Sustainable Enterprises & Community-Led Economies Associate

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The Nature Conservancy

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Arlington, VA, United States

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30+ days ago


Arlington, Virginia, USA

The location is flexible; however, the associate should anticipate a need to develop modes of working with a core team located in United States time zones.





The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there are lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want a better insight to TNC? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube on Glassdoor.

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued. We’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. In addition to the requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of inclusion! Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote myriad TNC staff members, “you’ll join for our mission, and you’ll stay for our people.”


Indigenous Peoples and local communities are at the frontlines of the fight to save our planet. They steward the majority of the world’s biodiversity, 17 percent of forest carbon, at least a quarter of the planet’s lands and vast stretches of freshwater and marine habitat. But as pollution, natural resource destruction and climate change worsen, these communities bear the brunt of negative environmental impacts. With just years left to address the environmental crisis and the scale of the problem beyond anything the world has encountered, Indigenous and local knowledge and leadership are crucial to protecting the only resources we have left.

The Nature Conservancy is launching a leading-edge initiative bringing humans and their livelihoods to the core of conservation. Ambitious goals for climate change and biodiversity are inextricably linked with sustainable economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and there is an urgent need for conservation organizations to partner authentically with communities to support their leadership and their livelihoods.

The Nature Conservancy partners with Indigenous Peoples and local communities across 24 countries to support a growing network of sustainable community enterprises. From açai in Brazil to tourism in Kenya, communities are launching enterprises to protect the environment, preserve their culture and transition to just and sustainable economies. Forests are standing strong, coastal ecosystems are regenerating and women are becoming leaders in their communities—but when these enterprises don’t get the support they need, the social and environmental impacts crumble. The Nature Conservancy’s new initiative, the CIRCLE, is designed to Catalyze Investment in Resilient, Community-Led Economies by addressing community capacity, technical assistance, market access and access to capital–known leverage points impacting the success of community-led economies.

The Sustainable Enterprises & Community-Led Economies Associate (the Associate) will contribute to the development of TNC’s global Community-Led Economies Program and work with TNC colleagues and partners across Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific to support Indigenous and community-led economic initiatives–-with a focus on initiatives led by women and youth. This is an opportunity to apply business, innovation and design thinking principles to grow a new program at TNC and catalyze impact at the intersection of equitable economic development, climate change, biodiversity and human wellbeing. This position sits within TNC’s Global Conservation in Partnership with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Program (Global IPLC Team) and reports to the head of the Community-Led Economies Program. The location for this position is negotiable within countries where TNC is a registered NGO and has an already established office. It requires a flexible schedule: this position will work primarily within U.S. business hours while simultaneously collaborating with colleagues across global time zones. It may require some travel. This position is not eligible for relocation or immigration assistance.


The Associate will assist the program lead with the design, implementation and management of TNC’s Community-Led Economies Program. Together with the program lead, they will serve as a technical expert on enterprise development and sustainable livelihoods, including capacity building, technical assistance, market access and access to capital. They will deliver business, financial and project management support to field teams and establish agile, design-lab methodologies to pilot the program and strengthen the feasibility of community-led economic initiatives. The Associate will support the program lead to promote access to capital for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including through Indigenous-led financing mechanisms, microfinance opportunities and village savings and loan associations (VSLAs). They will establish a network of practitioners across TNC to facilitate knowledge sharing and adaptation of best practices. This position also requires administrative and logistical support, including but not limited to managing contracts, work planning, updating key documents and organizing meetings with internal and external partners. As such, strong communication and organization skills are a must. The ideal candidate will demonstrate experience working directly with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, solid knowledge of economic development and finance-related topics–-such as enterprise design, business feasibility assessment, market and supply chain analyses, financial modeling, the Business Model Canvas and design lab methodologies–-and an enthusiasm for learning and professional development within a growing team at TNC.


  • Provides strategic analysis to support program lead in the design, implementation and management of TNC’s Community-Led Economies Program.
  • Supports or leads the creation and implementation of design-lab methodologies to pilot the program and improve execution of community-led enterprises and sustainable economic initiatives.
  • Provides subject matter expertise on enterprise development and sustainable livelihoods, including capacity building, technical assistance, market access and access to capital.
  • Supports TNC field teams in assessing and improving the feasibility of community-led economic initiatives.
  • Designs and manages a community of practice to share learnings, adapt successful models and disseminate best practices for catalyzing investment in resilient, community-led economies.
  • Maintains tools and resources for practitioners on key topics, such as business design and feasibility, economic development, access to capital and other aspects of sustainable livelihoods and community-led economic development.
  • Designs, implements and manages complex and diverse projects encompassing multiple geographies and stakeholders.
  • Provides logistical and administrative support, including managing consultants and projects and keeping key documents up to date.
  • Requires willingness and ability to travel up to 25% both domestically and internationally.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Finance, International Development, Economics or related field and 4 years of related experience, or equivalent combination.
  • Experience working directly with Indigenous Peoples and/or local communities to develop sustainable business opportunities.
  • Experience managing complex projects and strategic initiatives in an unstructured, geographically diverse and matrixed environment.
  • Experience researching, critically analyzing and evaluating information from divergent sources and compiling it into cohesive reports and recommendations for strategy and action (e.g., business recommendations, consolidation of best practices, etc.).
  • Analytical thinking, professional communication and excellent English writing skills are essential.


  • Master’s degree in Business, Finance, International Development, Economics or related field.
  • Direct experience working in business incubators, accelerators, impact investing, design labs or consulting.
  • Experience utilizing feasibility assessment, market analysis, value chain analysis and financial modeling to inform enterprise growth.
  • Familiarity with tropical forest, grassland, coastal and/or freshwater enterprises (e.g., NTFPs, fisheries, agriculture, ecotourism, etc.).
  • Familiarity with carbon credits, payments for ecosystem services, microfinance, village savings and loan associations and other financial mechanisms that can improve access to capital for IPs and LCs.
  • An understanding of how gender equity, human rights, governance and territorial management intersect to influence the development of community-led economies. Direct experience supporting women-led businesses is a plus.
  • Familiarity and knowledge related to business, governmental, and/or environmental policy and practices pertaining to community-led economic development.
  • Experience developing a community of practice or weaving a network across multiple stakeholders, geographies and focus areas.
  • Ability to work in a multicultural and multidisciplinary context. Multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience are appreciated.
  • Ability to write and speak in a language other than English. Priority languages include Spanish, Portuguese, Kiswahili, Mongolian and Bahasa Indonesia.
  • Strong critical thinking, research and analysis skills and a proven ability to assess complex information to make strategic decisions.
  • Ability to develop and drive new ideas and approaches.
  • Willingness to develop new expertise in community-led economies, sustainable livelihoods, finance, conservation strategies and management tools.
  • Ability to build relationships and work collaboratively with external partners and inside a highly matrixed, decentralized and collaborative organization. Possesses strong interpersonal skills and political savvy. Must be a self-starter and team player.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and meet time sensitive deadlines.
  • NGO and/or corporate relations experience.


Job Family: Conservation

Job Number: 700047

Salary Grade: 7

The salary for this positon is $76,500 - $85,000 depending on location and experience.


To apply for job ID 51771, submit your materials, including a cover letter, online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on August 8, 2022. 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.

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Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.