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EarthRights International

Executive Director

About EarthRights International

EarthRights International (EarthRights) is a global team of 68 staff with offices in Mekong, Thailand, Amazon, Peru, and the US. They combine the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which they define as “earth rights.” They rise in defense of communities and the planet, using the power of law and the power of people in pursuit of justice and protection of the environment.

The organization comprises a team of community organizers, campaigners, and legal strategists who challenge corporations, governments, and banks that violate peoples’ rights and destroy the planet for profit. They are part of a global network of earth rights defenders who aim to protect the planet for the future. For 25 years, EarthRights has stood with communities in pursuit of a world where everyone lives with their dignity and human rights protected on a planet where precious resources are shared equally and preserved for the future. They have trained over 400 Human Rights and Environment Rights Defenders through their EarthRights School, and they have filed over 25 groundbreaking accountability cases against the world’s largest corporations.

About the Role

EarthRights is seeking a passionate and inspiring leader to serve as the Executive Director to lead the organization at a critical time of growth and opportunity.

The ideal candidate is a transformational leader who challenges powerful institutions, protects rights, and works with environmental and human rights movements to preserve the planet. This opportunity calls for someone with people management skills, cross-cultural sensitivity, and a commitment to global human and environmental rights. They should have a track record of leading change, implementing strategic initiatives, and fostering continuous improvement in an organization with global impact. This is an exceptional opportunity for an inspiring visionary to assume leadership of a highly esteemed global organization that promotes human rights, environmental justice, and corporate accountability.

Someone with a demonstrated history of strong leadership skills and effectively managing and unifying diverse, multicultural teams. Proven track record of navigating change management and guiding matrixed organizations through periods of transition and transformation. An inclusive and decisive decision-maker, capable of making tough choices with confidence and determination.

This position is based in Washington, DC. EarthRights staff is currently working a hybrid work schedule. Candidate must have work authorization to work in the US

Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • With support from the board of directors, develop and execute a compelling vision and strategic plan for EarthRights, in alignment with the organization’s mission and values.
  • Lead the development and implementation of innovative strategies and programs that address pressing human rights and environmental issues at local, regional, and global levels.
  • Stay abreast of emerging trends, legal developments, and policy changes in the field of human rights and environmental justice, and adapt the organization’s strategies accordingly.
  • Foster partnerships and collaborations with grassroots organizations, civil society, communities, and other stakeholders to amplify impact and promote systemic change.


  • Approve the overall annual organizational budget and program funding allocations.
  • Participate in processes and work with the board to get final approval to the organizational Strategic Plan.
  • Have oversight and ultimately approve organizational policies and policy changes before submission to the board.
  • Oversight of implementation and decision-making on new projects, according to established procedures.
  • Approval of annual work plans and budgets; supervising and conducting Performance Evaluations and Appraisals of the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Manage communication and activities of the Board of Directors.
  • Provide strong leadership to staff members in a time of transition.
  • Manage and resolve any conflicts that arise among staff.
  • Travel to each office and meet with office staff and programs as needed.

Communications and Public Relations

  • Serve as a primary spokesperson for the organization.
  • Funder and Donor relations: meeting, attending conferences, events, public speaking, communication and public relations with donors, funders and targeted audiences.
  • Attend conferences, seminars, funder meetings, press conferences and other public events in which ERI organizational representation is required.
  • Coordinate with the Communications team to craft compelling stories and raise the visibility of the organization through public relations.
  • Maintain quality control of ERI’s external image and commitment to the mission and vision of the organization.
  • Network with other human rights, environment, social justice, and other related NGOs.

Program Work

  • Strategic planning: participate in long-term organizational strategic planning processes and ultimately approve 5-year strategic plans.
  • New/Strategic/Special Initiatives: Provide leadership and ultimate decision-making on new litigation; and special initiatives such as the Capital Campaign.
  • Identify trends and opportunities that may affect the organization’s effectiveness.
  • Provide guidance, advice, and support to Program and Regional Directors.
  • Participate in program activities and/or development of new projects per the new project’s procedure.
  • Lead and or assist with project implementation when appropriate.

Special/Strategic Initiatives

  • Provide leadership and decision-making on new opportunities or urgent initiatives outside the organization’s strategic plan.

Skills and Experience

Candidates should possess significant leadership experience in the field of climate change and human rights, organizational management expertise, attention to detail, a sense of humor, collaborative leadership, decision-making abilities, thoughtfulness, confidence, high emotional intelligence, and the ability to work well with committed colleagues with diverse perspectives.

  • Extensive leadership experience in both climate change and human rights, with a proven track record of creating impactful change.
  • Experience with inclusive strategic planning and organizational development.
  • Deep understanding of and commitment to racial and gender equality and implementing fair practices and culture;
  • Proven track record in enhancing efficiencies, organizational growth, and transformation, and the ability to develop a high-performing and resilient workforce.
  • Track record of overseeing organizational financial activity and systems, including budgeting, forecasting, modelling, accounting, and reporting.
  • Ability to navigate complex compliance and risk management issues.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, including across lines of cultural difference.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work with a variety of stakeholders and across cultures.
  • Demonstrated success in managing people and motivating teams through organizational change.
  • Ability to travel globally up to 35% of the time.
  • Understanding advocacy, strategic litigation, movement building, community organizing, and or experience in a global organization is preferred.
  • Experience in a global organization, preferably ED/Senior Management role.
  • English fluency is a must. Fluency in Spanish, Thai or Burmese is beneficial.
  • Experience with Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning systems design and development is a plus.

EarthRights International is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices and actively encourages people of colour, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQI+ people to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.