Director, Resilient Landscapes Program

San Francisco Estuary Institute Published: November 3, 2023
Richmond, California
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
Natural Resources/ Restoration / Program Management / Strategy Development
(Number of Job Posting Views: 2)

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About the San Francisco Estuary Institute

For three decades, the San Francisco Estuary Institute has provided the critically important science foundation to rebuild and sustain the health and resiliency of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, adjacent communities, and beyond.  We are an environmental research institute and a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

SFEI is recognized nationally for our ability to build consensus among disparate points of view, using scientific understanding as a critical piece of a shared framework. Our independent, objective science has produced far-reaching state and regional policies and funding to restore and protect natural and urban ecosystems. We have created accessible resource-mapping tools to understand shoreline change, to restore wetland and riparian ecosystems, and to apply nature-based and green infrastructure solutions to enhance ecosystem functions and protect communities from rising seas, rising groundwater, and increased contamination and flooding.

The mounting impacts of climate change threaten to overwhelm our communities and government at every scale. Guided by scientific and community wisdom, SFEI provides both visionary and practical solutions to work with both nature and communities to rebuild ecological resilience in the most powerful, beneficial, durable, and cost-effective way possible. Our team believes in making these choices in concert with community values and the need to redress decades of unjust land and water management.

When you join the San Francisco Estuary Institute, you join a team of 75 leaders whose science and communications endeavors have catalyzed real impact. For more information on our mission, values, programs, and staff, visit the San Francisco Estuary Institute website.  

The Opportunity

SFEI seeks a visionary, knowledgeable, creative, and effective leader to direct our Resilient Landscapes Program. This role is an opportunity to lead and expand a high-impact team and programmatic area, to nurture relationships, connections, and excitement about the SFEI mission, and to serve as a public face of the organization.

SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes Program works across issue areas to restore ecosystem function and build nature-based solutions for a better future. While focused in the Bay-Delta region, the Program works at many scales and conducts work across the State. In this role, the Director will help develop the science-based tools and processes that inform, inspire, and empower community and government leaders to tackle the most complex environmental and climate challenges facing our region.

This is a job for a skillful, innovative leader with an ability to translate the best available science to communities, government, and the news media. We seek a candidate that likes people and embraces collaboration to help build a sustained recovery of our natural systems and resilient communities with a more just distribution of its benefits.

Key Responsibilities

SFEI’s Director of Resilient Landscapes reports to the Executive Director and works with other  Directors (Clean Water and Environmental Informatics) to ensure bold, strategic, and effective delivery of our organization’s knowledge and expertise to key decision-makers and influencers. The Director will:

  • Support a team of over 30 scientists, landscape designers, and planners on a full suite of projects and ideas
  • Build and maintain external relationships and partnerships
  • Work with the Executive Director to secure the discretionary funds necessary to work beyond what our government contracts cover
  • Develop ideas to find solutions to the pressing problems we face
  • Give technical presentations at regional and national forums
  • Supervise senior program staff
  • Ideate with the team about projects and future proposals
  • Work with the Executive Director to tell the story of SFEI and its partners to the media and potential funders about the continued need for a collaborative science-based approach

Candidate Profile

We are looking for a Director for our Resilient Landscapes Program who is:

  • Committed to the health of the Bay-Delta region and its communities, wildlife and ecosystems
  • Well-grounded in science, and equipped to work with intended users of the science, to develop tools strategies and partnerships to help realize the vision for a healthy bay-delta region
  • A storyteller— someone as comfortable with a Ted Talk as they are a PowerPoint presentation; at ease in small private conversations and in large public venues
  • A recognized leader in their respective field, who brings a positive, bold, dynamic energy to their work.

Note: We are a collaborative organization and work across disciplines and areas of expertise to accomplish our mission. We support one another and our external partners. We seek a good listener, a strategic thinker, a respectful colleague, and someone with a good sense of humor.

Desired Qualifications:

  • 15-20 years of professional experience and a Master’s degree in Ecology, Environmental Science/Policy/Management, or other related science field required; PhD preferred
  • Expertise with fundraising, building new revenue streams, and building and sustaining strong relationships with communities and partners
  • Outstanding ability to communicate in writing and orally, with expertise in presenting complex science in an engaging, compelling, and clear way for technical and non-technical audiences including major donors and philanthropic funders
  • Experience and knowledge of the visioning process that includes strategic direction development based on environmental and programmatic needs
  • Experience ensuring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a core part of a programmatic vision
  • Strong technical knowledge of ecology, shoreline resilience, delta and watershed science and management, wetland monitoring and assessment, ecosystem restoration and conservation, climate-smart management, and/or ecology-based urban planning
  • Program management experience, including developing appropriate plans and timelines for accomplishing tasks and projects; holding self and others accountable; developing short-term goals and alternatives; delegating work and assigning decision-making responsibilities appropriately; measuring performance and outcomes

Position Details

The salary range for this position is $170,000-$190,000, which takes into account factors such as experience, skills, training, internal team equity, and local norms. The person in this position will ideally work at least 2 days a week in our office located in Richmond, CA.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

At SFEI, we celebrate the diversity of our staff and the places we serve. In 2022, SFEI developed and adopted mission and vision statements for DEIJ within and beyond our organization. We also created an action plan which is currently underway. We strongly encourage applications from women-identified people, people of color, and people with other identities commonly under-represented in environmental science.

To Apply

CEA Recruiting is assisting SFEI with this search. Please direct any inquiries to Tamara Evans, Search Lead ( Preference will be given to applications received before October 30th, but the position will remain posted until filled.

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and what you would bring to the role, by applying here

SFEI is proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We are committed to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. All employment decisions are based on business needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental disability, family or parental status, protected Veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

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

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