Back to top

National Director of Policy, Advocacy and Legal

This job is no longer available

Oakland, CA, USA

This is a new senior position that will oversee the Sierra Club’s policy, lobbying and legal teams. The role will have a seat on the Program Department Leadership Team, which sets the direction for the 300+ staff department in pursuit of our bold 2030 goals. The successful candidate will be an exemplary manager and have the skills and experience to lead a team of more than 80 staff including policy experts, federal and state lobbyists, our political team, national campaigners and a legal program of more than 40 attorneys. The National Director will lead their team to help achieve the Sierra Club’s goals by weaving together the formidable legal, lobbying, and political power of one of the nation's most important progressive civic organizations and combining that with our campaigning and grassroots power capacity to defend our planet and our democracy.

The National Director will need to foster cooperation and collaboration by leading their team to build effective relationships with peers in the Program Department, other National Departments, with associated volunteer leaders and with our more than 60 local Chapters. The National Director will also ensure their team is oriented to support movement partners who represent those most impacted by the urgent challenges of climate, pollution and exclusion.  Our ideal candidate has a strategic vision for leveraging the Sierra Club’s political, policy, lobbying and legal assets to achieve our ambitious climate, lands and outdoors policy goals. The successful candidate will do all of the above in a way that embodies the Sierra Club’s values and centers equity, inclusion, and justice.

Areas of Responsibility: 
  • Serve as a member of the Program Department Leadership Team helping to shape and manage the direction of our $70m+, 300+ team of organizers, campaigners, lobbyists, lawyers, analysts, trainers and strategists and embodying the five values of that team: collaboration, both/and, abundance, transparency, impact.
  • Be a visible and effective leader of our lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and beyond, capable of supporting and integrating our federal and state lobbyists to develop and leverage key relationships, integrate inside and outside strategies to leverage the power of our grassroots  and represent Sierra Club and the broader movement in legislative settings.
  • Provide leadership and support for Sierra Club’s  legal program, which undertakes bold litigation to achieve victories in service of our campaign and policy goals, supports hundreds of ongoing matters initiated by our Chapters, and serves as a foundation for litigation across the environmental movement due to our unique standing as a large grassroots organization.
  • Provide leadership and support to our Political Team to increase their effectiveness and impact: winning elections, building the salience of our issues in the political landscape and growing engagement among our 3.5 million members and supporters.
  • Oversee other areas of policy and movement facing work including our National Strategies team, Labor and Economic Justice Program, Democracy Program, Gender, Equity and Environment work and our Living Economy Program.
  • Own responsibility for protecting and strengthening the key policies and legal precedent we rely on to achieve our ambitious goals.
  • Oversee assigned units and direct all aspects of their management, including budgeting, fundraising, strategic planning, equity and justice, and personnel.
  • Facilitate successful collaboration across our lobbying, political and litigation teams to build collective power and deliver strategic results
  • Manage a team of senior managers, overseeing close to 100 staff, including attorneys, non-attorney legal staff, lobbyists, experts and political and other campaigners.
  • Represent the Sierra Club to the media, donors, partner organizations, government officials, and business leaders.
  • Performs miscellaneous duties as directed.
Educational Background: 
Relevant Bachelor's or advanced degree, or the equivalent combination of education and experience. Legal education an advantage but not required.
  • Exemplary track record of experience as an executive director, senior manager, Legal, Lobby or Political Program Director or comparable position, which includes substantial experience developing strategy, leading large teams & managing senior staff, project managing and planning and managing lobbying, legal and/or political efforts and planning and managing a large/complex budget. 
  • Understanding of environmental, climate, and social justice issues and how they relate to each other. Demonstrated ability to design and implement strategies that operate at the intersections of the environment and marginalized communities (e.g. race, gender, and class.) Experience cultivating and maintaining just, accountable partnerships, especially with organizations led by those most impacted by the crises we seek to remedy.
  • Understanding of how power, privilege, and oppression manifest at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels. Personal commitment to learning and growth, especially around equity. Skillful at managing individuals and leading teams with a diversity of identites and skill sets to contribute at their highest level. Proficient at proactively surfacing and navigating conflict in a generative, equitable way.
  • Demonstrated experience as a successful leader at the national level, including experience and knowledge of applying policy, legal, or political advocacy strategies in concert with different campaign and organizing models such as distributed organizing, momentum-based and structural campaigns, mass mobilization, grassroots power and movement building. The Director will develop a strategic vision for how these models together leverage Sierra Club resources and advance transformational outcomes.
  • An emotionally intelligent, values and results-driven leader who can inspire staff and volunteers at all levels, collaborate within and across departments, and provide feedback and coaching to support the achievement of our complex goals.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of environmental issues and political, legal and public policy processes and an in depth understanding of privilege and how race, gender, class intersect with environmental work. Demonstrated experience coaching others in this analysis.
  • Understanding of and commitment to progressive environmental politics, social justice, and the Sierra Club’s mission.
  • An understanding of major environmental laws and litigation processes.
  • Ability to build and maintain trust with Program Department Leadership Team and leaders across the organization, while cultivating reciprocal and trusting relationships with staff and volunteers in their teams.
  • Ability to travel up to 25% of the time.
  • An Oakland, CA or Washington, DC location is preferred. A flexible location will be considered.

Strong candidates will bring the following characteristics and/or experience:

  • Highly skilled communicator, written and verbal – both individually and in large audience or public communications.
  • Proven fundraising and donor stewardship skills.
  • Demonstrated experience in significant change management processes that required building buy-in and leading across a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to integrate cutting edge data management and digital tools to inform strategy and track progress.
  • Have a working knowledge of administrative and courtroom litigation and risk management associated with a large litigation practice
  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment, across geographies, and with different types of volunteer and staff structures, exercising effective judgment in challenging situations and remaining calm under pressure.
  • A positive energy and good humor that engenders enthusiasm and collaboration.

The Sierra Club offers competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan.

Organization Info

Sierra Club

Oakland, CA, United States
About Us
Areas of Focus: 

The purposes of the Sierra Club are to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.

Listing Stats

Post Date: 
Oct 25 2019
Active Until: 
Nov 25 2019
Hiring Organization: 
Sierra Club