Open positions:

Policy Director




Flexible within driving distance to Sacramento, CA

About Sustainable Conservation

With offices in San Francisco and Modesto, Sustainable Conservation helps California thrive by uniting people to solve the toughest challenges facing our land, air, and water. Every day, we bring together business, landowners, communities and government, in some of the most productive yet economically disadvantaged parts of California, to steward the resources on which we all depend in ways that are just and make economic sense.

Sustainable Conservation’s current focus is driving collaborative solutions to meet the water needs of California’s environment, economy and people for current and future generations with particular focus on advancing sustainable groundwater management and accelerating the stewardship of natural and working lands and waterways. A sustainable water future for California that supports a thriving economy is achievable. But, a future in which nature and people have access to clean, affordable and reliable water is possible only by working with – not against – each other.

We are striving to improve the state’s water supply reliability, water quality and ecosystem resiliency in light of climate change and the needs of all of California’s communities. Current initiatives include:

  • -Promoting the capture of flood flows to provide flood protection and recharge depleted groundwater aquifers in ways that protect and ideally improve water quality. We must ensure that there is sufficient water in our groundwater aquifers to provide communities with safe drinking water, farmers with water for crops, and fish and wildlife with adequate flows in our rivers and streams as we face more frequent and severe droughts.
  • -Encouraging water and nitrogen use efficiency to protect groundwater supplies and quality.
  • -Reducing pollution to our groundwater aquifers particularly in areas where communities depend on groundwater for their drinking water.
  • -Accelerating restoration of rivers, stream and wetlands by creating policy, regulatory, and financial incentives.

Sustainable Conservation pursues these goals through partnerships with farmers, water agencies, community groups, restoration practitioners and others, and draws from its experience on the ground to inform and advocate for policies that support practices and land management that will move California to a sustainable water future for all of its diverse communities, its renowned fish and wildlife, and a sustainable agricultural industry that benefits California and the nation. Please visit our website to learn more about our work.

The Opportunity

The Policy Director directs Sustainable Conservation’s efforts whenever successful achievement of the organization’s goals requires the creation or change of rules, regulations, or statutory law, or a substantive change in the interpretation of a public agency’s role or mission, or when policy negotiation, advising, or cooperation is required between Sustainable Conservation and private sector, NGO, and/or public agency stakeholders. The Policy Director tracks what is happening in Sacramento and across the state and thinks strategically about how to best position Sustainable Conservation’s Water for the Future, Water Quality and Accelerating Restoration Initiatives to influence aspects of state policy relevant to its work (learn more about these programs here).  As Sustainable Conservation embraces the essential role of equity in environmental policy, the new Policy Director will play an influential role in leading the integration of equity into all of Sustainable Conservation’s policy work.

More specifically, the Policy Director will be representing Sustainable Conservation’s interests in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, CV Salts, Irrigated Lands Regulatory Programs among other policies, and actively communicating with a variety of state and regional agencies including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the Natural Resources Agency, the Department of Fish & Wildlife and the California Department of Food & Agriculture.

The Policy Director also provides advice and recommendations on policy positions and actions to the Chief Executive Officer, program staff, and the Board, and helps ensure that policy positions advocated by the organization with all government agencies, legislative bodies, and stakeholders are consistent with the positions approved by the organization.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate for this position will be an inspiring, pragmatic, resourceful and strategic policy leader who has a strong commitment to practical policy solutions and a deep understanding of the complex public policy issues at the state and local level across California. They should bring at least 5-10 years of experience participating in policy efforts across California, at the local, state, and federal level. In addition, they should have the aptitude to strategically partner with stakeholders from multiple interest areas in order to find common ground and achieve collaborative goals.

While it is a plus for this individual to bring a familiarity with statutes, regulations, and subject matter knowledge of California water quality, land use and sustainable agriculture issues, Sustainable Conservation is open to speaking with candidates from a variety of policy focus areas. Individuals from outside of conservation should bring a curiosity and ability to learn new issue areas efficiently.

Key Focus Areas for this leader include:

  • -Providing guidance, direction, and support to program leadership on policy and strategy issues at the federal, state, and local levels
  • -Leading on management of all policy initiatives in coordination with program managers
  • -Serving as lead advocate for Sustainable Conservation positions to policymakers and constituency group leaders and serving as Sustainable Conservation’s principal policy spokesperson
  • -Providing governmental policy and political and social equity perspectives to the deliberations and actions of all of Sustainable Conservation’s programs
  • -Working across and above individual programs to articulate, develop, and implement the organization’s overarching policy goals
  • -Actively participating in Leadership Forum and program team meetings, and leading the generation and articulation of overarching policy positions at Board meetings
  • -Developing and guiding the relationships needed with members and staff of the California Legislature, regulatory agencies, community-based organizations and other stakeholder groups, and NGOs to support policy changes that address the needs of Sustainable Conservation’s programs


The annual salary for this role will be between $95,000 and $125,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience. Sustainable conservation offers a competitive compensation package with fully-paid health insurance benefits, a generous match on 401k, vacation and sick leave, plus the week between Christmas and New Years Day as holiday leave. However, the organization’s best benefit is Sustainable Conservation’s culture. Staff are collaborative, dedicated, and caring. Sustainable Conservation believes in practicing its values in how the staff do their work and work with one another.


Kara Teising and Libby Cornelssen of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Sustainable Conservation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. Koya does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit