Executive Director

Date: May 31, 2023

About Pacific Environment

For more than three decades, Pacific Environment has worked to serve people, wildlife, and ecosystems by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities, leading strategic campaigns, and working for policy changes. Pacific Environment is currently headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices or staff in Alaska, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand, and with partnerships that span the Pacific Rim.

Pacific Environment and its partners fight fossil fuels and champion clean energy, challenge industrial models that disregard local interests, and bring grassroots concerns – and whenever possible grassroots leaders – to national and international bodies to advocate for policy solutions that reflect community needs and values.

Pacific Environment operates as a campaigner, coalition-builder, and thought partner. The organization provides direct funding and technical assistance to grassroots environmental activists in the regions where they work. Pacific Environment offers one of the very few granting and training programs for grassroots environmental leaders that nurtures creative activism and leadership among local partners and their many community volunteers. The organization complements these community-led efforts with national and international coalition-building and advocacy to decision-makers to support policy changes.  Pacific Environment has a strong track record of local and international achievements, addressing the root causes of environmental challenges.

The Opportunity

This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic executive to take the helm of an organization that influences governments and industry while building durable community partnerships across the Pacific Rim.  With recent and significant growth in funding, programs, and staff, this is a pivotal moment for the organization, and a unique opportunity for an ambitious organization builder. This moment calls for continued bold leadership and skill in building, growing, and expanding a global organization that is playing a pivotal role in nurturing community level movement building and advancing systemic environmental reform.

Reporting to the Board of Directors and overseeing a talented team of professionals, the Executive Director will serve as a partner and guide, stewarding a continued path of evolution and ensuring the organization moves effectively into its next phase of growth. The Executive Director will spearhead planning for the future and ensure the organization delivers on its priorities and partnerships.  The new Executive Director will have the opportunity to design a vision for the future that centers environmental justice, allows the organization to continue to grow, and identifies new initiatives and opportunities for impact.

The Executive Director will be joining an organizational culture that is global, fast moving, and highly entrepreneurial. Collaboration, participatory leadership, and inclusive decision making are characteristics of the team’s approach to working together. Embracing these qualities is essential to success in this position. Leading with humility, bringing a collective, trust-based approach to working with both staff and the board, the Executive Director will set the tone for a collaborative culture that promotes and inspires diversity, belonging, continuous growth, creativity, and interconnectedness.

Key Priorities

First and foremost, the Executive Director will ensure that Pacific Environment is resourced with the staff, funding, systems, and processes it needs for success. The organization’s growth trajectory requires a skillful application of exceptional leadership and change-management practices.

Organizational Leadership

  • Guide the passionate and talented team – the organization’s biggest strength – with clarity about roles, reporting, and decision making, as well as clear guidelines about accountability, performance, and professional development.
  • Manage current growth by applying effective change management and best practices in human resources, operations, technology, and processes at all levels.
  • Attract and retain high potential talent to support sustainable change across the organization; engage them in creating optimal structure, processes, and systems to support the growth and expansion; ensure staff have the tools, support, and resources needed to effectively do their work.
  • Provide sound fiscal and business management and hold ultimate accountability for legal integrity, compliance, human resources, and values of the organization.
  • Support globally distributed program lead offices in their management and decision making.

Strategic Vision

  • Leverage understanding of global trends in environmental and political issues to inform decisions about programs; explore opportunities in adjacent and intersecting areas that would further impact.
  • In partnership with the Board and staff, articulate the strategic vision for Pacific Environment.
  • Develop a Strategic Planning Process and implement a new Strategic Plan.
  • Seek Board and staff input to ensure alignment around key priorities, direction, and strategic goals; communicate clearly and often regarding strategic direction.
  • Design key metrics to evaluate and measure impact of programs and campaigns.

Sustainable Growth

  • Position Pacific Environment for continuous and new funding to sustain program initiatives, growth, and impact; continue to secure funding for program priorities and unrestricted funding for infrastructure and staff growth.
  • Develop a strong understanding of current funding sources and actively lead fundraising efforts while empowering other senior staff to pursue fundraising opportunities; develop deep and trusting relationships with current and new donors to secure program funding and flexible funding to allow organizational expansion.
  • Build external presence and brand recognition/understanding of Pacific Environment’s work with and through local communities; serve as the external face and key spokesperson, representing the organization with credibility and enthusiasm, and communicating its vision and value proposition to a myriad of audiences including donors, decision-makers, and the press.


  • Build culture with intention, leveraging and supporting the collective talent of the staff by creating an inclusive and collaborative environment where individuals are empowered and encouraged to lead and innovate across global offices.
  • Ensure that Pacific Environment leads by example by integrating its values of equity and justice into organizational priorities and approaches to staff across geographies.
  • Champion organization-wide cohesion, global teamwork, and alignment across the organization by providing effective, frequent communication and opportunities/spaces to convene and collaborate with regularity.

Ideal Candidate

Pacific Environment seeks an Executive Director whose values, personal mission, and expertise align with the organization’s commitment to furthering environmental activism and advocacy across key issues in a global context. The ideal candidate is a strategic professional who leads with tough-minded optimism and a global, systems-level view of environmental and climate issues. Specific experience and skills include:

Grass Roots Advocacy and Global Policy: They understand and value the grass roots to global connectivity that sets Pacific Environment apart along with its deep engagement with and strategic advocacy support for marginalized communities who are the hardest and first hit by environmental and climate crises yet the least resourced to respond at a policy level.

Issue Expertise: They are attuned and responsive to evolving issues and strategies in pursuit of healthy oceans, rivers, and lakes, thriving communities, and the climate crisis. They recognize the levers of influence that shape policy change and move people and institutions to action. Their expertise and industry perspective allows them to offer unique guidance, inspire innovation and influence others.

Strategic Leadership: The ideal candidate is at their best setting the direction and strategy for an organization. They can articulate a vision and build alignment between near-term action and long-term goals. They are comfortable grappling with and guiding teams on big issues, contentious conflicts, elusive solutions, and complex viewpoints. They have demonstrated the ability to work effectively within complex environments with multiple global teams, stakeholders, and relationships.

Change Management: They thrive in a fast-moving, evolving environment and bring calm energy to addressing the organizational needs that rapid growth presents. They have a nuanced understanding of how to manage change in a rapidly growing division or organization and experience building right-sized institutional infrastructure.

Cultural Competency: Strong cultural competency and partnership building skills are essential, with demonstrated success working at the global/local level with organizations, donors, partners, and thought leaders including coalitions and networks.

Values-Centered Management: The new Executive Director models supportive management, empathy, transparency, and belief in others while holding individuals and teams accountable to the larger goal and mission. They lead with organizational values in mind and demonstrate flexibility, adaptability, and cooperation to achieve explicit goals, deliverables, and outcomes. Candidates need to be self-directed and exercise sound professional judgment.


With the understanding that no one person will offer every desired skill and characteristic outlined above, compelling candidates will offer much of the following:

  • A minimum of 10 years of progressive responsibility in managing and leading high performing teams in complex and/or global organizations or nonprofits.
  • Successful global advocacy campaign leadership and strategy.
  • An abiding interest or lived or professional experience in East or Southeast Asia, the Pacific Rim geographies, and issue areas where Pacific Environment works.
  • Demonstrated executive leadership and change management skills applied in rapid growth environments.
  • Track record of coalescing high-performing teams towards innovation and bold impact; building out new leadership models, teams, and operations to meet the changing needs of an organization.
  • Demonstrated commitment to not only centering and prioritizing the values of equity and justice in all aspects of the organization’s internal operations but also in all facets of its work.
  • Cultural and emotional intelligence to form trusting relationships with staff and community partners across geographies.
  • A savvy resource mobilizer with a demonstrated track record in fundraising at the six-figure level and above.

Location & Salary

Pacific Environment offers a flexible working environment with a dedicated, diverse group of colleagues. Staff currently work from home. This position requires working regularly across the US West Coast and East Asia time zones, including some evenings or weekends. Frequent travel domestically and internationally is expected. The U.S. west coast is a strongly preferred base. Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States.

The salary range for this position is $180,000 – $250,000. The final offer will be based on the candidate’s qualifications.

Pacific Environment’s EEO Statement

Pacific Environment is an equal-opportunity employer. We encourage people from communities harmed by environmental degradation and from backgrounds underrepresented in the environmental movement to apply. We welcome diversity to do our best work and believe that creating teams in which everyone can be their authentic self is key to the change we seek.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the “Become a Candidate” button here: https://www.goodcitizen.com/executive-search/pacific-environment-executive-director/

Applicants applying by July 17th will be given priority consideration, with the position open until filled.