Save the Waves
About Save the Waves
Launched in 2003, Save The Waves Coalition (STW) is the only global nonprofit organization solely dedicated to protecting surf ecosystems around the world. A surf ecosystem is more than a wave: it’s the geophysical components, the plants and animals, and the human interactions that make a place special. Safeguarding surf ecosystems protects marine habitats, maintains the integrity of the wave, and secures local livelihoods. We work in partnership with local communities to protect the places we love, galvanizing locally-driven stewardship of surfing resources and direct action campaigns.
Save The Waves is poised for significant growth, with multi-year commitments from funders, an innovative strategy, and strong global partnerships. We have an ambitious goal of working to protect 1,000 surf ecosystems by 2030 through the creation and designation of protected surfing areas and their associated ecosystems. We focus on places where iconic surfing waves overlap with biodiversity hotspots that are critically important for marine conservation, harnessing the surf economy as the blue finance component to support protected area management.
The Director will be responsible for delivering on and expanding STW’s existing protected areas initiatives, which include World Surfing Reserves and Surf Protected Areas Networks, to achieve the greatest possible impact. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), this position is a strategic resourcing and management role, a thought partner and leader— ideal for someone who combines the expertise to build and run impactful conservation programs with the capacity to innovate, fill gaps, and design projects intended to scale.
As a representative of STW, the Director will act as an expert resource to internal staff, funders, partners, media, volunteers, and supporters. They may be required to serve on national and international advisory bodies, participate in academic research and publications, and present at national and global convenings.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
Program Leadership and Strategy
- Drive the management of program planning, strategy, and scaling, including support for the Surf Protected Area Network and World Surfing Reserves, ensuring that climate resilience is integrated into all program areas
- Design and implement the Impact Monitoring and Evaluation / Adaptive Management framework for STW conservation programs
- Support and develop coalition partner involvement
- Direct the development and execution of STW- branded campaigns to build demand and advance the strategy for conservation impact at scale
- Develop compelling grant proposals and pitches to support program goals
- Manage grant cycles and impact reporting, with an eye toward larger, multi-year governmental sources
- Assist in developing storytelling content around impact
- Represent STW to agencies, private individuals and foundations to mobilize resources for STW’s priority activities
- Oversee a team of 8-12 Program Managers, Reserve Coordinators, and Protected Area Coordinators in target geographies that include Mexico, Central and Latin America, Brazil, Portugal and the Atlantic, the South Pacific, Africa, and the Indian Ocean.
- Create staffing, management and reporting structures that ensure strategic program goals are operational on the ground level, then hold teams accountable to implementation
- Serve as a member of the Executive Leadership Team, consisting of the CEO, Director of Operations, Director of Communications, and the Philanthropy Department to oversee strategic planning, financial management, philanthropic goals, and budgeting and resource allocation
- Serve as the staff liaison to the Board of Directors’ Impact Committee; effectively present critical impact and program update at Board of Directors and Committee meetings
- 10+ years of conservation experience; international context preferred
- MA/MS in Policy, Economics, Law, Ecology, Biology or Coastal Science; PhD preferred
- Experience in conservation and climate resilience project management, including significant Marine Protected Areas management planning experience
- Understanding of global and regional surf cultures and economies, resource economics and blue finance
- Experience and success managing staff teams to achieve strategic goals
- Track record of successful grant writing and fundraising; experience with foundation grants at the $200K+ level and experience with large government/multilateral grants (GEF, USAID, NOAA) strongly preferred
- Demonstrated competency working with staff and communities in an international context, especially developing countries
- Technological proficiency in Office 365 (Excel, Word, PowerPoint), databases, presentation software, shared project management tools and remote meeting management
- Spoken and written English proficiency is required, Spanish, Indonesian, or Portuguese language proficiency desired
This is a full-time, remote position, with preference for candidates based in Santa Cruz, CA. Candidates may reside anywhere they have the right to work; STW cannot sponsor work visas.
Salary: The salary range for this position is $100,000 – $130,000, which takes into account factors such as geography, experience, skills, training, internal team equity, and local norms.
Benefits: We offer a generous benefits package that includes
- 100% medical, dental and vision health benefit coverage with 70% for dependents
- Retirement plan and match
- Cell phone reimbursement
- Paid time off that includes 12 days paid holidays, 3 weeks of PTO in the first year, 4 weeks thereafter, and sick time
Travel: Candidates must have a valid driver’s license, reliable transportation and must be willing to use their own vehicle. This position requires travel to specific site areas to conduct program assessment and research, establish local partnerships, and implement programs, campaigns, and projects. Candidates must be willing to travel to Santa Cruz, CA at minimum quarterly, and to other locations, nationally and internationally, as needed. Expected international travel is 20-30% of work time.
CEA Recruiting is assisting Save the Waves with this search. To be considered for the position, interested candidates must submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal. This position will remain posted until filled. Finalists will be required to pass a background check.
Save The Waves Coalition is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our organizational values are Respect, Integrity, Collaboration, Empowerment, Innovation and Celebration. We take our values seriously and work to ensure they are at the foundation of everything we do.
CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit www.cearecruiting.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.