Associate Director, Conservation Programs

The Nature Conservancy

Lansing, Michigan

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details The compensation range begins at $87,000 and is commensurate with skills and experience.
Deadline Sep 28, 2022


Are you looking for a career to help people and nature? Guided by science, TNC creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that people and nature can thrive together. We’re looking for someone who is passionate, motivated problem-solver. Responsibilities include:

  • Works within a larger, complex business unit and/or a program that requires cross-boundary work and relationships.
  • Frequently makes independent strategic decision based on analysis, ambiguous information, and context.
  • Collaborates with TNC colleagues outside of Michigan in the development or implementation of operating standards related to portfolio management, use of the Conservation Hub to track progress toward conservation goals, management reporting and other points of intersect between the chapters and the division.        
  • Provides leadership to the program coordinator team to ensure delivery of high-quality support across conservation strategies.  
  • Works with conservation staff and other department directors to streamline the flow of information and collectively problem solve to improve processes and communications. 
  • May be responsible for leading special projects to address areas of improvement or better respond to needs of larger organization.
  • May participate in internal or external technical work groups and committees to contribute to development of conservation or operational methods, tools, and guidance.  
  • Assists strategy teams in identifying sources of public funding and developing proposals.  
  • Supervise and develop staff. 
  • Establishes and maintains optimal performance standards within budget. 
  • Negotiates complex agreements, in a political environment.
  • Some travel will be required to facilitate program management and cross-program collaboration as well as occasional evening and weekend hours.         
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.


The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground 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 and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube   to hear stories from staff or visit  Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


The Michigan chapter of TNC has a conservation team of over 35 professionals developing and implementing innovative strategies designed to conserve freshwater, forest and coastal habitats as well as mitigate and address the impacts of climate change. This work is accomplished in collaboration with our Midwest Division colleagues and chapters with the aim of scaling up our impact and achieving our division’s maximum contribution to TNC’s 2030 goals. To help advance the strategies, the Associate Director, Conservation Programs provides subject-matter, management and systems support for the conservation department. Importantly, the Associate Director will bring an expansive view of the discipline of conservation that includes science, policy and finance combined with project management skills, as well as understanding issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the advancement of conservation outcomes.

The Associate Director, Conservation Programs will apply a deep understanding of conservation strategies, initiatives, and planning, along with a clear understanding of how to efficiently and effectively operate in a matrix-management enterprise to achieve goals. In collaboration with the Associate State Director and the Conservation Management Team, they are integral to the effectiveness of the Conservation department by supporting the development and implementation of conservation strategies, helping to overcome hurdles to delivery and improving workflows and communications within the department and with other chapter functions. The Associate Director may lead and manage staff that support conservation efforts.

Conservation Strategy Management. The Associate Director will: 1) support eight to ten strategy teams in the development of conservation strategies and measures that align with The Nature Conservancy’s mission and 2030 goals, 2) direct annual strategy reviews to evaluate progress, improve conservation efforts and prioritize work, and 3) lead strategy audits for a thorough evaluation of strategy effectiveness applying TNC methodologies and tools. Additionally, this position will assist strategy teams in adaptive management of strategies and projects.

Conservation Program Implementation. This position will: 1) facilitate cross-organization strategy and program implementation in collaboration with the Associate State Director, 2) lead chapter use of TNCs Conservation Hub, a project management database, for tracking progress towards conservation outcomes, 3) develop dashboards and reports to assist with execution, communication, and adaptive management, and 4) proactively support, resolve, or elevate issues to conservation management team. This position will also oversee a variety of reporting mechanisms designed to share program progress, plan for upcoming milestones, and facilitate coordination and communication between organizational functions.

Conservation Operations. The Associate Director will oversee the annual planning cycle that is comprised of budgeting, developing annual work plans, identifying key milestones and measures of success for the year and managing strategic plan documentation updates. As a member of the Conservation Management Team, this position will participate in planning and decision making that support achievement of conservation goals. Additionally, they will be responsible for 1) adhering to standard operating processes and procedures that underpin the successful planning and execution of conservation projects, 2) disseminating best practices, and providing training and analyses to improve effectiveness and efficiency, and 3) assisting the Associate State Director with managing the conservation department budget and approvals on agreements, proposals, and external communications. Finally, the Associate Director, Conservation Programs will supervise and develop Conservation Operations staff. 

The compensation range for this position begins at $87,000 and is commensurate with skills and experience. This is a hybrid position that is flexible to be located in or near the Lansing area.


  • BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in conservation practice or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience developing program-wide operating procedures and guidelines for successful implementation.
  • Experience with public or private fundraising.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing databases, finances and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.   
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.                                        
  • Experience negotiating.

To read more and apply for job ID 52111, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

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 of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. 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 orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

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 with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category General / Stewardship, Land Trust, Non Profit Management
Tags Outreach, Climate Change