Website National Parks Conservation Association

Location: Barstow, CA


The California Desert Associate Director manages all aspects of the California desert program including advocacy campaigns to protect the parks and adjacent lands, staffing, external relationships, and public outreach. Specific campaigns include work on national monument creation and defense, protecting desert land, water and wildlife resources, building a broader movement to protect the California desert, and highlighting publicly the values and need to protect the California desert.

The California desert contains nearly 25% of all the national park lands in the lower 48 states and faces significant threats to its wildlife, ecological integrity, and its natural and cultural resources. It is also a frontier for scientific discovery, one of the most protected landscapes in the nation, and a place where landscape-scale conservation has and can continue to be achieved.


Essential Functions:

  • Strategically Lead California Desert Advocacy Campaign Work:               (50%)
    1. There are two primary elements of this function: 1. to monitor, understand, and act upon threats to desert national parks and connected natural and cultural landscapes. 2. Identify and act quickly to take advantage of opportunities to further protect these desert lands and cultural landscapes. Through a team-oriented culture, guide and refine the vision, goals and strategic direction of national park campaigns in the region by working with team to prioritize, design, implement and report out on progress and activities. Design advocacy strategies to address park threats, improve natural, cultural and historic resource protection, and improve the park visitor experience across the region. Support national campaigns such as calls for park funding and other systemic initiatives. Provide strategic oversight of current and future regional priorities. Cultivate relationships with public officials to become champions for national parks. Engage large and diverse communities of advocates to empower and uphold the highest protections for national parks. Provide strategic input and active participation in systemic or program-level, cross-departmental teams and campaigns.  The Associate Director is a public-figure who will work closely with the media to highlight national park issues in this region. That includes leading desert media tours, performing on camera interviews, speaking to and working closely with reporters in coordination with media relations staff, drafting opinion pieces, and supporting the communications needs of partners and coalition members. The ideal candidate will have some experience organizing media to help support strategic campaign goals and outcomes.
  • Community leadership/movement building: (20%) 
    1. Advocacy relies on community relationships and as such this role is very public facing. We work across a broad geography, with diverse communities, stakeholders, and interest groups. We seek a thoughtful leader with the ability to become an expert on desert issues and policy and build community around conservation issues, to become a trusted and respected ally in this region that supports others, builds relationships, builds coalitions, and can support and create policy change on the local, regional, state and national level.   This will include work with and building trust with rural communities, communities of color, tribes, faith-based groups, and new audiences who may not have had access or exposure to conservation or national parks issues. We seek to broaden the movement to protect the desert, and the Associate Director will lead that effort to build community, build grassroots and political power, build national park champions, and deepen the engagement of our friends and allies.
  • Team leadership, staff management and field office operations (30%): 
    1. This position manages the California desert program including one staff person, part-time consultant(s) as needed, the program budget, and relationships at the local, county, state, and federal level. The Associate Director makes decisions about strategic direction, campaigns, resource allocation, and capacity to engage on issues. The Associate Director assists NPCA’s Development staff and the Pacific Region Director in fundraising for programmatic needs. A leader with a strong ethic of collaboration, empathy, vision, strategic thinking, and who focuses on empowerment of staff and community is essential.



Strategic Direction and Management of Campaigns and Programs 

  • Has experience structuring and running fast moving and complex programmatic and policy campaigns and programs
  • Demonstrated skills working on policy with decision makers and identifying and coalescing a community of support for campaigns and programs and understands how the various political, policy, public and programmatic pieces fit together
  • Experienced with building internal support for campaigns and programs, demonstrating the value to organization-wide mission and objectives
  • Proven experience building strong and authentic relationships externally that contribute to positive programmatic outcomes
  • Strength with developing benchmarks before launching an initiative and capturing stories to report on progress/impact

Administration and Human Resources 

  • Experienced with managing budgets and being accountable to grant/donor deliverables and expenditures
  • Skilled with ensuring policies, practices and facilities that support a high performance team
  • Experienced at building and managing a diverse and professional team (e.g. staff and/or consultants) and providing direction and coaching for staff and is willing to receive the same

Personal Attributes 

  • Confident in their leadership abilities
  • Exhibits active listening skills, timely follow-up and accountability
  • Works quickly without sacrificing quality or collaboration
  • Comes prepared to all meetings and responds to requests in a timely manner
  • Is clear and concise when communicating
  • A caring, committed, and empathetic person who shares NPCA’s core values of commitment, inclusion, integrity, and respect.

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