Lead for US Policy and Government Affairs

  • Conservation International
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • Mar 19, 2020
Full Time Other

Job Description

Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of all for over 30 years. Through science, policy, and partnerships, CI is helping build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet.


People need nature. Food, water, livelihoods, a stable climate — these are just some of the essentials that nature provides. At Conservation International (CI), we protect nature so that humanity can thrive. Blending innovative science, policy expertise and a worldwide network of partnerships, CI empowers communities, countries and companies to sustainably care for nature.

Working at every level of society, from remote villages to the offices of CEOs and heads of state, CI’s staff of over 1000 people in 30 countries strives to protect nature where it is most crucial for people. Our ultimate goal: a healthy planet that enables all people to prosper.

The Lead for U.S. Policy & Government Affairs (GPGA) is a leader for CI, with primary responsibility for the organization’s involvement on influencing the development and implementation of U.S. Government policies (at the national and sub-national levels) important to the achievement of CI’s mission and strategic objectives with an emphasis on nature-based climate solutions, and sustainable seascapes and landscapes. The position reports to CI’s SVP for GPGA and is a leader on the GPGA Team.

Based at CI’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the Lead for GPGR will lead the development and implementation of a strategy for CI to influence nationally and globally important policies (climate, sustainable development, freshwater, biodiversity, wildlife trafficking), including funding appropriations and programming of key public donors. This position will spearhead CI’s outreach to high-level U.S. officials and staff with the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch and also participate in CI’s high-level engagement with other sub-national governments in the United States, as well as other organizations, the business community and other stakeholders with whom CI may partner on specific issues. The Lead will coordinate closely with other CI teams (i.e., CI’s Center for Oceans) to ensure coherence of CI’s policy efforts as well as alignment with the CI strategies.

The Lead will shape and oversee CI’s vision and strategy for important U.S. policies, with emphasis on mobilizing government action and funding as a positive force for nature-based climate solutions, and sustainable seascapes and landscapes. He or she will represent CI with the Congress and Executive Branch, work with the SVP for GPGA on managing policy engagement by members of CI’s Executive Team and Board of Directors, and framing the content of CI communications on policy matters.


Program Strategy and Management:

  • Articulate an institutional vision for U.S. public policy, consistent with CI’s mission, strategies, and signature focal areas.
  • Working with the SVP to define and implement CI’s strategic priorities for development and implementation of U.S. public policy related to nature-based climate solutions, and sustainable seascapes and landscapes, and implement a strategy to achieve objectives.
  • Assist in timely preparation and monitoring of program budgets, outputs, deliverables, indicators, work plans, and progress reports, consistent with CI’s annual planning process.
  • Coordinate with teams across CI to ensure coherence with U.S. policy objectives and strategies, and to leverage CI’s presence in Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific.
  • Assist the SVP for GPGA in liaising with the CI Board of Directors on policy matters.

​Policy Engagement:

  • Represent CI in meetings with government officials from the United States, as well as with senior officials from other environmental/conservation NGOs.
  • Advise team on direction and content of U.S. policy materials (internal briefing memos, letters to government officials, comments on Federal Register notices, congressional testimony, policy position papers etc.) on policy and legislative initiatives related to CI priorities.
  • Facilitate and manage high-level policy engagement by members of CI’s Executive Team and Board of Directors.
  • Assist CI communications team in framing the content of CI communications on policy matters.


  • Assist in developing a fundraising strategy in collaboration with CI’s Development team and field programs.
  • Develop grant proposals to cover program expenses and to enable strategic growth over time.
  • Build and sustain strong relationships with current and potential donors interested in providing support to CI’s policy efforts.
  • Assist in delivering timely submission of high-quality reports to donors.


  • This position is based in CI-Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Up to 20% domestic travel.



  • 7+ years of relevant experience and with 5+ professional experience involving strategic leadership and program delivery.
  • Substantive knowledge of policy and public funding issues related to conservation and development, e.g., climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity, ocean health, wildlife trafficking, sustainable agriculture, sustainable forest practices.
  • Strong familiarity with Congressional Committees and Executive Branch agencies relevant to international conservation policy, e.g., State Department, House and Senate Committees on Foreign Affairs, USAID, State Department, etc.
  • Track record of working effectively at senior-levels with the legislative and executive branches of government.
  • Experience with inter-governmental policy development on policy related to CI priority topics.
  • Understanding of developing country context, preferably from living or working abroad, and knowledge of conservation policy innovations, trends, and challenges in developing countries.
  • Extensive Congressional network of key policymakers and thought leaders.
  • Fundraising experience.
  • Collaborative spirit, with a strong commitment to teamwork with internal colleagues and external partners.
  • Ability to oversee project management and budgeting.
  • Outstanding oral and written communications skills.
  • Proven ability to work with a wide variety of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and political contexts.


  • Experience in formation and implementation of public-private alliances.
  • Experience supervising team of U.S. policy experts.
  • Authority to convene internal meetings with CI staff at all levels as necessary for development and implementation of government policy strategy and program activities.
  • Authority to convene meetings with senior officials from governments, inter-governmental organizations, foundations, and NGOs.
  • Spanish or French as a preferred additional language

View all Conservation International Career Opportunities HERE

Conservation International Values

We expect that all employees will embrace the values of our organization.

Passion: We are inspired by nature and cherish the diversity of life in all of its forms.

Respect: We respect and trust each other, and we embrace our diversity of cultures, talents, and experiences.

Integrity: We act with integrity and are accountable for our actions.

Optimism: We are optimistic about the future of life on Earth and are confident that, with our partners, we will achieve unprecedented conservation results.

Courage: We tirelessly pursue our vision, taking bold action and persevering through challenges.

Teamwork: We work together, recognizing that openness, collaboration and cooperation are fundamental to achieving a healthy and prosperous world for all.

Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Women/Vets/Disabled


Supporting Catalysts  

Experience level

Senior Level  

Climate Impact Statement

Conservation International (CI) has been protecting nature for the benefit of all for over 30 years. Through science, policy, and partnerships, CI is helping build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet.


501-1000 employees  

Organization type


Role Type


Will sponsor Visa