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Program Director and Program Manager


Location: La Jolla, CA
Hours: Full-time (some nights and weekends as needed)                                                                          Compensation: Varies with position, commensurate with experience

The Waitt Institute is a team of international experts working around the globe to protect the world’s oceans and support coastal communities. The Institute is working with 10+ national and territorial governments to create sustainable ocean plans to help improve local livelihoods and economies while safeguarding marine life and ecosystems. The Waitt Institute is seeking a Program Director and Program Manager who will work across a portfolio of sites to achieve ocean protection and sustainable ocean policies. This position will work closely with internal teams as well as external partners, academia, and government partners at our sites. The Program Director will report to the Institute’s Executive Director, and the Program Manager will report to a Program Director. Both positions will involve significant international travel (approx. 30% time) when regular travel resumes.

As a global team, the Waitt Institute is committed to being diverse, culturally competent, and inclusive, and we recognize that these core values enable our success. We seek to employ talented advocates for the ocean and coastal communities, and we welcome all applicants.



The Program Director will take a leadership role while the Program Manager will provide a supporting role in the following areas:

  • Developing and executing the program of work at specific sites including creating annual work plans, budgets, governance structure, and program management 

  • Hiring and overseeing program staff on-site to support local capacity

  • Building partnerships with government officials and stakeholders on-site to facilitate progress and encourage ownership of the program

  • Coordinating the development and execution of program deliverables

  • Working closely with the WI team and partners to ensure proper sequencing of program elements

  • Liaising with government, NGO, and academic partners to ensure program progress, buy-in, and success

  • Collaborating with our site partners to develop and execute the stakeholder engagement strategy and ensure a participatory approach 


Professional Qualifications

A successful Program Manager candidate will have the following qualifications: 

  • 5+ years of relevant work experience

  • Demonstrated skills in managing/supporting complex projects

  • Experience working with a diverse and geographically dispersed team

  • Bachelor’s degree (graduate degree preferred) from an accredited college or university in political science, economics, conservation management, sustainable development, or a related field 

  • Experience navigating politically or socially sensitive conversations 


The Program Director will have the following additional qualifications:

  • 7-10 years of relevant work experience 

  • Demonstrated skills in designing and leading complex international projects and tracking progress

  • Experience leading a diverse and geographically dispersed team

  • Experience hiring and supervising staff and consultants, creating budgets, and successfully achieving project goals in a timely manner

Personal Attributes

  • Strategic, thoughtful, highly organized, and detail-oriented

  • Reliable, responsive, and comfortable working across time zones

  • Excellent communication skills, including strong presentation skills

  • Ability to advocate thoughtfully and effectively on sensitive issues

  • Ability to work collaboratively and efficiently with tight deadlines

  • Ability to creatively solve problems while managing expectations

  • Ability to execute projects on budget

  • Excellent time management skills and ability to prioritize competing tasks

  • Culturally competent and able to execute projects in different cultural contexts

Company Benefits

Unlimited Paid Time Off | Excellent Medical, Dental, Vision options | Health Savings Account | 401(k) match up to 6%


Applicants encouraged to apply by September 23, 2022.

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