POSITION: Chief Strategy Officer


LOCATION: Flexible; must be located within the U.S.

COMPENSATION: This position is a full-time salaried position with a salary range of $120,000-$140,000 depending on experience. Benefits include, but are not limited to: 403b plan with employer match, vacation, holidays, sick, technology and coworking space reimbursement, and health stipend.

Upstream’s Vision and Mission

Upstream is a non-profit organization that helps business, non-profit and community leaders remake how we consume to protect our planet and create thriving local economies, communities and people. We spark innovative solutions to plastic pollution, but for us, the problem isn't just single-use plastic - it’s “single-use” itself.  It's the throw-away society at the root of plastic pollution and a host of other problems. So we're building a movement to make throw-away go away. We’re working for a world where people and the planet are treated as indisposable, and where businesses and communities thrive on reuse-ability. And we invite you to co-create it with us.

Job Description

With brands signaling support for shifting from single-use to reuse/refill packaging systems, big opportunities have opened up for projects, policies and infrastructure to transform how we consume. And a New Reuse Economy is developing and growing quickly to replace single-use consumption. But with these commitments and momentum comes competing ideas around vision, strategies and tactics. And many entrenched interests want to defend and expand the single-use status quo. 

The Chief Strategy Officer is a new C-suite position at Upstream. We’ve developed the position to ensure we have the capacity and skills to help shape this rapidly evolving landscape and expand our thought leadership as first-movers and experts within the space. The CSO will be a part of the C-Suite with the CEO, COO/CFO and CMO as well as supervise a program team of employees and contractors including the Policy Director and Business Innovation Director. Both Director positions are actively implementing first-in-nation and/or first-in-industry tools to accelerate the transition to the new reuse economy.


Core Responsibilities

Internally, the CSO’s main priority will be to ensure that  the organization and overall team - and project teams - have clarity and are aligned. This will require examining the strategies, outputs, and processes and making sure that they are distributed throughout the organization.. The CSO needs to be a highly-organized and effective project manager and leader. 

Externally, the CSO will support the CEO and collaborate with the Directors to  cultivate and steward strategically-important relationships with brands and service providers in the food service, beverage and CPG sectors (our clients). This will require an understanding of what is needed and insight about  where Upstream can add value and secure revenue. The CSO needs to be someone that understands corporate sustainability offices, their personnel and the challenges they face, and that can build relationships and develop projects to scale results.

Upstream is a founding member of the Reuse/Refill Forum with corporate and NGO leaders. We are engaged in a year-long dialogue process to learn, align strategies and partner on large-scale reuse projects throughout the United States in the food service, beverage and consumer packaged goods sectors. In collaboration with the CEO, the CSO will identify the best opportunities for Upstream to add value in these sectors, and help develop and implement strategies for the Upstream team to execute.


The CSO will:

  • Assess whether strategic initiatives, at all levels of the organization, are in line with the company’s standards and objectives. 
  • Work with and influence people across entire organizations and beyond.
  • Represent Upstream at the table with high-level corporate, government and NGO leaders to formulate strategies and identify the best role for Upstream.
  • Develop new thinking, paradigms and ideas and develop them into strategies and solutions for Upstream’s program team.
  • Supervise two senior level staff, the Policy Director and Business Innovation Director.

Must haves for this position

We recognize the person who fills this position could come from a number of backgrounds so we are really focused on the skills and outcomes we hope to achieve as a result of this new c-suite position. 

  • Leadership skills that include excellent project management, meeting facilitation and engagement skills that draw people in and help them find a place to channel their enthusiasm.
  • An excellent manager, coach and mentor.
  • A highly skilled relationship-builder and friendmaker.
  • A doer first, with the mandate, credentials, and desire to act as well as advise.
  • Presentation and public speaking skills and experience.
  • Well-honed program development and implementation skills that will help Upstream plan, implement, and track the effectiveness of projects.
  • Ability to find common ground and bridge differences to reach consensus. 
  • Strategic planning and process skills that will help Upstream lead coalitions and advocacy networks so that they function effectively, efficiently, and collaboratively in service of accomplishing specific goals and objectives.
  • Skills and experience engaging with diverse stakeholders and navigating the various lived experiences that exist in these spaces.
  • Willingness and ability to work evening and weekend hours to attend or facilitate meetings for the purposes of local organizing and providing expertise to community-based organizations.
  • Well-organized, able to use online platforms and systems to track and prioritize work.
  • Willingness to work remotely. Upstream has no home office - we are a “distributed” team.
  • Ability to travel for meetings, co-working, staff retreats, and other convenings as part of the job.


Our Values

Upstream operates as a small, virtual team with team members distributed across the U.S. We place a high value on work-life balance and on honoring the privilege of getting paid to do this good work every day. Our work culture balances trust and independence with an equal measure of collaboration and emphasis on supporting each other to do our best work. 

Embody Upstream values (the 5 “i”s)”

  1. Innovative - I work to be innovative in the way I approach problems
  2. Inspiring - I work to stay inspired and be inspiring in my work
  3. Invitational - I invite others to co-create the more beautiful world we all want
  4. Inclusive - I value experiences and perspectives different than my own and
  5. strive to include those voices in decision-making for greater effectiveness
  6. Integrated 

I am Essentialist in my priorities and set amazing boundaries 

I am playful and strive to bring fun into the workplace

I am emotionally grounded because I am awesome at self-care  


Application Deadline: August 22, 2022 at 5pm PT


Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Upstream commits to prioritizing voices and identities that have been underrepresented by using a robust and intentional recruitment process to ensure our job postings and contract opportunities reach underrepresented people. 

In recruiting for our team, we welcome the unique contributions that you can bring in terms of education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs.

We highly encourage those with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. 

For more information on Upstream’s commitments to Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism, please visit: upstreamsolutions.org/equity-and-inclusion


This search is being run by NRG Consulting Group. Please contact jobs@nrgconsultinggroup.org with questions.

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