island conservation job opening

Job Opening: Chief Operating Officer

POSITION TITLE: Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Santa Cruz, CA, Full Time


Island Conservation, a global leader in the conservation of threatened island biodiversity, is working to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. In collaboration with regional partners, Island Conservation designs and implements conservation projects which ensure native species protection and demonstrate cutting-edge invasive species removal techniques. Island Conservation also supports on-the-ground research to optimize the success of invasive vertebrate removal. Our mission is focused and our conservation outcomes are tangible and measurable. Since its founding in 1994, Island Conservation’s conservation efforts have protected 394 species from extinction. Longtime supporter (and co-founder of the Society for Conservation Biology) Michael Soule, described Island Conservation as “… the world’s most effective organization in terms of species saved from extinction per dollar spent.”

Island Conservation is based in Santa Cruz, California with satellite offices and staff located in Australia, The Bahamas, British Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, Hawaii, New Zealand, Palau, and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit


The Chief Operating Officer (COO) will join the central leadership team at Island Conservation, based in Santa Cruz, California. The COO will be responsible for providing the leadership, management and strategic vision necessary to effectively run the organization, ensure financial strength and operating efficiency. The COO will oversee Island Conservation’s financial affairs and provide expertise and insights to help the organization make well-informed, and sound business decisions. This position will report to the Chief Executive Officer and will serve as a key leader and thought partner on the organizational Leadership Team.

Key attributes include:

  • Proven leadership in financial and operational management
  • Experience and understanding of international non-profit finance
  • Demonstrated experience with U.S. federal grants and contracts, multilateral, and bi-lateral funding sources
  • Demonstrated experience conducting and analyzing forecasts and building financial and operational staffing capacity models
  • Ability to design, implement, and manage financial and operational systems which are appropriately scaled to Island Conservation
  • A deep commitment to the mission of Island Conservation
  • Impeccable integrity


Financial and Operational Management 

  • Understand and manage fiscal health of organization and investment of reserves
  • Act as the organization’s key financial leader, decision-maker and approve spending of organizational resources
  • Present information on the organization’s financial health to the Board of Directors
  • Review and evaluate current budget and financial processes and make suggestions for changes as needed
  • Plan and forecast financials
  • Assess feasibility of revenue and modeling growth and costs/revenues
  • Manage yearly audit
  • Oversee international human resources, insurance and risk management
  • Communicate with Island Conservation’s Board Finance Committee, lawyers, and CPAs

Team Management

  • Guide team on financial decisions
  • Oversee general organization finances including departmental overlaps, such as in budgeting processes and protocol (e.g., finance, human resources, philanthropy)
  • Oversee staff on the Finance/Administration team


The COO ideally should embody the following professional qualifications:

  • Minimum 7+ years in similar financial and organizational development management role with increasing levels of responsibility
  • Bachelor’s or MBA (preferred) degree in business, finance, or accounting
  • High-level experience in international non-profit or business sector preferred
  • Experience with multi-national, multi-lateral, multi-agency accounting issues.
  • International accounting and contracting experience preferred
  • Excellent written and spoken English language skills; Spanish language skills a plus
  • Proven managerial talent as a visionary and strategic leader of organizational finance and operations
  • Excellent ability to act as a coach and guide for the team by utilizing critical thinking and creative solutions skills in regards to finances and operations
  • Advanced computer skills including in-depth experience with Quickbooks, Adobe, and Microsoft Office; experience with Salesforce is desired
  • Experience with federal and international funders such as National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Global Environment Facility (GEF) a plus


The COO ideally should embody the following personal attributes:

  • Willingness and ability to work through peak activity periods, as required
  • Willingness to travel internationally and work across different time zones
  • Articulate, with proven ability to write effectively and speak persuasively
  • Exceptional analytical, strategic, and tactical ability, as measured through execution of projects and/or processes that meet and surpass expectations
  • Superlative interpersonal skills, including a willingness to listen to internal and external constituents and learn from their best ideas
  • Intellectual curiosity, approachability, and openness to input from all levels of staff
  • High energy level, personable, trustworthy, diplomatic, respectful and in possession of impeccable integrity
  • Strong cultural fit: Able to work with self-motivated, mission driven staff in flexible workplace
  • Proven team player and leader, able to motivate and inspire staff as well as colleagues to work well as a team – a leader not a boss


The ideal start date is 5/1/17; however, the position will remain open until a suitable applicant is found.


Island Conservation is an equal opportunity employer. Island Conservation offers a salary and benefits package that is competitive with other international not-for-profit conservation organizations.


Interested candidates should prepare an application as one PDF that includes the following: a cover letter, CV, two references, and salary expectations. Please label your application as LastnameCV.pdf

Email your application to at Blue Earth Consultants, a Division of ERG, who is coordinating the recruitment process. Please include IC COO 2017 in the subject line. We will be reviewing candidates starting March 13, 2017 and continue to accept applications until the position is filled. 

  • Principals only. Recruiters, please do not contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.


Featured photo: Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Credit: Tommy Hall/Island Conservation

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 64 islands worldwide, benefiting 1195 populations of 487 species and subspecies. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species.

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