Position: Senior Director of Operations

Location: Osa Conservation Campus

Status: Full-time


Summary of this Role:

This leadership position plays a key, central role in designing and implementing the overall operations strategy of Osa Conservation. This senior executive position should take the lead in providing leadership and strategic vision to OC, with effective planning, key decision -making, creation and implementation of policies and overall supervision of operations. In collaboration with the Finance and Administrative Director, this role is expected to be involved in budgeting and day-to-day administrative matters. Reporting to the Executive Director, these two positions form the top tier of leadership in the organization.

Osa Conservation encompasses a team of almost 60 full time staff, 3000ha’s of private land dedicated to research, education and conservation, and facilities that make up the Conservation Campus (x2 field stations, a VIP visitor retreat, a regenerative farm, over 25km of trails). All of these host and support 6 core programs within the environmental and conservation space (wildlife, marine, restoration, education and training, land protection, and community work).

The SDO executes the OC annual work plan by directing and managing OC’s day-to-day operations and working closely with each program supervising correct implementation. As one of the most critical and top positions within the organization, the SDO must be an efficient problem solver, skilled communicator and leader, ensuring that OC has all necessary systems and resources to successfully implement annual goals.

The SDO is hired and supervised by the OC Executive Director. This position supervises the OC Conservation Campus Director and the OC Conservation Director of Programs; and subsequently their teams. Excellent business, management, communications, team-building, and conservation abilities are required.


Main responsibilities:

    1. Draft annual work plans and implementation plans and budget with the Finance Director, Conservation Campus Director  and  Conservation Programs Director. Responsible for producing first drafts of annual budgets with FD to meet annual goals based on multi-year plans developed by the Conservation Director and Cons Campus Director.
    2. Provide day-to-day supervision of operations, working closely and in line with the Finance and Administrative Director, and establish organizational operational policies and processes. The Senior Director of Operations directs day-to-day operations of OC to ensure timely, demonstrable progress outlined by annual plan benchmarks/deliverables.
  • Provide high level planning and technical support to OC’s Executive Director. Provide input into multi-year implementation, staffing and fundraising plans, as well as input into OC Governance.
  1. Identify, assess and inform the Executive Director of internal and external issues that affect the organization.
  2. Ensure that the operation of the organization meets the expectations of its Board and funders.
  3. Uphold a positive, healthy and safe work environment in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulations, and inline with OC’s safety-first culture.
  4. Financial Performance and Viability: Help to develop resources sufficient to ensure the financial health of the organization.
  5. Fiscal management: Administer the funds of the organization according to the approved budget and in a manner that ensures maximum resource utilization and maintenance of the organization in a positive financial position.
  6. Supervise a team to maintain excellence in Osa Conservation’s physical plant (meaning the infrastructures, water and electrical systems, etc) and client/guest/staff services.
  7. Support the ED and Program Managers to fundraise and develop other resources necessary to support the mission.
  8. Organization Mission and Strategy: Work with the Executive Director and staff to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through programs, strategic planning and community outreach.
  9.  Lead, coach, develop, and retain a high-performance senior management team. Lead and motivate by example, in order for senior staff and all the team to respect and trust guidance and direction.
  10.  Ensure effective systems to track scaling progress, and regularly evaluate program components to measure successes and effectively communicate these results to the Executive Director, funders, and other constituents.
  11. Responsible for the enhancement of Osa Conservation’s image by being active and visible in the community and by working closely with other professional, civic and private organizations.
  12. Together with the HR department, implement a performance management process for all staff which includes monitoring the performance of staff on an ongoing basis and conducting an annual performance review.
  13. Represent OC politically at a National level within Costa Rica, and along with the Manager of Community Relations, locally with regional governments, partners and stakeholders.
  14. Act as a legal representative of Osa Conservation as responsible for staying on top of the correct operation and administration of its legal entities. This includes signing notes, contracts, agreements, and other instruments made and entered into and on behalf of the organization when the ED is unavailable to do so.
  15. Identify and evaluate risks to the organization’s people (staff, management, clients, volunteers), property, finances, goodwill and image and implement measures to control risks. Ensures that the organization has a safety management system and instills a culture of “safety first” in all areas of the organization. Participating in committees related to Health and Safety (and others) will be key to this.

Qualifications Required:

  1. Commitment to and experience in the environmental sector, conservation, and/or visitor services.
  2. Graduate education – MBA, Masters degree or PhD in a relevant and related field (environmental/management/non-profit management).
  3. Ideally 5+ years direct experience in environmental non-profit operations, project management, and financial management. Experience in communications is a plus. Or extensive experience from another field with at least 5+ years in management and leadership roles – and some experience with non-profits/environmental fields.
  4. Entrepreneurial and demonstrated ability to troubleshoot/ problem solve within the framework of a dynamic, international team.
  5. Willing to be onsite and present for a significant amount of time at the Osa Conservation Campus in Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone.Proven project management and leadership skills and experience.
  6. Excellent written and verbal communication skills in Spanish and English.
  7. Ability to lead a wide range of team members.
  8. Willingness to travel for fundraising – and willing to learn fundraising skills associated with grant writing and donor cultivation and care.


Applicants should provide a resume/CV and a brief one page bullet pointed summary (no more) as to where they fit in terms of the desirable 18  requirements and 8 qualifications. These should be directed to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Senior Director of Operations Applicant’.


Closing date for applications will be Friday the 7th October.


Due to limited administration time, only candidates selected for interview will be contacted on the outcome of their application within 10 days of the deadline to organize 1st stage interviews.