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Senior Climate Adaptation & Environmental Specialist

Position: Senior Climate Adaptation and Environmental Specialist
Organization: ESSA
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

4 or 5 days per week

ESSA is a unique employee-owned Canadian environmental consulting company founded in 1979 with offices in Vancouver, British Columbia and Ottawa, Ontario. Our corporate mission is to “bring together people, science and analytical tools to sustain healthy ecosystems and human communities”. The key to our success is a unique and rich combination of systems thinking, facilitation techniques that integrate a wide range of perspectives, and a scientific mindset focused on learning – cornerstones of Adaptive Management (AM), a rigorous framework and approach that we have applied in our work for more than 37 years. By adopting a mindset rooted in AM, ESSA delivers decision paths to its clients that are more robust and sustainable, with fewer regrets.

At ESSA, we are passionate about what we do and take great pride in attracting, developing and retaining people who are leaders in their field that share our values and mission. ESSA’s staff are problem solvers, big-picture thinkers, evidence driven, creative, and innovative, motivated by an aspiration to become trusted advisors to our clients and contribute to the global movement of doing development differently. Does this describe you? Learn more about us at

The Opportunity

ESSA is seeking an experienced, solutions-driven, team-oriented Senior Climate Adaptation and Environmental Specialist to support and grow our international practice. ESSA’s International Team works with international financial institutions, governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and improve ecosystem and environmental management. We have active projects in Nicaragua and the Caribbean and have recently completed projects in El Salvador, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Ghana.

The candidate will apply their skills and experience to define problems and find creative solutions to reduce hazards that can affect the overall health of the environment or human populations. The candidate will lead or support opportunity reconnaissance, proposal development and project delivery, including specialized research, assessment (e.g., climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessments), planning and / or monitoring and evaluation activities. As a member of the International Team, she/he will report to the International Team Director. The candidate will work closely with other ESSA staff to meet organizational goals, including working on North American projects, as time permits.

The specific tasks to be undertaken by the Senior Climate Adaptation & Environmental Specialist will include:

Business Development

  • Develop new business opportunities, preferably in Latin America and the Caribbean, based on needs identified and communicated by potential and existing clients and / or in response to requests for proposals
  • Work with other staff at ESSA to develop proposals to pursue opportunities with new and existing clients
  • Contribute to advance ESSA’s business in areas integrate climate adaptation and environmental/ecosystem managements as well as in any other strategic area that integrates ESSA’s Adaptive Management brand and key services and skills
  • Develop and maintain a strong network of international collaborators
  • Contribute to and/or lead the preparation of blog posts, brochures and other thought-leadership products to support ESSA's marketing activities.

Project Delivery

  • Work directly with clients or potential clients to understand their needs and to develop innovative solutions for successful project delivery
  • Whether related to specialized research, institutional strengthening, capacity development, “on the ground” implementation or monitoring, evaluation & learning, the candidate will contribute technical inputs into ESSA’s international and domestic projects in the areas of:
    • Climate change risk, impact and/or vulnerability assessment to inform natural resource and environmental management
    • Ecosystem resilience and nature-based approaches to climate adaptation
    • Climate adaptation planning (for governments, institutions/organizations, and/or communities)
  • Manage all aspects of project delivery, including assembly of project teams, team communications and mentoring, generating high-quality outputs on time and on budget and building trust with clients and collaborators.

Skills and Attributes

The Senior Climate Adaptation & Environmental Specialist would bring the following set of skills to her / his position:

  • Knowledge of climate change adaptation, its relationship to development and emerging good practice in enabling adaptation at different scales
  • Excellent writing skills and strong oral communication skills and the capacity to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences
  • Self-aware with high emotional intelligence and a proven ability to listen, take direction and work in teams. Communicating with you is straightforward and pleasurable.
  • Ability to lead/coordinate multi-disciplinary teams
  • Time management skills, including an ability to manage multiple tasks ranging from simple to more complex, under tight deadlines
  • Ability to work as part of a geographically-distributed team and independently with limited guidance
  • Computer literacy, including Microsoft Office and Google docs applications, and the use of qualitative data analysis software

Education and Experience

We are only considering candidates with demonstrated experience in climate adaptation, international development and environmental management, preferably in a consulting environment. This normally means that candidates must have a minimum of 7 years of experience – including at least half in the private sector.

Required minimum education:

  • Master’s Degree in a relevant natural, applied or social science

Required experience:

  • At least 7 years of work experience at the intersection of climate adaptation, international development and the environment
  • A proven track record in project delivery and business development (i.e., identifying and developing business areas, writing proposals and other business communication materials)
  • Demonstrable experience writing successful proposals for work with international financial institutions (e.g., development banks, UN agencies, bilateral donors, technical assistance networks)
  • Work experience in developing countries and particularly in Latin America and/or the Caribbean
  • Fluent written and spoken English. Spoken and written Spanish-language skills are highly desirable
  • Willingness to spend periods of up to three weeks travelling overseas or within Canada, as required by project assignments
  • Experience applying the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards is an asset
  • Experience undertaking detailed climate data analysis and working with impact assessment models is an asset

Compensation and benefits

We welcome candidates looking for an opportunity to work with a welcoming team of highly skilled professionals within a culture of support, innovation and appreciation. We provide a competitive salary, performance-based profit sharing, an excellent extended health benefit plan including Medical Service Plan coverage, three weeks’ vacation and paid time off between Christmas and New Year’s. Support is provided for professional development and growth within your role.


Please email a cover letter and résumé to international mask* by August 20, 2017 with “Senior Climate Adaptation & Environmental Specialist” in the subject line. We will follow up with select applicants after August 20, with interviews scheduled early September. We will consider the successful candidate’s preference for a 4 or 5 day work week based on experience, mutual interests and fit. In accordance with Canadian law, preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents.

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GoodWork ID: 41448       Date posted to Aug 15 2017