Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ)

Other Washington, District Of Columbia



JOB TITLE: Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ)


SALARY: $135,000 - $140,000

FLSA:  Exempt

DEPARTMENT: President’s Office

LOCATION: Headquarters, DC

REPORTS TO: Chief of Staff


LAST REVISED:  June 2021



Defenders of Wildlife is deeply committed to fostering a positive, inclusive, and safe workplace where all voices are heard and our employees can do their best work. It is essential that our organization is vibrant and staff are engaged as we focus on our vital biodiversity conservation mission.


The vice president of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) is a member of Defenders’ Leadership Team and leads the development and execution of DEIJ initiatives in support of Defenders’ Strategic Plan. Reporting to the Chief of Staff, they will work organization-wide to incorporate Defenders’ Commitment Statement, Values Statement and the Strategic Plan’s goal to mobilize a broader constituency for wildlife conservation throughout the workflows and culture of the organization. They will advise on substantive internal and external-facing strategies, policies and processes to ensure that the efforts align with, support and advance Defenders’ DEIJ vision and goals.



  1. Partner with the Leadership Team on unified DEIJ implementation throughout Defenders through strategy planning and creation of step-down goals that support the Strategic Plan;
  2. Track progress toward Strategic Plan goals by establishing and tracking organizational DEIJ-based key performance indicators and metrics;
  3. Coordinate across programs and departments to ensure that DEIJ-based objectives, resources and approaches are unified and amplified throughout the organization;
  4. In partnership with Human Resources, develop and implement internal programs that support DEIJ efforts, to include employee resource groups, mentorship and career development programs for BIPOC employees and internship/fellowship programs;
  5. In partnership with Human Resources, develop internal systems, best practices and policies that support diversity, equity and inclusion, to include compensation philosophy, recruiting and hiring practices, employee development and performance management;
  6. In partnership with Human Resources, develop and execute a DEIJ-based learning program;
  7. In partnership with Communications, establish an external communications strategy for key DEIJ messaging;
  8. Represent Defenders in external DEIJ coalitions within the environmental community and the nonprofit sector more broadly, where appropriate;
  9. Provide leadership and supervision to direct reports, to include development, program accountability and performance management;
  10. Create an accurate and realistic annual department budget, and oversee spending against the budget;
  11. Provide support to the President and CEO and Leadership Team on DEIJ-based engagement;
  12. Perform all other related duties as assigned.




Education: Bachelor’s

Experience: 15 years; 7 years supervisory; 5 years managing 2+ layers

An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for All Defenders

  1. Personal interest in and commitment to conservation;
  2. Ability and willingness to model the tenets of Defenders’ Commitment Statement: Mission, Transparency, Respect & Trust, Appreciation, Empowerment & Accountability, Professional Growth, Fairness, Diversity, Safety, Work/Life Balance, and Pride;
  3. Ability to approach work in a collaborative and inclusive style, with a solutions-oriented manner;
  4. Ability to work independently as needed, problem solve, and exercise sound decision- making skills in fluid environments to meet job expectations and achieve goals in an accurate and timely manner;
  5. Ability to represent Defenders to external entities and the public in a professional manner while exercising tact, diplomacy, and discretion;
  6. Demonstrates a willingness and ability to productively engage and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives;
  7. Ability to clearly and accurately communicate with internal and external stakeholders, in both verbal and written forms;
  8. Ability to effectively navigate through change and maintain flexibility;
  9. Ability to effectively address and manage conflict;
  10. Working knowledge of Microsoft Outlook and Word.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Executive 1


  1. Ability to accurately maintain electronic and physical records
  2. Anticipate and meet the needs of internal and/or external stakeholders delivering excellent service


  1. Ability to clearly and accurately communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  2. Ability to articulate complex ideas clearly, accurately and concisely
  3. Ability to convey effective messages to broad and diverse constituencies
  4. Ability and willingness to effectively represent Defenders’ interests in external environments
  5. Ability to exert influence and build consensus with internal and external stakeholders

Critical Thinking

  1. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential matters with discretion
  2. Strong research and data analysis skills, including ability to gather and synthesize information from multiple sources to produce high quality work products in a consistent, efficient, accurate, and timely manner
  3. Creative and decisive problem-solving and troubleshooting skills with willingness to experiment and innovate new methods.
  4. Facilitate and promote the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into Defenders’ work
  5. Ability to independently exercise appropriate judgment in response to complex and/or fluid environments
  6. Strategic thinker with the ability to create high-level strategy, identify organizational-level impact, and translate strategy into relatable points and action steps.

Project Management

  1. Ability to work well under pressure and tight deadlines while balancing competing assignments
  2. Ability to remain flexible and adaptable to shifting priorities while remaining responsive to urgent requests
  3. Ability to take ownership of a project or process and to use problem solving skills to resolve issues
  4. Ability to manage deadlines on multiple cross-functional projects in a dynamic environment
  5. Demonstrated ability in managing competing interests on complex issues
  6. Ability to independently initiate project and initiative ideas; managing projects and initiatives through to completion
  7. Ability to create and implement programs, initiatives, and/or systems which will result in organizational-wide impact; assess specific needs; design oversee implementation; establish benchmarks and track key performance indicators; provide recommendations for improvements; advocate and champion the program internally.

Coalition and Community Engagement

  1. Strong interpersonal skills and ability to form effective working relationships with diverse constituencies including federal/state agencies; elected officials and their staff; Defenders’ members and donors; private landowners; hunters and anglers; community leaders; religious, scientific, and academic communities; and/or the general public.
  2. Ability to lead diverse stakeholders in collaborative activities, to anticipate issues impacting Defenders’ mission and make recommendations within Defenders, other organizations, and coalitions.
  3. Networking skills to engage with leaders in the conservation community, federal and state agencies, NGOs, and other organizations.

Conservation Knowledge

  1. Familiarity with Defenders’ legal, scientific, and/or political issues
  2. Familiarity with national and regional social, political and ecological landscapes

Leadership and Management

  1. Ability to foster a team and organizational culture which models the tenets of the Commitment Statement
  2. Ability to connect employees and their work to Defenders’ mission
  3. Ability to set and maintain clear expectations, ensuring clarity of roles, accountabilities, and responsibilities
  4. Ability to ensure that staff have the skills and support required to perform at the highest level
  5. Expert-level knowledge of Defenders’ business and people systems and processes
  6. Ability to create and maintain a diverse, inclusive and high-functioning environment
  7. Ability to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in department and organizational-level decisions
  8. Ability to manage employee conflict and resolve escalations in an inclusive and healthy manner
  9. Ability to effectively lead and manage change
  10. Ability to develop mid-level leaders and staff to their highest capabilities, through delegation, coaching, empowerment and professional growth opportunities
  11. Ability to provide effective feedback in real-time
  12. Ability to create and implement team and organization-wide strategies in support of Defenders’ Strategic Plan

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

  1. Knowledge of current best practices in promoting a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace required;
  2. Knowledge and understanding of how institutional bias affects workplace culture and systems required;
  3. Ability to advance DEIJ best practices, principles and goals in a complex organization required;
  4. Ability to serve as an internal thought leader on DEIJ required;
  5. Expert-level skill and ability to produce clear, persuasive and articulate written communication products for both internal and external audiences required.

Visit to apply. 

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.

Defenders requires employees who engage in in-person work activities, including business travel or onsite work, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  An applicant (i) who is disabled or pregnant or who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination or (ii) who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice may request an exemption from this vaccination policy. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with applicable law. Any medical information concerning an applicant's disability will be treated as a confidential medical record in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws.