The Wilderness Society

The Wilderness Society

Chief Of Staff

Washington DC-Baltimore Area
Jul 7, 2022
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To apply: Please submit your resume and cover letter via our online application by Sunday, August 7th.

Please note: Washington, DC is the strongly preferred location for this position. Other TWS office locations may be considered.

General Description

The Chief of Staff (CoS) serves in a critical and trusted leadership role as the strategic partner to the President. The CoS helps drive strategic goals and results, manages the leadership team in an integrated and highly functional manner, supports and directs change management and initiatives throughout the organization, and manages internal communications on behalf of the President while building and maintaining key relationships across the organization and with the Board.

This position will support the mission and values of TWS by performing as an extension of the President—including representing them in meetings, by email, and via phone. Additionally, the CoS will assist the President in providing leadership and oversight for the organization’s day-to-day functions and staff, including regular communications with the Executive Team. The CoS is the main organizer and planner of the Executive Team meetings and retreats and assists the President in maintaining a highly collaborative and effective senior leadership team.

The CoS plays a critical role in establishing and reinforcing an inclusive organizational culture that is grounded in trust and accountability to shared goals and outcomes. TWS has made diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic priorities for the organization. This leader will integrate these priorities throughout their work, bringing an equity lens to all facets of the role, and serve as a model for inclusive culture and practices across the organization that support the direction and growth of the organization. Across our team, we aspire to be campaign oriented, nimble, collaborative, innovative, transparent, and supportive of staff – our greatest asset.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

Planning & Execution

  • Aligns priorities across the Executive Team and ensures coordinated and timely execution.
  • Ensures clarity, timeliness, and transparency of decisions and decision-making processes.
  • Partners with the President to manage and focus the Executive Team on the highest organizational needs and drive the team toward effective and clear decision making.
  • Oversees staff meetings and executive retreats and ensures follow up on action items identified.
  • Sits on Program Leadership Team (integrating Conservation Program and Policy and External Affairs) and may assist in facilitating meetings and ensuring appropriate follow up with President and other members of Executive Team.

Support of the President

  • Serves as a thought partner to the President.
  • Leads major internal initiatives as requested by the President.
  • Manages staff in the Executive office, including the Director of the President’s Office & Council Liaison.
  • Attends internal meetings on behalf of the President as assigned or when they are unavailable.
  • Supports and Manages the Executive Director of the Action Fund.

Internal Communications

  • Oversees and manages internal communications at TWS, including communications to both Council and staff, in coordination with the Communications Specialist to the President and other relevant staff.
  • Drafts communications to staff around strategic vision and progress, changes in policies, organization successes, etc.
  • Looks for opportunities to share information across departments to help staff better understand and support each other’s work, see opportunities for coordination and integration across teams, and support a positive organizational culture.
  • Partner with Finance and Operations, Conservation Program and Policy, Equity and Learning, Philanthropy, and External Affairs to ensure effective, consistent management and accountability across all parts of the organization.

Board Management (c3 and c4)

  • Works with the President, the Board Chairs, and board members of The Wilderness Society (c3) and The Wilderness Society Action Fund (c4), and the Governing Council Liaison and Committee staff leads to develop effective, engaging meeting agendas.
  • Works with the Executive Team and Governing Council Liaison to assemble Council/board information.
  • Ensures follow up to Council/board action items.
  • Ensures there is an engagement plan and staff support for each board/Council member and helps shepherd new Council members through their onboarding process.
  • Works with key Council committees.

Organizational Culture

  • Demonstrates leadership on centering racial equity and justice in all of our work, including prioritization and decision-making processes, the formation of diverse teams to achieve shared goals and initiatives, and strengthening our partnerships with BIPOC and frontline groups that contribute to building a more representative and powerful conservation movement.
  • Promotes a positive, mutually-supportive, inclusive culture at TWS that celebrates continuous learning, honest communication, and feedback, and this is solution-focused.
  • Serves as a collaborative thought partner with the President and Executive Team on organization-wide strategy development and decision-making, setting a forward-looking vision that centers people, culture, and equity in leading staff, managing change, and making strong business decisions.


  • At least 10 years of experience in a leadership role, supervising staff and managing multiple programs across a broad geography.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle complex situations and multiple responsibilities simultaneously, mixing long-term projects with the urgency of immediate demands.
  • Highly collaborative work style, with a track record of achieving actionable results through teams, the ability to build strong and sustainable relationships, and the capability to collaboratively work with all levels of an organization.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability to inspire and motivate others toward stated goals.
  • A track record of operationalizing and leading on equity, and have developed and/or led organizational level equity and justice change strategies.
  • Ability and experience managing highly confidential information with diplomacy and discretion.
  • Experience leading and managing teams representing a rich mix of talent, backgrounds, and perspectives. This includes a track record of successful recruitment, cultivation, and retention of highly skilled staff across race and gender.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of strategic planning and project management principle and leading an organization through changes.
  • Superior written and oral communication, interpersonal, research, and presentation skills.
  • Proven success in working with a Board of Directors and high-level committees.
  • Culturally competent, open-minded, inclusive, and adept at meeting people where they are.
  • Advanced understanding of MS PowerPoint, Excel, and Word (or equivalent) to develop executive presentations and documents.
  • A commitment to and understanding of The Wilderness Society’s mission and work and an understanding of national politics and/or conservation issues will be highly regarded.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 15 pounds. Travel is occasionally required for Governing Council and board meetings, all staff retreats, and key team meetings. Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision.

TWS has instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all staff reporting to a TWS office or engaging in in-person work meetings. There is an exception to the vaccine mandate for any staff who have an objection because of a medical or religious reason. We will do our best to devise reasonable accommodation that respects your objection while balancing the competing demands of your specific position.

This job description is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of this position and it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of experience, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities, or working conditions associated with the position.

The Wilderness Society offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; sick and vacation leave; a sabbatical program; and a retirement plan. TWS is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair treatment of our employees and constituents across culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, veteran status or sexual orientation.

As an organization, we aspire to being inclusive in the work that we do, and in the kind of organization we are. Internally this means working as a team that listens to different points of view, recognizes the contributions of every employee and empowers each employee to bring their whole selves to work every day. Externally this means ensuring that public lands are inclusive and welcoming, so that our shared wildlands can help people and nature to thrive. We are committed to equity throughout our work, which we define as our commitment to realizing the promise of our public lands and ensuring that all can share in their universal benefits.

To learn more about our commitment, please see

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