Senior Director, Data Science

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Natural Resources Defense Council

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Washington, DC, United States

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23 days ago

NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. We use law, science, and the support of 3.1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. NRDC was founded in 1970 and our people helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and many of the implementing regulations. Today, our team of more than 700 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy advocates, communications experts, and others work across the United States and the globe from our offices in Bozeman, Montana; Chicago; New York; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

NRDC is seeking a Senior Director, Data Science to work with the Science Office team in one of our Washington, D.C., New York, or San Francisco offices.

Position Summary

NRDC is seeking a Senior Director for the Data Science division of the Science Office. The Senior Director will provide strategic leadership within and on behalf of the Science Office on topics related to data governance, strategy, analysis, management, and visualization. Reporting to the Chief Science Officer, the Senior Director will play a cross-institutional leadership role to help align the work of the Science Office with institutional strategy. The Senior Director will be an important member of the Science Office leadership team and will work in close collaboration with members of the Science Office and broader NRDC community to develop analytic strategies to inform and assess institutional policy directions. The Senior Director will also help build a collaborative environment for analytical and technical staff and will work with internal and external partners to develop models, data sets, methodologies, and infrastructure to support our technical and policy work.

This position requires a flexible, strategic thinker, who thrives in collaborative environments. The ideal candidate for this role is excited to solve complex and nuanced problems, is a skilled communicator, and has extensive experience working in analytical/technical areas to support and develop environmental policies.
  • Leads the development of the functional and operational strategy of the Data Science division of the Science Office.
  • Works as a member of the Science Office leadership team and helps to build a collaborative and integrated science community within NRDC.
  • Directly manages and oversees a team of data scientists, data engineers, and data analysts, and projects/initiatives of the Science Office, ensuring that staff are supported and coached to increasing levels of performance and that projects are aligned with organizational mission and goals.
  • Provides strategic direction and leadership within and on behalf of the Science Office in areas related to data governance, strategy, analysis, management, and visualization.
  • Works in close collaboration with staff across NRDC to create and leverage internal data capacity, resources, and skills to achieve the goals and objectives of equity and/or Environmental Justice partners.
  • Cultivates strong cross-institutional relationships to help identify synergies and opportunities for data to inform and shape NRDC’s work.
  • Collaborates with staff in IT, Communications, and other capacities to develop infrastructure to support technical/analytical work at NRDC.
  • Serves as an active member of the Science Office and broader science community at NRDC to provide expertise, leadership, and guidance on how to elevate, utilize, and integrate data into our advocacy.
  • Serves as a mentor and role model within the organization, providing expert level guidance on projects and initiatives across the institution and individual program-level projects, as needed.
  • Maintains active externally facing activities in areas of data science specialization (e.g., expert webinars, blog posts, meeting).
  • Performs other tasks as needed, as requested by the Chief Science Officer.
  • Deep commitment to incorporating and growing the use of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in NRDC’s work.
  • At least 12 years of experience in mission-driven policy, with a minimum of 5 years of experience with the use of data science and analytical tools to advance policy goals and objectives.
  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree.
  • Solutions oriented with the ability to skillfully balance competing interests.
  • Strong interpersonal and active listening skills with a collaborative working style.
  • Well-developed organizational skills and proven ability to manage people, projects, and relationships in a complex/matrixed organizational structure.
  • Experience with public speaking, on technical and non-technical topics, with an ability to communicate with a wide variety of audiences.
  • Experience with fundraising – including foundation grants and major donor engagement.
  • Personal passion for leveraging data for the public good, with a strong commitment to using scientific and analytic principles to enhance protections for communities and nature.
  • Interest and knowledge of emerging issues in environmental science and policy.
  • Commitment to NRDC’s mission and values.
  • Advanced degree (e.g., PhD, MS, MBA).
NRDC is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, both in our work and in our workplace. We believe that celebrating and actively welcoming diverse voices and perspectives is essential to solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems, and we encourage applications from candidates whose identities have been historically under-represented in the environmental movement.

We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits , and a supportive working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and is commensurate with skills and experience. For this position, the salary is $170,000 to $195,000. Internal equity considerations will be reviewed before making a final offer.

Since March 2020, NRDC’s offices have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be associated with one of our offices, but until circumstances allow us to re-open, we will continue to support NRDCers with remote working arrangements.

As a science-based organization, NRDC aims to do our part to help contain the COVID-19 public health crisis. For the sake of health, safety, and equity, we ask that people be vaccinated unless they have an approved medical or religious accommodation or other exemption in accordance with state and local law. We consider a person to be vaccinated two weeks after receiving one full course of a CDC-approved vaccine. In accordance with state or local law, new hires will be asked to attest to vaccination, those wishing to do so may request medical or religious accommodations or other exemptions via NRDC Employee Relations. NRDC treats all vaccine-related data confidentially, in keeping with local, state, and federal laws.

To apply, visit and upload your résumé and cover letter. Please mention where you saw this posting and upload any additional materials that showcase your abilities. Due to the high volume of applications, we will contact only those candidates we would like to interview. Please no phone calls, emails, or in-person résumé drop-offs.

If you experience technical problems while applying or if you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying online, please reach out to iCIMS Customer Care at 1-800-889-4422.

For more about NRDC, visit