Jan 22, 2024

Senior Associate (Climate Solutions)

$100,000 - $140,000 yearly
  • CEA Consulting
  • Hybrid (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Full-Time Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Professional Services Research and Development

Job Description

About the Organization

CEA Consulting is an environmental consultancy based in San Francisco, CA. For 40 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 30 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 a formal DEI Committee that oversees the ongoing implementation of the firms DEI priorities. For a more in-depth description of our approach to work, please see our Vision, Mission, and  Guiding Principles. For a more in-depth description of our services and examples of past work, please see our website.

CEA’s Work

CEA supports environmental foundations, family offices, nonprofits, sustainability-oriented businesses, government agencies, trade associations, 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. Most of our work relates to climate change, marine conservation, climate resilience and justice, sustainable agriculture, land use and conservation, transportation, and freshwater management. We also occasionally work on 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

·       Recruiting and Organization Design

About the Role

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

Our work environment is collaborative, intensive, and 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.

The Senior Associate role at CEA allows for significant flexibility in terms of leadership and project types. Depending on previous experience, interests, and client needs, Senior Associates can operate in many professional capacities. We are often in an advisory role, providing strategic guidance and support. At times, we work very closely with our clients, even serving functionally as Program Officers or Managers.

At CEA, the Senior Associate role is the most expansive. The current cohort includes a multitude of professional backgrounds and individual preferences. Senior Associates can be professionals with five-plus years of experience, ready to take on the full responsibility of running projects and client engagements, or seasoned professionals with advanced credentials (e.g., PhD, MBA) and 15+ years of relevant experience who prefer not to assume greater management or business development responsibilities associated with further promotions. The role can also accommodate experienced professionals who are largely ready to assume the responsibilities of a Director but are new to consulting and need a short time before promotion. Each of these colleague profiles have succeeded in the role of a Senior Associate at CEA.

Overall, we are open to candidates with a range of past professional experiences, including consulting, nonprofits, academia, finance/impact investing, engineering, government agencies, foundations, and think tanks.

About You

You are a self-starter and find joy and fulfillment from a job well done. You can manage teams, lead client engagements, and run 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 both in teams and independently. You seek and incorporate feedback as you grow your knowledge base and skills. You can 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.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

·       Lead climate-related projects including 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.

·       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 executing 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.

Hiring Organization

CEA Consulting


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

·       Deep content knowledge and professional interest in climate mitigation and adaptation solutions, including climate change science and policy, energy policy, energy transition, hard-to-decarbonize sectors, and/or climate justice.

·       A Bachelor’s degree and five plus years of work experience; an advanced degree (e.g., MBA, MS, Ph.D.) is a plus.

·       Experience with philanthropy and grantmaking, including creating strategies and theories of change, pipeline development, due diligence, structuring grant agreements, and writing grant memos.

·       Exceptional writing ability across different mediums and for different audiences.

·       Degrees and/or work experience that include training in research methods (quantitative and/or qualitative), leading small teams, and working on multiple assignments concurrently.

·       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.

·       Proficiency in qualitative research methods (e.g., interviews, expert consultation, case studies) and analytical tools (e.g., qualitative data analysis software)

·       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.

·       Advanced proficiency in Microsoft’s Office Suite, particularly Excel and PowerPoint. Proficiency in other analytical software (e.g., GIS, Tableau) is a plus.

·       Experience leading projects where there is a defined scope of work, a budget, and a client.

·       Prior consulting experience is preferred. Other content knowledge supporting CEA’s work such as ocean conservation, marine fisheries management, area-based protection, 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.

Industry/Service Area

Consulting/Advising, Environment


Mid-Senior level


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.

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. This position will require some travel.

Application Instructions

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

Apply Here: https://job.ceaconsulting.com/jobs/senior-associate-climate-solutions--san-francisco-ca-107193

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.

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