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Program Manager: David H Smith Conservation Research Fellowship

Society for Conservation Biology
United States
Closing date
Apr 26, 2024

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Conservation science
Administration/Operations, Biology
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time

Program Manager: David H Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Job Announcement
March 22, 2024

About the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program: Funded by the Cedar Tree Foundation (CTF), and hosted by its administrative partner, the Society for Conservation Biology 
(SCB), The David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program (The Smith Fellowship) was founded in 1998 on a bold vision to bridge conservation science and practice by supporting the development of promising early career conservation scientists and their research. A prestigious two-year post-doctoral research fellowship, the Program recruits and funds high-caliber, early career scientists at the post doctorate level to conduct research to contribute critical knowledge and application to pressing problems in U.S. conservation science.

Mission and Values: The purpose of the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship is to create opportunities for leading conservation scientists to strengthen their skills through two years of applied post-doctoral research, supplemented by training programs, peer networking, and field learning experiences. Smith Fellows’ research and activities have long served on the cutting edge of conservation science, producing future world leaders in conservation science research and application. The Smith Fellows Program values respect and dignity for all. The Smith Fellows Program recognizes that the advancement and excellence of conservation biology is intertwined with and relies on a commitment to greater access and inclusion of humans of many views, vantage points, identities, lived experiences, and geographies who actively participate in conservation with equal opportunity and access at all levels of the Program’s structure. As a Program and community, the Smith Fellows Program welcomes diversity of all types and prioritizes equity, inclusion, and belonging. Likewise, as an entity promoting an evidence-based approach, we recognize and embrace multiple ways of knowing, including traditional ecological knowledge, community science, local knowledge, and Western science.

Please click here for the full Mission Statement and to learn more.

Program Manager Core Responsibilities:
The Program Manager is a key member of our team, and will join us in leading the Smith Fellows program, amplifying its impact, and creating a welcoming community of people with diverse interests and lived experiences. The Program Manager provides high level operational management of all aspects of the Smith Fellows Program. In addition, they take a leadership role in cultivating and nurturing the Smith Fellows network and building meaningful life-long relationships between the Fellows. Finally, the Program Manager is employed by SCB and reports to the Smith Fellows Program Executive Director (ED), acting as advisor and partner with the Executive Director to help shape and guide the strategic direction of the program. The Program Manager is responsible to help create and nurture a programmatic culture of mentorship, support, and inclusivity. The following duties are conducted in close partnership with the Smith Fellows Program Executive Director, and the Smith Fellows Program Associate (PA).

The Program Manager will specifically be responsible for the following:

Fellowship Administration:
● Manage the overall program workflow
● Lead outreach and recruitment of candidates from diverse social, academic, and economic backgrounds for the Smith Fellowship
● Manage and implement a multi-step review process to select annual cohorts of Smith Fellows. This includes responding to potential applicants, overseeing the three-phase selection process, assisting with recruitment and selection of reviewers and interviewers and attending panels
● Partner with similar programs to enhance Fellows’ training opportunities and broaden the network amongst fellowship programs (e.g. Liber Ero, Wilburforce, Switzer)
● Manage personnel and human resource-related issues with Smith Fellows, their mentors and sponsoring institutions (e.g. parental or medical leave; conflict resolution etc.)
● Work with the ED and PA to develop and approve Program-related public information including marketing materials, web content and press releases
● Actively participate in program strategy and planning, including the DEI strategy and goals, and interfacing with the Advisory Board. Represent the Smith Fellows Program to external audiences and the conservation community

Budget Management
● Manage the Program budget, including grant requests and reporting to the Cedar Tree Foundation (CTF)
● Negotiate agreements with, manage relationships and monitor fiscal performance of associate partners (e.g., universities or NGOs)

Reports, Measurement and Evaluation, and DEI
● Manage annual and final report processes and performance for each Smith Fellow and actively monitors Smith Fellow budget reports
● Manage Annual reports and Reviews to the cedar Tree Foundation
● Coordinate with staff, Advisory Board, and DEI consultants and manage the implementation of program changes that will make the Smith Fellows program more inclusive, equitable, and just

Manage Fellows network and professional development
● Cultivate the Smith Fellows Network by facilitating relationships among Smith Fellows and supporting Fellows to connect more deeply within the Smith Network across geography, expertise, sector, career phase, and identity (“Smith Fellows for Life” ethos)
●  Convene the Smith Fellows Network by working with the ED, PA, and the Fellows to plan, design, organize and attend three (or more) retreats and professional development opportunities per year (virtual and in person)
● In coordination with the Program Associate, develop systems and processes (eg. Smith Fellows Alumni committee and other working groups) to support Fellows-led community events and other networking opportunities

Desired Skills and Qualifications
● 3-5+ years of relevant professional experience or a combination of education and professional experience (eg. postgraduate education and project/grant/program management experience)
● Experience in the conservation and environmental science sectors a plus
● Excellent written, visual, and verbal communication skills and attention to detail
● Experience working with budgets and managing workflows
● Experience with collaborative program management and cloud storage platforms (Asana, Airtable, Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce, etc.)
● Experience working with networks, coalitions, or communities of practice that cross boundaries and include people with varied identities, disciplines, and perspectives
● Enthusiasm for building relationships and passion for amplifying the leadership of others, often from behind the scenes
● Experience planning and hosting in-person and virtual events, possessing strong, inclusive group facilitation skills or a willingness to learn
● Willingness and ability to travel to events at different locations
● Strong interpersonal skills, including an interest in sustaining authentic and respectful working relationships with colleagues and creating a welcoming environment for Fellows
● Demonstrated initiative and enthusiasm for innovation, personal development, and adaptation
● Familiarity with contemporary issues and innovations in conservation/environmental science, policy, and justice
● Demonstrated commitment to, and experience with, advancing racial equity and social justice
● Graduate degree or study in an environment/sustainability related field (or equivalent) is highly desired

If you don’t match the exact years of experience or skills listed above, but feel you are a good match for this position, we still encourage you to apply.

Preferred start date: May 6th, 2024

Terms of Employment: Full time, exempt

Reports to: Nicole Crane, Smith Fellowship Executive Director

Location: Remote and flexible within the U.S.

Travel: Up to 20% required for cohort retreats (3, 7-10 day retreats per year), conferences, and Smith Fellows Network events.

Salary: $60,000- $75,000 (dependent on qualifications and experience, this salary range is at the Senior Program Manager level at SCB)

Benefits: A benefits package including vacation/sick leave, health/life insurance, and retirement. Vacation begins accruing at two weeks (10 days) annually plus all federal holidays and the last week of the year SCB is closed for the holidays. Employees accrue and are capped at 12 sick days annually. SCB provides employee sponsored group health insurance coverage at 100% of the premium annually per family as well as life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. SCB offers a 401(k) retirement plan to full-time employees. The retirement savings opportunity includes a 1:1 contribution match up to 5% of the employee’s salary, with tax-deferred investments. New employees are eligible for elective deferrals and to receive SCB matching contributions after ninety (90) days of employment. Vesting in the SCB-contributed portion of the plan is complete after two (2) years of service.

Application Deadline: Position will stay open until filled, but the application review period will start on April 12th, with interviews to follow shortly after.

How to apply:
Please click here to access our application portal/page. In order for your application to be considered you must:
1. Upload your resume or CV
2. Upload a cover letter
3. Provide names, phone numbers, and email addresses for three references
4. Provide an earliest available start date
5. Complete the following questions (<300 words per response):
○ What’s a challenge in the conservation field that you are passionate about? Why?
○  How would you describe your management style when it comes to managing projects and deadlines? What tools/platforms have you used to ensure that deliverables are on time and collaborators/partners are kept up to date?
○ What is your experience building relationships and networks, and what do you consider to be important elements of a welcoming and inclusive professional environment?

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