Employment Opportunity: Chief of Staff, President's Office | Oceana USA

Chief of Staff, President's Office

General Summary

Oceana seeks a leader who, as part of the President’s office, will work with Oceana’s staff in ten countries to win policy campaigns to improve ocean life. This is a unique opportunity to work closely with the leaders of the only nonprofit working internationally to save the oceans. 

Oceana is an international nonprofit dedicated to protecting ocean ecosystems.  We achieve policy changes that are important for ocean conservation.  We set measurable policy goals to achieve in a two-to-five year period, so we are accountable to ourselves and our supporters.  We work only on the ocean.  We are organized to set goals and make management decisions as one organization across international boundaries, with participation by our diverse, international leadership. 

Oceana emphasizes that the oceans provide wild-caught food for a hungry planet. Our ocean can, if properly tended, provide a nutritious meal every day for almost a billion people.  Although the catch of wild-caught ocean fish is in decline because of overfishing, we can reverse this trend through science-based fisheries management.  If we save the ocean, we can help feed the world.

Oceana currently has campaigns in countries that account for 40 percent of the world’s fish catch.  Through recent expansion, our staff now consists of about 220, including scientists, communications experts, lawyers, organizers, and advocates.


Principal Duties, Responsibilities and Essential Functions:

The Chief of Staff is a visible position that is critical to the functioning of the President’s office and the success of Oceana overall.  S/he helps the President and General Counsel (“President”) and his direct reports achieve their goals, which the Chief of Staff shares. Broadly, Oceana’s President is responsible for Oceana’s organizational health, as managed by the fundraising, finance, HR, IT, and law departments.  The President also directly supervises the leaders of our campaigns in Peru, Chile, and Belize.  In addition, he takes responsibility as appropriate with Oceana’s CEO and other leaders for success in other countries. The Chief of Staff will attend meetings and represent the President at internal and external meetings as requested.   


The Chief of Staff has three primary functions:

  • Strategic Initiatives – lead and execute discrete projects assigned by the President.  These initiatives will generally cut across divisions and geographies and require working with leaders and staff throughout the organization. 
  • Ensure the priorities of the President are acted upon – provide a strong link between the President’s office and other divisions; independently identify and address issues as they arise and bring them to the President’s attention for input or resolution as needed.
  • Project Management – work with the President to review, coordinate and ensure follow through on the myriad projects for which the President is responsible. Ensure communication among all parties involved, clear definition of roles, and that deadlines, milestones and goals are met. 


The Chief of Staff is responsible for achieving Oceana’s goals in several ways:

  • Policy Campaigns.  Work with the country directors in Peru, Chile, and Belize to develop campaign plans, set milestones, and report on progress.  Focus on helping the country office develop expertise, practices, and systems to improve campaign planning and execution.
  • Planning.  Facilitate communication among the President and his reports – the CFO, SVP for Global Development, and Assistant General Counsel – finding the most efficient and useful ways to communicate in order to review progress, share ideas, and receive input or approval.
  • Project implementation.  Coordinate projects that involve multiple departments.  Where the project may be recurring, focus on solving the immediate issue, providing training, and setting expectations to improve outcomes and/or reduce effort over time.
  • New initiatives.  Staff the President when new opportunities arise that cut across departments or that involve multiple departments. 
  • Problem solving.  Help the President resolve problems that arise from time to time in any organization. Possible solutions may include more clearly defining roles and responsibilities, correcting miscommunications, or proposing alternatives.  Seek to identify underlying causes and to propose ways to avoid similar problems.
  • Other duties as assigned. 


Job Requirements, Education and Work Experience:


  • An advanced degree in science, law, or management and at least 5 years’ experience defining and implementing campaign goals or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience working across cultural, geographic and programmatic lines to align work, solve problems and achieve goals. 

Skills and knowledge:

  • Demonstrated ability to be effective in achieving organizational change, including in situations where you are not the direct supervisor and influence and persuasion are essential.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of how to achieve policy goals.  Such knowledge in multiple countries a plus.   
  • Demonstrated action orientation.
  • Demonstrated communication skills, including –
    1. Working with people with a variety of skills and from diverse cultures
    2. Clear writing
    3. Facility in conveying complex ideas understandably
    4. Ability to address specific tasks at hand and to teach.
  • Demonstrated strength in project management, including –
    1. Breaking complex goals in to manageable tasks
    2. Keeping track of deadlines
    3. Coordinating the contributions of multiple people
  • Track record in proposing and successfully implementing improvements to systems, processes, and practices.
  • Proven flexibility to handle multiple tasks, which change from time to time.
  • Readiness to travel internationally.
Apply Now