Director, Office of the COO with Climate Leadership Initiative

Company: Climate Leadership Initiative
Industry: Philanthropic Fundraising Services
Location: San Francisco Washington DC
Position Type: Full Time
Workplace Model: Hybrid
Experience Level: 12 - 15 years
Reports to: VP/COO
The mission of the Climate Leadership Initiative (“CLI”) is to rapidly and exponentially increase climate philanthropy by connecting donors with peers, experts, and high-impact solutions that restore the planet. 

With less than 2 percent of global philanthropy investing in climate solutions, CLI was created in 2019 and is based on the fundamental premise that today’s leading climate funders are ready to do much more to leverage their credibility, networks, resources, and experience to attract new philanthropists to climate mitigation and inspire them to give on a scale commensurate with the global scope of the problem. CLI is fully funded, so it does not fundraise for itself or any one organization. This frees the CLI team to help philanthropists find the smartest path for them.

CLI balances rigor with urgency in its work with philanthropists, curating expert insights and tailored giving opportunities that cross-cut issues such as health, poverty, food and water, economic justice and biodiversity, all of which are affected significantly by climate. CLI believes that philanthropists - with their ability to be agile, take risks, and bring leverage - can play a critical role in accelerating a cleaner, safer, and more equitable future for all. Learn more about the Climate Leadership Initiative at 

The Climate Leadership Initiative is headquartered in San Francisco, CA – with additional staff in DC and Europe. If based in San Francisco, the Director will spend three days each week in office, located in the historic Ferry Building. The role requires limited domestic and international travel. 

This newly-created Director role serves as a tactical right hand and strategic thought partner to CLI’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – akin to a Chief of Staff role. The Director is responsible for shepherding the organization’s strategic planning process, delivering critical work related to CLI’s board and funders, and driving execution on a dynamic portfolio of the VP/COO’s work across cross-functional initiatives, new climate philanthropists, and key partners. This position is for a tenacious self-starter who enjoys spanning strategic to tactical work and possesses the personal characteristics to promote team integration while championing CLI’s values and culture.

This role does not have any direct managerial responsibilities however is a highly visible partner to CLI’s Leadership Team, the Board, and Funders. 

The Director’s responsibilities will encompass three primary areas:

Facilitate Intentional Strategic Planning and Learning (Estimated 35%)

  • Strategic Check-ins and Leadership Team Retreats 
    • Track outstanding strategic questions and key assumptions in our Strategic Plan for 2022-2023; staff the Leadership Team in ongoing conversations between strategic planning processes, as needed
    • Plan elements of quarterly leadership team retreats, including devising objectives, agendas, and pre-read materials, to review progress against CLI’s current strategic plan and iterate as needed
    • Craft memos that crisply tee-up key discussions and decisions
    • Synthesize key takeaways from Leadership Team retreats to move decisions forward and promote ongoing accountability
    • Draft presentation decks for cascading decisions/updates to the broader team, structuring and helping to deliver organization-wide communication
  • Strategic Plan 2024-2025 
    • In 2023, project manage the development of CLI’s next strategic plan for 2024 and beyond
    • Harvest learnings from the team and external scans, sharpening learnings and feeding them into the process
    • Draft the Strategic Plan for 2024+; capture decisions, integrate feedback, and spot/prioritize tensions to resolve for a shared vision
  • Organizational Learning
    • Create simple, but impactful practices and structured moments for teams to reflect on lessons learned and trends
    • Feed insights into decision making, strategic planning, and materials for our funders and Managing Committee

Drive Results for Key Meetings, Deliverables, and Processes (Estimated 35%)

  • Annual Progress Report for Funders  
    • In partnership with the Leadership Team, Philanthropy Team, and data lead, interpret data, distill clear messages, and produce a final written report and live presentation on our annual progress to our Managing Committee, funders, and climate advisors
    • Project manage complex Annual Progress Report across data collection/validation, writing, graphical elements, appendices (e.g., finances), and presentation materials; secure and manage consultants, such as writers and graphic designers, as needed
    • Design clear timeline and decision-making structures to facilitate smooth reviews and approvals of above work with appropriate stakeholders. 
  • Grant Applications and Renewals
    • Project manage grant applications and renewals for 6 current funders, including drafting proposals as needed
    • Serve as point-of-contact to program officers to field any questions through renewal and beyond
    • Elevate challenges to VP/COO and President, when applicable
  • CLI Board and Funders Meetings  
    • In partnership with CLI's President and VP/COO:
    • Project manage the preparation for CLI’s Managing Committee meetings (currently four/year), Executive Committee meetings (currently six/year), and Funders Briefings (currently two/year)
    • Prepare agendas, assemble pre-read packages, and draft presentation decks for Board meetings
    • Attend meetings, take notes, and synthesize into first drafts of formal minutes and/or follow-up emails 

Provide Increased Leverage to the VP/COO (Estimated 30%)

  • New Climate Philanthropists and Key Partnerships   
    • In order to support the VP/COO’s direct work with new climate philanthropists, this position will: 
    • Project manage donor deliverables, donor-related work streams, and relationships with key partners (such as networks); develop work plans and timelines and track the status of action items and deliverables to meet internal and external deadlines
    • Liaise with members of CLI’s Global Climate Strategies, Philanthropy, and Communications teams to ensure effective collaboration across the entire CLI team on donor deliverables and products
    • Prepare high-quality, strategic briefs and support preparation of other donor materials (including decks, advisory materials, funding opportunities, etc.) for meetings with donors, peers, experts, and partners
    • For events, prepare briefings on attendees and speakers, and executive summaries and meeting notes as needed
    • Develop prep materials (e.g., donor briefs) for partners prior to CLI-organized donor or network meetings
    • Ensure donor, network, and event activities in Salesforce are regularly tracked and updated 
  • Cross-Functional Strategic Initiatives 
    • Facilitate special projects and cross-functional strategic initiatives
    • Design and facilitate meetings for progress updates as well as capturing trends and learnings 
  • Exceptional Communication – Communicates with impact (verbal and written); listens well and can easily learn to communicate in someone else’s “written voice”; proven track record of crafting clear and focused messages for high profile stakeholders
  • Strategic Thinking - Highly strategic thinker; data driven and analytical in approach to solving problems; serves as trusted advisor and brainstorming partner. Possesses acumen to learn CLI’s model to offer thoughtful ideas and insights
  • Drives Execution - Results-focused doer, ready to jump in to staff the VP/COO on a dynamic portfolio of work; naturally zeroes in on next steps; leverages keen people skills to work with internal/external teams to keep projects on track. Takes initiative on projects with a self-starter mentality and independent work ethic
  • Structured Systems and Process Mindset - Creates order out of chaos with attention to simple practices and processes allowing for transparency and collaboration. Builds systems to promote effectiveness and efficiency
  • Dealing with Ambiguity - Thrives in fast-paced, startup environments amongst conflicting priorities; able to navigate the gray areas; can effectively cope with change; can shift gears comfortably; can decide and act without having the total picture; when things are up in the air, approaches with optimism; can juggle many moving parts; can comfortably handle risk and uncertainty 
  • Knowledge, Skills, Abilities   
    • Ability to act as an information funnel, filter, and facilitator with a variety of stakeholders
    • Coordinates time and resources effectively to accomplish objectives within allotted time
    • Serves as a thought partner; challenge ideas and offer a different perspective
    • Determines, prioritizes, and project manages cross-functionally
    • Provides critical and thoughtful analysis, recommendations, and options for high impact decisions
    • Enjoys big picture thinking, but not at the expense of the details
    • Prefers working behind the scenes to enable successful outcomes
    • Provides on the ground feedback that is independent, informed, and objective
    • Promotes team integration as well as cross-functional communication and collaboration; effectively resolves any conflicts with diplomacy
  • Education and Experience 
    • 12-15 years of professional experience in executive office or business management roles required
    • Experience planning and leading strategic initiatives
    • Track record of cross-functional department and team management
    • Bachelor’s degree preferred
At the Climate Leadership Initiative, we value diversity and always treat all employees and job applicants based on merit, qualifications, competence, and talent. We do not discriminate on the basis of or traits historically associated with race, color, religion, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status), domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by state or federal law.