Managing Director, Climate Nexus, San Francisco, CA

Managing Director

Climate Nexus

San Francisco, CA


A new unbranded communications agency focused on US fresh water is seeking a strategic leader with the ambition and vision to elevate water as an issue, increasing the quality and quantity of news coverage, helping educate policymakers and opinion leaders about water issues and raising the profiles of partner organizations working toward solutions.


The position will be leading a new project based at Climate Nexus, a strategic communications group dedicated to highlighting the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States. The Managing Director will be able to draw on Climate Nexus’ core capacities, including media and stakeholder relations, digital campaigning, design, public opinion surveys and video production, while pursuing a new stream of work, independent of Climate Nexus’ core day-to-day function, and with a distinct strategy for water.





The position will report directly to the Managing Director of Climate Nexus and work closely with an advisory group, composed of leaders in the field. This role oversees all functions of a new team with the primary goal of developing and executing a multi-year effort to build a positive and strategically framed public conversation about water issues.


A key responsibility of this role will be understanding the larger water communications landscape. This will require collaborating with a diverse community of partners, experts, and stakeholders working on water. Particular attention should be paid to building and maintaining relationships with leaders in field organizations, as well as maintaining strong relationships with funders.


The Managing Director will also draw from the expertise and experience of the Climate Nexus team to minimize the amount of time required to establish the new project and to deliver early wins, including securing earned media coverage, developing innovative digital content, engaging key stakeholders, and putting in place multifaceted communications campaigns for key partners.





The Managing Director will be responsible for spearheading this new initiative from the ground up, from strategy development to building a new, dynamic team that will achieve results and significant impact in its first year of operation. In this exciting and challenging role, the Managing Director will:




  • Recruit, oversee, and provide strategic guidance for a staff of at least four people.
  • Develop and lead best-in-class teams of media strategists and issue analysts.
  • Integrate the team’s communications and subject-matter expertise with that of Climate Nexus to bolster the communications capacities of partner organizations working on water issues.
  • Work closely with partners and an advisory council including on operational, fundraising, and finance issues.



  • Work with core partners, including the Water Funders Initiative and Water Foundation, to build and maintain a strong network of NGO and donor partners.
  • Convene groups comprised of senior communications and campaign experts from partner organizations to develop, coordinate and execute communications strategies.
  • Provide strategic counsel to senior leaders and teams from partner organizations.
  • Build productive relationships with senior leaders and experts from partner organizations to ensure a high level of trust, reciprocity, and the sharing of crucial insight into each organization’s goals.
  • Build a strong relationship and maintain close communication with funders.
  • Organize meetings of an advisory council and ensure that their input is reflected in organizational priorities.



  • Develop narratives and storylines around sensitive issues frequently involving multiple stakeholder groups and organizations.
  • Create systems and processes for identifying opportunities for engagement and responding to emerging issues and threats.
  • Oversee and execute demanding and deadline-driven communications projects, with an emphasis on ensuring partner projects reach appropriate audiences through the media.
  • Recruit and oversee media training of diverse voices and spokespeople on water issues.
  • Stay up-to-date on coverage and framing of water issues by overseeing in-depth and ongoing media analysis.
  • Design and implement digital media campaigns.





The following attributes are highly desirable:


  • Manages effectively through influence and possesses strong stakeholder management skills. Demonstrates the ability to achieve consensus and work effectively within a complex, consensus-driven environment with matrixed relationships. Promotes cooperation and teamwork while working to achieve collective outcomes and is inclusive of peers and/or key stakeholders when making decisions.
  • Strong systems-oriented thinker who is able to assimilate facts quickly and draw connections between complex issues. Requires sharp analytical skills, a detail-oriented mindset, and the ability to capture data and ideas quickly and accurately. Keen judgment and the ability to create a compelling case for direction on issues and crises in a timely fashion. Capable of taking big ideas and turning them into real outputs.
  • Demonstrates strong proactive leadership. Searches for and identifies opportunities and challenges and inspires others to do the same. Has an uncompromising work ethic.
  • Exhibits unflagging calm under pressure and against aggressive, shifting deadlines. Works effectively and comfortably with senior- and junior-level staff alike on sensitive topics with high visibility.
  • Possesses exceptional communications skills: is articulate, poised, authentic, believable and persuasive. Demonstrates political savvy and maturity. Must be able to think on one’s feet and have strong interpersonal skills and group facilitation skills.
  • Is well connected with, and respected by, the media at a national level. Understands newsgathering techniques, story development, placement, and representation.
  • As a manager, solicits feedback and ideas from staff, holds others accountable and is fair. Delegates appropriately and provides opportunities for team members to cross-train and further develop their skills. Exhibits technical soundness and strong accountability for work quality.
  • Has a reputation as passionate and credible, is unflappable and well grounded, and does not take himself or herself too seriously. A sense of humor is essential.



  • Undergraduate degree with a minimum of 10 years of experience in communications, public relations, media relations, journalism, politics or campaigns in complex environments at a management level. Experience working on issues including water, environment, or public health is highly desirable.
  • A detailed understanding of traditional and digital media.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, plan and manage inter-disciplinary teams and complex communications programs and strategies.
  • Delivers high-quality results on time; strives to improve performance and results.
  • Can marshal resources to get things done; can orchestrate multiple activities at once to accomplish a goal; uses resources effectively and efficiently.
  • Experience working with diverse groups of actors, including coalitions.



  • Competitive compensation, commensurate with experience
  • Benefits package, including paid personal and sick leave; standard health, dental and vision packages; employer contributions to 401k retirement account; parental leave; commuter transit benefit

Interested applicants should apply here:!/9e6c5233-b106-4d82-b3aa-8a04a4d111f3/detail



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