Associate Director, Climate Program

The Nature Conservancy

Remote, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details Competitive


California, USA

Location negotiable within California (Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles preferred). 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Grounded in science, we develop innovative solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity; respect for people, communities, and cultures; and a collaborative, nonpartisan approach. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world. 

The California Chapter is TNC’s largest state program and one of the largest, most dynamic conservation organizations in the country. With approximately 275 employees, from financial analysts and fundraisers to ecologists and economists, we are currently invested in 14 strategies to address the biggest challenges facing California and the world, including numerous community-based projects designed to increase the pace, scale, and effectiveness of conservation. Over the past six decades, we have protected 1.4 million acres, 5,000 miles of streams, and 3.8 million acres of ocean habitat in California and off the coast. 

The California Chapter believes that we are most effective when we are embedded in our state’s communities, politics, media, and environmental issues. For this reason, and to reduce our carbon footprint when meeting in person, all staff live in California, including those in a home office.

Finally, we are passionate about the middle ground in American politics and life. The hallmark of The Nature Conservancy is its “big tent” approach, engaging people across the political and ideological spectrum to find solutions that last. We ask all employees to embrace this critical strategic position of our organization.

As daily headlines of heat waves, droughts, megafires, extinctions and floodings remind us, the climate crisis has come to California. The toll on nature, communities and the economy is staggering. The global effort to reduce carbon in the atmosphere will be the conservation priority of our lifetimes; helping California’s communities and ecosystems adapt to the effects of climate change is just as important. 

The Nature Conservancy’s California Climate Program is working to mitigate climate change and create a climate-resilient future for California by protecting and restoring the state’s critical forests and wetlands, and by deploying land use tools and frameworks to accelerate California’s transition to a decarbonized economy, and keep people out of harm’s way in the face of climate-exacbated risks like flooding and wildfire. Our multi-disciplinary team employs a variety of innovative strategies to enlist California’s lands in the fight against climate change, by developing ground-breaking science, through influencing policy and markets, and by collaboratively creating land-use solutions that benefit both natural and human communities. 

We help California meet its climate and adaptation goals through three related bodies of work: our Nature-Based Climate Solutions Strategy recovers the ecosystems that sequester the most carbon, and changes land use practices so as to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration; Resilient Communities influences development and drives policies that prioritize nature conservation while curbing sprawl and keeping people out of harm’s way; and, Decarbonization accelerates California’s transition to a decarbonized economy by while providing safeguards for nature and supporting an equitable transition for communities.

The Associate Director of the Climate Program provides strategic direction for the Decarbonization Strategy and oversees all aspects of the work. In this role, you will lead a multi-disciplinary team to develop and drive a theory of change aimed at influencing planning, permitting and procurement/funding of projects associated with the green energy transition so as to enhance their conservation compatibility. You will develop and leverage partnerships, lead efforts to develop new and expand existing funding sources for TNC’s work, craft proposals, measure progress, and work with TNC’s External Affairs team to influence state and federal policy. You also will be responsible for collaborating with TNC staff across North America to help shape TNC’s national work in this arena and leverage California’s solutions and influence to have impact across and beyond the state. 

California has committed to carbon neutrality by 2045, but land-use conflicts threaten to derail the state’s progress. We need to make sure that renewable energy is not only clean but also green, meaning energy infrastructure is sited in places with the fewest impacts to the environment. This can mean the difference between life and death for at-risk species and shave years off of the time needed to permit renewable energy projects. Decarbonization will also require additional transmission capacity and critical metals, such as lithium; yet transmission development and mining can also have significant ecological impacts. Collaboration and innovation are needed to find solutions. The Nature Conservancy has a long history of working with others to create approaches that minimize trade-offs, so that decarbonization efforts can move faster, with fewer devasting consequences for ecosystems and people. If you want to be part of the work that’s needed to fight climate change while protecting California’s iconic landscapes, there is no better place to work than The Nature Conservancy.

This is an exceptional career opportunity for a highly motivated, capable individual interested in joining the world’s leading conservation organization. This position will report directly to the Director of the Climate Program within TNC California. The location for this position is anywhere in California, with a preference for the vicinity of San Francisco, Sacramento, or Los Angeles.  Apply today and find a career where you can find meaning and purpose!

  • BA/BS degree and 10 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Experience directing a major program or project of strategic importance, including management/supervision of multi-disciplinary teams and meeting deadlines.
  • Experience working with current trends and practices in relevant discipline(s) and geographic regions.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance. 
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups, energy developers, utilities/community choice aggregators, and/or government agencies.                                        
  • Experience negotiating.                                           
  • Experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans at the state or country level. 
  • Experience with financial management of a large program


Each person who works at TNC contributes to our goal of protecting nature for future generations. Another one of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe feel that their unique contributions are valued. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “You’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.” To learn more, head to YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.  

We’re proud to support the health and wellbeing of the people we employ. We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package that includes healthcare coverage, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan with an 8% employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, and other benefits that support work-life balance. 

If you’re interested in working with us, please apply—we’d love to hear from you.

This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program.

Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/careers/recruitment/ under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.

The starting pay range for a candidate selected for this position is generally within the range of $113,000 – $165,500 for annual base salary. Where a successful candidate’s actual pay will fall within this range will be based on a variety of factors, including, for example, the candidate's location, qualifications, specific skills, and experience. Please note countries outside the USA would have a different pay range in the local currency based on the local labor market, and not tied to USA pay or ranges. Your geographic location will be confirmed during the recruitment.

To apply for job ID 55210, submit your materials (resume and cover letter) online by using the Apply Now button at https://careers.nature.org/ by 8:59 PM PST on June 16, 2024. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact applyhelp@tnc.org

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to applyhelp@tnc.org with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority, and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law. 

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy's background screening process.

Category Admin & Leadership, General / Stewardship, Land Trust, Policy And Law
Tags Climate Change