Mission Blue – Chief Operating Officer

Canon Purdyjob board

Apply Here.

Mission Blue seeks an experienced and results-driven Chief Operating Officer (COO) to join our foundation as it enters an exciting phase of new growth.  Founded in 2009, and led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas, or “Hope Spots.”

The COO will manage the day-to-day operations of the organization, with direct oversight of the accounting, financial reporting, legal, and human resources functions. As the primary liaison between the Board of Directors, the founder, staff and external partners, the COO will develop and implement business processes that enable efficient operations throughout the organization. This role is highly collaborative and requires someone who combines strong interpersonal and communication abilities with competence in finance and accounting.

As part of the executive management team, the COO will report directly to the President and collaborate with a dynamic team of conservationists to implement and support strategies created by the President and Board of Directors to advance the foundation’s mission. 

Key Responsibilities

Finance, Administration and Risk Management

  • Manage the finances of the organization, with oversight from the President and executive team
  • Oversee staff and finance contractors 
  • Track cash flow, analyze strengths and weaknesses and propose corrective action plans when necessary 
  • Prepare accurate forecasts so that management can make informed decisions
  • Maintain sound financial practices that are transparent and meet 501(c)(3) best practice standards
  • Prepare annual budget and ensure that the organization operates within budget guidelines
  • Oversee annual audits and Form 990 reporting
  • Provide financial standing of the organization in a timely manner to the President, the Executive Team and Board of Directors


  • Oversee daily operations of the foundation, including: Programs, Administration, Finance, IT, Legal, Human Resources
  • Lead weekly staff meetings
  • Manage legal issues and advise the President and Executive Team concerning legal execution of all agreements and other instruments made and entered into on behalf of the organization

Human Resource Management 

  • Manage the Mission Blue team of employees, contractors and volunteers
  • Manage the human resources of the organization; ensure sound policies, practices and procedures conforming with current law are in place and followed 
  • Assist with the recruitment, onboarding, regular performance evaluations, and release of personnel



  • 8-10+ years professional experience, with at least 3 years overseeing finance, operations and human resources in a non-profit context 
  • 3+ years as a people manager, with a record of transparent, high integrity, collaborative leadership; experience leading teams in a remote work environment 
  • Financial management experience, including budget preparation, analysis and reporting for a 501(c)(3)
  • Experience working with executive oversight and a Board of Directors
  • High level strategic thinking, planning and decision making in alignment with organizational goals and values
  • Environmental conservation or ocean science experience preferred

Skills and Personal Attributes

  • Excellent communication skills; can effectively communicate with stakeholders at all levels
  • Commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that supports the growth and development of all team members
  • Collaborative approach to developing and implementing strategies to achieve organizational goals; values the input of staff and encourages their participation in decision-making processes
  • Builds strong relationships with staff, partners, and donors
  • Demonstrated commitment to conservation and environmental stewardship

Position Details 

This is an in-person position working out of the Mission Blue office in Oakland, CA. 

The salary range for this role is $175-190K, which takes into account factors such as experience, skills, training, internal team equity and local norms.

Anticipated travel: 10-20%

To Apply 

CEA Recruiting is assisting Mission Blue in this search. To be considered for this position, interested candidates should use this link to submit a resume and cover letter through CEA’s job portal.  This position will remain posted until filled. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Active review of applications will begin in early April. 

Please direct any inquiries to Tamara Evans, Search Lead at tamara@ceaconsulting.com. 

Mission Blue is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.

CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit www.cearecruiting.com