Associate Director, Sustainable Landscapes and Communities

Sonoran Institute
Tucson, AZ
United States
Professional Areas: 
Community Engagement
Land-Use Management
Regional Planning
Sustainability Planning
Experience Level: 
AICP Certification: 


Outstanding career opportunity with leading community-based natural resource conservation organization serving the North American West. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of seven years of experience managing conservation or land use programs. Strong program management, stakeholder facilitation, fundraising, and communications skills are required. We are seeking a team-player with a passion for our work. If you are ready to help make the West great again then keep reading and prepare yourself for an opportunity like no other.

Who we are

Sonoran Institute is one of the West’s leading and most innovative environmental organizations. Founded in Tucson in 1990, we are leading efforts to restore the Colorado River Delta and the Santa Cruz River, and are working on innovative approaches to better integrate water and land use planning throughout the Colorado River Basin. We celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2015 and are in the midst of a robust marketing and fundraising effort to support our 2040 Vision.

We have over 25 years of experience working on the Santa Cruz River in the US and Mexico. The benefits of having steady effluent to restore the natural river ecosystem provide much needed community and economic benefits that are not secondary to environmental benefits—they are equally integral to our vision. Restoring the river as a source of community pride, connection, and as an economic asset will realize this effort’s “triple bottom line."

General Overview

The Associate Director (AD) is responsible for directing and overseeing program activities for the Santa Cruz River. The AD will design and manage a number stakeholder processes focused on conservation priority-setting, riparian restoration, water dedication, and land-use planning that impact the river. The AD also will lead, through various partnerships, efforts to research and communicate the health and value of the river to the community.  The AD will have a Project Manager as a direct report.

Reporting to the Senior Director of Programs and working closely with the Sustainable Landscape and Communities Team Director, the AD will be responsible for fundraising in support of program activities and at the Institute level. Lastly, the AD may collaborate with other Sonoran Institute staff on river-related program activities in the US and MX and will serve as a member of the Leadership Team participating in organization-wide planning and policy-making efforts.

Key Responsibilities 

  • Develop and update as needed a comprehensive program plan for the Santa Cruz, soliciting input from the Executive Team, Leadership Team, and Board of Directors
  • Design and facilitate external stakeholder processes to reach common understanding and agreement on actions needed to implement the program plan
  • Develop partnerships with organizations or entities critical to implementing the program plan
  • Oversee production of communications materials and carry out associated outreach strategies to elevate the profile of the Santa Cruz across the community and among key decision-makers and opinion leaders
  • Define research or other information needs to advance the program plan
  • Advocate for policy changes, locally, at the state level, nationally, and binationally, to advance the program plan
  • Serve a spokesperson for the organization on the Santa Cruz River
  • Oversee and/or perform program activities including research, writing, communications, data analysis, and other activities in collaboration with other team members
  • Prepare, proofread, and edit donor proposals, reports, and correspondence, and ensure all donor reporting requirements are met
  • Prepare annual program budgets, review financial reports, and revise budgets as necessary
  • Conduct annual performance evaluations of employees and hire and terminate personnel as needed


Education & Experience 

  • Master’s Degree in relevant environmental and/or policy topics and 7 years’ experience working in conservation or land use projects.


  • Experience managing programs with diverse activities, including program planning, budgeting, and implementation.
  • Experience designing and leading stakeholder processes.
  • Demonstrated experience in applying creative and strategic thinking skills for problem solving and generation new project ideas.
  • Experience in developing grant proposals and ensuring compliance to grantor requirements
  • Experience managing staff, including hiring and termination of personnel and conducting annual performance evaluations
  • A commitment to natural resource conservation.
  • A general understanding of local, state, and federal land use and water policy.
  • Current, valid US Passport and valid driver’s license.


  • Organized, detail oriented and ability to multi-task.
  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal.
  • Willingness to handle general administrative tasks.
  • Capable of motivating and inspiring team members
  • Bi-lingual; ability to read, write, and translate documents from Spanish to English/English to Spanish.

What Sonoran Institute Offers Employees

We offer our employees a comprehensive benefits program that includes: employee only medical 100% paid, dental base plan 100% paid, employer paid life and LTD, flexible spending account, retirement plan with employer match, paid holidays, paid time off (20 days first year), and also voluntary vision, STD, and life insurance.

This position will be located at Sonoran Institute’s downtown Tucson headquarters, a modern workspace in the heart of Tucson’s revitalized core about 2 miles from the University of Arizona Main Campus. Our location offers excellent access to the modern street car and secure bike parking.

How to Apply

Please submit cover letter and resume to

Published on:
July 18, 2018 - 11:01am
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