Chief of Science and Project Development (Remote Job)

  • Spades, SBC
  • Remote (Minneapolis, MN, USA)
  • 11 Jul, 2020
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Job Description

About Spades

Spades’ mission is to cultivate sustainable climate change mitigation by gently engaging human, environmental, and economic structures to repeatedly grow billions of trees. This means an acceleration of 100x over the current pace of tree growing globally. Spades is a for-profit benefit purpose company (B corporation).

Achieving this lofty mission requires developing standards and technologies that will enable scaling of the growing of trees, and of their survival. This includes developing and applying some proprietary Spades technology, and integrating other expertise, to be applied by Spades and coalition partners to increase and verify project success.

As a start-up with an innovative business model and plans for fast growth, we need leaders who excel at making progress in ambiguity and constructive collaboration, and who are willing to do whatever needs to be done, and to grow as the organization grows.

The compensation package includes significant ownership in the corporation.


Job Summary

The role is responsible for defining and implementing the standards and technologies needed to optimize the success of tree growing projects across a wide range of ecosystems globally, leveraging Spades developed standards and species selection science, as well as other scientific expertise needed in forestry, ecology, climate, agroforestry, hydrology, sustainability, and related fields.

The role also includes the planning and monitoring of strategic projects, identifying those that will have the most impact globally, and convening the range of stakeholders needed to ensure accomplishing environmental, economic, and human objectives.

This role will also lead the development of Spades’ thought leadership for the industry, related to connections between trees and climate change.

 Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Thought leadership

  • Lead the development of Spades’ point of view on how to increase success and decrease failure in tree growing across ecosystems and climates, and the impact of trees on climate.
  • Share Spades points of view, including leveraging others, through presentations, article writing, media interviews, etc.

Lead Spades applied scientific expertise

  • Develop and update standards and monitoring, reporting, and verification to be applied in tree growing projects including the human, environmental, and economic dimensions, whether led by Spades or by coalition partners.
  • Develop and protect Spades Intellectual Property and Trade secrets.
  • Develop and nurture external technical advisors and mutually beneficial research partnerships.
  • Understand and leverage the expertise brought by members of the tree growing coalition.

Lead the planning and monitoring of strategic projects

  • Identify strategic projects to be led by Spades, based on trends in forestry, climate science, and funding priorities, with a global perspective.
  • Convene and collaborate with stakeholders of large projects, including governments, communities, funders, volunteers, other tree growing organizations, scientists, and other experts needed to create and implement projects that are successful environmentally, financially, and socially.
  • Plan Spades strategic projects, integrating cross-functionally scientific knowledge, community objectives, financial resources, and future monitoring, to ensure feasibility, benefit to the ecosystem, and economic benefit.
  • Contract with relevant partners (grower coalition, technical advisors, others) for specific projects and needs.

Executive leadership

  • Actively participate as a member of the Spades senior leadership team.
  • Develop the strategy and budget for the Science and Project Development function.
  • Work closely with other functions within Spades to integrate financial and people aspects with the environmental factors, and to ensure effective messaging with key stakeholders.
  • Lead senior leaders and scientists within Spades team and external advisors and consultants.
  • Participate in short- and long-term strategic and operational planning for the organization.

Education, Experience, Fit, and Key Competencies

Education: An advanced degree in a scientific field, such as forestry, ecology, climate science, biology, engineering or related field, along with business, is preferred.

Experience: At least 10 years of experience convening and leading stakeholders to structure projects that balance scientific validity and feasibility, and finance and execute them. Thought leadership demonstrated through relevant publications and conference presentations is preferred. Track record of helping others to grow their capabilities and leadership skills.

Location:  Open, slight preference to US based, but must have excellent technology access and be able to work effectively virtually.

Fit:  It is important that the Chief of Science and Project Development understand the mission, vision and values of the organization, and be 100% committed to them, as this person will represent Spades in the scientific community.  The commitment must be consistently demonstrated internally and to the external public, through meetings, presentations, correspondence, negotiations, reports and in all other instances. 

Key Competencies

  • The ability to bridge from science to practice in thinking, communication, and action
  • The ability to bring one’s own expertise and also vet integrate others’ expertise, even when this is a new area
  • The ability to foster collaboration with external parties and also to protect what is proprietary
  • Understanding of ecological and cultural differences across different regions of the globe
  • High professional credibility, internally and externally
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • Curiosity and willingness to learn about the areas of Spades that may be new
  • Agility to achieve results in an ambiguous environment
  • Fluent in English

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