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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Midwest Director of Freshwater Policy

Job Title: 
Midwest Director of Freshwater Policy
Company, Organization, or University: 
The Nature Conservancy

The Midwest is a land of Great Lakes and great rivers. It is a region of five states – including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin – which contains more than 95 percent of the nation’s fresh surface water. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of TNC’s work here is focused ultimately on freshwater-related outcomes. We are seeking a Director of Freshwater Policy who will contribute to an evolution of our work at TNC in two ways. First, the Director will play a leadership role among our TNC teams in the Midwest by developing and executing strategies to influence public and private policy that enable us and our partners to achieve healthy freshwater systems. Second, the Director will help ensure that our strategies in the Midwest are just and equitable, benefiting the full diversity of people and communities who depend upon these freshwater systems, and enabling their voices to help shape the ongoing management of these natural resources.

The Director of Freshwater Policy collaborates closely with science, conservation, and policy staff in a highly networked approach across the Midwest and North America to assess and prioritize the most essential federal, state/provincial and local conservation policy and funding opportunities needed to enhance efforts to protect and restore the health of priority freshwater systems of the Midwest, namely the Great Lakes and Ohio- Mississippi River systems. The Director drives focus and alignment of TNC capacity on a few critical strategies to advance freshwater policies that most significantly contribute to climate-resilient and healthy freshwater systems, while ensuring these strategies promote equity and enable the diverse needs and perspectives of all affected people to inform the management of these lakes and rivers in addition to the best available science. The Director helps identify potential partnerships, and coordinates initiatives to implement strategies that will affect policies and practices of governments, corporations, civic organizations, and other stakeholders across the Midwest. The Director engages elected officials, government agencies, business entities, civic organizations, universities and other partners/stakeholders at all necessary levels. The Director serves as a point of contact to help inform the public, partners, elected and appointed officials of TNC policies and positions related to freshwater health and equity within the Midwest. The Director works with and represents the Midwest in development and implementation of national policy strategies, working in close partnership with TNC’s North America Policy and Government Relations Team. Duties include regular contact with local, state and regional officials, institutions and/or corporate representatives regarding actions related to the mission of TNC, and fundraising activity to increase the level of financial support for TNC projects and priorities. The Director represents TNC before special interest groups and engages key public and private officials to increase support for TNC’s mission and programs.

Minimum Qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree and 7 years of related senior-level work experience, including current and evolving political, legislative and conservation trends on a federal and/or multi-state level.
• Demonstrated knowledge of freshwater protection and management, public policies, basin governance, and water equity.
• Demonstrated experience in conducting policy analyses and opportunity summaries to identify policy priorities and inform strategy development and decision making
• Experience leading and working within a large multi-disciplinary team and managing a program budget.
• Experience working with current and evolving political, legislative, sustainability, and/or conservation trends on a regional or national level.
• Experience in directing or participating in complex negotiations and presenting to and communicating with government officials, corporate executives, board members and others.
• Experience designing, implementing and directing multiple and multifaceted projects, setting deadlines and ensuring program accountability.
• Experience communicating complex processes and ideas effectively to a variety of audiences within and outside an organization.

Desired Qualifications
• Master’s degree appreciated.
• Significant experience in public policy, conservation/environmental policy, regulatory advocacy, and public
• Outstanding analytical and project management capabilities. Demonstrated ability to successfully develop and imp complex projects in an unstructured environment.
• Outstanding written and oral communication, negotiating and organizational skills.
• Independent and self-motivated with the ability to participate effectively in a remote environment.
• Fundraising experience.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, January 4, 2021
Application Instructions: 
How To Apply Visit and apply online with required cover letter & resume to Job ID 49145. All resumes and cover letters must be submitted through The Nature Conservancy’s online application system. The application deadline is Jan 4, 2021. If you experience technical problems with the site or application process, please contact and include the Job ID.
Erin O'Rourke
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