Sea Shepherd - Executive Director

Req Number: K2GQIA
Location: Remote
Posted: 2/27/2023
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Not-For-Profit
Job Type: Permanent

About Sea Shepherd
Sea Shepherd’s sole mission is to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. We work to defend all marine wildlife, from whales and dolphins, to sharks and rays, to fish and krill, without exception.

Serving as the only fleet in the world whose sole purpose is to protect all marine wildlife, we are committed to the protection and enforcement of conservation law.

Our model of engagement provides unique, at sea resources to assist, serve, and support developing coastal and island governments in the protection of their sovereign waters against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Sea Shepherd’s primary goal is to greatly enhance a government’s own capacity to patrol, monitor, and enforce their own laws.
Around the world, Sea Shepherd is building new partnerships with national governments to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in their sovereign waters and protect marine wildlife.

2021-2022 campaigns included Operation Milagro, which collaborates with the Mexican Government’s Intergovernmental Group (GIS) led by Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy, to protect the world’s most endangered marine mammal; the Vaquita Porpoise. Since 2015, SSCS has removed 1,200 pieces of the illegal fishing gear that has brought the Vaquita to the edge of extinction. The campaign takes place inside the Zero Tolerance Area of the Vaquita Refuge – a UNESCO-recognized and federally protected area in which gillnet fishing is banned. Data from 2022 shows Milagro resulted in a 79% reduction of illegal fishing activity, and in January 2023 our new ship Seahorse joined the campaign.

Operation Revillagigedos is a scientific collaboration with CONANP, Mexico’s Commission of Natural Protected Areas, aimed at studying and protecting the animals and ecosystems of the largest marine protected area in North America. Operation Guadalupe studied the habitat and behavior of Cuvier’s beaked whales in the waters surrounding Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico, providing vital information to measure, preserve and protect the whales and other species. Finally in late 2022, in a lawsuit brought jointly by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd New Zealand, the United States Court of International Trade ordered a ban of imports of nine fish species caught off the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The ban specifically applies to set-net and trawl fisheries operating in the endangered Māui dolphin habitat.

The Opportunity
Sea Shepherd seeks a strategic, proactive, and thoughtful Executive Director (ED) with clear mission orientation and commitment. This is a tremendously exciting time for Sea Shepherd from a continued growth and impact standpoint. The new ED will lead institutional progression through leveraging an already extraordinary national and international brand and by refining and optimizing operational practices, policies, and systems.

There is an articulated need for a growth-minded executive and thought leader to conceptualize and manage systems, clearly define roles and departments, work closely with the CEO and Board, and employ best practices for the organization while keeping clearly aligned with the Sea Shepherd mission and values.

Position Summary and Responsibilities
Reporting to the CEO and Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for providing the overall administrative direction in accordance with its mission and developing and managing the operations of the organization. Primary responsibilities include administration, capacity building, supporting fundraising, role and skill alignment, and process optimization.

This position requires a talented, organized, and driven professional with proven experience working with government entities, research centers, conservation and other animal welfare groups pertaining to policy and advocacy. The ED will have a visible profile among key professional, volunteer, and donor constituencies.

This leader must be proactive, communicative, and thoughtful by operationalizing strategy to match the organizational growth and enhancing the support structures and workflow.

The ED will keep the pulse of the organization administratively and operationally and must exercise transparency in all practices. The selected candidate will bring recommendations to institutionalize best practices and processes by creating and implementing measurement systems and evaluation tools to assist in mapping and tracking real-time goals and objectives. The ED must be able to effectively listen, respond, collaborate, and work across all functions including with the development leader, staff, and board on institutional fundraising, special campaigns and events.

Key Responsibilities
The Executive Director will assume responsibility for the leadership, strategic execution, and administrative management of Sea Shepherd. Specific responsibilities will include, but not be limited to the following:

Vision and Executive Leadership
• Thoroughly understand Sea Shepherd, its mission and policies, culture, values, history, key partners and stakeholders, programs, finances, and strategic planning efforts.
• Anticipate and articulate a vision for strategic opportunities and challenges Sea Shepherd faces as it transitions into the next phase of impact.
• Guide the organization and its diverse internal and external stakeholders through goal setting and prioritizing, long-range planning, and growth.
• Oversee management of all operational activities and ensure coordination and integration of activities as appropriate.
• Build upon and advance a tremendous base and brand.
Strategic Advancement
• Lead the development and execution of long-term strategies including the definition and execution of Sea Shepherd’s strategic plan.
• Further position Sea Shepherd as a leading conservation organization equipped to address the changing needs of the 21st century sustainability community and the growing challenges posed by the world at large.
• Work closely with CEO on prioritization and execution of all goals and objectives.

Board Relations and Governance
• Communicate effectively with the board and provide, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the board to function properly and to make informed decisions.
• In collaboration with the board, serve as point person to help align best governance and practice.
• Help the board understand the context and positioning of the organization to assist them on policy issues and to facilitate long-range planning; then, in tandem with staff, conducts long-range plans.
• Organize and facilitate effective board committees, subcommittees, and working groups to best utilize the substantial talent and experience on the board to further the mission.
• Communicate regularly with board members on issues of Sea Shepherd business and interest.
• In partnership with the Board of Directors, identify, cultivate, and attract new Board and Advisory members to the organization.
• Work in partnership with the Board of Directors to unlock prospective new donors for Sea Shepherd.

• Partner with the board and staff on fundraising, including the cultivation of new donors and the continued development of relationships with established donors with the development leadership.
• Supervise the development leader and provide guidance on fundraising strategy and execution to meet both long-range goals and annual budgetary benchmarks.
• Ensure the development team is creating development plans, timelines, and “prospects” lists that propel the organization forward and reach new constituents.

Professional Experience & Qualifications
The successful candidate will bring passion, enthusiasm, and vision for the Sea Shepherd mission. They will embody a deep knowledge and love of conservation and have at least a decade of executive leadership experience in an organization of similar or larger size and complexity.

The Executive Director will be a very strong culture builder, stellar communicator, strategic thinker, and a proven leader who will articulate an inclusive vision that others are excited to embrace and follow. This leader must have a working knowledge of non-profit organizational structure, such as: board development; fundraising; impact measurement; and financial reporting. The candidate must have extensive experience managing staff, volunteers, budgets, and program plans.

Executive Leadership
• An entrepreneurial mindset and capacity/desire to be innovative around all areas of fundraising, programming, operations, and staff supervision and growth.
• A track record of developing, articulating, and implementing a vision designed to inspire and engage professionals, and members of the public alike.
• Gravitas and diplomatic skills necessary for serving as a senior representative of Sea Shepherd.
• A fundraising strategist with experience in developing and managing a range of fundraising techniques and programs from major donor programs to digital and social media platforms.
• A manager who has created and executed upon comprehensive and detailed strategic plans with qualitative and quantitative metrics for tracking accountability and success of staff, programs, and facilities.

Stakeholder Engagement
• Ability to relate to and partner with multiple constituencies, internally and externally, including the Board of Directors, staff, and key stakeholders.
• Experience in working with and motivating volunteer boards and committees.
• Excellent communication and relationship building skills through written, oral, and electronic means.
• Experience and confidence as a public speaker and organization spokesperson with frequent media appearances.

Additional Qualifications
• Minimum of ten years of experience in management positions with progressively increasing responsibility.
• A creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial thinker with strategic inclinations.
• A dynamic and collaborative mentor who inspires trust and respect among board members, staff, and the community.
• Energy, drive, and passion for continuous improvement in regard to team building and organizational leadership.
• A professional commitment to represent the best interests and integrity of Sea Shepherd in all activities and relationships through consistent messaging.
• Ability to promote opportunities for engagement to wide-ranging constituents and the capacity to be a visionary leader who can motivate, inspire, and enlist engagement of partners, both external and internal, and work effectively with warmth one-on-one as well as in a group environment.

• Bachelor’s degree is required; advanced degree is preferred.

Application Process
• Interested and qualified candidates are welcome to submit a resume and cover letter to: