Director – Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services Initiative, World Resources Institute


The World Resources Institute (WRI) is seeking a Director to lead WRI’s Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services Initiative. Building upon the Initiative’s two-year history, the Director will be responsible for scaling up the Initiative and enabling it to achieve significant on-the-ground change. In addition, the Director will have the opportunity to design and oversee a number of new projects that contribute to the overall success of the Initiative. The ideal candidate for this position is someone with extensive experience working at the intersection of ecosystem health and economic development. Through its Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services Initiative, WRI is working toward a world in which local communities, governments, and businesses value and invest in ecosystems—forests, wetlands, coral reefs, etc.—in order to secure economic growth and people’s well being. Leaders take these actions because of the multiple benefits or “services” ecosystems provide such as supplying and filtering freshwater, storing carbon, preventing erosion, mitigating floods, and offering recreational opportunities. These actions complement traditional biodiversity conservation by restoring nature for people’s sake, not only for nature’s sake.


The Initiative seeks to reduce ecosystem degradation by helping governments, businesses, and development agencies integrate ecosystem services into their policies, strategies, and investments. WRI’s strategy is two-fold:


1) to provide decision-makers with information and assessment tools that link ecosystem health with the attainment of economic and social goals; and


2) to develop new markets, economic incentives, and public policies that restore and sustain ecosystems.



The successful candidate will bring a strong international development perspective to the Initiative and help ensure that the work is both relevant to policy-makers and leads to real change on the ground, especially in developing countries. The candidate will oversee all aspects of the Initiative’s strategy, management, and execution. To do this well, the position requires strong leadership, a strategic mindset, proven fundraising capabilities, and in-depth knowledge of social and economic issues related to ecosystems and development. The ideal candidate will be comfortable operating in a results-focused culture. The position is located at WRI’s headquarters in Washington, DC and reports to the Director of the People & Ecosystems Program. The successful candidate will be expected to travel internationally. This is a challenging position that offers a unique opportunity to have a major impact on global environment and development issues.



• Develop and maintain a compelling and coherent vision and strategy for the Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services Initiative, in line with WRI’s Strategic Plan 2008-2012 and the People & Ecosystems Program goal and strategy.

• Identify and help develop potential new lines of work that will lead to transformative change in sustaining/conserving/restoring ecosystems and enhancing the role of ecosystems in supporting socio-economic development.

• Provide strategic direction to WRI’s ecosystem services team to ensure a coherent, high-impact strategy that provides development and environmental benefits.

• Expand WRI’s existing ecosystem service-related projects.

• Foster a culture of excellence in all aspects of the Initiative’s work. Management

• Guide, motivate, and develop staff within the Initiative.

• Delegate authority to project leaders, ensure they are effective and supported, and ensure planned objectives are achieved.

• Provide day-to-day management of project staff.

• Oversee the completion of any requested quarterly reports by management or funders, within agreed timeframe.

• Engage WRI senior management on strategic and operational issues. Impact and outreach

• Keep the Initiative and its projects focused on critical issues and opportunities where new insights, analyses, proposals, or efforts could lead to significant progress or impact on sustainable development.

• Conduct outreach and communication efforts and promote staff research findings through briefings to policy-makers, practitioners, and corporate leaders.

• Review funding proposals, draft publications, and articles to ensure they meet WRI’s high standards for quality.



• Lead efforts to develop and secure long-term funding for the Initiative and new projects based on identified needs in coordination with project managers, the People & Ecosystems Program Director, and WRI’s Development Department. This responsibility will entail leveraging existing relationships with bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations, corporations, and individual donors, as well as cultivating and maintaining new relationships.

• Write fundraising proposals.

• Mentor staff to broaden their fundraising skills, help them manage existing fundraising relationships, and cultivate new funding prospects.



Advanced degree with a particular focus on environmental economics, economic development, anthropology, or related field. PhD preferred. • Minimum 10 years experience working at the nexus of environment and development. Expertise/experience with applying ecosystem service-related concepts and practices preferred. At least 5 years of this experience should be in one or more developing countries. • Strong network of relationships and partners. • Superb analytical and strategic thinking skills. • Proven ability to motivate staff and teams to achieve on-the-ground results. • Demonstrated ability to secure funding from donors on a large scale. Extensive experience with project development and proposal writing. • Outstanding ability to communicate clearly, passionately, and in a compelling fashion to a wide range of audiences, including senior policymakers, NGOs, and corporate leaders. • Excellent writing skills. • Demonstrated proficiency of oral and written English. Proficiency in at least one other language desired. • Willingness to travel at least 25% of time.







Jane Gruenebaum

Vice President and Director

Isaacson, Miller

1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, # 710

Washington, DC 20009

Direct: 202-216-2271

Fax: 202-682-1272