Working closely with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC), its Freshwater Conservation Committee (FCC), relevant government and NGO stakeholders, and the wider conservation community, the Manager plays a key role in implementing the IUCN Assess-Plan-Act model to assess extinction risk, identify conservation needs, help plan effective and coordinated measures, and mobilize action. This Chicago-based position will support assessments to help inform species conservation prioritization for freshwater systems and taxa (e.g., IUCN Red List Assessments, Key Biodiversity Area identification, National Assessments). The Manager will help expand the understanding of conservation needs of freshwater systems globally, with an initial (3-year) primary emphasis on Central America. In this region, the Manager will also focus on convening and facilitating prioritized conservation planning and mobilizing the implementation of key actions and policy across local and regional scales.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Duties include the following, however other duties may be assigned. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values.
- Work with Shedd’s VP of Conservation Research and the IUCN SSC Director of Strategic Partnerships to create and implement CSS: Freshwater's work plan, shared target setting and annual reporting.
- Receive and deliver training, as appropriate, in the use of IUCN SSC tools such as completing and passing an “Introduction to the IUCN Red List” online course, and participate in training opportunities such as Green Status and Key Biodiversity Area Identification, Conservation Planning Facilitation, Assess to Plan methodology, and One Plan Approach.
- Using skillsets developed, in part, through IUCN courses and training sessions, undertake and catalyze priority assessments, conservation plans and action mobilization in line with the CCS: Freshwater’s work plan, emphasizing when possible the One Plan Approach.
- Build and maintain strategic relationships within Shedd, the SSC Chair’s Office and SSC Groups, relevant government agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders to assist in identifying priority opportunities and achieving the CCS: Freshwater’s key objectives.
- Strengthen collaboration among the wider conservation community to identify gaps, support collaboration, and maximize the relevance and impact of joint conservation activities and projects.
- Work with the IUCN SSC Freshwater Conservation Committee (FCC) in identifying strategic collaboration on SSC freshwater priorities and collaborating with other Specialist Groups and other IUCN Commissions.
- Work with the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG) to catalyze and facilitate priority multi-stakeholder conservation action planning using best practices and approaches.
- Work with the FCC and relevant actors, to promote and implement conservation interventions, aimed at protecting threatened freshwater species.
- Contribute to the development and review of communication as needed, including quarterly reports, and annual submissions to the SSC DATA Information system.
- Participate in targeted conservation campaigns for freshwater species and ecosystems that require urgent conservation attention by mobilizing relevant experts and partnering with Shedd’s and IUCN’s communication teams to advance engagement opportunities and behavior change efforts.
- Work with Shedd’s External Affairs and Marketing, and IUCN’s communication teams to support how the CSS: Freshwater can engage the public on freshwater conservation issues at local, national, or regional scales through the development of resources, including social media communications, blogs and podcasts, graphics, and other emerging communication techniques.
- Ensure that priorities and relevant opportunities related to freshwater conservation are appropriately communicated and integrated into Shedd’s conservation strategy.
- Lead multi-stakeholder workshops and meetings, both in person and using virtual platforms (Zoom, Teams, etc.).
- Participate in various media and conference opportunities involving the public, the IUCN SSC community, and/or the wider conservation community.
- Identify key communities and stakeholders relevant to the CCS: Freshwater’s work plan and establish capacity building strategies to ensure the amplification of impact.
- Contribute to the strategic growth of Shedd by helping create or refine tools and processes for effective implementation of freshwater conservation initiatives.
- Support the development of proposals and fundraising efforts for the CSS: Freshwater.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- Excellent stakeholder relationship skills. Ability to work as part of a team, confidence in interacting with experts and external partners, and ability to facilitate discussions towards shared outcomes with sensitivity to multicultural approaches.
- Demonstrated experience and a good understanding of the practical aspects of biodiversity conservation actions, endangered species protections and policy especially relating to species and ecosystems, and in particular freshwater ecosystems.
- Strong skills in project management, planning and project implementation.
- Experience with international projects and supporting new initiatives.
- Ability to effectively manage teams to deliver results.
- International stakeholder management experience, multilingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience desirable.
- Experience in fundraising and/or demonstrated success in proposal writing is desirable.
- Advanced and competent user of standard word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and database software and electronic communication technology (e.g. Outlook, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, conference calls, etc.). Working knowledge of social media and mobile apps.
- Proficiency in using GIS, or willingness to train in its usage.
- Working knowledge of the IUCN SSC organizational structure and affiliated stakeholders.
- Experience with administration including data management, attention to detail and numerical ability.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Education and Experience
- Minimum Master’s level degree in conservation biology, zoology, botany, ecology, natural resources management, or related fields.
- 2+ years of relevant work experience.
- Self-motivated with an attention to detail.
- Ability to multitask, handle high pressure situations, and meet tight deadlines.
- Demonstrated effective interpersonal and organizational skills.
- Demonstrable experience in scientific and public engagement, including good presentation skills.
- A commitment to the worldwide role of accredited zoos, aquariums, and botanic gardens.
- Excellent written and oral communication, diplomacy, and interpersonal skills.
- Fluency in English is a requirement. Fluency in Spanish is desired.
- Ability to work well in a global team to problem solve, self-manage, and find solutions.
- An eagerness to expand personal knowledge and adapt to new challenges.
- Ability to travel internationally and to work flexible hours.
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).