Director, California Program

  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Sacramento, CA, USA
  • Dec 06, 2019
Full time Administrator/Executive Advocacy and Policy Business Development Climate Change/ Resiliency Communication - Public Outreach Environmental Protection Wildlife - Endangered Species - Biodiversity

Job Description

Basic Summary:

The Director of Defenders of Wildlife’s California Program leads Field Conservation staff and programs in California.  The Director ensures effective on the ground implementation of imperiled wildlife and habitat conservation described in Defenders’ California program plan.  The California program utilizes a wide range of policy, legal, advocacy, outreach and scientific strategies to conserve imperiled wildlife and habitat throughout the state. 

The Director is responsible for supervising and providing strategic direction to California Field Conservation staff, ensuring the effective implementation of the programs for which they are responsible and efficiently and effectively managing the office.  Priorities include conserving gray wolves, desert tortoises, salmon, sea otters and numerous other imperiled species in the state; promoting coexistence tools to reduce human-wildlife conflicts; influencing state legislative and administrative initiatives impacting wildlife, water, coastal areas, and other natural resources; promoting conservation planning on public and private lands; securing sustained funding for wildlife conservation needs; ensuring sound water policy that meet fish and wildlife conservation needs; addressing public land management issues on national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other federal and state public lands that impact sensitive wildlife species and important landscapes; addressing global climate change impacts on California ecosystems and wildlife, including work to meet state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction goals; and maintaining and enhancing the ecological integrity of priority wildlife habitat and the conservation of biodiversity in general. The Director provides leadership and support for outreach efforts in the state, with a priority on engagement with underrepresented communities. The Director works closely with the Vice President for Field Conservation Programs, other senior managers, field staff, and interdisciplinary teams on developing and coordinating strategies, campaigns, workplans, programs, projects, publications, coalitions, communications, organizational growth, educational materials, reports, and budgets.



Advanced degree in natural resources science, public policy, conservation biology, law, wildlife management or related discipline.


10+ years of progressively responsible, substantive experience with resource policy and with a working knowledge of water and land use planning, state and federal environmental law and regulation, and conservation biology.

  • Strong management, planning, and administrative skills, including 2+ years of non-profit management/supervisory experience.
  • Experience developing, implementing, and managing state legislative advocacy and advocacy conservation campaigns.
  • Other relevant experience with public policy, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development and grant writing experience.
  • Substantial relationships and experience working with local government, diverse stakeholders (e.g., hunting and fishing organizations, water agencies, other conservation organizations), state and federal agencies including California Natural Resources Agency, California Fish and Game Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service.
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


  • Strong writing and verbal communications skills, including familiarity working with the media.
  • Demonstrated leadership and strategic thinking skills.
  • Significant working knowledge of state and federal agencies, laws, and policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources and wildlife including the California Endangered Species Act, California Environmental Quality Act, federal Endangered Species Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Demonstrated awareness of and experience with the concerns and needs of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Ability to operate effectively as an advocate of Defenders' programs, preferably with demonstrated experience working effectively with coalitions.
  • Ability to analyze research, information, and produce quality work products in a consistent, efficient, and timely manner.
  • Ability to multi-task and handle multiple projects.
  • Ability to supervise, coordinate, train, evaluate, and motivate program staff, interns and volunteers.

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Job Level

Senior-level,   Executive-level  


Nonprofit- NGO


STARTING SALARY: 78,000-98,000