.Leverage existing relationships, create new relationships, and forge alliances among conservation and agricultural interest groups to advance SGMA and overarching Water objectives.Represent EDF's Water work at regional and national meetings as needed. Manage landowner and other collaborator outreach and engagement and secure participation in pilot initiatives.Shape, in cooperation with EDF marketing and communications staff and other advisors, communication and outreach strategies to advance objectives and communicate project results to target audiences.Work with workstream leadership and development officers to identify and secure new funding sources to secure the long-term success of the water portfolio. Engage directly with foundation officers and individual donors supporting the team's work and coordinate with development staff to report to them as required.Participate as a team member on other projects contributing expertise, project management support, and/or outreach support, commensurate with the successful candidate's specific capacities.Participate in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values. Qualifications:A minimum of 10 years of substantive, relevant work experience.Advanced degree in a relevant field preferred (e.g., economics, business/law, environmental policy or science)Thorough knowledge of status and trends in water management issues in California and the western United StatesEstablished relationships and experience in California is preferredCollaborative experience and cross-organizational management skillsDemonstrated experience developing strategies, managing partnerships, and leading, managing and implementing projectsExperience in fundraising, experience preferred in both stewarding donors and helping to secure large giftsDemonstrated ability to effectively manage and mentor staffDemonstrated ability to work constructively with nonprofit colleagues and partners, scientists, economists, industry, regulators and public policy decision makersExcellent written and oral communication skillsCreative and innovative thinker willing to challenge the status quo and propose new ideas and opportunitiesProven ability to work both independently and as a member of small teams in a fast-paced, dynamic and creative environment with diverse populationsDemonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
EEO Information
Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.
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