Associate Director

  • Hybrid (Del Mar, CA, USA)
  • Jun 05, 2023
Full time Admin Assistant/Environmental Support Administrator/Executive Oceans - Estuaries - Coastal Resiliency

Job Description


From pristine coastlines and mangrove forests to gray whale lagoons, turquoise islands, and stunning coral reefs, WILDCOAST is an internationally recognized bi-national organization working to conserve 38 million acres of some of the most globally important coastal and marine ecosystems and iconic ocean wildlife in the USA, Mexico, and Cuba. Since its founding in 2000, WILDCOAST has made significant progress in its work to establish and manage protected areas, advance strong conservation policies, and engage communities in the protection and stewardship of healthy, thriving oceans, coastlines, and wildlife. In partnership with the government and local communities, WILDCOAST programs include:

  • Climate Change: Protecting mangroves and climate-resilient shorelines.
  • Wetlands: Adding critical layers of protection for globally important wetlands.
  • Coral Reefs: Safeguarding coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific and Cuba.
  • Mangroves: Defending mangrove forests in the Gulf of California, Bahia Magdalena, and Oaxaca that provide refuge to gray whales and migratory birds, offer important nursery habitat for commercially valuable fish, and act as a natural buffer against storm surge and sea level rise.
  • Oceans: Leading efforts in California to conserve over a half-million acres of marine protected areas.
  • Sea Turtles: Protecting sea turtle nesting beaches in the Mexican Pacific.
  • Whales: Ensuring conservation and protection of gray whale nursery habitats along the Baja California Peninsula and offshore waters that are critical for their survival.
  • Wildlands: Conserving some of the world's most important desert coastlines.

To learn more, please visit


Headquartered in San Diego, with an additional office in Ensenada, Baja California, our team of 26 exceptionally talented staff members is passionate about conservation and working collaboratively to shape the organization’s future. Supported by an incredible Board of 11 Directors, we have built a culture around trust and impact, empowering each of us with the latitude to innovate and push the limits of possibility within our respective fields. Although we are spread across two countries, we come together frequently for site visits, team trips, and our regular all-staff meetings.

The Associate Director (AD) will report to our Executive Director and Co-Founder, Serge Dedina, an internationally recognized conservation leader, and a powerful voice for the coast and ocean. Prior to WILDCOAST, Serge co-founded the Nature Conservancy’s Sea of Cortez and Baja California programs where he developed successful national parks in Loreto, La Paz, and Cabo Pulmo. The author of Saving the Gray Whale, Wild Sea, and Surfing the Border, Serge has received numerous awards, including the Surf Industry’s Environment Award, San Diego Zoological Society’s Conservation Medal, and the California Coastal Commission’s Coastal Hero Award, among others. A former California State Parks Lifeguard, Serge also served two terms as Mayor of Imperial Beach, California.


  • Salary – $115,000 - $130,000
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • 401(k) with a 4% employer match
  • PTO: 21 paid days off, 8 paid holidays


This is a hybrid role with an office located at 2120 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Suite 106, Del Mar, CA 92014. Occasional night and weekend work will be expected, as will frequent travel throughout the US, Mexico, and Latin America.


Reporting to the Executive Director, the AD will also work closely with the Board of Directors, serving as liaison to the Finance, Communications, and Conservation committees. They will assist in managing a $3.5 million annual operating budget, serve as an advisor and co-strategist to the Executive Director helping to shape and implement the organization's growth and impact strategies. This is a highly visible role, both locally and internationally, and will be involved in every major decision across the organization. The AD will serve as another public face of WILDCOAST, attending events, speaking, serving on panels, and engaging with partners and donors. With overall strategic and operational responsibility and oversight of conservation grants, programs, operations, and financial management, the AD will supervise, coach, and mentor five direct reports: the Communications and Policy Director, Director of Development, Finance Director, Mexico Director, and Conservation Director. They will utilize innovative strategies to nurture an inclusive and equitable culture that embraces the diversity of WILDCOAST’s team, bridges the US and Mexico operations, increases the engagement of the staff, board, and partners, and ensures mission alignment between grants, programs, and partnerships. Strategic priorities for this position include:

  • Engagement: develop a thorough understanding of the organization, meeting with team members, and visiting each of our program sites.
  • Execution: triage issues and priorities to ensure we stay focused on the big picture.
  • Organizational Development: ensure our internal structure, processes and procedures adapt and evolve to support our rapid growth.
  • Operations: manage internal priorities and decision making, enabling the board and Executive Director to stay focused on fundraising, government relations and governance/board relations.
  • Talent: lead our hiring process, including comp and benefits, to position WILDCOAST at the forefront of talent acquisition and retention in the conversation space.
  • Performance: oversee our performance review process and implement career pathways to ensure we retain our high-performing staff members.
  • Impact: support reporting and data management to tell the story of our work.


  • Provide inspirational leadership, team building, and growth opportunities to the professional staff, while ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization’s programs and activities.
  • Collaborate with the Executive Director to guide the organization through regular strategy and planning sessions to assess programmatic effectiveness, impact, and financial objectives, within a complex, evolving conservation landscape.
  • Refine, create, and implement effective and efficient internal operational policies and procedures.
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality and impact.
  • Serve as a visible public advocate for WILDCOAST and its need for public and philanthropic investment; support fundraising activities, including grants management and content creation; cultivate and build relationships and partnerships that enhance programs and advance the mission.
  • Work with senior leadership to develop and implement comprehensive donor engagement and marketing and communications plans.
  • Ensure adherence to the highest ethical standards, driving operational and programmatic accountability and compliance with all relevant legal guidelines and best practices in the US and Mexico.
  • Assist with budget development and management at the organizational and programmatic levels.
  • Develop long-term strategies for organizational staffing and structure that ensure WILDCOAST’s current and future needs are met.
  • Be willing to camp during visits to some remote conservation sites.


  • Passionate about coastal and ocean conservation and natural climate solutions.
  • Demonstrated senior leadership and management experience, including strategy development, budget development, board engagement, change management, team collaboration, and talent development.
  • Successful management experience in overall business operations, including direct fiscal/operations, program management, and employee and vendor relations.
  • Effective communication skills, written and oral; exceptionally well-developed listening skills; comfortable communicating key data, including presentations to senior management, the board, and outside stakeholders/partners.
  • Track record of building effective partnerships with diverse constituencies, including businesses, elected officials, government entities, community-based organizations, and individuals.
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills with the ability to manage several projects simultaneously, with exceptional attention to detail.
  • Highly empathetic, exhibiting sound judgment, tact, and diplomacy when dealing with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated success in driving organizational growth and creating and implementing innovative programs with a data-driven lens.


WILDCOAST adheres to all CDC, state, and local COVID-19 requirements. The Associate Director shall adhere to WILDCOAST’s COVID-19 policy at all times while working and receive a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot prior to the start date. WILDCOAST requires annual COVID-19 boosters as well as annual flu shots.

Job Level



Nonprofit- NGO


115k to 130k

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