American Rivers

American Rivers

Sales & Business Development
Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2024

Senior Director or Vice President of Government Affairs

Middle Fork Flathead River | Photo by Jeremiah Watt Photography

TITLE: Senior Director or Vice President of Government Affairs
CLASSIFICATION: Senior Director or Vice President (commensurate with experience)
DEPARTMENT: Conservation
REPORTS TO: Senior Vice President, Conservation
LOCATION: Washington, DC

Click here to apply

About American Rivers

American Rivers is championing a national effort to protect and restore all rivers, from remote mountain streams to urban waterways. Healthy rivers provide people and nature with clean, abundant water and natural habitat. For 50 years, American Rivers staff, supporters, and partners have shared a common belief: Life Depends on Rivers℠.

American Rivers centers the ongoing work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all that we do. The beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities, and we seek to build and embody this diversity in our organization and throughout the conservation field. The life experiences, knowledge, innovation, and talent that everyone brings to our work provides perspectives, experiences, and competencies which are critical to our effectiveness in protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature.


The Senior Director of Government Affairs (SDGA), which could be classified as a vice president position for the right experience, will lead the organization’s policy and advocacy team and oversee execution of all advocacy and regulatory strategies to advance favorable outcomes for rivers. The SDGA will serve as the primary lobbyist for the organization and be charged with cultivating decision-makers into river champions. Supporting and leading national coalition partnerships is a core function of American Rivers’ advocacy and the SDGA will be expected to both serve on those coalitions and facilitate them to yield advocacy successes. This encompasses advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice practices in all venues, including community, partner, and Tribal engagements.

The SDGA will join a dynamic, fast-paced team at American Rivers working across the country and serve as the primary manager of the government relations work being implemented by the American Rivers team. The SDGA must be an excellent verbal and written communicator and able to work quickly to create content, maintain required reports, and participate in fundraising efforts. The position will report to the Senior Vice President for Conservation and will be an active member of the national conservation leadership team working with teams all over the country to implement strategies to reach American Rivers aspirational goals.


  • Manage and build the government affairs team, including mentoring, developing, and evaluating their work,
  • Oversee policy and political strategies of the organization to build the impact of American Rivers, including direct lobbying and supporting experts on developing policy proposals, strategies, and testimony,
  • Lead the annual process of setting legislative priorities,
  • Identify priority decision-makers for relationship development and ensure there are transparent proactive strategies to cultivate relationships with those individuals,
  • Support our regional volunteer network to influence Congress and state legislatures,
  • Ensure that DEIJ best practices are integrated into all aspects of our government affairs operations, advocacy and program work,
  • Lead, and execute fundraising strategies for government affairs in consultation with the development team to expand the government affairs department,
  • Lead the organization to build the reputation of American Rivers in Congress and state legislatures in a way that advances the entire river conservation movement,
  • Ensure solid coordination across the organization, including with national and regional programs and the administrative and legal departments
  • Serve as senior advisor to American Rivers Action Fund and River PAC


  • No less than 12 years of relevant experience (examples include lobbying, administrative branch of government/regulatory and state and local government, working on Capitol Hill, campaigns, and some educational experiences)
  • At least 4-5 years of management/supervisory experience; ability to motivate professional staff and build an inclusive, collaborative team culture
  • Demonstrated ability to advance policy initiatives in government

The successful candidate must be a self-starter who thrives in a fast-paced environment with competing priorities and deadlines. They need to be a creative problem solver, bringing new policy and advocacy solutions to the most difficult environmental and community problems we face. They will have an ability to make decisions based on evidence and feedback from interested parties; listen, lead, and mentor a team; exercise discretion; exhibit political astuteness and good judgement. They should be able to forge connections with others to build trust and inspire enthusiasm in their endeavors. They must also have a strong commitment to working well with and supporting the voices of community leaders and have a desire to work with people across all spectrums. Knowledge of policies and appropriations related to dam removal, hydropower, floodplain restoration, pollution prevention and infrastructure, and/or river protection strongly recommended.

Candidates who are unsure if they meet all minimum qualifications or who have transferrable skills and experience beyond the conservation sector are encouraged to apply.

Staff member will work in Washington, DC regularly and must be willing to travel periodically.

The salary range for this position is $133,212-$170,000 annually depending upon qualifications and experience. Full-time employee benefits include health, dental, and life insurance; a retirement plan, training budget, sick leave, 11 paid holidays, four weeks of paid vacation, paid sabbaticals every seven years, and a 3% retirement match. American Rivers offers TIAA-CREF Social Choice, including green impact, as an investment option.

Our community’s core values motivate us to Lead with Collaboration and Trust, Infuse Equity and Justice, Deliver Results, and Ensure Staff and Volunteers Thrive. American Rivers offers staff professional development and training opportunities, engages in equitable hiring and retention practices, has taken the Green 2.0 pay equity pledge and participates in the transparency report, and hosts People of Color, Accessibility, LGBTQAI+, Women’s Leadership, Parents and Caregivers, and DEIJ affinity groups and committees led by staff and board members.


Click here to apply

Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and list of three references here. Deadline to apply is May 15. No phone calls please.


American Rivers is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request reasonable accommodation, please contact the Human Resources department at 202-243-7050 or Please note that one week’s advance notice is preferred.

Applicant must be legally allowed to work as an employee in the United States.

Candidates of all personal and professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply.