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Vice President of Conservation and Science

Organization: Monterey Bay Aquarium (AZA Member)
Location: Monterey, CA, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Vice President of Conservation and Science

The Monterey Bay Aquarium seeks to recruit a Vice President of Conservation and Science.

About Monterey Bay Aquarium

Since its opening in 1984 on Monterey’s historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s (MBA) mission has been to inspire conservation of the oceans. It is consistently ranked as the best aquarium in the United States for its innovative exhibits and unsurpassed visitor experience, and is home to more than 35,000 animals and plants in nearly 200 galleries and exhibits. The aquarium is a showcase for the habitats and sea life of Monterey Bay and California’s Central Coast – one of the world’s richest marine regions. It has also grown to become one of the leading ocean conservation organizations in the world: through its widely recognized and influential Seafood Watch sustainable seafood program; through field research programs involving threatened sea otters, tunas and great white sharks; through collaborations with science and policy leaders at Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and other institutions; and through its own advocacy on behalf of ocean policy issues at the state, regional and national level. The aquarium’s Seafood Watch program is the most influential and respected source for sustainable seafood information in the United States, used by consumers, chefs and major seafood buyers to guide their purchasing decisions.

Building on a platform of a remarkable experience in a remarkable setting, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has set the standard for aquariums worldwide and has achieved tremendous success and critical acclaim. In pursuit of its mission to inspire conservation of the oceans, the aquarium has connected with tens of millions of people who have visited, used Seafood Watch cards, watched web cams, and heard about the aquarium in the media or from friends. However, despite decades of dedicated work by the aquarium and many others, humankind remains behind in a race to stem the tide of declining ocean health and to create a future in which human and ocean communities together survive and thrive.

This is a race we cannot afford to lose. Since opening, the aquarium has extended its impact far beyond its founding mission through creation of its initiatives in education and outreach, field conservation science, policy and advocacy, and sustainable seafood. In the coming decade, it will achieve an even greater impact, building on the power of an aquarium visit and a growing reach in the broader conservation movement.

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Vice President of Conservation and Science

The Vice President is responsible for overall leadership of the aquarium’s Conservation and Science Division and is a member of the senior leadership team of the aquarium. The current activity areas in this division include Seafood Watch, ocean conservation policy and conservation research.

Through its work in conservation and science, the aquarium has redefined the public aquarium as a force for tangible conservation results. The aquarium’s role as a trusted source of information and its ability to communicate with millions of people provide huge opportunities to influence people to act on behalf of ocean conservation, through their consumer habits and their voices for policy change. The aquarium’s flagship program, Seafood Watch, is having a powerful influence driving concrete action by individuals and businesses, in turn driving a remarkable rate of growth in the sustainable seafood movement. Building on this success, in the coming years Seafood Watch will continue to serve as the main source of credible research for the sustainable seafood movement and leverage its influence in creating a future in which seafood is farmed and fished in ways that lead to healthy oceans and thriving communities. In the ocean policy arena, the aquarium has focused its efforts on a policy agenda that is selective to ensure that it achieves maximum impact and avoids duplicating the work of others. The aquarium was deeply involved in the implementation of California’s Marine Life Protection Act and has sponsored and supported a suite of wildlife protection bills over the years that link to the key species of Monterey Bay and its exhibit themes. In the broader arena, with several aquarium trustees having served on the Pew Oceans Commission, the policy group has also worked to implement ocean policy reform at the national, regional and state level. To inform its ocean policy priorities, the Conservation Research program will support a focused research effort, continuing to be closely aligned with the aquarium’s policy priorities and built from the aquarium’s exhibit themes and species which reflect its core expertise.

The broad objectives for the Vice President of Conservation and Science are as follows:

• Provide strategic vision and leadership to achieve ocean conservation impact, focusing on the aquarium’s unique contributions to conservation, consistent with its mission and values, and working in close collaboration with the aquarium’s senior leadership and Board.

• Lead and support development of a high functioning team, integrating the Conservation and Science Division as an effective team-oriented work group and strategic catalyst in support of the aquarium’s mission.

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• Effectively engage internal and external stakeholders in planning and execution of the aquarium’s conservation program strategies and participate as an active member of the aquarium’s senior leadership team.

• Support the Executive Director as a leader in global marine conservation and act as a spokesperson and content expert on matters relating to ocean conservation, working in close collaboration with the communication, marketing and development program.

• Enhance internal and external collaborative relationships and partnerships which advance the aquarium’s priority conservation and science priority areas.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The Vice President of Conservation and Science ideally should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

• Demonstrated passion for the aquarium’s mission.

• Deep understanding of ocean conservation from historical context to emerging issues.

• Ability to communicate a compelling vision for the aquarium’s work through personal influence and superlative communication abilities, and to do so effectively across a range of internal and external stakeholders.

• Ability to think and plan strategically, and to identify and pursue the aquarium’s most effective contributions to conservation impact.

• Demonstrated leadership qualities and success in leading a motivated, team-oriented group to do their best work

• Exceptional written and public speaking skills, and ability to present ideas in a clear and compelling way.

• Strong experience in policy and markets-based conservation strategies.

• Strong scientific background is required, particularly in the areas of ecology, marine biology, or conservation science. Ph.D. in Ecology, Biology, Natural Resources, Environmental Science or a closely related field desirable.

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• Demonstrated experience and understanding in the application of science to policy development and conservation.

• An ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas - a sense of inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity.

• Demonstrated experience working with and engaging individuals from academic, private and public sector in advancing the scientific and policy goals of the organization.

• Highly collaborative and team oriented to enable conservation programs to fully integrate with other aquarium programs and external organizations with whom it collaborates.

• Understanding of and commitment to the role of science in the aquarium’s programs and conservation policy activities.

• Fund development talent and experience, including personal solicitations and grant writing.

• Proficiency in budget and finance matters to enable strong financial management of the division as well as preparation and monitoring of grant requests.


Compensation for the Vice President of Conservation and Science includes a competitive base salary, and an excellent package of health and other employee benefits.

Interested candidates should email a cover letter explaining how their skills and background fit this position and a resume to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at Refer to MBA/VP in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply. All correspondence will remain confidential.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is an Equal Opportunity Employer