Policy Director

Job Locations
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category
Advocacy/Public Policy/Government Relations


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of approximately 450 local chapters, 120 campus chapters, 17 state and regional offices, 34 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country. 


The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.


The National Audubon Society endeavors to make https://careers-audubon.icims.com/ accessible to any and all users.  If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact Accommodations@audubon.org. This contact information is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.


Position Summary

The Policy Director will oversee Audubon’s freshwater policy work in Wisconsin and will be a critical regional leader that will help drive Audubon Great Lakes’ vision to implement transformative policy solutions in the Midwest and mobilize an effective conservation network of members and volunteer chapters. Audubon is committed to turning pragmatic policy ideas into real protections for birds and the places they need.


Reporting to the Senior Director, Audubon Great Lakes; the Policy Director will be a key member of the Audubon Great Lakes (AGL) team. They are responsible for planning and executing a comprehensive strategy to advance a bipartisan policy agenda at the local, state, and/or federal levels in targeted AGL states with a particular near-term focus on developing and advancing a proactive freshwater policy agenda in Wisconsin.  The Policy Director will work in collaboration with AGL and national policy staff and will ensure that Audubon’s Wisconsin and Great Lakes’ freshwater policy programs are just and equitable, benefiting the full diversity of people and communities who depend upon these freshwater systems, and enabling their voices to help shape the ongoing management and enjoyment of these natural resources.


The Policy Director will build and maintain bipartisan working relationships with external partners and stakeholders, the Wisconsin Governor’s office, state and federal legislative offices, relevant local officials, and state and/or federal agencies to remain informed of policy and legislative developments related to Audubon’s agenda. They will help advance opportunities to leverage Audubon’s best assets – an engaged and growing grassroots membership, a desire to build broad coalitions, and an organization-wide commitment to pragmatic science-based solutions – in pursuit of sustainable policy accomplishments with state and federal decision makers.


The strong preference is for this position to be based in Wisconsin with travel to Chicago, IL, Washington DC and other locations around the region, as needed.


Essential Functions

  • Develop and oversee a WI policy agenda and field plan to mobilize grassroots and grasstops support for key priorities and integrate advocacy into all external engagement activities.
  • Serve as a WI/Great Lakes point person for Audubon’s national water campaign team. Help design and support freshwater campaigns that aim to secure policy outcomes and elevate the Great Lakes region.
  • Serve as an ambassador for Audubon Great Lakes, engaging key stakeholders including government officials, major funders, and business leaders to advance conservation efforts. Participate in lobbying activities in Congress, federal and state administrative branches and agencies, and others to advance conservation objectives.
  • Stay abreast of local, state, and federal legislative and administrative affairs and decisions effecting Audubon’s agenda and its constituents.
  • Raise the profile and visibility of Audubon in the Great Lakes region as a leader in conservation policy efforts; build creative and enduring alliances and partnerships to support Audubon’s policy efforts within the state and region.
  • Collaborate with Audubon’s National government affairs and policy teams on all AGL water related policy issues and develop strong and effective working relationships with staff across the Audubon network.
  • In collaboration with the National Development staff and Great Lakes leadership, support fundraising efforts, as needed.
  • Serve as an articulate, enthusiastic, and visible spokesperson for Audubon Great Lakes. Collaborate with state and national communications staff on earned and paid media opportunities to elevate policy and conservation agenda throughout the state and region.
  • Advise on relevant organizational strategy and participate in advisory board meetings.
  • Promote an organizational culture and structure that fosters cooperation, communication, collaboration, respect, teamwork, and trust.
  • Build and expand a freshwater policy agenda that is just and equitable, benefiting the full diversity of people and communities who depend upon these freshwater systems, and enables their voices to help shape the ongoing management and enjoyment of these natural resources.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in political science, natural resources or related field and 7+ years’ professional experience in policy, grassroots advocacy, wildlife conservation, public service or related field. Equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
  • Keen understanding of current policy trends in Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region, and Midwest related to water policy. Experience applying this knowledge to successful policy advocacy and implementation strongly preferred.
  • Deep knowledge of freshwater policy and understanding of wetland conservation desired.
  • Personal desire to build durable bipartisan public will for water, climate, energy and conservation issues, work with diverse stakeholders, and engage both Democrats and Republicans on Audubon’s policy interests.
  • Experience in working in partnership with a network of invested grassroots and grasstops leaders.
  • Experience working in a decentralized organization that coordinates strategies for both local and national legislative issues.
  • Willingness to aid in fundraising efforts as needed, experience with political campaigns a plus.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability synthesize and interpret technical information for various audiences.
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed, some weekends and evenings required.
  • A commitment to Audubon’s mission of conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitat and the ability to communicate the mission, goals, and programs effectively to partners, government officials, donors, and the public.
  • A commitment to equity diversion and inclusion principals and to working to make Audubon an anti-racist organization.


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