Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Chief Policy Officer

Ducks Unlimited, Inc., is seeking to recruit a dynamic and motivated leader to serve as Chief Policy Officer.

About Ducks Unlimited: Vision and Values

Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited’ s (DU) mission statement is the following:

“To conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.”

DU is guided by strategic goals, which serve to anchor the conservation, policy, and revenue objectives of the organization. DU’s strategic goals serve as a “blueprint” for the organization’s work to protect, restore, and manage waterfowl habitats in DU’s landscape conservation priority areas. Since its founding DU has embraced a “singleness of purpose,” a goal-oriented devotion to its mission of conserving habitat for North America’s waterfowl. Rooted in the bold vision of DU’s founding fathers, this tradition has resulted in the conservation of more than 14 million acres of waterfowl habitat across the continent. Ducks Unlimited, whose vision and mission have been clear since 1937, is built on the passion of its volunteers, members, and staff who collectively demonstrate a powerful commitment to the vision of “wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.”

DU could achieve nothing without the passionate commitment of its members, volunteers, and many other supporters. With more than one million supporters and a staff of approximately 580, in FY2017 DU’s total revenues exceeded $225 million; total assets are approximately $274 million, and the combined endowments are $72 million. In FY2017, this support allowed the organization to deliver more than 245,000 acres of waterfowl habitat conservation in the United States alone. These accomplishments were achieved only through the dedication of DU’s volunteers. Each year, the organization’s conservation success stems from the passion, commitment and dedication of Ducks Unlimited supporters, volunteers, partners and professional staff. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, Ducks Unlimited has offices in Mississippi, California, North Dakota, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. As a continental conservation organization, DU partners with two highly aligned organizations – Duck Unlimited Canada and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico. The shared strategic assets of board, staff, and financial support create a powerful alignment to achieve mission delivery for waterfowl habitat, forest and watershed, and outdoor recreation.

In addition to a robust and dynamic national grassroots membership, Ducks Unlimited is also guided by the leadership of Wetlands America Trust (WAT). The goal of WAT is to provide specialized financial and philanthropic support to Ducks Unlimited. It's been that way since WAT was created more than 25 years ago. WAT is comprised of Fortune 50 business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and volunteer leaders from DU’s national Board, DU Canada’s Board and DU de Mexico. WAT’s principle role is the fiduciary responsibility for DU's endowment and land holdings. WAT is also one of the nation's largest accredited land trusts, holding conservation easements on more than 400,000 acres.

For more information on Ducks Unlimited, please visit their website:

About the Position: Chief Policy Officer

The Chief Policy Officer (CPO) serves as a member of DU’s Executive Leadership Team. Reporting to DU’s Chief Operating Officer, Nick Wiley, the CPO will work closely with DU’s CEO Adam Putnam, and the entire DU Leadership Team. The CPO will also serve as the primary liaison to DU’s Board Public Policy Committee. As such, the CPO will help steward DU’s comprehensive policy and legislative affairs program nationwide to support DU’s mission. On of DU’s greatest strengths are its grassroots members. The CPO will work to help motivate and mobilize DU’s grassroots members and foster a positive relationship with DU’s volunteer leadership. The CPO guides DU national policy staff team of 10-12 professionals and directs a budget of approximately $3.5 million. Ideally, the CPO will be based in Memphis, Tennessee at DU’s National Headquarters. However, thoughtful consideration will be given to the new CPO being based outside of Memphis.

The broad goals and responsibilities for the CPO are the following:


• To champion DU’s national policy efforts and to address opportunities to engage in natural infrastructure legislation, policies governing an array of agricultural, land and water related interests, mitigation funding for wetland and other conservation priorities, etc.

• To engage DU’s volunteer and grassroots leadership in deepening their understanding and support for a forward-looking national conservation policy agenda.

• To implement a comprehensive and evolving policy strategy to advance the goals of North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Land and Water Conservation Fund, FEMA Disaster Recovery, and other policy opportunities that will generate funding and support for DU’s mission.

• To collaborate with DU’s Board Public Policy Committee, WAT’s Government Affairs Committee to address current and emerging national policy issues and seek opportunities to mobilize DU’s major donors and grassroots in support of DU’s policy agenda.

• To support DU’s fundraising efforts with grassroots activities, major donor solicitation, philanthropic and corporate engagement.


• Serve as the lead liaison to Wetland America Trust’s (WAT) Government Affairs Committee in advancing WAT’s critical public policy initiatives and interests.

• Serve as DU’s senior lobbyist – supporting national and regional level outreach and engagement.

• To build strong working relationships and partnerships with Congressional leaders, Federal and State agency leaders, Fish and Wildlife agency leaders, nonprofit and philanthropic sector leadership and other aligned science-based conservation-oriented organizations.

• Work closely and collaboratively with DU’s corporate conservation partners to support mutually beneficial policy efforts and outcomes. 

• Develop and coordinate internal and external policies and directives to ensure organizational compliance with governmental laws and regulations.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes:

The CPO should ideally possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

• A passionate commitment to DU’s mission, waterfowl hunting and conservation lifestyle and possessing an authentic conservation ethic. 

• Substantial experience (10+ years) in conservation and public policy at the Federal and State level.

• A capacity to engage, motivate and mobilize DU’s major donors, corporate partners and grassroots base in support of critical state and national public policy priorities.

• An engaging personal presence, trustworthy and possessing the highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards.

• Demonstrated experience working on a bipartisan basis in shaping legislation and policy goals which build science-based solutions to complex and often competing political imperatives.

• Successful experience in developing and managing a complex budget and working with a board that has governing oversight for the business enterprise.

• A management style that is goal oriented, but flexible; that respects the capabilities and independence of volunteers and staff alike and provides them with a clear sense of direction.

• Strong work ethic and willingness to travel extensively, often for weekend and evening meetings.


Compensation for the Chief Policy Officer includes a competitive base salary, performance bonus and an excellent package of health and other employee benefits.


To Apply: 

How to apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at Refer to DU/CPO in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

All correspondence will remain confidential.

It is the policy of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. to afford equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age, or genetic information except where age or gender is a bona fide occupational qualification as allowed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.