Vice president of animal protein? Yes, that title will be on someone’s business card.

It’s probably a safe bet that there is only one job opening in town for a vice president of animal protein. This position, newly created at District-based World Wildlife Fund, blends science and strategy and calls for a broad and distinctive range of skills.

Elizabeth Coleman, WWF’s talent acquisition manager, talked with Capital Business about the job and the highly specialized skill set it calls for. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

This is a pretty unusual job title. What will this person be doing for the organization?

The main thing is coordinating and strategizing around our work on beef, dairy, aquaculture, poultry, pork. And then working with the private sector and the entire value chain of animal protein production to make sure that the work that is being done is sustainable, and that we’re not having major impacts on the planet. It’s primarily right now domestic, but there will be some international work. They will have to work cross-functionally with other departments within WWF U.S. as well as WWF international offices.

This is a new role. Why was it created?

This is a position to really coordinate the focus on animal protein. We have had staff here that focus on beef, dairy and aquaculture. This will be an opportunity to combine those efforts.

What kind of background would the ideal candidate bring to the table?

We’re looking for somebody who has good scientific background, perhaps someone who has been a farmer but also has worked in industry or the private sector. Somebody who is comfortable with public speaking is critical. And then the fundraising piece.

What characteristics would help make someone a good fit in terms of WWF’s workplace culture?

We’re a matrixed work environment. On everything from hiring to our day-to-day work, most of our decisions are based on multiple individuals entirely agreeing to the decision. So having somebody who comes from a background where they’ve been in a consensus-building environment really helps, versus, say, somebody who’s from more of a purely private sector background, where it’s much more hierarchical in the decision making.

How quickly are you hoping to fill the job?

Soon, but we definitely don’t rush our decision making. We really want to focus on getting the right person. It’s a unique skill set.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.



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