The accelerating climate crisis is changing our lives in profound ways. Its impact on communities is increasingly swift and unpredictable and has laid bare years of environmental injustice. The mission of Earthjustice is to protect our planet and defend the rights of all people to a healthy environment. Founded 52 years ago, Earthjustice strategically uses the power of the law and the strength of partnership to protect public health, address environmental injustice, defend and restore magnificent places and irreplaceable ecosystems, and transition our economy to 100% clean energy while working to protect people and the planet from climate change. Earthjustice does this work in service of hundreds of clients and partners, anchored by its core values of justice, partnership, inclusion, and excellence.
The Vice President of Equity, Justice and Culture has a unique opportunity to lead the effort to center equity and justice in the work of Earthjustice. The leader will serve as a thought partner to the CEO,a member of the Executive Leadership Team, driving strategy for the whole organization, and the senior leader charged with shaping the organization’s cross-cutting operational and programmatic efforts to embed equity and justice in everything Earthjustice does. Crucially, the Vice President is not charged with designing and executing all of the organization’s equity, justice, and culture-building initiatives. That is a collectively shared responsibility that rolls up to the whole Executive Leadership Team. The Vice President will direct the work of a dedicated hub of experts that provide advice and support to colleagues across the organization, and the VP will have the prerogative to participate on the Program Leadership Team, helping to center equity and justice in our mission-driven programmatic work.
Earthjustice’s commitment to justice and to diversity, equity, and inclusion is long-standing and a very top priority for staff, alongside dedication to the mission. The organization is well into its DEI journey. The Vice President will have the opportunity to continue to build this culture internally and oversee staff charged with lifelong learning work, while also strategizing with program leaders to ensure that programmatic teams have the necessary tools, knowledge, and understanding to partner genuinely with the many different communities Earthjustice serves and achieve outcomes that advance both environmental protection and justice for people. The VP will join an exceptional, highly skilled executive leadership team committed to its core values and eager for a thought partner to help accelerate and continue to center equity and justice in its vital work among staff and with clients and partners.
Earthjustice is the nation’s largest, oldest, and most active public-interest environmental law organization. Its staff of over 550 — including over 200 litigators —Earthjustice partners works with thousands of groups, tribes, individuals, and communities to address the environmental crises of our time. Earthjustice is here because the earth needs a good lawyer.
Over a decade ago, the organization embarked on what continues to be a transformational effort to diversify its staff, embed DEI in all of its policies, practices, and actions, and to pursue a commitment to advance racial justice and social justice more broadly in its programmatic work and within the environmental movement. Earthjustice is viewed as a leader in DEI by many in the environmental sector. Earthjustice staff are committed to improving who they are, what they do, and how they do it, both internally by creating an inclusive and equitable workplace where all staff can thrive, and externally in the results it works to achieve in the world. While numbers can never tell the whole story, Earthjustice recognizes their importance. Currently, 44% of the staff are people of color, and 35% of Earthjustice clients work primarily to advance environmental justice.
The Vice President of Equity, Justice, and Culture will be a thought leader and partner within a high-functioning and collaborative executive leadership team, and a strategist focused on deepening the work of equity and justice across the organization. The Vice President will lead implementation of select projects they wish to prioritize with their team, and also provide practical input and advice on key initiatives that others are leading.
The Vice President will help guide the organization in knitting together internal DEI work and externally focused programmatic work to achieve greater integration and put all staff more deeply in touch with the “why” of equity and justice work, its impact, and also importantly, the joy of it. The Vice President will be a steady hand to help navigate the inevitable tensions that arise with internal and external equity and justice work. The Vice President will also contribute creative, dynamic, and forward-thinking leadership to the collective project of fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace that advances justice in its mission-driven work.
Key responsibilities include:
Vision and Leadership
- Lead, develop and help implement a comprehensive strategy that integrates internal equity, justice, and culture work with external, programmatic mission work that equally centers equity and justice.
- Provide strategic and operational leadership on ongoing work to sustain and improve the system, practices, and behaviors that achieve the organization’s commitments to diversity, equity, and a culture of inclusion.
Policies, Culture, and Community
- Partner with the Executive Leadership Team and other key leaders (for example in HR, Litigation, Communications, Development, Internal Communications, and Operations) to ensure that DEI is embedded across the policies and practices of all departments and in the organization as a whole.
- Serve as a staff liaison providing strategic direction to the Board of Trustees and the DEI committee in particular.
Learning and Development
- Develop and manage a comprehensive portfolio of relationships among external equity-related organizations, with a focus on DEI, especially those in the environmental advocacy field.
- Deepen the skills and cultural understanding on staff to enhance work on behalf of the diverse communities and partners Earthjustice serves.
- Promote Earthjustice’s learnings to sustain and grow support for equitable and just policy and practice among funders, the environmental community, and the broader public interest sector.
- Lead, inspire, and develop the Vice President’s team of direct reports.
- Create and model a respectful and inclusive work environment that encourages and supports continuous learning.
The Vice President of Equity, Justice, and Culture will be a senior leader and cultural change agent with a depth of experience in transformative organizational work centering diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion.
The leader will:
- Have high emotional intelligence, openness and curiosity, an orientation toward action.
- Be able to give and receive feedback and be comfortable in an input-driven culture.
- Be committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion and knowledgeable about how those principles can be effectively applied in practice.
- Have a proven record of accomplishment in the development and implementation of organizational cultural change.
- Be creative and entrepreneurial, combining a facilitative leadership style with the ability to deliver and execute innovative ideas and solutions that serve the goals of the entire organization.
- Be an effective manager and team leader with superb leadership, communication, strategy, and execution skills, demonstrating an appreciation for complexity combined with a problem-solving instinct and a willingness to explore new ideas.
- Know how to think and act strategically, employ inclusive change management practices and build trust among staff.
- Lead by example, cultivating and maintaining best practices regarding inclusiveness in Earthjustice’s workplace.
- Have a strong work ethic with high personal and professional standards of transparency and accountability.
- Be able to help support a talented, committed team as it evolves into a leading organization of the 21st century.
Professional experience should include:
- An advanced degree in a related field or equivalent experience in a related discipline; a law degree is not required, but the ability to work in evidence-based organizational environments will be critical.
- Ten years of progressive experience in the development and management of cultural change and/or diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for a complex organization.
- At least five years of experience supervising staff members and creating a team environment with a learning culture and professional development opportunities.
- An understanding of and a deep appreciation for the mission and day-to-day work of Earthjustice as well as an understanding of the challenges faced by the environmental field, both internally and externally.
- An understanding of the legal profession and keen ability to connect and communicate with all functional areas of Earthjustice.
- Exceptional communication skills and demonstrated ability to collaborate to find common ground among diverse perspectives.
The Vice President of Equity, Justice, and Culture
Reports to: The President of Earthjustice and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team
Partners with: The Program Leadership Team (and may join as a member or frequent participant)
- Director of Learning & Development
- Program Manager
- Team Manager
Salary & Benefits
This position offers a competitive salary and includes a comprehensive benefits package.
We actively welcome all candidates from a wide range of backgrounds who have the skills to fulfill this role — regardless of compensation history.
Compensation is based on experience and location.
Salary range in San Francisco, CA: $277,600 – $308,400
Salary range in Washington, DC: $263,700 – $293,000