Director of Events and Experiences

Climate Leadership InitiativeSan Francisco, CA

About The Climate Leadership Initiative

The climate crisis touches all our lives and impacts everything we hold dear. There is no question that tackling this crisis is a formidable challenge – but the good news is that climate change is a problem with solutions.

Yet less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving goes toward climate solutions. The Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI) was created by leading climate philanthropists and foundations to help those with the means to act now, since the climate crisis cannot wait. Every delay means the solutions cost more in money and lives.

CLI is an advisory service designed to help philanthropists find their path to climate impact.  Philanthropists can move with both urgency and rigor to address the climate crisis and protect our planet for generations to come. When working with CLI, philanthropists can get started quickly and with confidence, receive tailored guidance, and engage with our network of peers and world-class climate experts. CLI works with philanthropists to match their interests and passions with solutions ready to scale.

CLI is fully funded and acts as a trusted advisor without fundraising for itself, pooling grant dollars, or charging for its services. This frees them to help philanthropists find the smartest path for them.

Climate change isn’t its own cause, it’s every cause, because of its ability to threaten progress on any issue – poverty, education, conservation, economic justice, and more. It’s why CLI works across many sectors and regions to address this far-reaching problem.

The Opportunity

CLI’s communications team seeks a Director of Events and Experiences to lead strategy, planning, and execution of all philanthropist events and experiences, virtual and in-person, in close collaboration with senior leaders from across the organization. This is a new role and success in this ambitious endeavor requires a talented ring master who knows how to curate sophisticated, serious content; has the gravitas to work as a peer to executives; and possesses the organizational skills to ensure high-stakes events go off without a hitch.

Reporting to the Chief Communications Officer, the Director of Events and Experiences will have the opportunity to build out a thoughtful and structured events program centered on advancing philanthropists on their learning journey in significant and meaningful ways. In a role that requires both strategy and execution, the Director of Events and Experiences will serve as a creative thought partner to colleagues helping to influence, curate, and create events and experiences of the highest quality. The goals of the events—which include conferences, webinars, intimate dinners, and trips—are to provide climate philanthropists, both new to the field and those more experienced, with unique and high-quality opportunities to connect, learn, engage, and take action. This role does not directly manage staff but will manage external events consultants and work closely with the Manager, Events and Communications on event execution.  The new position will be part of a seven-person communications team.

Key Responsibilities

Event Strategy, Management, and Evaluation

  • Develop an events strategy that builds momentum and integrate events into a cadence that matches CLI’s strategic plan and the communications team’s operational plans.
  • Create annual events budget that delivers on the strategy and tracks quarterly with support of communications coordinator.
  • Bring in needed voices and insights at key moments in planning and execution to help curate and develop content, identify experts to deliver that content, and define event outcomes.
  • Drive internal decision making to clearly define and ensure consensus around event purpose, goals, audience, and message.
  • Position events as integral to CLI’s mission and a priority for achieving shared goals.
  • Develop metrics to track event impact and inform annual events strategy.
  • Enhance event design and strategy by facilitating a cohesive and effective process to capture past learnings, feedback, and ideas for the future ideas. 
  • Promote seamless adoption of Salesforce event platform and metric analysis by creating structure and norms for roles and responsibilities in partnership with the Managing Director, Philanthropic Advising.
  • Work closely with the Manager, Events and Communications to streamline tools, processes, and data management related to event planning, meetings and scheduling, invitations, tracking, and more.

Event Design, Content and Execution

  • Compose a clear and effective strategy brief for each event and work with team members to translate this into an event plan with clear roles, responsibilities, and timelines.
  • Serve as the lead who executes the event plan with areas delegated amongst internal and external staff/vendors. 
  • Serve as content and narrative lead ensuring overall flow, speaker selection/prep, and development of relevant visuals or other materials. Review all creative and step in to produce as needed.
  • Manage matrixed teams composed of internal staff and external consultants to ensure many moving parts are highly coordinated and create a seamless audience experience of the highest quality.
  • Hire, manage, and partner with speech coaches and other vendors to incorporate storytelling and other techniques to help experts and philanthropists best present their knowledge and expertise.
  • Maintain knowledge of relevant subject matter events and speakers for collaboration or partnership when opportunity arises to provide value to CLI philanthropists.

Ideal Candidate

Above all else, the incoming Director must be deeply motivated by CLI’s mission to mobilize philanthropy to address the most profound challenge of our time: climate change. The ability to genuinely convey the urgency and scale of the issue requires individuals who lead with a commitment to positive change and a belief in the power of philanthropy.

CLI seeks a Director of Events and Experiences who is a creative strategist and detail-oriented master of logistics and quality. They possess the agility to pivot between high-level planning and execution in a fast-paced, growing organization. The ability to work in a highly matrixed organization, managing projects across teams and diverse stakeholders, is essential. The role is one that requires a consultative and client service orientation that is complemented by a clear point of view on how to optimally design high-impact events and experiences for a highly discerning audience of sophisticated philanthropists.

The ideal candidate brings previous experience in a high-level, constituent-facing role and first-hand experience with what does and doesn’t work well with this audience. They combine both drive and adaptability with an intuitive ability to use influence to move people toward consensus, but without fear of making a firm decision when that is required. They have the experience to develop a point of view about what kinds of events will appeal to CLI’s philanthropic audience but also a creative mindset that brings fresh thinking to what makes an event a true success. Those with strong opinions loosely held will succeed in this role. Humility is another essential trait: those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever is required to ensure a successful event, from driving content to alphabetizing name tags, will thrive.


At least 10 years in communications or philanthropy roles with direct experience in event design/management is required. It is expected that candidates have worked directly with principals and/or senior executive audiences. They have developed content-driven events featuring complex content or causes.

While expertise in climate is not required, some knowledge is preferred. Candidates must possess a deep passion for the issue area and a background with issues-based communications.

CLI is headquartered in San Francisco, CA and has staff in various locations including Europe. The preferred location for the Director position is in the San Francisco Bay Area (where CLI maintains an office) and open to Washington, D.C. as well. Travel will be required to be onsite at events and other team or CLI-wide meetings and retreats.

The salary range for this role begins at $165,000. Compensation is commensurate with the level of work and is dependent on job-related, non-discriminatory factors such as job knowledge, skills, and experience.

To Be Considered

At the Climate Leadership Initiative, we value diversity and always treat all employees and job applicants based on merit, qualifications, competence, and talent. We do not discriminate on the basis of, or traits historically associated with race, color, religion, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status), domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by state or federal law.

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the “Become a Candidate” button. Letters may be addressed to Melissa Merritt.

Director of Events and ExperiencesClimate Leadership Initiative San Francisco, CA

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by CLI to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Melissa Merritt
Managing Director
Direct: 206.792.4300

Martens Roc
Vice President
Direct: 202.933.7616

Mollie Smith
Engagement Manager
Direct: 206.462.6190