Conservation Int’l – Sr. VP, Science & Knowledge

Job Title:  Senior Vice President, Science + Knowledge

Client: Conservation International

Status:  Full Time

Div/Dept:  Science + Knowledge

Location:  Washington, DC, USA

Supervisor Title:  Chief Operating Officer

Date:  April 2, 2009

Background: At Conservation International, we envision the nations of the world maintaining the health and vitality of Earth’s natural resources, especially her biodiversity, so that people today and tomorrow can live full and healthy lives.  Our work seeks to inspire and help societies manage nature’s assets for the equitable benefit of current and future generations.

The SVP position is an expansion of CI’s former head of Conservation and Applied Biodiversity Sciences (CABS) role. Poised for continued success, CI is seeking a Senior Vice President of Science + Knowledge who will have full responsibility for developing and implementing CI’s science-to-action agenda to support CI’s new mission of delivering human well-being through conservation of healthy ecosystems and their goods and services.

The most critical component of the science-to-action agenda is to better understand and quantify how human well-being is provided and can be sustained through conserving natural ecosystems, ecological processes, and biodiversity, and thereby maintaining ecosystem services.  CI will focus on the conservation and restoration of healthy ecosystems, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and benefits to human well-being – climate, food, water, and health security, and option value – as well as the risks and costs of losing these benefits.

The SVP will lead the strategic, programmatic, and financial operations of CI’s Science + Knowledge, will lead a global staff, and will play a prominent leadership role in communications, fundraising, and partnerships throughout the local, national, and international communities where we work.  The Senior Vice President works with programs and staff within a matrix organization to lead the implementation of CI’s science-to-action agenda.

Ideal Candidate: The SVP will bring internationally significant credentials and a proven track record of successful leadership, fundraising, and management of people and fiscal oversight of large programs.  S/he will demonstrate outstanding communication skills, the ability to set priorities and achieve aggressive results.  Applicants with experience in establishing the linkage between ecosystem services and human welfare will be given special consideration.  In addition, a background in biodiversity and/or conservation ecology science is a plus.

The successful candidate will be a powerful internal and public presence, entrepreneurial and strategic, a results-driven leader with a proven track record of successfully managing an organization of similar size, complexity, and trajectory.  The SVP will have successful change management experience as a willing, inspired, and capable agent of achieving change in a constructive manner.  S/he will be an innovative and global thinker, able to maximize current partnerships while identifying and establishing new collaborations, capitalizing on unrealized opportunities, and translating CI’s ambitious plans into realistic strategies through a diversely funded operation.  The SVP will have the foresight and ability to effectively adapt to and influence CI’s infrastructure and organizational culture. S/he will champion CI, our resources, and talents to extend the reach of our science and knowledge through creative and high quality services which leverage and maximize technology, adaptive research, and human potential.

Key Responsibilities:

The tasks, duties and responsibilities of the position that are most important to get the job done.

Task/Duty/Responsibility/Time Percentage

  1. Develop and implement the strategy of Science + Knowledge by leading CI’s science-to-action agenda to support CI’s new mission of delivering human well-being through conservation of healthy ecosystems and their goods and services. 20%
  2. Build the science that best measures contributions toward and interactions with human well-being benefits from ecosystem conservation.  Generate metrics for assessing and monitoring the status of ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human well-being benefits over time.  Monitor success toward the strategic plan through metrics as generated, and oversee adaptive management and ongoing refinement as CI implements the plan. 20%
  3. Fundraise and secure gifts at the multimillion-dollar level from corporate, foundation, individual, government and multilateral donors to ensure the funds to carry out the Science + Knowledge strategy.  20%
  4. Represent CI in forums and build the partnerships needed to advance CI’s ‘Science to Action Agenda’ of conserving healthy natural ecosystems and their provision of human well-being.  Secure broad buy-in and support of our efforts.  This includes leading interactions with industry leaders, governments and multilateral organizations, NGOs and the private sector.  10%
  5. Oversee management of staff and budgets.  Provide oversight and guidance to senior staff to implement new Science + Knowledge initiatives.   Align staff toward objectives and manage performance.  Ensure fiscal oversight of divisional budgets. 20%
  6. Create and lead the overall communications strategy for Science + Knowledge.  10%

Education, experience, skills and abilities: The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and overall skills:  Ph.D. in a field related to CI’s Science + Knowledge agenda and 12+ years of experience at a comparable level of seniority an excellent command of written and spoken English excellent communications and interpersonal skills as demonstrated by success in influencing and communicating with authorities and leaders globally international experience preferably in a developing country setting significant leadership, management, and strategic experience in an NGO, corporation, government or university or related experience ability to create and lead innovative strategies, partnerships, and programs to improve human well-being by ensuring healthy ecosystems across multiple geographic areas and multi-disciplinary teams published scientist.

Management of programs, budgets, and people:

  1. Experience in a leadership role within a multi-geographic, multi-cultural setting
  2. Ability to identify strategic issues and priorities, develop implementation teams and plans, and serve as the key decision-maker on programmatic, fundraising and operational issues
  3. Strong management skills with the ability to mentor and motivate staff and provide leadership across a diverse team of technical and operational professionals
  4. Ability to build organizational capacity and lead and align teams
  5. Successful experience managing cross-functional teams of distributed professionals in a matrixed management structure

Partnerships & Influence:  Demonstrated ability to embrace the mission and strategies of Conservation International and to influence governments, corporations, foundations and individuals to support our efforts.   Ability to collaborate with senior levels of management.  Demonstrated capacity for fundraising in the science arena with foundations and individuals with Demonstrated results at securing multimillion dollar gifts

Supervision / Authority allocated:  The scope of the person’s authority, including a list of jobs that report to the incumbent. Authorities refer to many things for which permission is not necessary, including: resources the position is allowed to commit, people with whom the position may openly communicate, meetings the position is allowed to convene, agreements the position may make, etc.

  1. Direct supervision of Senior Staff in Science + Knowledge, and oversight of staff of entire function.
  2. Authority to establish partnerships with government agencies, multi-lateral agencies, NGOs and other organizations to achieve Science + Knowledge objectives.
  3. Authority to negotiate on behalf of CI with executives of corporate, government, and organizational partners.
  4. Authority to raise and commit resources from foundations, development agencies, governments, multilaterals and individual donors.
  5. Authority to represent CI and its views to the media and to the public.
  6. Authority to convene formal and informal CI-wide working groups as needed to advance strategic objectives.

Working conditions: The environment in which the job is performed, especially any unique conditions outside a normal office environment. Indicate how much travel, if any, is expected.

Travel to advance program objectives and to CI project sites in the field, at times under physically demanding circumstances.  Position requires the ability to travel extensively throughout the world, at times in rigorous and physically demanding travel conditions, and at times with little or no notice.

Other: Personal characteristics that contribute to an individual’s ability to excel on the job, or other important information regarding the position or its requirements.

  1. Recognized stature in ecosystem conservation and/or human well-being
  2. Excellent interpersonal skills
  3. Personable and trusting
  4. Adaptive and flexible
  5. Effective, efficient and collaborative work style
  6. Team player
  7. Significant energy and ambition and a dedication to international conservation.
  8. Individuals with a demonstrated capacity for developing innovative strategic vision related to conservation science and/or human well-being are especially encouraged to apply.

CI Values: We expect that all employees will embrace the values of our organization.

Passion: We are inspired by nature and cherish the diversity of life in all of its forms.

Respect: We respect and trust each other, and we embrace our diversity of cultures, talents, and experiences.

Integrity: We act with integrity and are accountable for our actions.

Optimism: We are optimistic about the future of life on Earth and are confident that, with our partners, we will achieve unprecedented conservation results.

Courage: We tirelessly pursue our vision, taking bold action and persevering through challenges.


To learn more about Conservation International please visit our website Review of applications will start immediately and continue until the position is filled, ideally on or before July 1, 2009. All interested persons must submit the following material for initial consideration to

Cover letter; Curriculum vitae/resume; Publication list full

Please direct any questions to Jill Solomon, Global Recruitment Specialists Senior Recruiter; 973-379-7325 (USA)