Director of California Land Program - The Nature Conservancy

Post Date: 6/16/2022
Opportunity Type: Job
Organization/Grantor: The Nature Conservancy
Position/Title/Fund: Director, California Land Program - Full-time
Deadline: Open until filled
Location: Negotiable in California
Contact Info:

The Land Program in The Nature Conservancy of California advances a portfolio of strategic initiatives aimed at conserving and restoring terrestrial ecosystems so they can sustain biodiversity in the face of climate change and provide a suite of ecosystem services that benefit society. Its strategic approach is to collaboratively develop and demonstrate science-based solutions to major environmental challenges in California, and to “scale up” successful models through policy change or dissemination to effect conservation more broadly.

The Land Program Director is responsible for leading three main program areas:

  1. The protection via acquisition or easement of the private lands and waters that are most important for building out a network of public, private and tribal conservation areas that will connect and fully represent California’s diverse ecosystem types. Doing this at the scale needed will require new funding and investment models.
  2. Accelerating restoration of priority landscapes by eliminating the key stressors causing degradation and restoring the key species, natural communities and ecological processes that sustain diversity, enhance resilience, and maximize co-benefits such as carbon retention and groundwater recharge.
  3. Advancing best practices in efficient and effective land management by using TNC’s extensive and dispersed conservation estate as a platform for experimentation and conservation constituency building.

Through our network of land holdings across the state, the Program will strive to understand and predict climate-driven changes in natural systems and to develop practices to keep pace with them, such as by assisting the migration of species outside of their historic ranges. The Land Program Director leads and manages the team of conservation professionals driving this work and ensures that the Conservancy provides the leadership and results in terrestrial biodiversity conservation needed at this urgent moment of the global extinction, climate and sustainability crises. The Director works in close partnership with the Director of Science for the Land Program and the Director of External Affairs for California.

Essential Functions:

  • Provides executive leadership in a dynamic, fast-paced organization. 
  • Develops and advances strategies to increase the pace and scale of biodiversity conservation, with an aim of demonstrating innovative, multi-benefit and collaborative approaches to conservation that are effective in California and that can be scaled and exported for application elsewhere.
  • Manages the Chapter’s 500,000+ acres of conservation interests, including iconic nature preserves such as TNC’s Santa Cruz Island Preserve and the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve.
  • Provides overall direction of the Chapter’s critical land protection efforts with investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Recruits, manages, and develops a talented, high-performing team of conservation professionals. 
  • Fosters a culture of collaboration, initiative taking, and accountability for delivering meaningful results.
  • Cultivates and manages strategic relationships, and serves as the Program’s principal contact for industry, government agencies, conservation organizations, tribes and foundations.  
  • In partnership with philanthropy staff, leads the Program in fundraising from public and private sources. 
  • In partnership with marketing staff, utilizes strategic communications to advance conservation goals. 
  • In partnership with technology and finance experts, develops and deploys innovative approaches to conservation. 
  • Holds overall responsibility for financial management of the Program, including setting financial goals, analyzing results, and taking corrective actions. 
  • Negotiates complex agreements and oversees policy initiatives, often in political environments. 
  • Manages financial, legal, and reputational risks to the organization and leads Program staff in risk identification, assessment, and management.  
  • Communicates effectively and compellingly in oral, written and graphical forms; is called to speak publicly and to various audiences on a regular basis.
  • Travels frequently within California and occasionally outside of California, including internationally. 


  • Develops, communicates, and drives a compelling vision for the Land Program.
  • Leads and manages a multi-disciplinary, decentralized and matrixed staff to deliver significant conservation results.
  • Designs, implements, and directs a portfolio of complex and diverse projects, coordinating the work of other professionals, inside and outside the organization.
  • Incorporates cross-disciplinary knowledge to support program objectives, including science, policy, and conservation practice.
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, experience, and context, often with broad organizational impact.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.


  • BA/BS degree and 12 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation.
  • Experience designing, implementing, and directing complex or multiple projects of strategic importance, including managing finances, supervising multidisciplinary professionals and coordinating the work of partners while meeting deadlines.   
  • 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 networking with high-level conservation contacts.
  • Experience conceiving and implementing strategic and creative initiatives.
  • Experience in negotiation success.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Master’s degree and 12-15 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Passion for conservation, and the roles of protected areas and land stewardship in advancing it. 
  • Knowledge of California ecosystems and conservation issues and trends in the state. 
  • Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs.  
  • Excellent presentation and writing skills.
  • Politically savvy. 
  • Multi-lingual and or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
How to Apply:

To apply for job ID 51485, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received and the position will remain open until the position is filled. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

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