Deputy Director; Aspen High Seas Initiative

Job Title: 
Deputy Director
Job Location: 
Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

The Aspen High Seas Initiative is a new program at the Aspen Institute dedicated to raising awareness and increasing protection of the world’s ocean, particularly the 43 percent of the earth’s surface that exists outside any single country’s jurisdiction, which is more commonly referred to as the High Seas. Our work aims to collaborate with and inform international organizations and coalitions to improve management of all high seas areas; establish marine reserves and protected areas; increase attention to the ocean’s role in global climate change policy; facilitate development of technological solutions and innovative media to encourage exploration and ocean monitoring; and empower and educate youth to become the ocean advocates of tomorrow.

Primary Mission Accountability:

All Aspen Institute employees are expected to embody the Institute’s core mission, stated above.  The primary aspects of the mission for which this position is held accountable are:

  • Providing a complete example of the Aspen Institute’s culture of excellence;
  • Advancing Aspen’s mission through cooperative efforts; and
  • Pursuing innovative and bold solutions to the High Seas and ocean issues described above.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The overarching role of the Deputy Director will be to support the Executive Director and help ensure that the program has a long-range strategy that achieves its mission to establish the AHSI as a go-to organization on issues related to international ocean management, exploration, science, technology, policy, and communications, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress. Specifically, the Deputy Director will:

  • Provide strong support in building and developing all program components in coordination with the Executive Director;
  • Assist in fundraising, preparation of the budget and draft grant proposals and interim reports.
  • Have primary responsibility for managing program spending and preliminary budgeting;
  • Supervise project managers for individual aspects of the AHSI once the program expands further;
  • Represent the AHSI in coalitions and at meetings and conferences as needed;
  • Prepare reports and presentation materials as needed for committee and board meetings;
  • Write original materials including reports from convenings, blog posts for the Aspen Institute website, op-eds, and other outward-facing materials as needed.
  • Oversee the development and management of the AHSI website and other communications tools, including social media;
  • Plan and execute convenings and expeditions, including serving a public as needed;
  • Serve as on-site liaison between AHSI and other departments and programs within the Institute;
  • Expand networking and collaboration within the ocean NGO, academic, and industry communities and with other key stakeholders. 
  • Some U.S.-based or international travel will be required.

Knowledge, Education and Experience:

  • Personal drive and commitment to the program’s mission of bringing strong protection and sustainable management to the High Seas.
  • Masters degree in environmental or ocean policy, science, international relations, business, or related field strongly desired. 
  • 5-8 years relevant work experience in ocean or environmental policy, science, communication, or business. 
  • A deep network of contacts within the ocean policy, science, or industry communities.
  • Experience managing multiple projects and supervising staff or consultants. 
  • Experience working with international and diverse groups of ocean leaders of various kinds, including academics, industry members, policy-makers, youth advocates, and other key stakeholders.
  • A proven track record of international business development or prior experience traveling/working with international counterparts. 
  • Strong organizational, communications, and problem-solving skills. 
  • A demonstrated team player, keen attention to detail, and a proven ability to successfully manage multiple projects to completion simultaneously. 
  • Ability to work independently—experience with remote management a plus.
  • A good sense of humor and positive attitude.
  • Experience analyzing budgets; experience using budget software is a plus
  • Experience in international policy development a plus. 
  • Fluency in a language or languages other than English a plus.
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