Managing Director

(GAIA U.S. Office)

ABOUT GAIA: GAIA is a global network of grassroots organisations and national alliances in over 90 countries working toward a just and zero waste world without incineration. We see waste, plastics, and their resulting pollution as symptoms of a larger, profit-driven extractive economy, and we aim to power a transition towards circular systems that support people’s right to a safe and healthy environment. This entails fighting pollution and building regenerative solutions in cities through local campaigns, advocating for shifts in policy and finance, leading collaborative research and communication initiatives, and supporting movement building. To read more about our values and theory of change, please see

GAIA’s U.S. nonprofit organization plays an important role in our global network, providing infrastructure support for the network’s offices, growing team, and membership in the U.S. and other countries, including help with fundraising, staff and financial management, and fiscal sponsorship. Our main office is located in Berkeley, California, and supports a team of 16 staff working with two other regional offices and many other consultants and member organizations spread around the world.

ABOUT THE POST: We are looking to hire a Managing Director to lead an operations & finance team with an outstanding financial and staff management track record. The Managing Director will be responsible for human resources, supervise three or more direct reports, oversee grantmaking and budgeting systems for our U.S. organization, support GAIA’s U.S. Board of Directors, and manage our international team’s knowledge sharing platforms. As an integral member of GAIA’s senior management team, the Managing Director will also be charged with stewarding an inclusive and equity-oriented culture, developing and implementing program planning and evaluation systems, and supporting internal communication, feedback loops, and alignment. This is an exempt, full-time, salaried position which reports to GAIA’s U.S. Executive Director/International Coordinator. 

On a daily level, this work will involve oversight and maintenance of existing systems for personnel management, budgeting and operations, and team coordination (50%), as well as leading work to build and establish new systems that address priority needs, including new approaches to monitoring and evaluation, building DEI into our plans and policies, providing operational support in a remote and trans-local organizing environment, and tackling other emergent or smaller special projects (50%).

This is an outstanding opportunity for a skilled professional in non-profit operations, with a proven track record of creative problem-solving, to join in an innovative and vibrant global network working in service to grassroots movements for social and environmental justice.



Operations & Budget

  • Lead the operations team/staff cluster to ensure smooth daily functioning and support of campaigns, including managing at least three direct reports and projects, delegating effectively and flexing style to meet individual needs.
  • Work with GAIA’s U.S. Executive Director, Finance Director, GAIA’s Regional Coordinators, and other program leads to create organizational and program / project budgets, review quarterly program and project specific financial reports, and track progress to goals.
  • Maintain and improve key systems, tools and technology, and regularly identify gaps where processes and/or communications practices should be updated or formalized. 
  • Ensure legal training and compliance for the organization on all fronts, including protection against libel and SLAPP suits, 501(c)(3) regulations, and tax law. Lead a process to assess and improve upon our online information security protocols and non-personnel insurance policy coverage.
  • Oversee GAIA’s member grants and contracts program in consultation with the network’s Regional Coordinators, global project leads, and Grants Administrator.
  • Develop, maintain, and improve on GAIA’s existing information management systems, and provide training for staff and members on the use of these systems, in collaboration with other members of the operations team. Our current databases and knowledge sharing platforms include Google G Suite, Salesforce, Asana, Whatsapp, Slack, and multiple email listservs, among other applications.
  • Review and approve GAIA expenses, along with the Executive Director and Associate Director, including but not limited to: check/reimbursement requests, grants and contracts, and wires.
  • Collaborate with GAIA’s Finance Director and Development Director to create grant financial reports.

Human Resources and Staff Development 

  • Develop GAIA best practices for recruitment, hiring, professional development, and employee retention plans. This includes overseeing new employee onboarding and developing a process for tracking/sharing lessons learned from professional development activities.
  • Coordinate GAIA’s annual or bi-annual performance evaluation process, set staffing priorities, and work with the ED and fellow Directors to assign accountabilities and establish staff performance and development goals.
  • Provide input and guidance to staff in the role of chief personnel officer, including support for career development as well as the management of confidential and sensitive personnel issues such as terminations and performance improvement plans.
  • Manage employee engagement processes, including developing and analyzing an annual staff culture survey and tracking organizational progress toward work-life balance for team members.
  • Maintain employee handbook, and lead periodic evaluations of human resources policies and procedures to identify and implement improvements. Coordinate work on adjustments that need to be made in the post-COVID period, including registration for employment in new states (for remote staff).
  • Work with the ED and Regional Coordinators to monitor and supervise regular contractors and build as much equity as possible into our relationships with international consultants who serve GAIA’s team.
  • Coordinate approval of staff timesheets and requests for paid time off with supervisors.
  • Manage the relationship with GAIA’s fiscally sponsored projects to ensure legal and contractual compliance with GAIA’s HR policies, benefits, trainings, and employee resources.
  • Support the Associate Director in managing lateral leadership (staff supervisors) while the ED is on vacation or unavailable.  


Team and Board Leadership & Management

  • Facilitate U.S. team meetings and team building activities, as well as management team meetings, and support other team processes through facilitation and coordination as needed.
  • Seek out and champion opportunities to further diversity, equity, inclusion, anti-imperialism, and anti-oppression in all aspects of our work. This could include: creating and rolling out learning opportunities that build staff knowledge and skills, creating an internal DEI team (with consultant support as helpful), and coordinating with other regional teams on approach.
  • Support the development of annual work plans and the sharing of information between regional teams and programs, and track team workloads and adjustments to staff assignments.
  • Develop a streamlined monitoring and evaluation system for the network, in collaboration with GAIA’s Regional Coordinators and cross-regional workgroup leads, and work with the ED to develop an annual summary of network-wide lessons learned and reporting data to be shared with partners, allies, members, and donors.
  • Provide support to the ED in organizing quarterly Board meetings, including one annual in person meeting. This includes developing meeting agendas and working with GAIA’s management team to create quarterly board reports on the financial health of the organization, as well as programmatic and team well-being reports.
  • Help represent GAIA’s team in Board meetings and phone calls, and work with our U.S. Board Secretary to maintain minutes and accurately record decisions.
  • Work with Board members to lead critical board committee projects — such as recruitment of new board members and policy reviews.




  • 10+ years of professional experience in non-profit human resources, operations, or management.
  • Familiarity with people management principles and a proven track record of innovating to improve beyond best practices.
  • Experience working with finance staff and/or accountants to manage a budget >$2,000,000 (or equivalent financial management experience), and excellent spreadsheet skills.
  • Excellent organizational, coaching, and leadership skills. Experience creating strong relationships with remote team members, and/or building a team culture in a virtual setting, and demonstrated ability to lead and support teams across gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and other identities.
  • Track record of identifying opportunities and taking action to build inclusion and equity into organizational strategy, culture, employee engagement, and professional development. Strong insight into dynamics around oppression and identity, power, and privilege in professional settings, including international inequities. 
  • Strong project manager, highly organized and detail oriented, capable of balancing and prioritizing concurrent projects and deadlines. Experience using technical and online systems for coordination.
  • Demonstrated experience creating and improving organizational structures, processes, and systems.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and self-awareness, commitment to growth and skill-building, comfort seeking out feedback to identify personal blind spots. 
  • Outstanding verbal and written skills in the following: communication, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and interpersonal relationships and dynamics.
  • Experience working with and supporting grassroots organizations and their members.
  • Flexibility and positive attitude, excitement about responsive network-centric work.
  • Deep mission alignment with GAIA.


Experience working or living outside of the U.S., and/or working with international teams.

  • Experience working in one or more of the movement sectors GAIA works in or is adjacent to, including: environmental and climate justice, worker rights and just transition, zero waste and circular economy, anti-racism and anti-imperialism, or gender and other social justice movements. 
  • Substantial experience in non-profit accounting, budgeting, and finance (finance director or similar).
  • Experience with major donor and/or foundation fundraising.

Experience implementing JEDI (justice, equity, diversity & inclusion) policies and programming.

  • Substantial experience working or volunteering for grassroots organizing or advocacy campaigns.

Other language skills (especially Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, or French).

  • Existing familiarity with GAIA and/or our members.
  • Lives in or near the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • Competitive salary, dependent on experience.
  • Preferred location in the San Francisco Bay Area, although we are willing to consider applicants with strong qualifications from anywhere in the United States.
  • Good benefits, including employer-covered health/dental insurance, paid family leave, and approximately 30 days of paid time off each year (including vacation, holidays, and the week between Christmas and New Years Day).
  • National and likely international travel will be required when safe considering pandemic restrictions (eventually 1-2 weeks per quarter). Some odd hours are required due to work with members and colleagues in other world regions.
  • We take pride in our ability to support one another’s work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, and look forward to introducing the successful candidate to our welcoming and highly motivated team and members.



Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three to five references to with the subject line “Managing Director – NAME”. No calls, please.

Qualified applicants will be screened and shortlisted immediately, so please consider applying ASAP.  The post will remain open until filled.

We are committed to equal employment opportunity principles and to provide all employees with a safe work environment free from discrimination and harassment. We welcome you regardless of your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, age, physical ability, nationality, or any other status unrelated to the performance of the job and protected by law. GAIA practices affirmative action, and candidates from historically disadvantaged or marginalized groups are strongly encouraged to apply.