Associate Director, Ecosystem Services (Climate Strategy - Agriculture and Forests)

Associate Director, Ecosystem Services (Climate Strategy - Agriculture and Forests)

Winrock International

Arlington, VA or Remote, United States

Winrock International is recruiting an Associate Director in the Ecosystem Services Unit (ECO) to lead a portfolio of global projects aimed at building effective strategies to mitigate climate change within food and forest systems. This position works with private sector clients to assess critical investments that finance emission reduction and removals. The Associate Director manages a team of technical specialists with deep expertise on the measurement of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the development of monitoring protocols, and assessment of project risks and opportunities. This role focuses on climate strategy, agriculture and forests.

Essential Duties

The Associate Director oversees a team of technical specialists, provides technical and project leadership, manages client interactions, and contributes to new product development.

Team Leadership:

  • Lead by example and inspire staff in the unit, promoting professional development and creating a positive working environment that encourages productive relationships, creative problem solving, and high performance;
  • Provide effective supervision to a team of up to six staff including setting performance expectations, conducting regular performance evaluations, and providing ongoing feedback and coaching;
  • Serve as a champion for Winrock’s Core Values (accountability, equity, innovation, integrity and transformation) in the approach to management of the ECO team and encourage upward feedback and management.

Technical Leadership:

  • Lead GHG measurement and monitoring, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and climate risk analysis projects;
  • Develop and implement statistically sound approaches to project design and data analysis for carbon projects, including use of field data, new statistical tools, and models. Recommend and implement new approaches that strengthen Winrock International’s reputation for sound science and expand the visibility of Winrock International as a leading developer of measurement and monitoring methods;
  • Prepare technical analyses, reports, presentations, and other communication, translating technical topics into terms that are meaningful to diverse audiences;
  • Network with external stakeholders and other experts to ensure that project approaches reflect cutting edge technical approaches. Augment ECO’s technical visibility with key stakeholders, practitioners, and donors with an eye towards identifying and engaging promising partners for collaboration and innovation.

Project Leadership:

  • Manage key projects in portfolio, liaising with donors, mentoring project support staff and producing high quality deliverables/products;
  • Maintain day-to-day client communications by communicating clearly with and addressing clients’ needs. Provide accurate, consistent, and coherent technical guidance and explanations to clients and donors;
  • Track and monitor programs as assigned to ensure they are fulfilling deliverable and performance requirements at a high quality, on time, and on budget.

New Business Development:

  • Contribute to the strategic growth and diversification of ECO’s portfolio, deepening impact, scale, and reach;
  • Grow ECO new business by serving as a technical lead, contributor, or reviewer on proposals; leading decisions on whether to pursue ECO new business opportunities; and working closely with the ECO leadership team, New Business Support Unit and E2 New Business Manager to ensure the delivery of quality proposals. Work with the team to identify, document, and promote technical best practices and methodologies for future new business design;
  • Augment ECO’s technical visibility with key stakeholders, practitioners, and donors with an eye towards identifying and engaging promising partners for collaboration and innovation through thought leadership activities including, but not limited to, penning op-eds; serving as a technical panelist, and identifying topics and convening technical fora.

Qualifications and Background


  • Master’s degree in environmental science, natural resource management, forestry, ecology, climate change, or other related field required; terminal degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) strongly preferred.

Required Experience:

  • Minimum 9 years of relevant experience in climate change adaptation/mitigation/resilience and GHG accounting for land use required. Additional years of experience are strongly preferred;
  • Experience developing, mentoring, and managing teams of technical staff;
  • Experience leading complex technical projects with a diverse team of staff and consultants;
  • Knowledge of project carbon accounting, land use change models, and potential mitigation strategies of food and forest projects. Experience in the development of Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) projects and/or programs in the voluntary and/or compliance carbon market preferred;
  • Working understanding or experience with preparing submissions or reporting against key climate corporate leadership standards (e.g. GHG Protocol, Science-Based Targets Initiative’s standards);
  • Demonstrated experience in research and public communication on technical issues, including peer-reviewed publications;
  • Overseas experience with technical and/or operational issues related to GHG accounting and land use, or related issues. Experience working in developing countries is preferred.


  • Strong analytical capability and problem-solving abilities required;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are required, including effective public speaking and the ability to communicate complex issues both verbally and in written form;
  • Ability to contribute to project operations and workflow effectively, to track and meet deadlines for multiple tasks, and work effectively under pressure;
  • Ability to foster and maintain good working relationships with clients and partners, including non-profit organizations, the private sector, foundations, and multilateral organizations;
  • Understanding of GHG emissions quantification methods, carbon credit project development, and/or other sustainability product certification standards;
  • Experience developing proposals for a variety of funders is desired;
  • Proficiency in using Microsoft Office software, including Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Advanced proficiency in Excel is preferred;
  • Fluency in English; fluency in a language in addition to English is strongly preferred;
  • Knowledge of geospatial technologies, tools and methodologies is a plus.

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