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Country Director, Brazil

This is a high-impact opportunity to accelerate sustainable development in Brazil and beyond. WRI is looking for a visionary leader with conceptual clarity and strategic thinking to take WRI Brazil to the next level, scaling its impact in a make or break decade for the sustainable development movement. The new Country Director will be a dynamic and articulate mission-driven leader who brings both global perspective and strong knowledge of the Brazilian context. The ideal candidate must have demonstrated capability building and leading purpose-driven alliances with governments, business, and civil society to drive impact at scale. They will have superb interpersonal/people skills and a strong track-record of building and cultivating high-performing teams. And they must have the disposition to thrive in WRI’s collaborative, multi-scale, multi-disciplinary global matrix. They will be motivated by the positive change they can create in the world.

Given WRI Brazil’s ambitious growth and impact aspirations, proven fundraising experience at the seven-figure level will be critical to the success of the position. It is expected that the new Country Director will establish positive relationships with government institutions at national and sub national levels, private sector business leaders, multilateral/bilateral institutions, and civil society. Internally, the new Country Director will need to promote a collaborative, inclusive leadership approach to maximize the impact of WRI Brazil and global programs. As a member of the global management team, the Country Director will lead and support cross-programmatic initiatives to ensure cohesion and synergies between global programs and WRI Brazil’s activities.

In summary, the new Country Director will lead WRI Brazil and take it to the next phase of its evolution - scaling its impact in urgent times. Other personal characteristics essential to this position is an unblemished ethical track record, strong entrepreneurial spirit and science-based customs.

With the objective of building a diverse and complementary team, WRI and Spencer Stuart will prioritize diverse candidates for this position (gender and ethnicity).



  • Develop and maintain an ambitious country vision and strategy that is coherent with the global office and contributes to the institutional mission and goals
  • Lead a cohesive and high performing team in Brazil to foster a culture of excellence in all aspects of work and inculcate WRI’s values into all activities
  • Be an essential member of WRI’s Global Management team
  • Lead WRI Brazil’s 60+ staff located in 2 offices in Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre


  • Develop a deep understanding of the national and state level political context to develop strategies for working effectively with government, academia, the private sector, and civil society to advance sustainability
  • Represent WRI Brazil to national and local government, donors, media, NGOs, civil society, corporate leaders, academia, alliances and coalitions and other relevant partners
  • Cultivate, maintain, and grow a strong relationship with the WRI Brazil Board and its fiscal committee
  • Develop WRI Brazil’s brand by building on WRI’s global brand working closely with the global and Brazil based communication teams
  • Represent and provide visibility for WRI Brazil in the target domains by organizing / participating in high profile events and other spaces
  • Build strong partnerships with organizations and alliances/coalitions that operate in similar agendas and spaces

Program Development and Management

  • Lead WRI Brazil’s strategic planning and work with program directors and program leads to shape programs
  • Identify potential new lines of work aligned with WRI Global and WRI Brazil’s institutional goals and strategy that would lead to targeted, transformative change
  • Set effective operational controls to maintain financial transparency and integrity, and hold the program teams accountable to the committed projects and outcomes
  • Explore and encourage cross programmatic initiatives to ensure effective coordination between global programs and Brazil’s project activities, among different programs within WRI Brazil, and to build streams of work around South-South and North-South collaborations

Fundraising and Communications

  • Provide strategic leadership for the long-term financial stability of WRI Brazil by leading efforts to develop and secure large scale, long-term funding in coordination with WRI Development staff and various Programs/Country offices
  • Lead donor stewardship and identify and cultivate new donors from among business, foundations, and individual sources
  • Strengthen WRI Brazil’s visibility in the target domains by organizing/participating in high profile events and developing WRI Brazil’s brand that builds upon WRI’s global brand
  • Responsible for fiscal management, which includes operating within the approved budget, ensuring maximum resource utilization, and maintaining a positive financial position


  • ~15 years of professional experience, with at least 7 years of senior leadership roles (with large teams)
  • Successful track record as a team leader
  • Complex project management experience (strategic planning, research, and operations)
  • Proven track record in building and maintaining very strong and successful relationships with high-level stakeholders (such as international organizations, government, academic, business sector and NGOs)
  • Depth of knowledge and experience working with environment, sustainable development, and poverty alleviation related issues in Brazil
  • Significant international and/or multi-cultural experience


Collaborating and Influencing

  • Negotiates with a genuine give-and-take approach, where both act as true peers and decisions are shared.
  • Spends time identifying all stakeholders necessary and meets or connects with all of them, neglecting no one to shape a collective consensus.
  • Identifies opportunities to build relationships that will help others achieve their objectives and reaches out to those people or new people.

Leading People

  • Collaborates and openly debates with the team to manage projects, solve problems, discuss challenging issues, or learn more about critical issues as a group.
  • Delegates roles thoughtfully to free self to work at a more strategic level.
  • Collaborates with each employee to establish clear, challenging performance goals and metrics for the year.
  • Designs a performance management process to monitor projects and deliver results that exceed expectations.
  • Periodically reviews team progress against plans, focuses attention beyond the project to the full year or more.

Driving Results

  • Works to achieve goals while overcoming obstacles and/or planning for contingencies.
  • Shows strong feelings (e.g. urgency) about reaching targets.
  • Checks work of self and others against required quality standards.
  • Reviews performance and progress on a regular basis to ensure team is achieving results.
  • Tests to see if goals are sufficiently challenging and implements corrective action based on deviations.


  • Passion for working with environment, sustainable development and poverty alleviation
  • Prior experience or willingness to engage in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion matters
  • Passion for people and openness to new ideas
  • Excellent writing, speaking, editing, and presentation skills
  • Superb cross-cultural interpersonal skills with strong listening skills, and an ability to relate well to people at all levels
  • Stamina for the task at hand, including the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and under deadline pressure
  • Social skills, personal grace in dealing with a broad spectrum of personalities and good humor in leading the day-to-day work of the department
  • Availability to travel frequently domestically and internationally
  • Fluent in Portuguese and English
  • This position will be based in Sao Paulo


Contact Heloisa Carvalho, from Spencer Stuart (HCarvalho@SpencerStuart.com).


WRI Brazil is an integral part of the World Resources Institute (WRI), a global organization with operations in more than 50 countries. WRI counts on the knowledge of approximately 1300 experts and professionals in offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, Mexico, India, Indonesia and the United States. WRI enjoys a reputation as a trusted source of actionable information in Brazil’s scientific and sustainable development community.

WRI Brazil is a mission-driven research organization that advances sustainable development by turning big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. In working to achieve impact at scale, we apply a threefold approach that is WRI’s hallmark:

Count It: We start with data, creating user-friendly information systems, protocols and standards. We conduct independent, unbiased research to analyze relationships and design solutions, and communicate our findings in a compelling manner.

Change It: We work with leaders of cities, companies and countries to achieve change, testing our ideas in complex, messy, real-world situations. We set clear objectives and hold ourselves accountable.

Scale It: We identify and overcome barriers to change so that proven solutions spread quickly and widely. We work with coalitions of remarkable leaders who transform business sectors, societies and economies, nationally and globally.

The work in Brazil is focused on 3 areas: Cities, Forest and Climate.

  • Brazilian cities offer excellent opportunities to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable future by promoting a more inclusive and equal urban environment, lower in carbon and resilient to climate change. WRI Brazil operates with a multidisciplinary outlook for achieving a transformation of the urban space that promotes more active and safer mobility, increasing access to opportunities for all through better land-use planning and better public transport, and to reduce the vulnerability of low-income populations to climate change by prioritizing nature-based solutions.
  • Our Climate program, inspired by the New Climate Economy (NCE) initiative, is focused in the New Economy for Brazil (NEB) project and seeks to identify a new green growth path to stimulate the economy and sustainable development, making businesses more efficient and competitive, reducing impacts on the environment, and attracting more international investments to Brazil.
  • Our Forests program works on accelerating nature-based solutions, with a focus on restoring the landscape and forests to make degraded land productive again, generating employment and income in rural areas. We create tools to coordinate and engage the players so that the restoration is scaled up in the country.

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