Co-Director, Systems Change Lab

Program Management Washington, DC, United States

You may be located in the following offices in which you must be legally able to work without visa support: United States (flexible), Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ethiopia, Kenya, UK, EU.

Job Summary:

In this role, you will facilitate the work of the Lab. You will work in close partnership with the Systems Change Lab’s Co-Director at the Bezos Earth Fund; with WRI staff members across programs, centers, and the Resource Watch team; as well as key external funders and partners, including a broad range of institutions that have relevant research and data and coalitions and partnerships that are helping to drive change in systems.

For this role, you must have experience in developing and managing international, multi-stakeholder programs, a track record in fundraising and managing grants, and the ability to manage large teams that are matrixed across organizations to deliver impactful results. To be successful in this role, you will need to have proficient managerial skills with the ability to build meaningful relationships with an interest in representing the Lab at key external moments and helping to coach and guide junior staff working on the project.

Job Responsibilities:
Program Management and Leadership

  • In collaboration with the Bezos Earth Fund Co-Director, develop strategies to refine and deliver the Lab’s mission to inform and drive systems transformation for climate and nature
  • Directly manage a small, but growing core team, as well as indirectly manage almost two dozen staff across WRI’s Programs, Centers, and International offices who contribute to the work
  • Manage cross-programmatic and cross-institutional relationships; identifying linkages, securing the participation of critical expertise, and aligning related work with the projects, objectives, and priorities of WRI’s Programs, Centers, and International Offices
  • Monitor the Lab’s financial performance and take appropriate action to ensure key financial objectives are met, providing oversight for potentially several million dollars annually
  • Coach and mentor program staff to build critical skills, including fundraising, donor presentation, and proposal development Program Development
  • Establish, cultivate, and manage partnerships with a wide range of global institutions and partners
  • Ensure the timely delivery of high-quality work and full compliance with WRI’s and funders’ restrictions and reporting requirements
  • Provide strategic direction to a wide variety of staff, including research guidance, and ensuring consistency with overall the Lab’s goals, drawing on staff throughout WRI and key partner organizations to deliver best-in-class research products and analysis
  • Monitor and manage project deliverables, setting and clarifying priorities for staff
  • Complete institutional and donor reporting for projects, including project outcomes
  • Develop and lead outreach/funding presentations to potential donors consistently in the six and seven figure range
  • Monitor and help evaluate the managed body of work’s performance and impact
  • Help project staff manage existing fundraising relationships, as well as cultivate new funding prospects Research and Analysis
  • Guide the development of SCL’s research in partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund Co-Director
  • Review and provide input on knowledge products written by the Lab’s staff

Outreach & Communication

  • With the team, develop communications strategies, materials (PPTs, articles, briefing notes, summaries), concept notes, and timely content related to the SCL for external and internal audiences
  • Give presentations at numerous conferences, workshops, and other events internationally, delivering the Lab’s findings and key messages to target audiences
  • Conduct media interviews and be help build a widely recognized media profile for the SCL
  • Liaise with partners, including governments, donors, academic community, action coalitions, and partnerships, and other change agents
Job Qualifications:
  • Master’s degree related to climate change, ecosystem management, sustainable development, and/or a related field
  • Minimum 15 years of relevant full-time work experience in a related field with at least 10 years of experience in program or project leadership in a related field. Recognized as an expert in the field through speaking engagements and media citations
  • Supervisory experience managing senior managers and junior staff (direct management of small teams (5-6 staff) and indirect management of larger teams (e.g., 20 or more), as well as motivating team members who report elsewhere, but who are part of the project
  • Demonstrated experience in managing multi-partner, international initiatives
  • Demonstrated fundraising experience
  • Complex grants management experience
  • Strong qualitative and quantitative research skills
  • Strong organizational skills, and strong team leadership skills with demonstrated ability to work effectively in and across teams
  • Excellent English writing and oral communication skills
  • Work authorization in one of the countries above is required for this position

Potential Salary:
$124,200 - $167,700 if based in United States. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

How to Apply:
Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants must
apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered

Program Overview:
Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and shifting to nature-positive development, while also building a fairer economy, will require transformational change across all major economic systems—finance, energy, transport, the built environment, agriculture, land use, manufacturing, and consumption. Broader transitions must also occur, such as how we measure progress, deliver basic services, and equitably distribute the costs and benefits of change. As a virtual and dynamic situation room, the Systems Change Lab (SCL) will monitor systems change globally, taking stock of where shifts are accelerating (or stalling), and analyzing what’s working, what isn’t, and why. It will partner with visionary leaders and diverse coalitions, arming them with the evidence they need to mobilize more effective action and cross positive tipping point
s. The Lab is being housed jointly within World Resources Institute, the Bezos Earth Fund, and the High-Level Climate Champions team, is part of the Global Commons Alliance and is working with a wide consortium of partners, including the University of Tokyo’s Center for Global Commons, and the World Economic Forum.

The SCL is designing a three-pronged strategy to advance transformational change across all economic systems:

  • Monitor: Although efforts to track some transformations exist, data gaps remain. Data required to understand critical roadblocks, actions by governments, companies, and other actors, and effective policies are also not readily available—no “one-stop-shop” to get a snapshot of progress across them all. By partnering with leading data providers and target users, such as campaigners, philanthropies, and investors, the SCL will co-develop an accessible, open-data platform where required shifts across all systems, as well their drivers, will be regularly tracked against benchmarks aligned with the best available science. An annual report taking stock of progress will also be published, with complementary outreach efforts.
  • Learn and share: Tremendous gains have been made in advancing our understanding of historical systems change and its drivers. Building on this, the SCL will deepen the analysis of why change is occurring. In partnership with leading technical experts, practitioners, and experts (see below for its preliminary list of partners, which are anticipated to grow), it will produce analysis that not only instills greater confidence that systems change is possible but also equips change agents with compelling case studies, an evidence base across transformations, and a roadmap for accelerating change.
  • Mobilize action: Through strategic outreach and engagement, the Lab’s monitoring and learning work will support the many coalitions already advancing system change, such as those working with the High-Level Climate Champions (the SCL currently is partnering with those from Chile and the United Kingdom to support their work at COP26). It will rally around major moments, such as COP15 on biodiversity, the World Food Summit, and the United Nations General Assembly, to inform public and private sector leaders. In doing so, it will pay special attention to transformations that have stalled and work with partners to understand the actors, relationships, vested interests, and barriers in these systems. Furthermore, through participatory dialogues, the Lab will identify transformational solutions that are garnering support from more diverse stakeholders over time, ratchet up ambitions, and become more durable. It will also look for possible disruptors that can unlock systems change, and enlist diverse coalitions of champions to spark such shifts.

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 seven 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, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

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 $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

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.