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Director, U.S. Plastics Policy

Remote Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Bonsai Leadership Group is excited to support the Ocean Conservancy in its search for its first Director, U.S. Plastics Policy. 



Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. Learn more about the Ocean Conservancy at  



The Director, U.S. Plastics Policy leads Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to advance U.S. state and federal policy campaigns to reduce plastic pollution and plastic production. The Director, U.S. Plastics Policy reports to the Vice President of Conservation, Ocean Plastics (VP) and works closely with the Government Relations team to oversee and implement a multi-year strategy to eliminate or meaningfully reduce single-use plastics most problematic for the ocean. This action orientated director will lead a team of staff and consultants working on U.S. plastics policy and oversee logistics relating to internal program management. The Director, U.S. Plastics Policy plays a key role in working with the Communications team to amplify Ocean Conservancy’s brand in the media and among the public, and with the Resource Development team to secure sustainable program funding. As a collaborative member of the Ocean Plastics Leadership and Conservation Leadership teams, the Director, U.S. Plastics Policy will ensure successful program alignment and integration across the institution.  

The Director, U.S. Plastics Policy will have the following primary responsibilities:  


Program Strategy 

  • Oversees and drives implementation of Ocean Conservancy’s multi-year strategy and workplan to advance policies to reduce plastic pollution in the United States. 
  • Partners with the Government Relations team to develop and lead an outreach strategy to meet and cultivate relationships with key agency officials, elected officials, industry and local communities to garner support for plastics reduction policies and/or comprehensive extended producer responsibility. 
  • Leads the coordination of plastic policy-related topics across state, regional and national initiatives, and across Ocean Conservancy program areas and departments.  
  • Fosters mutually beneficial relationships founded on trust and respect with stakeholders, partners and coalitions to support campaign opportunities to advance Ocean Conservancy’s plastics policy goals. 
  • Supports Ocean Conservancy’s justice, equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, including through identification of partnerships with external stakeholders that are focused on environmental and social justice in the context of ocean-related plastic pollution. 
  • Collaborates with International Plastics and Climate-Plastics teams in policy work to ensure alignment across program priorities and at international fora. 


  • Ensures transparent and effective communication across stakeholders and teams by disseminating regular updates and progress reports regarding program activities, initiatives and milestones achieved.  
  • Collaborates with Communications department to develop and implement public-facing campaigns and ensure an integrated approach and consistent messaging. 
  • Serves as spokesperson and thought leader for Ocean Conservancy’s policy positions with a diverse representation of audiences including decision-makers, stakeholders, media and the general public. 

Finance & Resource Development  

  • Partners with the Resource Development and Finance departments to ensure timely and efficient completion of all financial and administrative matters, including program budgets, funder proposals, donor reports and work plans. 
  • Collaborates closely with Resource Development to plan and execute fundraising efforts that align with program objectives and ensure long-term financial stability.   
  • Provides diligent oversight of monthly financial statements to ensure fiscal responsibility and prepare annual program budget to meet financial objectives and establish program sustainability.  



  • Leads, manages, develops and mentors the U.S. Plastics Policy team in a manner that ensures the successful execution of multi-year strategy initiatives by developing clear workplans, objectives, goals and metrics.  
  • Serves as a member of the Plastics Leadership and Conservation Leadership Teams.  
  • Creates and promotes a positive, collaborative and inclusive work environment. 


The ideal candidate will possess many of the experiences and qualifications described below but need not possess them all for consideration: 

  • Bachelor's degree in environmental policy, materials science, political science or marine science. 
  • Eight or more years of experience working in plastics research, policy and/or environmental advocacy. Experience working with NGOs; Congress; state, local, federal, or international governments preferred. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with diverse teams, collaborate across disciplines and work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders and communicate about complex policy issues. 
  • Trusted and respected leader with experience leading individuals and teams to success.  
  • Excellent ability to distill and effectively communicate (written and verbally) legally, scientifically and politically complex issues to stakeholders, the public and the media. 
  • Exceptional written and oral interpersonal communication skills, with demonstrated past successes in using these abilities to create and successfully pass policy and/or political will. 
  • Extensive knowledge of plastic pollution and relevant policy fields including plastics materials management and recycling.  
  • Proven multi-tasking skills with the ability to see the big picture and remain attentive to details, strict deadlines and deliverables. 
  • Highly responsive and collaborative with an appreciation of the benefit of a multi-disciplinary team approach; willing to take on a variety of tasks to further the program goals. 



15-20% of U.S.-based travel 



The Ocean Conservancy follows a hybrid work structure in the following states: AK, CA, DC, FL, MD, OR, VA, TX, WA, WV 



The salary range for this position is $101,210 - $148,844 annually, with an anticipated starting salary dependent upon the location, qualifications and experience of the hired candidate. In addition, Ocean Conservancy offers a comprehensive benefits package to include:   


  • Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance for employees, spouses – both same sex and opposite sex; domestic partner, and dependent children (effective day 1 of employment)  
  • Short- and Long-Term Disability (free for employee)  
  • Basic Life Insurance (free for employee)  
  • Healthcare and/or Dependent Care Reimbursement Account  
  • Retirement Planning -100% vested upon hire; can begin contributing at hire. After 1 year, Ocean Conservancy will open a 401(a) account for you and will contribute 6% of your monthly salary whether you participate in the 403(b) or not.   
  • 15 paid vacation days, 11 holidays, 12 sick days and two personal days.  


See full list of benefits at: Ocean Conservancy Benefits 



Bonsai Leadership Group has been exclusively retained for this search. For consideration, submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and interest by applying here, as candidates will be evaluated on a rolling basis. If you are a person with a disability and need help applying, please contact us at    


Ocean Conservancy encourages applicants with a diverse level and range of relevant skills and experiences to apply. A 100% match is not required. Ocean Conservancy wants to support employees’ career growth, and in return, its employees help it grow into a stronger, more inclusive institution. 


All applications, nominations, inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.  


Equal Opportunity Employer 

Ocean Conservancy provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training. 

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