Chief Operations Officer

Global Fishing Watch Published: August 27, 2020
United States
Second Location
San Francisco, California 94104, United States
Job Type
CEO/ Senior Mgmt/ Exec Director / Other / Program Management /
(Number of Job Posting Views: 4)

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~ Global Fishing Watch (GFW) is an international, non-profit organization committed to advancing ocean governance through increased transparency. We create and publicly share knowledge about human activity at sea to enable fair and sustainable use of our ocean. ~

Founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google, GFW became an independent non-profit organization in June 2017. Using cutting edge technology, we create and publicly share map visualizations, data and analysis tools to enable scientific research and drive a transformation in how we manage our ocean. Our major focus is on commercial fishing because it is the most widespread human activity at sea, the most impactful on ocean health, and the most crucial for global livelihoods and food security. By 2030, we aim to monitor and visualize the impact of ocean-going vessels, both industrial and small-scale, that are responsible for the vast majority of the global seafood catch.

We believe human activity at sea should be common knowledge in order to safeguard the global ocean commons for the common good of all.

  • For more information, please visit our website

Position Overview

GFW seeks a Chief Operations Officer (COO) to provide operating and strategic oversight through a phase of rapid organizational growth.  The COO will be a primary partner to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and will be responsible for developing, implementing, and refining GFW’s processes and procedures for finance and accounting, human resources, operations, grants management, and information technology.

The COO will be a principal member of the GFW leadership team, ensuring that the organization remains nimble, flexible, effective, and engaged with international partnerships, funders, staff, and contractors. This position requires a seasoned, mission-focused, and process-minded individual with experience executing on vision and strategy through day-to-day operations, financial oversight, and staff management.  The COO will report to the CEO and will supervise the work of the Finance Director, the Director of Operations & Business Affairs, and the Grants Development Manager.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities 

Strategic Vision & Leadership

  • Work with the CEO to develop and manage the ongoing strategy of the organization.
  • Set annual performance goals and the organizational planning and evaluation processes in collaboration with the leadership team.
  • Work with the CEO and Board of Directors to create robust agendas for board meetings.
  • Participate in Board of Directors meetings, providing updates to and seeking feedback from members on operating and financial performance to inform high-level decision making and strategy.
  • Provide leadership and mentorship to a dynamic and energetic team, including helping to create staff development plans, and ensure that all staff members have the resources they need to succeed.
  • Support staff in conducting internal program evaluations.

Finance & Accounting

  • Supervise the work of the Finance Director and oversee the full range of financial and accounting functions and systems so that:
    • All financial planning, budgeting, reporting, and analyses provide meaningful information for senior management and Board decision-making.
    • All business policies and accounting practices are compliant and scalable.
    • The organization is audit and tax-ready when needed.
    • The highest level of ethics is employed in accounting operations and decision-making.
    • The organization has sufficient reserves and solvency.

Human Resources & Business Affairs

  • Supervise the work of, and collaborate, with the Director of Operations & Business Affairs
    • Develop and support functions and systems including:
      • Creating fair, equitable, and competitive compensation across the organization and employee geographies.
      • Supporting effective and impactful recruiting, onboarding, professional development, performance management, and retention.
      • Fostering a highly inclusive culture that ensures team members’ organizational outcomes are met.
      • Ensuring compliance with country and local regulations.
    • Negotiate and review contractual terms and conditions ranging from procurement of services to partner and funder agreements and engage outside counsel when necessary.
    • Guide the organization’s risk management strategies in a comprehensive way to assess and evaluate risk across the organization and create monitoring and mitigation strategies.

Grants Development & Management

  • Supervise the work of the Grants Development Manager and in collaboration:
    • Establish user-friendly and appropriate systems to meaningfully track progress, facilitate reporting, and make sound decisions.
    • Ensure tax and other regulatory compliance in the use of grant funds.
    • Guide the development and integration of grants management CRM and knowledge management systems for the organization.
    • Oversight of adherence to grant and contract strategy.
    • Oversee grants management system and processes to ensure accurate and timely reporting to funders.

Information Technology

  • Effectively oversee and manage the organization’s infrastructural requirements, including appropriate information technology and work environments in both the UK and DC offices. At a minimum, this will include:
    • All billing and access-control related issues.
    • Implementation and administration of G Suite and company website.
    • Working with the internal IT team and vendors on any and all issues related to systems and desktop support, security, website management and hosting, and IT asset management. 

Qualifications and Experience

  • 10+ years of relevant experience in an international context, including 3 years overseeing finance and accounting and human resources functions
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Direct experience scaling up organizational infrastructure, including implementation of business processes and systems, at the right time and at the right scale with an eye to the future
  • Success and comfort with leading a diverse and energetic virtual staff and international network across cultures, languages, and work styles, with a track record of managing hiring processes and on-boarding procedures
  • Ability to motivate individuals and foster team spirit; knowledge of basic human resources issues and experience setting individual and team performance goals and evaluating their execution
  • Self-starter who takes initiative, using sound, independent judgment and discretion and seeking guidance and feedback where appropriate—a doer as well as a manager
  • Familiarity with state-of-the-art organizational development tools
  • Commitment to the mission of GFW and an ability to promote and communicate the philosophy, mission, and values to funders, government officials, and other stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of other languages, especially Spanish, a plus

Desired Personal Attributes:

  • Deep commitment to the values and mission of Global Fishing Watch
  • Comfort with working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations
  • Personable, flexible, tenacious, diplomatic, and respectful demeanor
  • Proven ability to serve as a team player and leader to motivate and inspire staff and colleagues
  • High energy level, impeccable integrity, entrepreneurial spirit, and a sense of humor

Compensation and Logistics

  • Salary or Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience. GFW offers pension/retirement, health, and other benefits.
  • Working Hours/Location: GFW has a globally distributed workforce and supports flexible working, so the pattern of hours will vary according to operational needs and balanced with personal circumstances. This US-based position will require the individual to be based in a time zone that overlaps significantly with London, UK. We have a strong preference for this role to be located in Washington, DC.
  • Equal opportunities: GFW is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of skills, experiences, and ideas. Employment selection and related decisions are made without regard to sex, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, religion, national origin, color, marital or veteran status, or any other protected class. Commitment to this process is expected.
  • Travel: Periodic domestic and international travel will be required to meet with team members and for workshops. No overtime is payable.

To Apply

  • CEA Recruiting is assisting Global Fishing Watch in their recruitment efforts.
  • To be considered for a position, interested candidates should click "Apply on Company Website" to  to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through the link below.
  • Please direct all inquiries to CEA Recruiting.
  • This position will remain open until filled.

CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies.

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