Vice President of Programs

  • Nonprofit Full Time
  • Colorado
  • City: Denver

Website ConservationCO Conservation Colorado

The largest statewide environmental organization in Colorado

Vice President of Programs

Location: Denver

Work Schedule: Exempt, Full-time

Deadline for Submission:  July 26, 2024

Conservation Colorado is seeking a Vice President of Programs based in Denver.  The VP of Programs oversees our community engagement, government affairs, and political teams to build and leverage the organization’s political power. The VP is responsible for delivering programmatic wins to protect Colorado’s environment and communities.  This position reports directly to the CEO and is a key member of the executive leadership team.

About Conservation Colorado
As the largest statewide environmental organization in Colorado, we work to protect our state’s climate, air, land, water, and communities. We play a unique role in Colorado as our work focuses on organizing communities, influencing decision-makers, and electing conservation-minded leaders. We believe that achieving racial, social, and environmental justice are critical to our mission.
You can learn more about our mission here.

What You’ll Do

The central work of achieving our mission happens through the Programs team.  This role oversees the departments that work to enact the three pillars of our theory of change — people, policy, and politics —  to build & leverage power to win on our campaigns and build a more racially diverse and inclusive environmental movement.  You will set the vision and strategy for the program capacities & work with the directors to set individual and department priorities.  Specific responsibilities include:

Policy Programs & Campaigns

  • Lead the development of long-term programmatic, policy, political, and organizing goals and campaign priorities.
  • Ensure our values and equity are embedded in our programmatic work.
  • Collaborate closely with the development team and acts as the key programmatic liaison for foundation giving including building and maintaining relationships with foundation staff.
  • Serve as the staff lead for the Board of Directors Program & Policy Committee.

Community Engagement & Organizing

  • Work with the community engagement team to ensure we are broadening our reach to more communities, particularly communities disproportionately impacted by environmental harm, who can be organized and mobilized to influence decision makers to advance environmental policy.
  • Oversee high-level relationships with key stakeholders including elected officials and organizational partners.

Government Affairs & Political

  • Leads the coordinated side of our political work to elect pro-conservation champions with a specific focus on fundraising & budgeting.
  • Oversees the development of, and acts as a key thought partner on, priority campaign plans to ensure “next-level” campaign design and management

Staff Management

  • Hire and manage a team to support the development and execution of the program strategy.
  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of the team including budgeting, planning, staff development.
  • Mentor and develop high-level and high-performing staff using a supporting & collaborative approach that matches our organizational values.

Executive Leadership 

  • Works closely with the CEO and is a member of the executive team, which sets organizational strategy and goals to implement the strategic plan.
  • Sets the data framework for the team and uses data to inform the work.
  • Coordinates and/or supports cross-departmental initiatives to ensure alignment, effectiveness, and impact.


This position is a great opportunity to lead a high-performing team that is focused on delivering real wins on environmental policy for all Coloradans.  Fundamentally, we want someone who loves the good fight and has the skills and desire to do this work in the context of our theory of change — bringing together the people, policy, and politics.  You will be results-oriented, resilient, focused on building authentic relationships, thrive on problem solving, and be a great teammate.  More specifically to this role, you will have or be most or all of the following:

  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ):  When working to make social change, having self-awareness, being able to self-regulate, understanding social awareness, and leveraging intrinsic motivation and empathy is critical for success.  Having high EQ helps to maintain grace and composure when everyone else around you is losing theirs, which is critical to keeping focused on the bottom line of what we are trying to achieve.
  • Strong Strategic Thinking:  You will have the skills to deal with abstract problems and translate ideas into practical actions to achieve the organization’s goals.  Figuring out how to deploy our resources to maximum effect, communicating complicated policies in easy to understand language and thinking outside of your own experience to incorporate outside views and opinions are critical to success.  This role also functions as a visionary thought partner to the CEO as well as your direct reports, which means having a background that in some way includes organizing, politics, and policy is fundamental to this role.
  • Experienced Campaigner:  Our theory of change is built around bringing together people, politics, and policy.  Working at this intersection requires you to build and leverage power effectively to influence decision makers to pass strong policy.  That means you must have experience developing and executing campaign goals and training people on goals, strategies, and tactics.  You also need to be able to articulate our theory of change to your team and help them learn how to build and leverage power effectively.
  • 5+ Years Management Experience:  This position has three direct reports who oversee their own departments and who require high-level management, so 5+ years of experience managing people, including time managing high-performing leadership level staff, is required.   We expect our managers to manage with a spirit of collaboration, transparency, and power sharing.
  • Strong Equity Analysis:  You need to have a clear and demonstrable understanding of racial equity and structural racism and the centrality of this analysis to environmental policy.  This means you also have to understand how your own identities show up and influence your work on environmental justice policy.  You must have experience building successful relationships where there is little to no trust to start, as well as experience building relationships across different social identities.  Building movements to win campaigns, not just winning at all costs, is important to us.
  • Self-Motivation:  This is a high-level executive position in the organization and you must have the drive and determination to chart your own course to deliver on organizational goals with little to no oversight.  This doesn’t mean you are on your own, you’ll work closely with the CEO and the rest of the executive team and can lean on them for support, but you are driving the work forward.

This position does not have an undergraduate education requirement. Spanish/English bilingual is a skill we value, but it is not a requirement. This is a full-time job, but there can be some flexibility in the exact schedule.

Compensation and Benefits

The full-time salary range for this role is between $150,000-170,000.

We provide high-quality health insurance and a strong benefits package that includes a SIMPLE IRA retirement plan with a match, at least 30 days of vacation & holidays in addition to six physical & mental wellness days in your first year, and parental leave and a sabbatical program. Please note that as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, Conservation Colorado employees are not eligible to participate in the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

All Conservation Colorado positions require in-person work of some kind & therefore we do require our staff to be vaccinated against COVID. The organization does not have a set policy for the number of days someone must be in the office and the days required for a specific individual or position will vary based on the needs of the position and personal preference as agreed to with the manager. Everyone is welcome to work in the office 100% of the time if they prefer.

We are committed to building a more diverse and inclusive organization and conservation movement to fully represent and engage all Coloradans and to build as powerful a movement as we can. Recruiting staff that better reflects Colorado is a  priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, race, ethnicity, geographies, political affiliation, sexual orientations, gender identities, and all other identities represented in Colorado or protected by law. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

To Apply

If this job speaks to you, please click here to submit a cover letter & resume and answer a few short questions. If you have a disability and need accommodation or assistance with our online application process, please tell us how we can help by calling us at 303.333.7846.

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