Director of Southwest Program, Defenders of Wildlife, Arizona


The Director of the Southwest Program is responsible for overseeing Defenders of Wildlife’s expanded presence in the Southwestern . The Director will be responsible for ensuring effective on the ground implementation of imperiled wildlife and habitat conservation programs as described in Defenders’ strategic plan. These programs involve a wide range of scientific, policy, legal, and advocacy strategies to conserve wildlife and habitat throughout the Southwest region.

The Director is responsible for supervising and providing strategic direction to Southwest Field Conservation staff members and coordinating/collaborating with other program staff working in the region, ensuring the effective implementation of Defenders’ conservation programs and efficiently and effectively managing the office. Areas of focus include conserving priority imperiled wildlife, including Mexican gray wolves, jaguars, ocelots, desert tortoises, Sonoran pronghorn, condors , freshwater fish and amphibians; addressing the biggest threats to imperiled species (unsustainable forestry and practices, poorly sited renewable energy projects including transmission lines, human intolerance, mining, inadequate water quantity and quality, and climate change) by working with state and federal agencies; maintaining and enhancing the integrity of priority wildlife habitat; implementing human-wildlife coexistence programs and projects; promoting environmentally responsible energy development; and, maintaining and enhancing the conservation of biodiversity in general. The Director works closely with the Vice President for Field Conservation Programs, other field directors and senior program managers, field staff, and interdisciplinary teams on developing and coordinating strategies, campaigns, workplans, programs, projects, publications, coalitions, communications, organizational growth, educational , reports, and budgets.


Strategic Conservation

  • Using Defenders’ strategic plan as a guide, develop and update as necessary a comprehensive vision and long term goals for Defenders’ field conservation work in the Southwest.
  • Implement all relevant and applicable Southwest components of Defenders’ strategic plans for relevant focal landscapes; Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act programs and policies; and priority imperiled wildlife in the Southwest such as Mexican gray wolves, jaguars, ocelots Sonoran pronghorn, California condors, freshwater fish and amphibians.
  • Participate in strategically selected federal land management planning activities and management decisions involving national forests, national wildlife refuges, BLM public lands, national parks and Department of Defense lands.
  • Build tolerance for predators and other wildlife on the landscape by promoting and implementing non-lethal deterrents to minimize conflict and developing human-wildlife coexistence partnerships.
  • Keep informed of wildlife conservation trends and issues in the region and look for opportunities for Defenders’ participation consistent with our strategic plan.

Internal and External Coordination

  • Represent Defenders in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, press events and in general communications with the media, Defenders’ membership, and the general public.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and policymakers influencing wildlife conservation, with a particular focus on high level state and federal government officials and state and federal legislators and their staff, in addition to other non-governmental organizations and private landowners.
  • Assist the Development Department in identifying, recruiting, and cultivating potential major donors and foundations and support the Marketing Department in the cultivation and education of members and supporters of Defenders, preparing grant proposals and donation requests and promoting educational programs to the donor and member community.
  • Assist Communications and Marketing Departments by alerting them of critical issues that may require a response in a timely manner through social media, writing and editing articles, and letters to the editors, and suggesting topics for press and member response and mobilization campaigns.
  • Ensure integration of field and headquarters office activities by routine communications with relevant headquarters office staff. Look for opportunities to integrate activities between field conservation and policy and conservation law programs, whenever possible.
  • Provide timely information to Defenders’ managers and staff on pertinent federal and state programs and issues in the region, alerting headquarters office of controversial state and federal issues and legislative, legal and policy concerns.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.

Supervision and Office Management

  • Effectively supervise and manage staff by communicating duties and responsibilities to direct reports; monitoring performance; providing regular coaching and counseling; developing staff skills and identifying training needs; preparing and delivering salary and performance reviews; and, reviewing and approving performance and salary appraisals as necessary.
  • Recommend, review and approve employment actions, including interviewing, hiring, promotions and raises, in conjunction with Human Resources. Partner with Human Resources in the handling of disciplinary issues.
  • Keep informed of Defenders’ program and administrative policies and ensure that decisions are made consistent with those policies.
  • Establish and maintain efficient office management and communication systems and comply with all applicable administrative procedures.
  • Develop, recommend and effectively manage the office’s annual budget.
  • Develop and implement short- and long-range operating objectives, organizational structure, and staffing requirements.
  • Ensure optimum performance of group function. Recommend and implement management improvement techniques to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, cut costs and maintain state-of-the-art practices.


Education: Advanced degree in Wildlife Management or Ecology, Conservation Biology, Natural Resources, Law, or related discipline

Experience: 10+ years of progressively responsible, substantive conservation experience in at least one of the following areas: federal lands management planning and land use, developing and implementing programs to conserve biodiversity, or implementing policy programs and campaigns for non-profit conservation organizations. Experience working with state and federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Protection Agency and National Park Service, and state fish and wildlife agencies and knowledge of the laws and regulations for federal land management and species and habitat conservation is essential for this position. Management and supervisory experience required.


  • Strong supervision, management, planning, and administrative skills
  • Demonstrated leadership and strategic thinking skills
  • Experience working in a decentralized organization
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Strong writing and verbal communications skills
  • Working knowledge of federal agencies, laws, and policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources, particularly the Endangered Species Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
  • Experience with federal land use planning and management.
  • Experience developing, implementing, and managing legislative and advocacy campaigns
  • Political experience, including a general understanding of lobbying and state and federal legislative processes
  • Other relevant experience with legislative procedures, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so.


General office working conditions; the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet. Some work in the field with cooperators and colleagues and/or field work will be required.


Interested applicants please reference Director, Southwest Program position in your subject line and submit a letter of interest, along with your resume and salary history to us via e-mail at:

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures. We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

This post is not valid after Monday April 11th, 2016

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