LightHawk Job Announcement

Director of Conservation

Come join our team!  LightHawk is a non-profit environmental conservation organization that mobilizes the aircraft and services of approximately 300 volunteer pilots to help protect wild lands, wildlife, freshwater and ocean habitats throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Visit to learn more about us.

Position Summary

LightHawk seeks an energetic, goal-oriented Director of Conservation (DoC)  to lead and drive all business development aspects of LightHawk’s conservation strategy and delivery, including leadership of LightHawk’s program staff, strategic partner relationships, volunteer pilot recruitment,  and aviation risk management. The DoC will support LightHawk’s management team, which directs the overall success of LightHawk. 

Job Title: Director of Conservation
Department: Programs
Reports to: Chief Executive Officer
Location: Home office proximate to major airport
Date: April, 2022 

Primary Responsibilities

Your portfolio will include LightHawk’s entire conservation program. Working together with program staff, you will be responsible for the following areas:

Conservation Strategy 

  • Develop strategies to optimize LightHawk’s team of conservation professionals and aviation resources to achieve positive conservation outcomes. Evaluate LightHawk’s staffing, geographic areas, corporate and conservation partnerships, environmental issues, program-related communications, volunteer pilot corps, emerging technologies, and external forces that affect our operations.
  • Design and employ meaningful metrics to track LightHawk’s progress toward conservation goals, and provide compelling data and stories for education and fundraising purposes. 
  • Develop program, partner, and funding strategies with key leadership to increase conservation impact via increased conservation flight programming.
  • Contribute to the development of effective data-driven, project management methodologies, standards, and tools.

Conservation Outreach and Communications

  • Serve as LightHawk’s chief ambassador to the conservation community. This may include public speaking engagements, convening focus groups, attending conferences, and media communication as requested by the CEO. 
  • Develop collaborative strategic relationships with conservation groups, individuals and corporations, and help identify/create funding opportunities that support these relationships. Although it is not your primary focus, you will be doing some fund-raising among these constituencies.
  • Contribute to periodic partner communications that educate current and future partners about LightHawk’s capabilities. 
  • Contribute to external development communications as needed.
  • Present periodic status reports on current initiatives to the leadership team.

Supervision and Leadership

  • Provide direction and leadership to the program team, including potential fellows, interns, and project teams while directing and managing project tasks involving initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closing.
  • Develop project plans specifying goals, strategy, staffing, scheduling, identification of risks, contingency plans, and allocation of available resources leveraging team inputs and strengths.
  • Deliver high-impact and measurable results while achieving scalability, quality, and consistency.
  • Oversee successful implementation of regional and global aviation conservation flights and programs, and managing all activities required to define, design, develop and deliver conservation aviation-based services and programs.
  • Operationalize and drive strategies to improve the effectiveness of LightHawk’s efforts by: 
  • Cultivating relationships with those strategic partners who will most effectively utilize our donated flights for the best conservation outcomes.
  • Supporting and encouraging relationships with Volunteer Pilots that deepen their involvement and utilize their expertise to advance LightHawk’s mission.
  • Streamlining the process and mechanism of transforming a conservation partner’s need into a successful LightHawk mission
  • Identifying and focusing efforts on high-value flights
  • Incorporating emerging technologies into the service LightHawk routinely provides to partners
  • Improving the actual and perceived return to donors for their investments in LightHawk
  • Represent LightHawk’s program team and goals to LightHawk’s Board and external audiences.

Safety and Risk Management

  • Oversee the development, maintenance of, and adherence to LightHawk’s program related policies and procedures. This includes working with the Aviation Committee to develop and implement aviation and safety policies. 
  • Manages cost, schedule, and performance of conservation aviation programs and services while ensuring ultimate success and safety of flight and program outcomes.
  • Coordination and implementation of the LightHawk Emergency Response plan.

Resource Management and Budgeting

  • Maintain continuous alignment of program scope with strategic business objectives. Make recommendations to modify programs and services to enhance effectiveness toward the business result or strategic intent.
  • Collaborate with finance to develop the ROI and manage the financial cost modeling.
  • Develop strategy for volunteer pilot recruitment and retention to support program goals.
  • Work with the CFO to prepare program-related budgets that support annual and multi-year strategic goals. 

Functional Requirements

  • A strong interest in LightHawk’s mission and methods, and a demonstrated passion for both the environment and conservation.
  • Location in home office, proximate to a major US airport. 
  • Minimum of a B.A / B.S. degree. An advanced degree and significant leadership experience are highly desirable. 
  • Familiarity with aviation is a plus to be comfortable relating to pilots. Having a pilot certificate and/or aviation-related experience would be advantageous.
  • Ability to work independently, set priorities, and meet deadlines from a home-based office environment.
  • Project management experience, including logistics management.
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills. 
  • Strong demonstrated interpersonal and management skills.
  • Ability to travel (estimating 8-10 multiple-day trips per year).
  • Computer competence, including proficient use of word processing, email, spreadsheets and databases.

Salary Range Disclaimer

The salary range represents the low and high end of the salary range for this position. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to location, experience, and performance. The range listed is just one component of LightHawk’s total compensation package for employees. Other benefits include a generous medical, dental, 401K and Paid Time Off policy.

Salary Range Transparency

US Remote 60,000-85,000 USD per year

How to Apply

We expect to fill this position as soon as we find a suitable candidate. We will conduct one or more initial interviews for qualified candidates by video conference. Qualified applicants should apply online at where cover letter, resume, contact information for at least 3 references should be uploaded.  All candidates must pass a background check prior to employment.  

Equal Opportunities and Accommodations Statement

LightHawk is deeply committed to building a workplace and global community where inclusion is valued. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer, seeking to create a welcoming and diverse environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, neurodiversity, disability, age, or veteran status, or any other non-merit based or legally protected grounds.

Where legally permitted, LightHawk requires all individuals be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present acceptable proof of vaccination by the date of hire as a condition of employment. LightHawk will consider requests for reasonable accommodation as required under applicable law.


Please complete an online application hereApplications will be accepted until the position is filled, but preference will be given to those applying on or before May 6, 2022.