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Posted on October 23, 2020

Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Strategy

San Francisco, CA, New York, NY (remote), or Washington, DC


Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization.  We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country.  We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change.  We partner with thousands of groups, supporters, individuals and communities to engage the critical environmental issues of our time and to bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice has a distinguished track record of achieving significant, lasting environmental protections. We achieve this by hiring people who share a passion for justice and a healthy environment. Our headquarters are in San Francisco with offices in Anchorage, Juneau, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chicago, Tallahassee, Honolulu, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Seattle, Bozeman, Miami and Washington, DC.

POSITION SUMMARY
Earthjustice is seeking a Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Strategy to work collaboratively to develop and execute workplace and real estate strategies to support Earthjustice’s growing workplace needs, which span 15 US offices with plans to grow to 500+ staff.  The successful candidate will have excellent management skills as well as an innovative and holistic approach to enabling the success of Earthjustice’s programs.  They will have a demonstrated track record of success in the transformational management of a diverse organization comprised of a wide range of staff competencies and experience levels; they will be comfortable working in a rapidly changing, fast-paced environment, and leading and proactively managing work streams. The VP will employ the following knowledge, skills, and abilities: leadership, real estate and growth projections and analytics, a command of and demonstrated experience in developing and executing real estate and workplace strategies, customer/tenant relations, project management, negotiation, critical thinking, and crisp verbal and written communication skills. They will also provide management and operational support for cross-functional teams and regional office administrators who do not necessarily report directly to the role.

The Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Strategy will supervise high performing facilities as well as events and meeting planning teams and their activities, including development of milestones, budgets, communication plans, reporting, and resource plan development. They will set clear and accountable goals for themself and their teams and ensure alignment with Earthjustice and Operations department strategic goals. This role is highly cross-functional and will involve input gathering as well as collaboration with many internal partners, including Operations team members and regional office administrators.

The Vice President of Real Estate and Workplace Strategy reports to the Senior Vice President of Operations.

The preferred location for this role is our San Francisco headquarters office. New York City (remote) or Washington, DC locations will also be considered.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Real Estate and Workplace Strategy and Facilities Operations (Approximately 70%)

Direct all aspects of Earthjustice’s real estate and workplace strategies and projects, including:

  • Leading Earthjustice’s work to plan for and design the workplace of the future with rigorous, creative thinking and analysis and collaborative problem-solving to redefine the workplace in terms of support for the evolving nature of (and the future of) work itself for Earthjustice.
  • Guiding the organization to adopt forward-leaning workplace strategies to design and use space in creative and modern ways that power the mission of the organization, foster collaboration and community, reduce footprint and/or minimize the need for future space expansion.
  • Designing strategies to resolve real estate space constraints and leading the development and execution of strategic workplace initiatives to ensure Earthjustice uses its office space efficiently and provides workspace flexibility to its staff and maximizes the opportunity to hire top talent.
  • Synthesizing and analyzing all available data on organizational capacity, financial constraints, and long-term projected headcount and office growth to guide the organization’s projected need for real estate.
  • Evaluating existing and prospective new properties to ensure they meet the needs of Earthjustice and recommending new locations as well as options for new property leasing or renovations or expansions of existing office spaces.

Major areas of responsibility include:

  • Workplace strategy.  Help define the workplace of the future by:
    • Leading the development of a strategic vision of the emerging workplace that is equitable and, given all currently available data about planned growth and available technology, taking a holistic approach to health and wellness, increased collaboration, mobility, ergonomics, space efficiency, and technology.
    • Designing and executing a strategy to employ location flexibility, dynamic work-from-home and remote working, hoteling, and other modern space management tools and strategies to maximize space efficiency and organizational productivity.
    • Guiding the development of a strategy to shift the organization’s current emphasis on management of facilities and "seats” to one of Workplace Management, where the focus is on people (staff) and creating workspace flexibility for staff to be fully and consistently productive. A vital component of this work is a conscious goal of building community using creative workplaces and programming to enhance and reinforce a sense of shared culture, community, and connections among the staff. 
    • Overseeing space planning to implement workplace and real estate strategies with an underlying commitment to fairness and equity and ensuring consistency across the organization.
  • Real estate strategy and management.  Oversee and manage real estate decisions and workplace strategies to enable staff productivity and optimize the utilization of costly real estate for 15 offices in major cities.  Management of real estate includes but is not limited to:
    • Optimizing Earthjustice’s processes to anticipate future head count and planning accompanying real estate requirements.
    • Completing business cases for lease renewals, expansions, office relocations and “buy/build vs. lease” scenarios.
    • Improving Earthjustice’s utilization rate of costly real estate across the portfolio by leveraging best-in-practice workplace strategies.
  • Planning, construction, and maintenance.
    • Oversee the planning, construction, and maintenance of Earthjustice's facilities and properties.
    • Oversee the development and implementation of construction and maintenance strategy and policy, as well as maintenance planning and contracting for all owned and leased spaces.  
    • Provide leadership to guide and ensure strategic and equitable space allocation and layout planning in conjunction with construction plans and with ongoing operations.
    • Partner with facility leads and the Operations and Facilities Director to ensure established policies are adhered to.
  • Construction management. Develop practices and provide oversight to award-winning and environmentally leading construction practices (premised on LEED, Living Building Challenge, and/or similar certification) to our interior office buildouts across the portfolio.
  • Facilities management. Oversee the day-to-day facilities operations of our San Francisco headquarters and a portfolio consisting of 15 offices with nearly 500 staff members.
  • Security and emergency planning.  Lead the upgrading and implementation of rigorous standards and protocols for physical security and facility emergencies across the organization, including managing safety training for staff.

Meeting & Event Planning (Approximately 10%)

  • Partner with the Meeting and Event Planning Manager to develop and oversee the effective operations of an internal events program focused on staff meetings, retreats and large-scale trainings.
  • Partner with team to envision and develop needed spaces and technology to accommodate in-house events.
  • Ensure team is leveraging effective processes, tools, templates and is promoting same throughout the organization.
  • Collaborate with team to develop immediate and longer-term vision and goals of the internal meeting and events team, and advance same.
  • Ensure the application of project management best practices in planning and execution of meetings and events.
  • Collaborate with team manager to design an effective stakeholder engagement strategy for larger scale events (i.e. All Staff Meeting, Litigation Training Conference), with a focus on meeting objectives, agendas and other goals.
  • Create with team a set of metrics for evaluating performance and success of meetings and events, and a feedback methodology for ensuring meetings evolve to best meet the needs of the organization.
  • Work with the internal communications team and other colleagues to maximize staff awareness of and engagement with (as appropriate) organizational projects, meetings and events.
  • Responsible for ensuring budgets are created, tracked and reported on in accordance with organizational guidelines.

Management (Essential Functions) (Approximately 20%)

  • Recruit and hire qualified candidates who fit position requirements and the work environment. 
  • Promote change in terms of the expected benefits, as well as removing or lowering the impact of potential obstacles.
  • Set clear team direction that aligns with Earthjustice strategy, mission, and vision.
  • Develop staff by identifying and encouraging training and professional development opportunities appropriate to role and creating development plans for all staff.
  • Provide staff with consistent performance feedback – both positive and constructive – and act as a coach and mentor.
  • Create a learning culture, by encouraging debriefing after completion of significant stages of projects.
  • Ensure that any direct reports who have supervisory responsibility are properly executing those functions.
  • Create a respectful and inclusive work environment for team and model respectful and inclusive behavior.
  • Promptly address micro-aggressions and other concerns brought to their attention.
  • Resolve interpersonal conflict among team members and bring in outside facilitators as needed.
  • Communicate regularly with existing employees and encourage staff to raise concerns and to provide ongoing feedback.
  • Create or identify strategic opportunities for team building and individual and overall staff engagement with one another in order to strengthen teamwork, interaction and collaboration. 
  • Value and use individual differences and talents to improve employee satisfaction and the quality of collective work.
  • Celebrate successes and help team members to understand and manage setbacks.

*Supervisory Responsibilities: The VP will lead a team of eight.  Direct Reports (3) are the Operations & Facilities Director, the Meeting and Event Planning Manager, and the San Francisco Officer Manager. The Deputy Director of Operations (Wash DC) will have a dotted line to this role. 

Qualifications

  • Ability to supervise the work of others, and to delegate effectively; and experience training staff on new skills and procedures.
  • Ability to motivate and lead self and others.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills; able to build strong relationships across departments and levels within an organization and able to collaborate effectively with others.
  • Strong communications skills; ability to persuasively convey, both verbally and in writing, goals, objectives, and business cases.
  • Exceptional project management skills; experience working with project management functions in complex organizational settings.
  • Ability to prioritize, manage multiple deadlines, and respond quickly to new opportunities.
  • Strong computer skills, and experience with project management tools and platforms.
  • A willingness and ability to work on fast-paced projects in strong collaboration with other Earthjustice staff members.
  • Negotiation skills, and vendor management skills; ability to achieve organizational goals through contract negotiations.
  • Detail-oriented with ability to manage multiple requests; strong organization skills.
  • Team-oriented, driven by a passion for strengthening organizational culture and connectedness.
  • Creativity and an ability to bring new ideas and approaches to Earthjustice Operations.
  • Safety and security oriented; experience working with risk management plans and developing back up and emergency plans.
  • Demonstrates an awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Management (Essential Skills)

  • Ability to effectively manage and lead a diverse team with emotional intelligence (self-awareness and understating of the impact of their behavior) and cultural competence (an understanding of the need for additional learning about different cultures, backgrounds and orientation and implementation of that learning daily management practices).
  • Ability to give and receive regular formal and informal feedback in a timely, constructive, respectful, and consistent manner and to incorporate debriefing into the team’s operations.
  • Strong team mentorship and communication skills.
  • Understands the individual and team strengths and areas for development and develops plans accordingly. 
  • Commitment to and experience in developing team skills and talents to meet the evolving needs of an organization.

EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE

  • Bachelor’s degree required; MBA or similar advanced degree a plus
  • 8+ years of relevant professional experience
  • A minimum of 4 years of supervisory experience required
  • Demonstrated experience leading cross-functional project teams
  • Experience working with environmental and/or social issues, including renewable energy, sustainable procurement, and carbon accounting preferred

PHYSICAL DEMANDS

Ability to travel up to 20% of time within the United States and to work flexible hours on occasion. Skill in operating various office equipment, such as personal computer, calculator, copy machine, facsimile machine, and telephone system. Ability to perform routine bending, stooping, twisting, and reaching. The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

PLEASE NOTE

The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required for personnel so classified.

SALARY AND BENEFITS

Salary is based on experience and location. The salary range for this position based in San Francisco, CA, or New York, NY is $202,600- $225,100

The salary range in Washington, DC is $192,500- $213,900

We offer a very competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive. We also offer an extremely congenial work environment and a casual dress code.                                                                                                          

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY STATEMENT

Earthjustice is driven by a passion for justice, partnership and excellence. Our core values lead us to seek a broad range of perspectives and backgrounds to achieve our mission and to maintain an inclusive environment where all staff are valued and respected.  As an equal opportunity employer, we are committed to employment practices that ensure that employees and applicants for employment are provided with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or any other factor that is not related to the position.

For positions located within the City and County of San Francisco: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment-qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

For positions located within the City of Los Angeles: We will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.

To Apply

Earthjustice has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search.  Please submit your resume and a cover letter to:  Chris Spagnola, Partner, at cspagnola@thinkingahead.com and Jessica Martinez, Senior Recruiter, at jmartinez@thinkingahead.com.

Accommodation

If you need reasonable accommodation in order to complete the application, interview or some other portion of the selection process for a job at Earthjustice, please contact Human Resources at jobs@earthjustice.org.

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