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23 Mar 2023

Full-Time Senior Associate (Climate Solutions)

CEA Consulting – Posted by CEA San Francisco, California, United States

CEA Consulting logo

Job Description

About the Organization

CEA Consulting is an environmental consultancy based in San Francisco, CA. For more than 35 years, CEA has worked at the intersection of markets, business practices, public policies, and philanthropic, nonprofit, corporate, and impact investment strategies to achieve positive environmental outcomes. Our work is guided by a deep knowledge of the scientific, financial/economic, cultural, and sociopolitical underpinnings of our most pressing environmental problems. CEA has three practice areas: Philanthropic Services, Environmental Policy and Advocacy, and Recruiting and Organizational Design.

With roughly 25 employees across the firm, CEA strives to create a work environment that is collaborative and inclusive and where all consultants are supported in doing the work they are most passionate about, developing their skills, and bringing their whole selves to work. We believe that a wide array of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences promote innovation and make our team more creative, flexible, and productive. CEA is explicitly working to create more diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization and has several active “DEI” working groups. For a more in-depth description of our services and examples of past work, please see our website. For a more in-depth description of our approach to work, please see our Vision, Mission, and  Guiding Principles.

CEA’s Philanthropic Practice Area

Our Philanthropic Services Practice Area supports environmental foundations, family offices, nonprofits, sustainability-oriented businesses, and impact investors. We pride ourselves on being client-oriented, insightful, and responsive. Our work covers a wide range of environmental topics, and many of our projects are international in scope. The majority of our work relates to climate change, marine conservation, climate resilience and justice, sustainable agriculture, land use and conservation, and freshwater management. We also occasionally work on transportation, wildlife protection, pollution, environmental justice, and urban sustainability. We often work at the intersection of these issues. Our primary offerings include:

  • Program Design and Strategy Development
  • Programmatic Research, Analysis, and Modeling
  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
  • Facilitation, Collaboration, and Grantee Convening
  • Grant Support: Sourcing, Conducting Due Diligence, Making Grant Recommendations, Grantee Management
  • Project Incubation, Nonprofit Business Planning, Organizational Development, and Staffing Support

About the Role

CEA is seeking a Senior Associate to primarily support climate-related engagements within our Philanthropic Services Practice Area. The successful candidate will lead the day-to-day management of complex consulting engagements for clients, including large environmentally-focused foundations, family offices, NGOs, impact investors, and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Our work environment is collaborative, intensive, and likely to require travel (when deemed safe). The position requires intellectual rigor; excellent interpersonal and communication skills; strong research, analysis, and writing capacity; an ability to synthesize findings from a range of different kinds of information; independence; project management; attention to detail; and a passion for climate solutions and environmental issues. This position will interact with leaders in the philanthropic field and the work will intersect a wide range of environmental issues.

About You

You are a self-starter and find joy and fulfillment from a job well done. You are capable of managing teams, leading client engagements, and running complex projects on time and on budget. You support your teammates and help to create a collegial, inclusive, and healthy work environment. You are intellectually curious and an adept problem solver. You can work effectively in teams as well as independently. You seek and incorporate feedback as you grow your knowledge base and skills. You are able to successfully meet unexpected challenges. You are passionate about having an impact in the field of climate change and can bring an equity lens to this work. We are open to candidates with a range of past professional experiences, including consulting, non-profits, academia, finance/impact investing, engineering, government agencies, foundations, and think tanks.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

This position will:

  • Serve as the primary Senior Associate at CEA leading climate-related projects. Projects could include: climate policy analysis; grant-making strategies, grant-sourcing and diligence for philanthropic climate funders; GHG emissions or mitigation modeling; developing climate-related strategies for NGOs; and helping to operationalize or execute climate-related NGO strategies.
  • Standard Senior Associate responsibilities include the following:
    • Serve as an engagement manager for projects, including serving as primary client contact, leading project design and execution, and ensuring quality deliverables.
    • Build and lead teams in the execution of multiple assignments for different clients.
    • Support the professional growth, training, and development of junior colleagues.
    • Formulate and test hypotheses via research, modeling, expert interviews, and data analyses.
    • Conduct research and analysis independently and ensure the effectiveness of the team’s work.
    • Facilitate group problem solving and brainstorming with project teams to generate novel solutions.
    • Synthesize disparate kinds of information to identify patterns, generate findings, and develop clear and succinct recommendations for clients.
    • Liaise directly with clients while building a professional network of foundation and NGO leaders.
    • Develop and communicate recommendations via clear and compelling deliverables (e.g., reports, presentations, briefs).
    • Ensure quality and rigor of outgoing work products and correspondence.
    • Support the firm’s overall growth through deepening client relationships and expanding the practice area’s expertise.
    • Participate in CEA’s journey as it continues to learn and improve to become a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization.


While each consultant at CEA brings different skills and lived experiences to their work, desired skills and experiences include the following:

  • A Bachelor’s degree and five plus years of work experience; an advanced degree (e.g., MBA, MS, D.) is a plus.
  • Deep content knowledge and professional interest relating climate change science and policy, energy policy, energy transition, and/or climate justice.
  • Degrees and/or work experiences that include training in research methods (quantitative and/or qualitative), leading small teams, and working on multiple assignments concurrently.
  • Experience leading projects where there is a defined scope of work, a budget, and a Prior consulting experience is preferred.
  • Experience with grantmaking, including the creation of strategies and theories of change, pipeline development, due diligence, structure grant agreements, and writing grant memos.
  • Exceptional writing ability across different mediums and for different audiences.
  • Advanced proficiency in Microsoft’s Office Suite, particularly Excel and Proficiency in other analytical software (e.g., GIS, Tableau) is a plus.
  • Proficiency in qualitative research methods (e.g., interviews, expert consultation, case studies) and analytical tools (e.g., qualitative data analysis software)
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and interpersonal skills, including effectively communicating across internal teams and with external stakeholders.
  • Ability to work, multitask, and prioritize to meet deadlines and respond and adapt to changing client needs.
  • Ability to handle sensitive matters with discretion and interact with a wide range of stakeholders (e.g., scientists, policymakers, advocates, and industry representatives) with diplomacy and enthusiasm.
  • Other content knowledge that will support CEA’s work includes ocean conservation, marine fisheries management, land preservation, sustainable agriculture, community-led conservation measures, freshwater management, forestry, environmental justice, and/or air quality, a plus.
  • Professional proficiency in a foreign language and demonstrated cultural competency are a plus.

Work Location

CEA’s office is located in San Francisco, and about half of the team works remotely on a permanent basis. Our strong preference is for this position to work from our San Francisco office, but remote candidates will be considered.

Compensation and Benefits

We offer competitive salaries, excellent health benefits, additional benefits for those working out of the SF office (e.g., commuter benefits and weekly lunches), and a supportive working environment. Salary will be commensurate with skills and experience. The base salary range for Senior Associate’s at CEA is $100,000 – $140,000. Additionally, CEA offers an annual performance bonus, revenue sharing, and the opportunity to earn additional bonuses thrice a year when work exceeds billable hour targets. CEA also typically provides raises to all staff annually, usually above COLA. Therefore, altogether, the target total compensation for this role is in the mid-to-high $100,000s.

Hiring and Interview Process Details

CEA is committed to a transparent and equitable hiring process, including providing details into what our overall interview process will be. We do our best to review your application materials as quickly as possible and to provide updates throughout our application process. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out directly to our lead search manager, Eileen Ashton ([email protected]).

How to Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must follow the link below to submit a resume and cover letter.

CEA is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to our legal and ethical obligations to protect job applicants and employees from employment discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment due to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation), age, disability, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military status, or veteran status.

Job Categories: Environment / Climate Change. Job Types: Full-Time. Job Tags: Climate, environment, grant-making, Project Manager, and strategy. Salaries: 100,000 and above.

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