Environmental Defense Fund
San Francisco - CA, Austin - TX, Boston - MA, Boulder - CO, Chicago - IL, New York City - NY, Washington - D.C.
Ecosystems is one of four major programs within EDF. The program has bold goals to reach by 2025 that are centered around reversing habitat loss on working lands, building resilient coastal communities, rebalancing water systems and their ability to provide a resilient water supply, and ending agriculture fertilizer pollution. The VP, Ecosystems Working Lands will lead the teams and formulate the strategies associated with creating resilient working lands that benefit people and the planet by improving habitat, reduce impacts on water quality and rebalance management of water supplies, mitigating climate change, and contributing to thriving economies.
With a projected 9 billion mouths to feed by mid-century, meeting human needs for food and water in ways that benefit natural systems requires that we sustainably intensify agriculture - grow more on the same (or less) land with techniques that cut pollution and increase biodiversity.
EDF’s Working Lands program builds on our credibility as an unconventional but credible partner, working with ranchers, farmers and companies to bring sustainable farming practices and habitat protection to scale; developing better ways to track progress toward environmental outcomes; and aligning public and private financial incentives to reduce the risk for farmers and ranchers who adopt more sustainable and resilient farming systems.
The Working Lands Program has emerged from over a decade’s of work at EDF. This position leverages that record to position EDF as a national level leader, with opportunity for expanding internationally. The program requires deft management of science, policy, economics, business and communication. This role requires expert leadership, communication, and management skills, and the ability to develop meaningful relationships with EDF’s staff, board, funders, and external partners. This is an outstanding opportunity for a politically-savvy leader with fundraising experience.
The VP will provide the overall vision, strategy and leadership on sustainability of working lands. The VP will directly manage EDF’s teams working on the following core outcomes:
Partnering with farmers and companies to drive sustainability forward
Using data to drive improved fertilizer and soil health practices
Boosting the business case for conservation practices across the food supply chain
Working lands habitat protection campaigns
The VP will work collaboratively with peers across the organization, actively engaging them, and also keeping stakeholders informed. The VP will work closely with EDF’s+Biz program (corporate partnerships) on agriculture initiatives that pertain to the supply chain and with the U.S. and Global Climate programs on climate mitigation and policy. The VP will lead the process in implementing EDF’s agriculture and habitat related projects, and serve as a key strategic partner intertwining sound science, economics, policy, and strategic communications. The VP identifies opportunities, develops and implements projects, and manages advocacy efforts relating to their program. The VP works independently and supports the Senior Vice President of Ecosystems in a number of aspects of his leadership, and is a part of the Ecosystems leadership team, working in collaboration with other peers both within Ecosystems and across the organization.
1. Strategic Vision and Leadership
Create a focused, collaborative, entrepreneurial, and sustainable strategy across EDF to implement the goals of the Working Lands Program
Focus on the task of creating more resilient working lands
Develop the case for expanding the work of agriculture sustainability and habitat exchanges internationally
Demonstrate political skills with a track record of building non-partisan alliances, a strong understanding of public policy, and identify and lead the development of policy support needed to reach the goals of the program
Assess the needs to apply program’s principles with other market based strategies
Capitalize on opportunities and manage risks
Collaborate with senior program staff to manage delivery of outcomes as defined by the program vision
Continually stay abreast and informed of other organizations’ work and emerging habitat and agriculture issues
Ensure the scientific and economic foundations for the program’s strategy are robust and well supported
Effectively communicate program achievements, progress, challenges, and opportunities to stakeholders, board members, EDF senior leadership, and other internal and external audiences
2. External Relations and Partnerships
Collaborate with senior development staff to develop and execute a diversified fundraising action plan to secure a robust pipeline of funders interested in a resilient framework for agriculture and habitat work; contribute to proposal development and reporting
Work with development staff to craft and target outreach opportunities to maximize support for existing donors
Cultivate relationships with board members and other external stakeholders to identify other areas of program growth, including programmatic work and/or new funders.
Identify and implement partnerships with other members of the environmental community, influential academic institutions, and other stakeholders to achieve key programmatic goals
Working with the SVP, program staff, marketing & communications, and other expert leaders, create momentum within industry, agriculture, governmental and advocacy circles for the cause of ending fertilizer pollution and increasing habitat on working lands
Represent the organization externally, making public presentations as required and engaging and building relationships with the media, elected officials, and government (agency) representatives to keep them apprised of progress and establish EDF as a subject matter expert on species protection, biodiversity and agriculture sustainability issues
3. Organizational Management
Actively engage with peers to create stronger collaboration between and across programs and identify cross-cutting funding opportunities
Provide leadership, direction, and support for the staff
Promote an organizational culture and structure that fosters cooperation, communication, collaboration, teamwork, and trust, and embraces diversity
Hire, train, supervise, mentor, and provide staff with professional development activities that upgrade skills, support learning, motivate performance, and promote retention
Manage and select independent contractors who will maximize goals and objectives