Executive Director Position Description

Title: Executive Director

Type: Full-time

Reports to: GCSE Board of Directors


About GCSE

The Global Council for Science and the Environment (GCSE) is a nongovernmental organization established in 1990 that advances the use of science to inform environmental decision-making. The work of GCSE spans boundaries between science and decision-making to strengthen the impact of durable solutions to environmental challenges. The organization specializes in programs that foster connections and collaborations between the diverse institutions and individuals creating and using environmental knowledge, including scientists, educators, policymakers, business leaders, and officials at all levels of government around the world. GCSE also aims to build capacity for scientists and other science policy experts to inform decision-making about the environment, including preparing future leaders who can collaborate with a wide array of stakeholders. Recognizing that today’s most urgent challenges are not limited by geographic borders, the organization transitioned from the National Council for Science and the Environment to a new name: the Global Council for Science and the Environment. 

As an organization committed to becoming anti-sexist, anti-racist, and multicultural, GCSE purposefully works to identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race, color, ethnicity, colonization, gender, orientation, and the impact(s) they have on GCSE, its mission, its partner organizations, and its people.



GCSE is seeking an exceptional individual to provide vision and leadership for the organization’s  work to make diverse forms of environmental research and knowledge relevant to decision making on critical environmental and sustainability challenges and to strengthen the capacity of  the next generation of sustainability leaders. The new executive director will join the  organization at an exciting time to expand and lead the transition of the organization to a global  scope. 

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have overall strategic and  operational responsibility to ensure programmatic and staffing excellence, financial well-being,  strong and growing programs, and execution of its mission to empower all to fully contribute.  The job location is in Washington DC and includes a competitive package of salary and  benefits. Although GCSE has a commitment to that location as a science-policy nexus, limited  part time remote work for the Executive Director and other team members is a possibility.  

Competitive salary commensurate with experience.

Major Responsibilities 

Strategic Leadership:

  1. Provides broad vision and leadership for the organization. 
  2. Builds support and coalitions for the work of the organization in close  collaboration with the Board of Directors, staff, university and college affiliates, and  other partner and stakeholder communities around the world. 
  3. Leads dynamic and effective efforts to prioritize and address diversity, equity,  inclusion, and justice in all aspects of GCSE work. 
  4. Leads timely evolution of the strategic vision of GCSE and its expansion globally  and oversees its implementation in operations and programs with the Board of  Directors, staff and key partners. 
  5. Initiates, oversees and evaluates programs, in accordance with GCSE strategy,  financial capacity, and legal/contractual agreements. 
  6. Identifies and evaluates strategic areas and opportunities for program expansion  or contraction. 
  7. Helps develop, maintain, and support a strong and diverse Board of Directors;  serves as ex-officio member of the full Board and its committees; and provides the  Board with the means to carry out its responsibilities. 
  8. Continues to build new relationships, partnerships, and coalitions that support  the vision and mission of GCSE and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  9. Serves as chief spokesperson for the organization, including participation in  meetings and public presentations, to articulate the vision and provide information  about the programs of GCSE to key audiences around the world. 


  1. Oversees and expands revenue generating and fundraising strategies and  activities to support existing program operations and identify new opportunities,  especially for international and global efforts. 
  2. Works closely with staff and Board members to develop and implement  development strategies that enable achievement of GCSE’s strategic goals while  providing for the long-term financial health of the organization. 
  3. Cultivates the capacity of the board to partner on fundraising.
  4. Conducts outreach and personal visits to potential funders of GCSE activities  including foundations, individuals, governmental agencies, and corporations. 
  5. Develops and maintains strong working partnerships with GCSE partners to  ensure the appropriate levels of support, quality of leadership and expansion of  membership when relevant. 

Financial Management: 

  1. Provides overall fiscal management of GCSE with the assistance of financial staff, Board, outside services (independent auditors), and consultants as necessary; and develops budgets for review and approval by Board. 
  2. Ensures GCSE compliance with all auditing, tax and financial reporting  requirements. 

Program and Staff Management: 

  1. Provides leadership to staff and partners to enable successful implementation of  the programs, projects and activities of GCSE. This includes hiring, evaluation, training,  changing staff and/or roles and responsibilities, promotions, salaries and benefits, and  other issues such as considerations of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace  and conflict resolution. 
  2. Ensures success of existing programs. 
  3. Leads with a positive, encouraging, and professional work environment, and  prioritizes open communication. Successfully guides staff and their professional  development. 
  4. Deepens and refines all aspects of communication—from web presence, to  publications, to external relations—with the goal of creating a strong brand.
  5. Provides direct management of selected projects as appropriate. 
  6. Develops effective systems to track progress, and regularly evaluate programs,  to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders and  other constituencies. 
  7. Ensures that GCSE is operating in compliance with its Bylaws, Policies, and  Operating Rules; as well as all applicable laws and regulations.



  • 5+ years of senior management experience in one or more sectors, including NGOs,  IGOs, academia, government or business 
  • 10+ years of leadership relevant to the general mission of GCSE 
  • Embraces considerations of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all aspects of work Exceptional strategic and entrepreneurial skills. Demonstrated success in creating and  implementing strategic business plans and identifying growth opportunities Demonstrated success fundraising with public and private funders around the world Experience working globally and cross-culturally 
  • Excellent systems thinker; demonstrated agility in connecting diverse issue areas Demonstrated ability to build and maintain diverse networks or coalitions, particularly  among universities, government agencies, funders, corporations, IGOs and NGOs Exceptional management skills, and demonstrated ability to nurture staff and their  professional development 
  • Experience with managing non-profit finances 
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communications skills 


  • Advanced degree in public policy, environmental science, or other relevant field, or comparable work experience 
  • Experience in environmental and sustainability fields and understanding of the interface  between science and decision-making 
  • Policy and/or diplomacy experience, especially experience in international and  multilateral policy. Existing strong relationships with academia, government, IGOs,  NGOs, funders, and business 


To apply: 

Please email a PDF of resume and cover letter to: ExecDirectorApplication@gcseglobal.org

Consideration of applications will begin as soon as possible. The position will remain open to applications until it is filled. Applications will be held in strict confidence. 

GCSE values diversity and is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.  

To succeed in this job, the individual must perform each essential job responsibility successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable an individual with disabilities to perform the essential job responsibilities. Job descriptions represent a general outline of job responsibilities and qualifications. They are not intended to be comprehensive in nature. In addition, jobs evolve over time and, therefore, their descriptions may not reflect the precise nature of the position at a given point of time.