Director, Urban Efficiency and Climate

Program Management Worldwide, United States


Position can be based in the following WRI Ross Center International Offices: Brazil (Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo), China (Beijing), India (New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore), Mexico (Mexico City), Turkey (Istanbul) or United States (Washington-DC).

Job Summary

In this role, you will lead the Urban Efficiency and Climate work stream, which includes managing a team of experts on inclusive climate and energy planning, including technical groups focused on specific solutions such net zero carbon buildings and electric mobility (co-leading with Urban Mobility area). Reporting to the WRI Ross Center Global Director, you will be a core member of the Executive Team of WRI Ross Center.You will be responsible for mentoring program and research staff and coordinating a community of practice across the 6-country global network. You will develop and steer a strategy and work plan for the work stream to deliver inclusive and equitable local, national and international outcomes, raise funds, and develop a coherent and compelling portfolio of projects. You will also responsible for integrating and collaborating with other work streams on urban development and urban mobility, following a cohesive global strategy across multiple solutions. 

In addition to the internal responsibilities, you will serve in an external capacity, collaborating with other Executive Team members, to shape and develop a strategy for how the Center engages with local, subnational, regional and national stakeholders. You will engage at a strategic level to promote the importance of cities to achieving countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) through low-carbon, sustainable urban growth, and engage directly with leaders and policy makers in developing countries. You will represent WRI Cities in cities-related partnerships and during high-level events (e.g. Global Covenant of Mayors, Conference of Parties (COP), etc.). Ideally, you will have extensive experience working with city and national public and private stakeholders in a similar capacity as well as an understanding of the global sustainable development agendas (e.g. Paris Agreement/NDCs, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), New Urban Agenda, etc.).

The position includes international travel.

Job Responsibilities

Your work will consist of these three categories with equal emphasis across each:

Strategic Vision and Approach

  • In partnership with international office teams, represent the WRI Ross Center approach on urban efficiency and climate through direct engagement and interaction with cities, national governments and other global actors
  • Define a strategic approach to integrate net zero carbon buildings, electric mobility, and inclusive climate and energy planning – supported by urban finance and data & tools – in partnership with other Executive Team members, drawing upon the program’s expertise and tools
  • Contribute to defining metrics and developing tools that support a strategic approach for cities to support countries to ratchet-up NDCs in 2020 and beyond
  • Facilitate effective annual project planning by fostering collaboration and integration of core offers
  • Represent the work stream on the WRI Ross Center Executive Team

Program Implementation

  • Develop and steer a work plan for the Urban Efficiency and Climate work stream to deliver inclusive and equitable local, national and international outcomes
  • Develop and lead research on urban efficiency and climate, including good practice, lessons learned, enabling conditions, and additional sub-topics of high value

Collaboration, Engagement, and Fundraising

  • Coordinate across programs at the institute and within the program to contribute to the overall success of WRI Ross Center
  • Represent the program externally on key topics of expertise, at conferences or meetings, in writing, and with media. Liaise directly with selected partners to develop alliances that help the program deliver integrated services
  • Lead or play an instrumental role in significant fundraising efforts, particularly on multi-sector topics, from developing the opportunity and pitching the proposal, to stewarding the donor
  • Convene experts from different areas of work to identify synergies across projects, establish strategic offers and develop processes to fortify communication and collaboration across areas
  • Manage and mentor Urban Efficiency and Climate staff and the corresponding budget for the work stream

Job Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in environment, urban planning, energy or climate (or bachelor's degree with addition 2 years of relevant experience)
  • Minimum of 15 years of relevant full-time work experience of which a minimum of 8 years is experience developing and growing inclusive and equitable urban programs, large-scale projects, innovative business models, and/or new products and services
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a team, as well as supervising and mentoring a team
  • Demonstrated team spirit with excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary environment with staff and external stakeholders at all levels, demonstrating the ability to respond and deal effectively with diverse situations using good judgment, tact, and diplomacy
  • Ability and aptitude to pursue several tasks in parallel; prioritize; handle tight deadlines; and expand the scope of work and responsibilities as needed
  • Significant experience working directly with city governments or at the metropolitan scale to implement real-world projects with measurable positive results
  • Experience leading successful, large fundraising efforts from multiple donor types
  • Excellent speaking, writing, quantitative, and analytical skills, with excellent command of written and spoken English
  • Flexibility to travel internationally

 Desirable qualifications:

  • PhD degree in environment, energy or climate
  • Working knowledge of one or more of the following languages is highly desirable: Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Mandarin, Cantonese, a major Indian language, and/or a major African language
  • Ability to learn new software and systems quickly
  • Experience working with diverse professionals and cultures
  • Proactive attitude, a self-starter, and team player with a high degree of motivation, initiative, reliability and willingness to help others to meet WRI work objectives

Program Overview – WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

The decisions that national leaders, local officials, developers, and planners make today will determine how billions of people in urban centers will thrive over the next century. Already, half the global population resides in cities. That figure is set to increase to 70 percent by 2050.

Traditional models of city development can lock us into congestion, sprawl, and inefficient resource use. However, compact, connected, and efficient growth can help ensure more competitive cities, and provide a better quality of life for citizens. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities (WRI Ross Center) works to ensure cities drive economic opportunity while sustaining natural resources. We use technical expertise, cutting-edge research, and on-the-ground partnerships to design solutions that enable sustainable city growth.

Our analysis and tools allow cities to effectively manage their natural resources and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Working across our network, we develop and support the implementation of research-based solutions in sustainable mobility, urban development, as well as urban efficiency & climate that reduce pollution, improve health, and create safe, accessible public spaces for all people to thrive.

WRI Ross Center builds on WRI’s global and local experience in urban planning and mobility, and uses proven solutions and action-oriented tools to increase building and energy efficiency, manage water risk, encourage effective governance and make the fast-growing urban environment more resilient to new challenges. Aiming to influence 200 cities with unique research and tools, WRI Ross Center focuses on a deep cross-sector approach in selected megacities on two continents, and targeted assistance to additional 50 urban areas, bringing economic, environmental and social benefits to people in cities around the globe.

WRI Overview

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address six critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water and sustainable cities.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $100 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of nearly 1000 people with work spanning 50 countries. We have offices in AfricaBrazilChinaEuropeIndiaIndonesiaMexico and the United States.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.