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30 Aug 2021

Full-Time Director, Thin Green Line

Sightline Institute – Posted by karenrea Anywhere

Sightline Institute

Job Description

About Sightline Institute:

Founded in 1993, Sightline Institute is committed to making Cascadia, a region stretching from Alaska to northern California, a global model of sustainability—with strong communities, a green economy, and a healthy environment. We are the largest progressive think tank in our region, and we promote smart policy and monitor the region’s progress.

Sightline provides research reports and commentary; maps, graphics and tools; framing and messaging guidance; and Sightline Daily—news and views for the Northwest. We advise, inform, and advocate to public officials, change makers, and the media, and we collaborate with diverse allies in pursuit of our mission. Learn more at

The Opportunity for Impact:

The Thin Green Line program is one of Sightline’s highest-profile, hardest-hitting, and longest-running programs. Its principal focus is fossil fuels, especially obstructing and dismantling the physical infrastructure that enables dirty energy. Secondarily, the program attends to climate change, clean energy, economic transition, or related topics. The program is designed to push the boundaries of what is possible and it is not primarily concerned with echoing the perspectives of other movements. The program centers on two connected goals:

  • Preventing the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. For more than a decade, Sightline has played a key role in helping the Northwest stand as a bulwark against a slew of ill-conceived fossil fuel expansion projects all across Cascadia. Although the majority of these projects have been defeated, the Thin Green Line program is devoted to halting those few that remain while preventing any new expansion proposals from gaining a toehold.
  • Dismantling existing fossil fuel infrastructure. As the regional movement against fossil fuels looks back on a decade of gratifying success, Sightline’s Thin Green Line program is targeting the region’s legacy dirty energy infrastructure. This work includes many things, such as developing a fair transition for coal- and oil-dependent communities in the West to decarbonizing cities by eliminating natural gas systems to decommissioning the oil refineries on Puget Sound.

The program, like all of Sightline’s work, encompasses all of Cascadia—from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast and from southern Alaska to northern California—but when it is done well the program has an impact on the rest of North America and the world.

Our theory of change involves building respectful relationships with a wide array of interests around the Northwest, including those who do not share many of our viewpoints. It also involves working closely with our allies, listening to them and strategizing with them. When our missions are aligned we often spend substantial resources providing allies with research, facts, arguments, and communications tools that strengthen their work. The Thin Green Line program’s success derives in part from its close association with a broad regional movement of fossil fuel-fighters, yet we are intentionally independent of campaigns and coalitions. We believe that our greatest strength is our credibility, so we prize factual accuracy and truth-telling.

About the Director position:

The Director will lead our Thin Green Line program as its principal strategist, researcher, writer, communicator, manager, and advocate. This person will supervise two or more fulltime staff members, one or more Sightline fellows, and several contractors, acting as a mentor and coach for all aspects of their work.  In coordination with the team, this individual will make the case for specific, targeted reforms in public policies at the state and local level. They will develop and implement strategies for using information and communications to help win passage of those reforms, often in coordination with allies, typically by identifying and delivering arguments tailored to key audiences. To that end, the Director will have a mastery of regional energy issues, including physical infrastructure, economics, and climate policy. They will research and write articles for and other publications, develop infographics, make speeches and give presentations, propose and advocate for policy reforms, and sometimes lobby public officials. They will cultivate relationships with scores of interests, including tribes, activists, advocacy groups, funders, labor unions, thought leaders, energy experts, editors, reporters, and policymakers across Cascadia. The Director will report to the Director of Climate and Democracy.

The Director will benefit from being part of a high-functioning team of other researchers, communicators, and advocates. Sightline’s leaders are supported by a professional and full-service communications team and are mentored by seasoned program supervisors.

The Ideal Candidate:

The successful candidate will have a passion for transforming Cascadia’s energy economy and professional experience that translates to the Director role. We are specifically interested in candidates who have:

  • A track record of sparking media attention and influencing policy progress through analysis, writing, public presentations, and advocacy
  • At least ten years of relevant professional experience using ideas and information to advance the public good—preferably in the field of this position but at least in similar or related ones. We care more about your skills than your subject-matter expertise
  • Exceptional research, analysis, and data synthesis skills
  • Evidence of a pragmatic, solutions-oriented approach that incorporates equity and inclusion and input from multiple diverse allies
  • The ability to question orthodoxies and bring fresh perspectives to seemingly intractable problems
  • The ability to be self-directed, motivated, and to work independently
  • The ability to supervise, inspire, and mentor a team
  • Demonstrated experience building relationships and collaborating with diverse allies on large, catalytic efforts
  • Excellent public speaking and community engagement skills
  • Commitment to Sightline’s mission and core values, as articulated


We most likely will hire a candidate who is at the “director” level of skill and experience, as just described. We are, however, flexible and will consider candidates who are less experienced and skilled, at Sightline’s “senior researcher” level. Duties, expectations, and compensation would ramp down, commensurately. We look for the overall promise of the candidate to contribute to our mission over the long term. Therefore, if you are somewhat underqualified for the position as described but still feel you could be a good fit for Sightline and the role, please apply.

Compensation and Benefits:

The salary range for this director position is $90,000 to $105,000 (plus 10 percent retirement, as noted below). Candidates at the senior researcher level would be eligible for a salary band below this range.

We offer a robust package of benefits including a 401(k) plan with employer contribution of 10 percent of salary (added to, not subtracted from, pay); full medical and dental insurance for self and partial coverage for dependents; four weeks of paid vacation, nine paid holidays, and two weeks of paid sick leave per year, and a three-month paid sabbatical leave every seven years. Sightline’s staff members work hard but enjoy balanced lives and a collegial organizational culture.


This position can be located in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, or British Columbia (as a full-time consultant). Candidates willing to relocate from elsewhere are welcome to apply.

Sightline is transitioning to a virtual-first organization. We have an office in Seattle, and staff members are spread across the region, in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, plus contractors and fellows in British Columbia and Idaho. Seattle-area team members work in the office some of the time, and all team members make periodic visits to Seattle, though most interaction can happen virtually.

How to Apply

  • To Apply: Please send a resume and cover letter detailing your interest in the role and how your skills translate to the position and at least one published writing sample (of which you are sole author and that is similar to Sightline’s published works in its style and form of argument) to (For models of comparable work, you might review articles published by Sightline’s staff: here and here.)  Other supporting materials are also welcome, such as other publications and videos of speeches or media appearances. We prefer all application materials be assembled in a single PDF and labeled with the applicant’s name. Please also tell us in your email where you found this position; this information helps us streamline our recruiting processes.  
  • The application deadline is September 24, 2021, and applications received by that date will be given priority, but we will accept applications until the position is filled. Zoom interviews will take place in October, 2021. We will likely invite finalists to complete a work assignment that is designed to test their skills in the specific functions required for the position. We anticipate extending an offer by November 1, 2021.  
  • Sightline Institute is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws. 

Job Categories: Clean Energy. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 80,000 - 100,000.

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