Head of Programs

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What will it take to return to a safe, stable climate? What are the missing solutions, responses, knowledge bases, and organizational structures that will enable us to get there, and how do we start building for them now?

Spark is a new, well-funded non-profit organization accelerating progress in under-developed, high-potential solutions and responses that are crucial to the comprehensive portfolio that will allow us to return to a safe climate. Spark is looking for its first Head of Programs to oversee all of Spark’s programs, beginning with methane solution areas where there aren’t any currently. This role is a unique opportunity to look around the corner on what needs to come next in the climate action space, and make it happen with an interdisciplinary, purely-impact-driven team.

As a field-building organization, Spark creates holistic strategies, orchestrating and driving action, using multiple levers such as funding scientific research and policy advocacy, to shape the long-term trajectory of the field to accelerate meaningful climate impact. Spark is steadfastly focused on climate impact at a meaningful scale. To that end, we think big, and are always looking for what the most additive, highest-leverage work we can do is. 

Areas of future potential interest are broad, covering wherever we see under-developed, high-potential climate solutions, particularly related to non-CO₂ GHGs, near-term warming, solution innovation, and adaptation.

About the role

The Head of Programs will shape overall program vision and direction at Spark, in partnership with the rest of the leadership team. You’ll be on the forefront of identifying what climate solutions are needed next, and then empowered to build the programs that accelerate the development of the fields that will bring those solutions to fruition. This role will be a key member of the Spark executive team, playing a central role in planning, setting strategy, and building organizational culture for Spark as a whole. 

The Head of Programs will build, lead, and develop a team of strong Program Leads responsible for each major program area (e.g. currently enteric methane, and atmospheric methane removal). The Program Leads manage the development of a strategic, cross-sectoral roadmap that identifies the highest-leverage interventions to shape the long-term trajectory of in their respective fields and then are translated into new projects and partnerships to drive toward tangible outcomes.

We’re looking for a leader who can both build and manage. As a young organization, our ideal fit is someone who’s eager to invest heavily in organization- and team-building efforts, and also excited to get their hands dirty digging into the details of programs and picking up pieces of operational work as needed. For the right candidate, that kind of ‘porpoising’ from the big picture to the nitty gritty will be exciting. We want a thought partner with demonstrated systems thinking who comes in with opinions and pattern recognition from having built ambitious programs in other contexts, but who simultaneously models the kind of curiosity, growth mindset, humility, and flexibility that is at the heart of Spark’s culture. 

Responsibilities

  • Set overall program direction and priorities, including existing programs and partnering to identify new program areas to add. 
  • Steward the development and success of Spark’s programs.
  • Build, lead, and develop a team of high-performing Program Leads.
  • Support new program areas to get off of the ground through both direct early work and hiring a dedicated team.
  • Build shared knowledge of how to build fields, learning from existing practitioners, and helping Program Leads develop and execute best practices and creative new ideas.
  • Build and own relationships with Spark’s most important science and policy partners to collaborate on roadmaps, research agendas, and granting opportunities.
  • Mentor, collaborate with, and manage interdisciplinary teammates and contractors.

Experience and Background

  • 7+ years programmatic leadership experience, including building new programs, or organizations from early stages
  • 4+ years people management experience, including experience managing and developing managers and leading, managing, and mentoring in a manner that centers a growth mindset, collaboration, empathy, and equity.
  • Existing engagement in the climate ecosystem, in any capacity (professional or personal), and deep knowledge of the climate system and solutions.
  • Proven ability to work across disciplines and effectively manage a diverse set of external stakeholders.
  • Scientific literacy and comfort working with scientific material and collaborating with scientific partners
  • Excellent written, speaking / presentation, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Insatiable curiosity about the climate problem; open-mindedness in exploring all possible climate solutions; and the flexibility, creativity, and tenacity to drive the solutions forward.
  • Fluency in English.

Eligibility

  • Able to work as a W2 employee for a US non-profit.
  • At least 4 overlapping work hours with US Pacific time work day (9a-5pm PT).

Compensation

This is a full-time position with benefits. Spark Climate Solutions provides exceptional benefits including flexible PTO, sick time, holidays, generous health insurance coverage, 401(k) with employer match, and full-covered dental/vision/life insurance, and parental leave.

Location

As with all positions at Spark Climate Solutions, this will be 100% remote. Employees can work anywhere within the United States, or internationally with approval. Our center of gravity is in the SF Bay Area. Expected travel for this role is 3-4 days/quarter.

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