Senior Vice President, Center for Oceans

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Senior Vice President, Center for Oceans

Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork, and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, biodiversity, and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples, and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.

POSITION SUMMARY - This position is open to the following CI Offices: Arlington-VA, Seattle-WA, or Honolulu-HI

The Senior Vice President (SVP) leads our Center for Oceans and directs the strategy and implementation of CI’s global oceans strategies across the organization.

As a member of the leadership team, the SVP leads the development of vision, strategy, and planning for a coordinated organizational effort to advance research, policy, and communications in the design and implementation of CI’s oceans strategy. The SVP leads a multi-disciplinary team of experts in blue nature, blue production, blue climate, and our CI’s Hawai’i office and will oversee a team of 45 staff. The position also includes strategic leadership and fundraising responsibilities for CI’s Ocean Conservation at Scale targets, within CI’s overall institutional strategy that is executed through a matrix approach involving 150+ staff, primarily in CI field divisions and country offices.

The SVP will lead the strategic, programmatic, and financial operations of CI’s Center for Oceans with an approximate budget of $25m annually. They will identify, develop and implement standards and best practices to effectively marshal the organization’s resources to achieve globally. They will play a prominent leadership role in securing critical partnerships and influencing key stakeholders internally and externally, including donor agencies, governments, and private sector leaders to protect and sustainably manage ocean ecosystems that support human well-being.

The SVP will lead a rigorous process to identify priorities, develop programs, raise and allocate flexible funding resources, and ensure high-quality programmatic delivery on priority initiatives to advance CI’s growing portfolio of ocean programs.


  • Lead vision, strategy, planning, and delivery for the Center for Oceans, assessing merits of new research ideas and identifying synergies with other ocean conservation and sustainable development groups and organizations.
  • Ensure high quality, effective and efficient programmatic delivery on CI’s integrated global oceans strategies.
  • Define and manage the Center’s organizational structure.
  • Communicate progress on strategies and action plans internally within CI and externally through media, social media, and targeted communications.
  • Represent the Center for Oceans through engagement with the Board and other partners through strategic presentations and discussions.
  • Fundraise and secure gifts for ocean conservation at the multimillion-dollar level from a variety of funding sources including foundations, high-net-worth individuals, corporations, and public entities.
  • Develop high-impact and extensive networks and partnerships with leading ocean conservation and management, academic, think tank and policy experts, global thought leaders, private sector, governments, academia, and other non-governmental organizations.
  • Accountable for the overall administrative, financial, and staff leadership of the division and its programs in compliance with local laws and CI policies.
  • Ensure appropriate project management and oversight for grants and contracts.


  • International travel is required for high-level meetings and fundraising
  • Ability to work extended hours to meet deadlines.
  • Guidance on flexible work arrangements will be shared during the interview process.
  • For the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our community, all US-based Conservation International staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This mandatory vaccine requirement applies to all staff working remotely, in a hybrid work arrangement, and on-site in CI US offices. CI follows CDC recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines. Requests for reasonable accommodations or exceptions related to medical or religious reasons will be considered. Candidates are NOT required to state their COVID-19 vaccine status in their application.



  • Advanced degree in marine biology, fisheries management, or related field, or significant equivalent expertise and experience and at least 15 years of marine conservation and/or fisheries management strategy development, program management, and international policy experience required.
  • At least 10+ years in a leadership role, successfully supervising dispersed and/or remote staff, with a strong focus on developing talent and mentorship.
  • Outstanding track record of applied knowledge and management of marine conservation programs.
  • Proven ability to lead high-impact partnerships with globally leading organizations.
  • Ability to transform ocean research and project results into practical decision-making tools and improved practices and policies by governments, the private sector, and civil society.
  • A proven track record of identifying strategic issues and priorities, developing implementation teams and plans, and serving as the key decision-maker on programmatic, fundraising, and operational issues.
  • An extensive network of leading academic, think tank, philanthropy, NGO, government, and ocean policy experts, and proven ability to establish high-impact ocean partnerships among organizations.
  • A proven track record of successful fundraising at the $1 million+ level.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, presence, and ability to effectively build strong relationships both internally and externally.
  • Clear and concise verbal and written communications skills, including effective presentation and negotiation skills with experience synthesizing complex scientific or technical topics for non-technical audiences.
  • Proven ability to lead, engage, and collaborate with individuals across various disciplines, cultures, and backgrounds to achieve shared goals.
  • A reputation for high ethical standards and integrity.


  • Experience in marine conservation, applied ocean science, or fisheries management experience in developing countries.
  • Active involvement in the development of and engagement in international conventions and agreements, and with the most senior level government officials (ministers and heads of state).
  • Proven track record of an entrepreneurial approach to program development, fundraising, and management; demonstrated experience in bringing innovation to programs to drive impact.
  • Fluency in French, Spanish, and/or Portuguese.

To apply for this position please submit a resume and cover letter.

See all Conservation International Career Opportunities HERE.

Conservation International is an equal opportunity, affirmative action, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility-committed employer. We are proud to have a diverse, global workforce where employment decisions are based on qualifications, experience, position requirements, business needs, market conditions, merit, and other legitimate nondiscriminatory factors.