Vice President, Conservation Programs

  • The Wilderness Society
  • Washington, DC, Denver, CO, Oakland, CA, Seattle, WA and other TWS locations
  • Jul 24, 2020
Full time Administrator/Executive Advocacy and Policy

Job Description

Please note the following: 

This position may be located in our Denver, CO, Oakland, CA, Seattle, WA, Washington, DC or any other established TWS office. Please make note of your preferred location in your application. 

We are currently accepting applications for this role, however the hiring process will not start until September 2020.  

General Description

As the leading conservation organization working to unite people to protect America’s wild places, The Wilderness Society (TWS) envisions a future where people and wild nature flourish together, meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing planet.  Our principles include striving for equity and justice in all we do, seeking to reflect the many communities with whom we work, and viewing access to nature as a basic right.  To achieve our mission, vision and be true to our principles, we must work in new, transformative ways.

The Wilderness Society is seeking a dynamic leader and skilled manager to serve as its Vice President for Conservation Program.  This is a new position and the person in this role will be a key member of TWS’s Executive team helping to manage the organization, set strategic direction, focus on equitable outcomes and ensure the organization’s work is aligned for greatest impact. 

The Vice President for Conservation Program will be responsible for overseeing a diverse team of program staff who are the face and voice of TWS in communities and with national campaigns.  Staff reporting to this position also include those representing the organization on Capitol Hill, with federal agencies, with the scientific community, and with partners, outside counsel and the courts.  This position will be responsible for ensuring program staff are aligned and integrated working to achieve TWS’s bold, new Strategic Framework and our ambitious 10-year collective impact results.  These include protecting 30% of US lands and waters, ensuring all people in the US benefit equitably from public lands, and achieving net zero fossil fuel emissions from federal public lands. 

TWS has made diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic priorities for the organization and the Vice President for Conservation Program will integrate these priorities throughout their work.  The Vice President must model equitable and inclusive behaviors and possess superb management skills including success managing teams that are diverse across race, gender identity, and geography.  The person in this position ensures the national and place-based outcomes staff are working toward are just and equitable.  Further, the Vice President must model strong leadership for our equity and inclusion work, proactively taking advantage of opportunities to promote a strong workplace culture that is inclusive and respects the unique perspectives of each and every individual staff member.  Because this role is highly cross-functional and involves collaboration with many internal partners, the candidate must be a person who enjoys cross-team collaboration and has excellent organizational management acumen and strong communication and interpersonal skills.  

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Works as a partner to the Executive Director and as part of a program leadership team, setting organizational direction and programmatic focus to achieve TWS’s Strategic Framework. Ensures programmatic strategies maximize the impact of our work to serve a broader cross section of people across race, gender identity, and socio-economic status.
  • In coordination with senior program staff, implements and communicates the organization’s vision to external partners and communities.  Responsible for ensuring the work performed by program teams aligns with organizational vision, principles and values.
  • Attracts, develops, and coaches a team of senior staff who in turn oversee core areas of functional programmatic expertise including field/regions, national advocacy, science, legal and government relations. Ensures senior team members are empowered to lead on staff, program, and budget management to achieve objectives tied to TWS’s Strategic Framework.   
  • Supports senior staff to build diverse teams that include a rich mix of race, gender identity, and socio-economic background, to better reflect the communities with whom we work.
  • Serves as an active member of the Executive Team with responsibility for promoting teamwork and inter-and intra-departmental collaboration. Promotes strong coordination between program staff and other TWS departments grounded in mutual respect and professionalism.
  • Responsible for contributing to an inclusive and welcoming organizational culture by modeling key equity competencies including understanding of the foundations of equity such as implicit bias, White privilege, and group identities (and the cultural and historical context of those identities within the organization, nation, and world), and holding their staff accountable to equity competencies and how their actions impact TWS as an inclusive and equitable workplace.  
  • Serves as a partner with Philanthropy staff to develop and deliver on fundraising targets, as well as in major donor and foundation cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities, participating in high-level relationships as needed.
  • Engages with TWS’s Governing Council (board of directors) on program priorities and strategies as well as by reporting progress on strategic plan implementation.  Travels to regular meetings of the Governing Council approximately three times a year and conducts presentations to the board as required.
  • In coordination with the External Affairs team, represents TWS with the media, and in addition, represents TWS with elected officials and external partners, as needed.
  • In consultation with the Executive Director and senior program staff, manages the program budget ensuring strategic and equitable allocation of resources.
  • Oversees the development, implementation, and evaluation of results-driven and integrated program annual workplans and goals.
  • Actively supports a culture of feedback by regularly providing and seeking feedback from direct reports and peers and incorporating input into individual development plans as appropriate.
  • Performs other related duties as needed.


  • At least 10 years of experience as a senior leader and manager of staff at a non-profit organization or analogous experience in government at the state or federal level, politics, business or law.
  • Demonstrated experience leading and managing cross functional teams representing a rich mix of talent, backgrounds, and perspectives toward shared goals/outcomes. This includes a track record of successful recruitment, cultivation, and retention of highly skilled staff across race and gender identity.
  • Effective and inclusive management skills including experience working productively across difference (i.e., gender identity, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic background) with direct reports and in managing senior level staff and teams.
  • Strong intercultural competence combined with a demonstrated commitment to being part of and acquiring the skills to contribute to an anti-racist organization that is committed to equity and inclusion.
  • Experience working successfully within complex coalition, business or campaign settings spanning many geographies and levels of staff across the organization.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and productively with all levels of staff, both internally and externally, including managing misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Familiarity with non-profit fundraising and experience managing grants is highly regarded.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; talk or hear.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds.  Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision.


Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is not exposed to adverse weather conditions.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

This job description is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of this position and it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of experience, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities or working conditions associated with the position.

The Wilderness Society offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; sick and vacation leave; a sabbatical program; and a retirement plan.  TWS is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair treatment of our employees and constituents across culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender identity, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, veteran status or sexual orientation.

As an organization, we aspire to being inclusive in the work that we do, and in the kind of organization we are.  Internally this means working as a team that listens to different points of view, recognizes the contributions of every employee and empowers each employee to bring their whole selves to work every day.  Externally this means ensuring that public lands are inclusive and welcoming, so that our shared wildlands can help people and nature to thrive.  We are committed to equity throughout our work, which we define as our commitment to realizing the promise of our public lands and ensuring that all can share in their universal benefits.

To learn more about our commitment, please see

For consideration, please submit your resume & cover letter through our online application system.

Job Level



Nonprofit- NGO

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