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Federal Policy Director

Location: Washington, DC
Department: Policy


Oceana is an international policy advocacy organization for marine conservation. Its mission is to restore our oceans to former levels of abundance. Founded in 2001, Oceana has offices in North America, South America and Europe that work together on a limited number of strategic, directed campaigns to achieve measurable outcomes. We believe in the importance of science in identifying problems and solutions. Our scientists work closely with our teams of economists, lawyers and advocates to achieve tangible results for the oceans. Oceana has approximately 140 staff located in six countries and a budget of approximately $20 million. 

A dozen years in, Oceana has grown rapidly and hopes to be expanding further. As part of the increased complexity and far reaching initiatives undertaken, Oceana is seeking a Washington, DC-based Federal Policy Director to oversee our U.S. federal government relations work in order to influence the policies of the United States, regional fishery management councils, states and other decision-making institutions. This position requires someone who is a critical and strategic thinker and takes initiative with hands-on pragmatism to identify, spearhead and follow through on what is needed in a relatively young, fast-moving organization.

The Director represents Oceana’s positions and objectives to government officials, the media, industry, advocates, donors, the general public and others working on ocean conservation/management. The Director provides strategic advice to Oceana advocacy campaigns and other initiatives and participates in the development, implementation, and management of work plans and priority activities. The Director is the direct supervisor of a small team of policy experts in Washington, D.C. The Director participates in other organizational activities as requested by the Vice President for United States Oceans. 

The Director is expected to develop and maintain extensive contacts on Capitol Hill, within federal agencies, and in other decision-making bodies. The Director is also expected to monitor political developments and opportunities (including activities that do not directly involve ocean matters, but deserve Oceana’s attention, such as other political trends, actions and conservation issues). Some travel is required. 

 

Principal Duties and Responsibilities Include:

  • Lead Oceana’s policy and advocacy work and strategy development at the federal level.
  • Persuasively represent Oceana's positions to Members of Congress, Administration officials and other decision-makers. This may include attending, monitoring and testifying before Congressional Committees and Regional Fishery Management Councils.  Represent the positions to other NGOs, public, media, donors and others.
  • Supervise a team of policy experts in Washington D.C. Ensure policy team members’ goals and activities are developed and fulfilled. 
  • Develop and implement legislative and administrative work plans. Periodically review these plans to ensure that the workload for the policy team is realistic and that the work is being accomplished.
  • Work with Oceana’s campaign directors to develop, implement and maintain effective strategies to achieve campaign and organizational goals. 
  • Promote discipline and consistency of Oceana’s policies among the interdisciplinary staff of experts and ensure that there is effective communication and collaboration among the staff on federal policy work.
  • Work with all Oceana teams (policy, legal, communications, science, development, organizational services and international offices) to promote organizational priorities and objectives.
  • Assist communications staff in development of media outreach opportunities and serve as a principal spokesperson to various media outlets as an ocean policy expert.
  • Assist legal staff in developing potential ocean conservation cases and advising and implementing strategies to support litigation. 
  • Work with General Counsel and Administrative staff to ensure lobby reporting requirements are fulfilled.
  • Provide sound advice on political implications of Oceana's policies and activities.
  • Identify and analyze emerging ocean conservation issues and opportunities that Oceana may want to work on in the future.
  • Analyze conservation policy actions, legislative proposals, and reports and monitor political developments that might affect Oceana’s policy objectives.
  • Network with other NGOs, maintaining an independent but cooperative relationship with them.
  • Create or review advocacy and public documents (comment letters, backgrounders, fact sheets, reports) in support of Oceana's campaign goals and non-campaign policy projects.
  • Provide regular progress reports and updates to Senior Vice President of United States Oceans and others as requested. 
  • Undertake additional projects as requested by senior staff and perform other duties for all Oceana departments as needed and or assigned.

 

Education/Experience or Other Requirements:

  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in political science, public policy, conservation biology, marine affairs or a related discipline. Graduate or law degree is a plus.
  • Minimum seven years of advocacy or legislative work, preferably at the federal level and on ocean protection issues. 
  • Track record of increasing responsibility and supervisory capacity with a minimum of three years of supervisory experience.
  • Exceptional management skills with proven ability to lead a professional staff. 
  • Ability and desire to advocate for complex, aggressive conservation positions in both small and large social settings (from one-on-one meetings to presentations at large briefings and conferences).
  • Strong oral and written communication skills and keen analytical ability.
  • Experience working to meet tight deadlines, ensuring project completion, undertaking/finishing unexpected projects and effectively managing a demanding work load.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment.
  • Computer literacy, particularly with Microsoft Office applications.
  • Flexibility to occasionally work long hours.
  • Fluency in Spanish a plus. 

 

About Oceana:

Oceana is a vibrant, results-oriented non-profit dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans.  We have a staff of 140 throughout the world: in the U.S. (including our headquarters office in DuPont Circle, Washington, DC; New York; Alaska; California; Oregon; New England and the Southeast); in Europe (Madrid, Spain, Brussels, Belgium, Copenhagen, Denmark); South America (Santiago, Chile); and Central America (Belize City, Belize). 

 

Compensation:

Competitive salary commensurate with experience plus an excellent package of employee and health benefits, including comprehensive health, dental, vision, and excellent 403(b) retirement plan, and generous leave.  Oceana is an equal opportunity employer (EOE).