Deputy Executive Director

Deputy Executive Director

Pacific Whale Foundation

Ma’alea Habor on the island of Maui, HI   |   July 20, 2021

About Pacific Whale Foundation

With a mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy, and to inspire environmental stewardship, Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) conducts Research, Education and Conservation programs for the communities in which it serves. Founded in 1980, PWF is dedicated to saving the world’s whales from extinction.  Our vision is to be the people’s environmental organization for the protection of the world’s whales, dolphins and other marine animals living wild in their natural habitat. We believe that it is essential to involve the public in our mission. Combined with memberships, donations, charitable grants and a remarkable group of dedicated volunteers, PWF now reaches more than 400,000 individuals each year through its Maui and Australia offices and research projects in Ecuador and Chile.

PWF is also a social enterprise that offers fee-based programs and services through PacWhale Eco-Adventures to help fund its nonprofit work.  Our PacWhale cruise operation is 100% owned by the non-profit Pacific Whale Foundation, as are our retail Ocean Stores. All of the profits that we generate go to supporting Pacific Whale Foundation’s work to protect our oceans through science and advocacy.

This position located in Ma’alea Harbor on the island of Maui, HI. For more information on Pacific Whale Foundation please visit

As a global organization, we continue to support inclusion and equality in all our endeavors while expecting the same from our members, partners and allies. We stand in solidarity against racism, discrimination and prejudice of any kind, and we are deeply committed to implementing and advancing policies, processes and practices that align with our values of diversity and transparency.

In our position as an international thought leader, we hold ourselves accountable to decisive action on behalf of our employees and supporters to identify and combat unconscious bias while nurturing an inclusive environment for all.

The Opportunity

At this exciting time in the organization’s evolution, PWF seeks to hire an experienced and entrepreneurial Deputy Executive Director (Deputy Director) who is eager for the opportunity to increase the impact of the organization as they begin to deliver on their five-year strategic plan. Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the Deputy Director will oversee day-to-day management of the organization to ensure that all staff, programs, and systems are working in support of the overall mission, allowing the Executive Director to focus on overall vision and growth opportunities.  The Deputy Director will be an engaging and detail-minded leader who is highly attuned to the importance of culture and able to effectively manage and inspire people to achieve results. They must be a continuous learner with strong listening skills and a demonstrated commitment and investment in building capacity in staff.

The Deputy Director will be responsible for designing and implementing a range of organizational strengthening initiatives to support staff culture, retention, and efficient systems. These efforts include, but are not limited to, activities in the following areas: staff leadership development, team building, effective cross-team planning and coordination, organizational culture building, and leading organizational learning initiatives.

They will be responsible for the supervision and oversight of PWF’s Research, Education, Conservation, and Development departments, ensuring effective fundraising efforts, seamless program delivery, team management and development, and quality control and evaluation. In addition, they will also be a key external face of PWF in the community and a member of PWF’s core leadership team.

Located in Maui and with affiliate partnerships in Australia, Ecuador, and Chile, this position requires international travel for approximately 30% – 50% depending on the time of year.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone who is passionate about protecting the ocean and inspiring environmental stewardship for an innovative and growing organization.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate for this role will be a collaborative and communicative leader who understands the value of relationship building.

While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, a successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Passion for the Mission

The Deputy Director will have a demonstrated commitment to the conservation and environmental space.  If limited experience or exposure in this space, the Deputy Director must have a willingness to dive into these areas. They will lead by example, demonstrating a passion for the mission of PWF and a commitment to remaining focused on the long-term strategic goals of the organization.  They will be an experienced nonprofit professional with the ability to lead with a strong diversity and inclusion lens.

Strategic Leadership and Management

The Deputy Executive Director will be an experienced leader who enjoys inspiring staff to achieve exceptional outcomes. Working with the Executive Director and senior staff, they will help to translate the organizational strategic plan into achievable actionable initiatives while leading a highly accomplished team.  Highly intelligent and confident in their ability to contribute, they will be skilled at managing in all directions and will approach others with a deep level of respect and curiosity.  They will be highly committed to building and retaining a talented team and dedicated to stewarding the personal and professional growth of the staff.  They will have the ability to form genuine relationships and bring outstanding communication abilities.

A Strong External Ambassador

The Deputy Director will bring a proven record of engagement to the role and be a natural ambassador for Pacific Whale Foundation.  They will lead and contribute to the identification of mutually beneficial partners, grants, and potential donors.  Externally, they will represent PWF in the community through public speaking engagements and fundraising initiatives.  They will partner closely with the Executive Director and Development Manager on creative revenue-generating strategies, including support from foundations and major donors, and will have demonstrated success in developing and executing on fundraising initiatives.  They will bring an entrepreneurial approach to revenue generation and an understanding of grantmaking, fundraising, and various revenue streams.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Support department managers in developing strategies to ensure growth of programs and services that achieve each department’s strategic planning goals and align with PWF’s mission and values
  • Inspire and motivate team members through good example, personal involvement, and targeted feedback
  • Build and maintain productive relationships with all department leaders, external partners, PWF supporters and industry colleagues
  • Uphold PWF policies and standards, ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
  • Effectively communicate strategy, results, financials, challenges, etc. to the Board of Directors as requested
  • Actively participate in the overall management of PWF as a key part of the Leadership Team
  • Knowledge/experience with environmental education and/or marine conservation policy and research a plus
  • Travel and health guidelines permitting, the ability to travel internationally up to 30% of the year and work a flexible schedule
  • At least 10 years of professional experience, including at least 3 years of management experience
Compensation & Benefits

Compensation for this position will start at an annual base salary of $100,000 and an attractive benefits package.  We are open to feedback from the market and would welcome the ability to connect with potential candidates who may be outside of the compensation band.

The Pacific Whale Foundation is conducting a national search for the Deputy Director role and will offer a competitive relocation package to candidates moving to Maui, HI.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Alicia Salerno here.


Pacific Whale Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit