Senior Director of Global Programs

Global Fishing Watch

Position description

Global Fishing Watch (GFW) is an international, non-profit organization committed to advancing ocean governance through increased transparency. We create and publicly share knowledge about human activity at sea to enable fair and sustainable use of our ocean. Founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google, GFW became an independent, international nonprofit organization in June 2017. Using cutting-edge technology, we create and publicly share map visualizations, data, and analysis tools to enable scientific research and drive a transformation in how we manage our ocean. Our major focus is on commercial fishing because it is the most widespread human activity at sea, the most impactful on ocean health, and the most crucial for global livelihoods and food security. By 2030, we aim to monitor and visualize the impact of ocean-going vessels, both industrial and small-scale, that are responsible for the vast majority of the global seafood catch. We believe human activity at sea should be common knowledge to safeguard the global ocean commons for the common good of all.

The Position

The Senior Director of Global Programs sets and implements our programmatic strategy to achieve GFW’s mission to advance ocean governance through transparency. Reporting to the CEO, the senior director is a member of the senior executive group, manages a growing team of fifteen (5-7 direct reports), and works closely with other members of the leadership team.

GFW is looking for a dynamic and visionary leader who can not only lead a team to successfully deliver international and regional program wins, but also chart a strategic course for GFW as it continues to grow. The Senior Director will bring solid experience and expertise in program management, a strategic mindset, a ‘can-do’ attitude, and a demonstrated passion for ocean sustainability. The ideal candidate will be well versed in international ocean and fisheries policy and governance mechanisms, and adept at working with high-level government representatives, in country and regionally. A strong communicator, the senior director is an effective team player and a leader who supports and encourages team members to grow and succeed.


Strategy Development

  • Lead and facilitate the development, execution, and integration of strategies to advance GFW’s transparency vision and global program
  • Work closely with the senior executive group and consult with the larger executive team, regional teams, and subject matter experts to develop our long-term and short-term strategic initiatives
  • Advise on adaptive management strategies and capacity building needs to ensure success of the program and guide future program development

Program Delivery

  • Lead planning and priority-setting to ensure coherent cross-discipline collaboration across GFW departments (transparency, data and analysis, research and innovation, engineering and product, communications, and international affairs)
  • Identify and react to established or changing governance and management issues that can be utilized to promote and achieve GFW’s program goals.
  • Design and implement effective program impact assessment and reporting to support continuous improvement and accountability
  • Lead or support the development of GFW international policies and positions in coordination with GFW’s international affairs function and the executive team
  • Represent the organization in advocating our mission with a variety of audiences, including high-level strategic partners and policymakers, media, funders and at GFW training and outreach events

Fundraising and Partnerships

  • In coordination with regional managers, identify and convene key stakeholders to build and nurture transformative strategic partnerships in support of GFW’s transparency vision and program
  • Work with the CEO and the development director to identify and develop grant opportunities
  • Ensure the timely completion and reporting of relevant deliverables (i.e., grants, MOUs, etc.)

Leadership and Management

  • Supervise regional transparency program staff, providing leadership, guidance and feedback and supporting teams to resolve complex problems
  • Establish strategic goals and objectives and key results (OKRs) with team members, manage performance and track delivery
  • Maintain the department’s budget
  • Develop, coordinate, and enforce systems, policies, and procedures
  • Ensure a safe, secure, welcoming, and legal work environment


  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience, ideally policy, public affairs, or political work – preferably in a multi-cultural/ multi-country environment
  • Proven experience in people management (5+ years)
  • Experience in international program design and management, including monitoring and evaluation
  • Experience evaluating and negotiating complex, high profile or sensitive agreements
  • Demonstrated fundraising success
  • Bachelor’s degree; Master’s degree in a relevant area or equivalent experience preferred

Candidate Profile

  • Highly strategic and creative systems-thinker with the ability to analyze context and trends affecting ocean governance
  • Supportive and inspiring staff manager
  • Compelling and diplomatic communicator (written and verbal)
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Collaborative team player
  • Politically savvy and well-connected
  • Passionate about ocean conservation
  • Able to work effectively in a globally distributed, all-remote working organization


  • Fluency in languages other than English
  • Basic technical ability, and familiarity with Slack, Google Suite, Google hangouts and other tools for remote work
  • Knowledge and experience of the not-for-profit sector, preferably of environmental non-government organizations
  • Experience managing a culturally diverse team located across different time zones

Responsible to: Chief Executive Officer

Manages: 2 Directors and a team of 4 program leads

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