Vice President for Conservation Policy and Advocacy

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Published 29 days ago

Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than six million members and supporters, including hunters, anglers, gardeners, birders, hikers, campers, paddlers, etc. The mission of the National Wildlife Federation is to unite all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world. The National Wildlife Federation believes that in order to save wildlife and ourselves, we need to ensure that all Americans have access to clean air and water, safe communities, easy and equitable access to nature, and protection from the ravages of climate change. These basic needs, equally necessary and urgent for all people, are foundational to bringing the conservation movement and ethos into the 21st century.

The Vice President for Conservation Policy and Advocacy is the executive staff person responsible for advancing policy, and developing and implementing cross-organizational plans that coordinate advocacy efforts, field and campaign activities, and strengthening the voice and visibility of leaders across America, especially those with underrepresented perspectives. The Vice President will be an important representative of the National Wildlife Federation’s interests with external partners and networks, elected officials and policy makers, and the public at large. In partnership with staff, the Vice President for Conservation Policy and Advocacy will provide coordination and collaboration across matrixed teams.

The Vice President for Conservation Policy and Advocacy’s team includes key subject matter leaders in wildlife, public lands, working lands, and water as well as the Executive Director of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, the Associate Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, and the Senior Director of Organizing and Campaigns. The position collaborates closely with the other program Vice Presidents, Regional Executive Directors, and key staff around the country.  

The Vice President for Conservation Policy and Advocacy reports to the Chief Program Officer and works as a thought partner with the Chief Executive Officer and other leaders to advance the strategic direction of the organization. 

Your Principal Duties:

  • Lead and coordinate advocacy and policy work to advance the National Wildlife Federation's goals and priorities as defined in the organization’s strategic plan through the organization’s values of collaboration, empowerment, inclusivity, mindfulness, and mission-focus;
  • Support the integration of environmental and economic justice to be centered into the policy priorities and advocacy efforts of the Federation, and work collaboratively across the Federation, its networks, partners, and affiliate organizations to support policy efforts to mitigate environmental and economic burdens of frontline communities;
  • Utilize the Federation’s platform and resources to expand the definition of a conservation policy leader and ensure that the Federation’s federal advocacy connects authentically with community-based, grassroots leaders from around the country;
  • Ensure policy and advocacy campaigns have clear objectives, defined roles, and are coordinated across the organization for maximum impact, utilizing innovative advocacy tools appropriate to the campaign goals;
  • Provide leadership individually and to staff in building intentional relationships and partnerships with other conservation organizations, key individuals in government, private sector, and non-profit sector, and with national caucuses representing diverse constituencies, such that the National Wildlife Federation’s conservation interests are well-represented by the organization’s staff with elected and appointed officials and key national coalitions and networks;
  • Help achieve the organization's philanthropic fundraising goals by directly working with current and potential funders, as well as assisting senior leaders and staff as they secure funds from individuals, foundations, corporations, and governments to support National Wildlife Federation and its affiliate organizations to accomplish regional and national priorities;
  • Build strong relationships internally at the National Wildlife Federation, and within the National Advocacy Center to help create a supportive culture of collaboration and find innovative, collaborative, and proactive ways to advance the organization’s policy and advocacy goals — leveraging the diverse and deep experience throughout the organization; and
  • Coordinate and oversee the activities of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, ensuring conservation focus and alignment with policy positions of the Federation.

 Experience and Competencies:

Candidates will bring deep experience in conservation and a commitment to and the overall mission of the National Wildlife Federation, including the role of the State and Territorial Affiliate organizations and the nonpartisan, science-based, and collaborative approach of the Federation to achieve its mission and strategic plan outcomes.

A successful candidate will bring strong leadership and management experience which could include:

  • Non-profit experience at an organization of similar size and complexity;
  • Management and leadership experience in conservation policy and advocacy, local and state field and campaign programs; and/or
  • Prior direct experience in federal, state, or local government or Congress.

These proficiencies are typically consistent with ten to fifteen years or more of professional experience.

Self-Awareness & Learning

  • Exhibits a commitment to continuous learning and growth, especially related to the development of strong equity competencies and managing large and diverse teams, and models this approach with others
  • Dedicated to deepening understanding of cultural and systemic racism and the intersectionality of multiple forms of social inequality and how this impacts our work on environmental issues
  • Demonstrates awareness of positional power and privilege (both personally and professionally) and its attendant impacts on colleagues, team, and on oneself
  • Consistently brings a high level of empathy and social skills to work and interpersonal interactions

Authentic Relationships & Community Partnerships

  • Maintains a sophisticated understanding of how group dynamics impact supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work
  • Demonstrates capacity to maintain relationships across difference and create greater psychological safety in the workplace
  • Acknowledges when mistakes are made and harm is done; works to repair breaches in relationships
  • Openly holds space, and invites others into conversations during sensitive engagements, exhibiting a responsible and respectful demeanor with colleagues and partners
  • Models and encourages commitment to community care and selfcare in order to bring best self to relationships and interactions

Direct Communication

  • Exhibits strong interpersonal skills rooted in teamwork, diplomacy, respect and an awareness of how diverse identity and communication styles intersect
  • Provides clear and direct communication with and feedback to colleagues, with an understanding of communicating respectfully across different identities
  • Strives to match intent and impact in all interactions
  • Works proactively to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings toward restorative solutions; attends to conflicts as opportunities for learning and growth
  • Ability to facilitate discussions and learning sessions with staff and partners around developing team equity competencies

Supervision & Power Sharing 

  • Supports the leadership, success, and professional development of staff members, with a commitment to utilizing power to ensure equitable access and opportunities for staff of color and with other marginalized identities
  • Consistently provides positive and developmental feedback to support growth of team members
  • Actively seeks feedback, direction, and guidance from all team members and works to integrate and lead with this guidance in mind
  • Strives for transparency and timeliness, keeping staff informed of decisions that impact them
  • Intentionally shares power through decision-making, clear definition of roles and responsibilities, effective delegation, and equitable access to resources


  • Actively seeks new solutions to persistent problems by engaging a diversity of perspectives and experiences
  • Practices both/and thinking and the ability to accept ambiguity
  • Demonstrates willingness to take risks, pilot new approaches, bring in new partners, learn from failure, and continually improve efforts
  • Provides expertise, leadership, and new thinking in environmental and conservation policy

Equity Analysis & Action:

  • Motivated by values of equity and responsibility to those most marginalized, in both internally-facing work and externally-facing work
  • Committed to deepening an environmental justice approach in policy priorities, program development, strategic planning and partner engagement
  • Demonstrates awareness of the attributes associated with a white dominant culture, especially as it manifests within the National Wildlife Federation and partner organizations, and takes actions to dismantle hierarchies of oppression within that culture
  • Dedicated to advancing the National Wildlife Federation’s internal equity transformation and compelling partners and allies to incorporate equity into their external work and internal culture

Location and Travel Requirements:

This position is located in Washington DC at the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center. All employees are currently working remotely while we make return to office decisions, expected to be in early 2022. Regular travel will be required to regional offices, senior staff retreats, the National Wildlife Federation board meetings, and to speak at conferences and with media. We anticipate 3-4 days every month, 20-40 nights per year.

Compensation and Benefits:

The starting salary for this position is $160,000.

The National Wildlife Federation values work-life balance and a family-friendly atmosphere. Our paid time-off includes 3 weeks of vacation leave, open wellbeing leave, 10 paid holidays, 3 floating holidays, a week-long winter break, and additional leave options, per year. In addition, our benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, company paid life insurance, AD&D, short- and long-term disability, 16 weeks of paid FMLA l eave, 403b retirement plan with employer matching and annual contribution, adoption benefits, and flexible work options including telecommuting, non-traditional work hours, and compressed work weeks. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s benefits package at


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Candidates should submit both a cover letter and resume.

We strive to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. We recruit, employ, train compensate, and promote regardless of race, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (including gender nonconformity and status as a transgender individual), age, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants are invited to learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at

If you have a disability and require an accommodation or assistance with our online application process, please tell us how we can help by calling us at 703-438-6244.

The requirements listed in our job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules, and if you have 75% of the qualifications listed we encourage you to apply. Your experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work, which helps build the competencies, knowledge, and skills that translates directly to our openings. Applying gives you the opportunity to be considered.

If selected for this position, a background check will be conducted. 

Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than six million members and supporters, including…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Washington, DC
Associated Location
Washington, DC, USA

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