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Director, Marine Conservation

Job Location

Washington D.C.; Remote


Type of Job



$95,000 - $105,000 annually

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Nov 9, 2023

About the job

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Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has grown into one of America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organizations with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more than six million members and supporters. The mission of the National Wildlife Federation is to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world. The National Wildlife Federation believes that in order to save wildlife and ourselves, we need to ensure that everyone in America has clean air and water, safe communities, easy and equitable access to the daily benefits of nature, and protection from the ravages of climate change. These basic needs, equally necessary and urgent for all people, are foundational to bringing the conservation movement and ethos into the 21st century.


The Director, Marine Conservation will play a leadership role in developing and executing a growing portfolio of marine conservation work at the National Wildlife Federation, as a member of the Federation’s Water and Coasts team, and in close collaboration with NWF’s affiliates and other partners. Initial priority issue areas will include: ocean-based climate solutions, with a particular focus on advancing responsible research on ocean-based carbon dioxide removal strategies; marine protected areas; ecosystem-based fisheries management; strengthening the connections between coastal and nearshore marine habitat restoration opportunities and marine ecosystem and wildlife health; and ensuring that marine wildlife can adapt in the face of climate change.


The Director, Marine Conservation will work with the Associate Vice President for Water and Coasts and other staff and affiliates across the Federation to refine focal areas for this work, develop and help implement strategies to advance the work, advise on critical issues in the marine conservation space, actively support fundraising efforts, represent NWF in relevant coalitions, interface with policymakers on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies on marine issues, and support strategic partnership building efforts.


Principal Duties


  • Oversee the ongoing development and implementation of NWF’s marine conservation work. Work with partners within and outside of NWF to refine strategic areas for NWF’s engagement in the marine conservation space. Provide thought leadership to guide and inform strategies to maximize impact in the marine conservation space. Manage the implementation of grant-funded projects through to completion and reporting. Opportunity to supervise a fellow expected; potential opportunity to supervise additional staff.
  • Foster cross-regional, cross-programmatic synergies with NWF programs, affiliates, and partners to elevate the importance of and achieve greater success for marine conservation priorities. This will entail efforts to understand and account for NWF affiliate priorities, and to foster connectivity and collaboration between NWF’s water work, coastal work, climate work, wildlife work, and with our Environmental Justice and Tribal Partnerships Programs, among others.
  • Achieve financial goals needed to advance NWF’s marine conservation efforts, including fundraising, managing contracts, and collaborating with the Philanthropy team to increase revenue from grants and other sources to support and expand marine conservation work.
  • Identify, promote and implement strategies that will address environmental injustices and inequities related to marine conservation work. Understand, amplify, elevate, and support priorities of those who have been historically marginalized in marine conservation discussions.
  • Lead the development of communications materials such as blog posts and press releases that promote marine conservation priorities, and related policy advocacy. Work with Communications staff to strategically disseminate content.
  • Cultivate and maintain authentic partnerships and serve as an ambassador for NWF’s marine conservation work. This includes representing NWF as a participant in relevant coalitions within the environmental non-governmental organization space. It may also involve cultivating relationships across sectors (e.g. industry, the recreational angling community, Tribes and Indigenous organizations etc).
  • Advance NWF’s values of collaboration, empowerment, inclusivity, mindfulness, and mission-focused work as defined through the Strategic Plan.


Minimum Experience and Skills:


Strong candidates for this position will have the following proficiencies:


  • Strong understanding of marine policy and marine conservation issues, including relevant federal laws and agency authorities, and knowledge of current challenges and opportunities in the field.
  • Experience in an organizational, agency, or program leadership capacity, with diverse responsibilities including strategic planning, fundraising, implementation, and reporting.
  • Ability to thrive in a multiple-task work environment, work independently with minimal supervision, set priorities and follow through to completion, with excellent attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
  • Proven collaboration and relationship-building skills and ability to work effectively with diverse people, funders, and partners to achieve lasting results.
  • Strong strategic thinker, with demonstrated passion for developing and implementing system-change strategies.
  • Experience setting long-range goals, operational plans, work plans, and achieving measurable outcomes to achieve goals.
  • A personal and professional commitment to and experience in advancing equity and justice.
  • Strong analytic and communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Ability to contribute to a culture of appreciation, growth, accountability, and a solutions-oriented workplace. Desire to work with leadership and teammates to foster a work environment that is enjoyable, fulfilling, and celebrates individual as well as fellow team member strengths.
  • Ability to handle conflict effectively by listening, maintaining an open mind to alternative ideas and courses of action, and encouraging productive resolutions.


These proficiencies are typically consistent with seven or more years of professional experience.


Skills and Qualifications Desired but Not Required:


  • A Bachelors degree in Natural Resources, Environmental Science or Policy, Marine Science or Policy, or related field; post-graduate degree and relevant work experience desirable.
  • Experience working with policy makers on Capitol Hill and in the federal agencies; strong understanding of and experience engaging in federal decision-making processes.
  • Experience working with Tribes and Indigenous organizations, and knowledge of tribal law and policy.
  • Demonstrated history of thought leadership in the marine conservation or other closely related field, including ability to design and execute campaigns to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Organizational leadership skills, including demonstrated proficiency in personnel management, teambuilding, and delegation.
  • Highly-developed oral and written communication skills, including public speaking experience, and the ability to effectively communicate ideas across disciplines verbally and in writing.
  • Experience serving as a champion and ambassador, demonstrating the ability to communicate about, sell, or market a concept in a manner that leads to growth.
  • Demonstrated competencies that support fundraising capabilities, including relationship-building and network-building.


NWF Values:


Your actions are expected to reflect the staff values of the National Wildlife Federation: collaboration, mindfulness, empowerment, inclusivity, and mission focus. Your competencies should include:


  • Being motivated by values of equity and responsibility to those most marginalized.
  • Consistently bringing a high level of empathy and social skills to work and interpersonal interactions.
  • Actively seeking feedback, direction, and guidance from all team members and keeping staff informed of decisions that impact them.
  • Being dedicated to advancing NWF’s internal equity transformation and compelling partners and allies to incorporate equity into their work; and
  • Passion for and commitment to NWF's mission


Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s required equity competencies at


Physical Requirements:


Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example, using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about the workspace. The position requires mobility, including moving materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet).


Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.


Please Note:


This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however. Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Travel Requirements:


This position is expected to attend regular meetings on Capitol Hill and in Washington, DC. Travel for meetings and conferences will be required, initially anticipating 4-7 overnight or multi-night per year.


Location and Work Mode:


This position is based out of our National Advocacy Center in Washington, DC, and strong preference will be given to candidates in Washington, DC or the larger Washington, DC metro area. The National Wildlife Federation is committed to a flexible and empowered work environment with an authentic community of care for all staff. In this position, the employee may work in the office, in a hybrid manner, or completely remotely, to be decided jointly with their supervisor in the final stages of the interview process. For more information on Work Modes, please review the benefits section of our careers page:


Compensation and Benefits:


The salary range for this position is $95,000 - $105,000 annually, commensurate with experience.


We are proud of our designation by Mogul as a Top 100 Workplace with the Best Benefits, and by Forbes as one of America’s best small employers! We value work-life balance and a family-friendly atmosphere with flexible scheduling. We want you to be able to integrate work and personal life with attention to your self-care, so that your work schedule is not depleting. We offer benefits so you feel restored and fueled through the day and week.


We offer these supports to help manage your mental, emotional, and physical health:


  • Paid time off: Vacation that starts off at three weeks accrual based on a full-time schedule, unlimited wellbeing (this time can be used for physical, spiritual, emotional, cultural, religious or financial wellbeing for yourself, a partner, or family member – including pets), and 11 holidays.
  • We close down for a paid winter break between December 25 to January 1 to recognize end of-year stress, and time for reflection, rejuvenation, and spending time with family.
  • Up to 16 weeks of fully paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Low-cost health, dental, and vision insurance options – all outpatient mental health is covered at in-network rates
  • Therapist available at no cost
  • Pet insurance and discount perk program
  • Annual wellbeing allowance


In addition to your salary, we offer the following supports to your personal finances:


  • Retirement plan with immediate match and vesting
  • Annual year end retirement contribution
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Adoption and Surrogacy assistance
  • Pet adoption stipend
  • Student Loan management


Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s benefits package at




Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Candidates should submit a cover letter and resume.


For more information on our recruiting process, please review our Careers page:


We strive to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. We recruit, employ, train compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at


We recognize that people come with a wealth of experience and talent beyond just the technical requirements of a job, therefore our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Your experience, which may include paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work, helps build the competencies and knowledge that translates to our openings. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of excellence. Therefore, we encourage people from all backgrounds to apply to our positions.


Please let us know if you require accommodations during the application or interview process by reaching us at or 703-438-6244.


If selected for this position, a background check will be conducted.

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