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Executive Director, Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA)

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Sustainability, Climate Change, EMS & Audits
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Board & Executives
Deadline 15/11/2017
Company Name Wildlife Conservation Society
Contact Name
Telephone 7187411452
Website Further Details / Applications
Wildlife Conservation Society logo
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The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. WCS seeks to conserve the world's largest and most ecologically intact wild places. These places are home to more than 50 percent of the world's biodiversity and sustain over 300 million of the world's poorest people.

JOB DESCRIPTION // October 18, 2017

Position, Location: Executive Director, Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA); Washington, DC (preferred)

Term: 2-year contract with possibility for renewal

Department, Division: Conservation Solutions, Global Conservation Program

Reports to: CFA Executive Committee / Board

Coordinates with:  Lead, Markets (Conservation Solutions); Lead, Conservation Business & Finance (Conservation Solutions)

Closing Date: November 15, 2017

Expected Start Date: As soon as possible

SALARY: Competitive (WCS salary scale)


About The Conservation Finance Alliance: The Conservation Finance Alliance (CFA) is a collaborative network, set up to help address the challenges of sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation. Founded in February 2002, the CFA is a unique collaborative and global network dedicated to the promotion of quality, performance and innovation in this field. Its stated mission is "to promote sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation worldwide." To accomplish this, the CFA facilitates collaboration among organizations involved in the promotion and the implementation of solutions and tools to optimize capabilities for funding conservation in developing countries. The CFA has become a recognized source of information and expertise and a shared learning platform for its 600 members (which include trust funds, international organizations, NGOs, donors, private companies, etc.). It is also a catalyst for building collaboration among different organizations to implement projects that aim to strengthen capacities and skills, to carry out research and conduct studies, and to actively engage with a broad array of stakeholders to promote long-term and innovative financing mechanisms that foster global sustainable conservation. Aware of the need to revisit the fundamentals of its operations and the scope of its work, the CFA recently anchored its operations within a partnership agreement with WCS, secured funding for a three-year transition and developed a plan to move the Alliance to a new stage as an effective, proactive and sustainable organization.

This Role: The CFA is looking for an experienced Executive Director (ED) to drive, with members, the transition of the organization and the setup of the new Secretariat; develop its membership base, partnerships, reinforce networking activities, develop fundraising options and financial sustainability; implement the set of innovative and structural activities of the newly approved project; and lead the positioning of the CFA as the port-of-call for Conservation Finance globally.

Based within WCS, which will provide hosting and some overall support, you will head the Secretariat of the CFA with, initially, one assistant (to be recruited). The CFA will have a lean operation as it launches its activities under the three-year funding program that has been developed by the Executive Committee and CFA members. However there is significant scope for growth and expansion over the next few years as the CFA develops and the Executive Director will lead this growth, developing new funding opportunities and areas of programmatic focus. As the program grows and more resources are secured, the CFA staff and scope will expand.

Upon your taking up of the position, you will benefit from the guidance of the former Secretariat staff and of the experienced Executive Committee members who will still be in post until such time as a new Governance arrangement is confirmed and the new Board established.

Principal Responsibilities: Under the supervision of the Executive Committee/Board as the primary decision making body for the CFA, and in close collaboration with WCS as the host institution around any governance issues and arrangement, your responsibilities will include inter alia:


  • Actively engage with the members through networking initiatives, oversee the animation of the network (communication and network management)
  • Formalize a new Secretariat structure and help the current Executive Committee confirm and establish new governance arrangements adapted to a collaborative organization
  • Engage reflection and elaboration of a clear Theory of Change for the network, which will efficiently articulate the operational strategy for the five coming years, and linked with the vision and mission of the network
  • On the basis of the CFA agreed areas of work, through members consultation and collaboration, develop a 10-year strategic plan and review/refine the CFA business plan to move the CFA along a path of sustainability on the basis of a sound economic model, a clear niche and added value to the members.
  • Develop new partnerships and collaborations with other organizations working in conservation finance
  • Oversee financial management
  • Recruit and manage staff, consultants and external service contracts
  • Develop a program of monitoring and evaluation to determine the success and relevance of the CFA’s actions
  • Develop the fundraising opportunities of the CFA and achieve fundraising targets consistent with the strategic, business and sustainability plans
  • Ensure effective management of existing grants, ensuring that all programmatic and financial reporting targets are met and liaising with the donors as required 
  • Act as the Executive Secretariat to the Executive Committee/Board

Project/programme implementation and development:

  • Implement the planned grant already secured and carry out all tasks to ensure full delivery of the activities, monitor performance and achievements, and report to and maintain relationships with existing donors
  • Engage with partners and members to enable the updating and expansion of CFA reference tools and guidelines (eg. Update of Conservation Trust Investment survey, Practice Standards for CTFs, Conservation Finance Guide), and identify further needs of the network in terms of knowledge products and capacity building elements
  • Develop innovative ideas and foster the implementation of creative tools and mechanisms, such as the ‘conservation finance incubator’
  • Help develop relevant studies, as per funding secured and requests of members
  • Engage with CFA Working Groups and Task Forces to ensure dynamic knowledge sharing in key CFA programmatic focus areas
  • Leverage CFA resources through partnerships with other organizations to launch new initiatives and develop new, larger scale programs that contribute to creating new sustainable financing opportunities.

Outreach and advocacy:

  • Organize the participation of the CFA at large international events and leverage these opportunities to engage in outreach and promotion of the CFA’s mission
  • Investigate opportunities to extend the services of the CFA in relevant areas in which it is not yet involved in but interest and needs have been identified, eg. In terms of shared services to the Conservation Trust Funds community, broker of financial deals for conservation and land conservation financing options, provider of capacity building and training, or extension of policy services to strengthen procedures and legal frameworks.
  • Increase the profile of CFA within the donor community and with individuals with an interest in finance and conservation.
  • Organize regular communication events (e.g. webinars) to demonstrate the extent of CFA’s work and to provide information to, and share knowledge with, CFA members.

Qualifications: Candidates for the Executive Director position must provide evidence of the following:

  • An advanced degree in environmental studies or economics, or other related advanced degree
  • At least 10 years’ organization/project management experience, including budget and financial management
  • Demonstrated experience working on topics related to sustainable finance in a global context
  • Demonstrated experience in the convening of networks and multistakeholders engagement
  • Excellent written and oral language skills are required in English; the ability to function in another language (e.g. Spanish, French) is a plus
  • Excellent skills in representation, outreach and partnerships building
  • Excellent skills in mediation, communication and animation of multistakeholders initiatives
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising and resource mobilization

Preferred Skills: You will be a convenor, a leader and a self-starter with a track record of engaging network members and catalyzing initiatives, managing organizations, influencing key stakeholders and inspiring people to develop and deliver programs and plans. You can come from the international aid or private sector, but you will feel comfortable in a “start-up” environment and have experience with budgeting, and project management in small organizations, and a demonstrated ability to grow such organizations. 

You are:

  • Tactful and diplomatic; an excellent communicator used to interacting with key stakeholders both internally and externally
  • Able to deliver the strategy of the business but at that same time able to get involved in day-to-day operations
  • Energetic and entrepreneurial who can gather and recognize ideas and opportunities from multiple stakeholders, synthesize and distill input, and communicate goals and objectives clearly.
  • Resilient, committed to your work, flexible and disciplined with high integrity
  • Passionate about collaboration and multistakeholders dynamics and initiatives
  • Able to provide leadership through mediation and facilitation to a diverse group of people and work across cultures
  • A superior negotiator and skilled in persuasion and advocacy
  • Able to work at big-picture level but also to see processes through to completion
  • Willing to travel internationally

Application procedure: Please apply online at www.wcs.org/about-us/careers and also submit a letter of motivation (not more than two pages) and curriculum vitae, in English and as a single document, via email with a subject line of “[JOB TITLE], [YOUR NAME]” to conservationsupport@wcs.org by November 15, 2017.

In your letter, please consider addressing the following questions:

  • What led you to apply for this position?
  • What are the two or three most important technical abilities that you would bring to the CFA?
  • What are the most important personal characteristics that would help you to succeed in this job?
  • What have been some of your management successes to date and how might they be relevant to building and expanding the CFA?
  • How would you develop the CFA into an effective Alliance for delivering conservation finance to its members?
  • Also, please provide an indication of your salary expectations, and if you are not able to locate yourself in Washington DC, please describe where you would expect to be based and how you would relate to the CFA Secretariat in Washington DC.

A shortlist of qualified candidates will be formally invited for a face to face interview process (date and location to be confirmed). You would be expected to start work in January 2018.

About WCS Conservation Solutions. Conservation Solutions partners with over 3,000 field staff across 60 countries around the biggest challenges facing WCS's long-term conservation efforts: climate change, sustainable financing, economic and food security, and data and science gaps.  Leveraging WCS's 100-year leadership in science and field conservation, Conservation Solutions is also home to some of our newest, most innovative partnerships that transcend boundaries, including the MacArthur-funded Intact Forests initiative to protect the world's vital carbon stores, the European Union-funded Sustainable Wildlife/Wildmeat Initiative, the USAID Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group, the Science for Nature and People Partnership, and the Doris Duke Climate Adaptation Fund.  Working at multiple scales-- from indigenous engagement to global policy fora--Conservation Solutions helps WCS and its partners deliver on a mission to save the world’s wildlife and wild places, for all people and for generations to come.  Please send any questions about Conservation Solutions to cssnyc@wcs.org.

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