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Adaptation Lead

Society for Conservation Biology
San Francisco, California, US
Closing date
Oct 8, 2023

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Academic / Research, Nonprofit
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
Adaptation Lead

Job Locations

US-IL-Chicago | US-NY-New York | US-CA-San Francisco | US-CA-Santa Monica | US-DC-Washington

Job ID


# of Openings



Environmental Health


NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Beijing; Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New Delhi; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

NRDC's Adaptation team is seeking to hire a Lead to work in one of our five main U.S. offices: Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Santa Monica, or Washington D.C.

The Opportunity:

NRDC creates impact around the world and for a better future, and we're looking for an equally ambitious and skilled Lead of Adaptation to help us get there. NRDC's Adaptation sector is dedicated to advocacy related to adapting to the current and projected impacts of climate change, such as flooding, sea level rise, extreme heat, drought, and water scarcity.

Reporting directly to the SVP, the Lead will lead development of the strategy for Adaptation and lead and operationalize the people, structures, partnerships, and programs to execute the Adaptation sector's advocacy strategy for maximum impact. This role requires a significant amount of collaboration and thought partnership with other internal teams, as we work within a matrixed structure of operation. Among others, close coordination with place-based teams who lead shaping and execution of NRDC's advocacy in specific geographies is critical.

The Lead will represent NRDC and the Adaptation sector at internal and external events and forums to help elevate our reputation and profile as experts in Adaptation. To advance the Adaptation sector strategy, the Lead will effectively manage the Adaptation budget and resources, work with Development to cultivate partnerships and support fundraising efforts, and develop an effective communications strategy in partnership with Communications. The Lead will be expected, and will be supported, to build this program even further to help meet the urgency of the moment.

If you thrive in a care-oriented, diverse environment where people connect to create impact, you will enjoy the work we are doing at NRDC.


Lead the Adaptation sector, including strategic planning, people management, and administration, in advocating for policy changes in the way our nation and world prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change in order to increase resilience to future conditions.Collaborate with the SVP to set Adaptation's strategic goals in alignment with organizational priorities, develop key performance indicators and work plans to achieve outcomes, and set high performance expectations.Responsible for management of the sector's budget, including forecasting and resource allocation to maximize opportunities and outcomes.Serve as strategic advisor to the SVP and an expert within Adaptation and across NRDC, providing as needed expert level guidance on projects, initiatives, and individual-level projects.Collaborate across teams within a matrix to ensure that all initiatives are integrated and in support of NRDC's strategic priorities. Close coordination with advocacy place-based teams, other sectoral teams, Capacities, and institutional strategy and operations support functions is required to ensure alignment across all work.Collaborate with Equity & Community Partnerships teams to ensure that equity and justice is embedded in NRDC's Adaptation goals and workplans; champion community advocacy and help build expertise and capacity among underserved communities.Work with the Development department to develop and implement a vision and strategy to maximize funding opportunities; help develop foundation proposals, meet with donors, and cultivates philanthropic relationships.Work with the Communications department to develop effective external communication strategies and formulate opportunities to increase NRDC's visibility and name recognition as a leader in Adaptation serves as an external expert and spokesperson for NRDC's Adaptation sector.Cultivate and manage strategic relationships and partnerships with external stakeholders such as NGOs, community groups, governments, businesses, and labor to maximize impact and achieve major outcomes.


The Lead will be an empowering and collaborative individual who enables high performance and innovation and champions equity, diversity, and inclusion. The successful candidate will be flexible, thrive in collaboration, embrace solving complex and nuanced problems, and be recognized within the environmental movement as a strategic leader who communicates effectively to tell compelling stories to diverse audiences. Most importantly, you will demonstrate a genuine alignment with the values of NRDC and seek to apply your passion and skills to tackle the most important challenges humanity has ever faced.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a safe, inclusive workplace for people of all backgrounds and walks of life. We strongly encourage individuals from marginalized or underrepresented groups, especially in the field of environmental conservation, to apply. We understand that some candidates may be discouraged by an extensive list of job requirements that they may not fully meet - however, we encourage you to apply regardless. We do not seek a "perfect" candidate, but rather individuals who embody our core values and display the competencies to succeed in the role. If you are passionate about the role, thrive in a culture like ours, and are determined to push boundaries to achieve success, we invite you to apply.
  • Commitment to NRDC's mission and values.
  • Minimum 10 years' directly related experience, including experience with policy analysis, scientific research, quantitative analysis, and/or public policy advocacy; at least 3 years successfully managing teams toward a common vision and purpose.
  • Bachelor's degree in sustainability, environmental science, policy, public administration, or a related field or equivalent work experience; advanced degree or equivalent work experience preferred.
  • Demonstrable alignment and deep commitment to NRDC's mission and purpose with an ability to communicate this passion to others with a positive and high-energy attitude, integrity, and a commitment to working collaboratively with peers and colleagues.
  • Be well-informed on current scientific research and policy developments regarding the impacts of climate change and the options for adapting to it, including a strong focus on impacts and opportunities to support communities of color and low-income communities.
  • Deep intellectual interest in the impacts of climate change and potential solutions for addressing these impacts.
  • Forward-looking and strategic thinker with a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving.
  • Proven ability to manage teams, develop and execute large-scale projects and strategic goals, and manage relationships in a complex and matrixed organizational structure.
  • Experience successfully managing budgets, including prioritizing and reallocating funds to make the best use of limited resources for strategic purposes.
  • Substantial experience and demonstrated success working with BIPOC-led groups to advance a common goal.
  • Experience in and deep commitment to incorporating and growing the use of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in strategic goals, work plans, team culture, and operations.
  • Exceptional communication skills, with the ability to connect with a variety of audiences in writing, orally, and through digital means.
  • Experience with public speaking on technical and non-technical topics
  • Proven success in building strong partnerships with national leaders and organizations.
  • Successful development fundraising experience.
  • A willingness to travel to advance organizational goals.

NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.

We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with skills and experience. For this position, the salary is $174,000 to $200,000. Internal equity considerations and the average salary of the peer range will be reviewed before making a final offer.

In February 2022, NRDC's offices reopened after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently operating in a hybrid model-we offer NRDCers flexibility; we ask them to come into the office and spend meaningful time there in collaboration with their colleagues. We call this purposeful presence.

As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.

To apply, visit and upload your resume and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person resume drop-offs.

If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.

For more about NRDC, visit

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