Ocean Career: Director of Conservation at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The Director of Conservation is part of the senior leadership team and leads the development and implementation of the Foundation’s strategic programs and projects that support science, conservation, restoration, and stewardship initiatives across the National Marine Sanctuary System and beyond. The Director of Conservation is integral to the success of the Foundation and its efforts to produce measurable impacts and demonstrate how sanctuaries are models for marine conservation successes.

The Director develops and oversees innovative research and cooperative science, promotes advancement and use of new technologies, and fosters community engagement and stewardship. The position focuses on creating national-level, high profile opportunities; develops and tracks associated budgets; leverages resources and community support; and fosters and strengthens partnerships for the Foundation and sanctuaries. The Director is responsible for managing a passionate and growing conservation program team who work across the country to advance sound science, exploration, and restoration in coordination with communities and public-private partners.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Develop and oversee the organization’s conservation, science, restoration, and community stewardship activities on the national level to advance the Foundation’s mission, position the organization and sanctuaries as agents of change and progress, and increase the visibility and recognition of its goals, outcomes, and benefits across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Research, develop, and implement science and conservation projects to support national marine sanctuaries and sanctuary resources, including project overviews, descriptions, budgets, and measurable conservation outcomes.
  • Strengthen external partnerships and identify new opportunities to partner and leverage resources for sustained conservation initiatives.
  • Develop and track program budgets, including supporting conservation from a diverse array of funding sources.
  • Work with the Director of Development to support fundraising, grant writing, and corporate sponsorship opportunities.
  • In conjunction with Strategic Communications Director, build the awareness, influence, and reputation of the Foundation’s leadership and increase the visibility and recognition of its goals, outcomes, and benefits across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Act as a passionate ambassador and advocate for the organization in partner meetings, events, media opportunities, and high visibility opportunities that underscore and advance the value of Foundation in the eyes of key audiences and constituents.
  • Work with the Program Operations team and Director of Development to support conservation accomplishments and metrics reporting to funders and external audiences.
  • Supervise a growing department of conservation professionals across the country.


  • Master’s degree and 8-10 years of professional experience required; extensive work experience in the field of marine and aquatic conservation science will be considered in addition to higher education requirements.
  • Experience developing and managing programs, producing work plans with strategic goals/objectives and defined, measurable results strongly preferred.
  • Experience creating, managing, and tracking budgets for programs, preferably from a diverse array of funding sources. A proven track-record of success in strategic planning, public-private partnerships, community stewardship and engagement.
  • Demonstrated ability prioritizing and balancing assignments under tight deadlines across teams and partners and achieving desired outcomes.
  • Ability to collaborate and work well with others, including local, state, and federal government agencies, non-profit organizations, businesses and corporations, academic institutions and universities, philanthropic organizations and potential funders, etc.
  • Self-starter who can work independently and in diverse teams.
  • Ability to lead and manage a dedicated professional team.
  • Passionate commitment to the Foundation's mission.

Compensation and Benefits: $80-$86K based on experience. The Foundation offers a competitive benefits package.

Applications received before Friday, May 20th will be preferred. Applications must include a resume, cover letter, and at least three professional references.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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