Title: Director, Fresh Water Sector

Managed by: SVP, Communications & External Affairs

Issue Date:  10/6/22                                   FLSA Status: Exempt

ABOUT ULUPONO INITIATIVE: Ulupono Initiative (UI) is a Hawai‘i-focused impact investment firm sponsored by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam. The organization strives to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawai‘i by working toward solutions that create more locally produced food, increase renewable energy and clean transportation to reduce our dependence on imported oil, and better manage our freshwater resources. UI believes that self-sufficiency and resilience are essential to our future prosperity and will help shape a future where economic progress and mission-focused impact can work hand in hand. Our approach is based on systems thinking. For each of our investment areas, we aim to understand the entire landscape and identify critical intervention points that, when altered, will improve the outlook for Hawai‘i’s future and residents’ quality of life.

UI’s model allows the organization to work toward its mission in various ways. We make investments in for-profit companies, provide grants to non-profit organizations, advocate on policy and regulatory issues, and we sometimes act as a catalyst or convener around critical issues related to food, energy, transportation, and fresh water. 

POSITION SUMMARY: The Director, Fresh Water Sector is responsible for developing strategy and leading the implementation of UI’s efforts focused on freshwater issues and their impact on the people of Hawai‘i, including potential impacts across our other sector areas (e.g., local food production). Though the focus will predominantly be on ensuring a sufficient and secure supply of fresh water for current and future generations, related topics such as stormwater and nearshore water quality may also be up for consideration.

Duties will include building local and national relationships with public and private stakeholders with a keen focus on Hawai‘i’s unique, island-based water sector; acting as the subject matter expert and advisor on all freshwater issues within UI, including our policy efforts, funding decisions, and overall strategic direction; assisting the investment team in evaluating and recommending fresh water-related investments, grants, and public-private partnerships; collaborating with State and County water, land-use,  and planning senior management; providing realistic inputs for financial models; and working with portfolio and partner organizations to help them succeed. Most grants are made through the donor-advised Ulupono Fund at the Hawai‘i Community Foundation while most investments are made as traditional private equity/venture capital investments.    


  • Lead freshwater strategy development and execute approved strategies
    • Understand the system dynamics and leverage points of Hawai‘i’s freshwater system
    • Assess and advise the Director of Government Affairs and management team on the range of policy and regulatory interventions, the “readiness” of such interventions in Hawai‘i and their likely impact, and the relative cost and time associated with attempting such interventions to aid in developing the highest probability/impact strategy
    • Inform and work with key stakeholders and policymakers
    • Support planning and policies at the County and State levels to reflect best practices for freshwater management both generally and for island-based water systems
    • Vet national/international companies and introduce/connect local stakeholders with companies and potential alternative options/solutions (technologies, pilot projects, etc.)
    • Understand the implications of industry and technology trends and climate change to our freshwater strategies
  • Lead and support fresh water-related policy and regulatory intervention
    • Build relationships of trust with County, State, and private stakeholders in the water sector
    • Develop expertise in County, State, and Federal clean water-related laws and regulations and understand how to work with policymakers to meet UI’s goals
    • Lead projects and initiatives as prioritized, including project management of both internal and external stakeholders
    • Assist in the development of policy strategies in the water sector with a heavy emphasis on a long-term safe and sufficient water supply
    • Act as a resource and support the public policy team and strategy team with insights and strategies for maximizing impact in the freshwater sector
    • Build/maintain awareness of government and private funding sources and relationships with co-investors that can support water sector priorities
    • Business development and networking with existing organizations within the water sector, including those that can help inform and advance our freshwater objectives
  • Support fresh water-related investments and investment strategies
    • Assist in the development of investment strategies in the water sector with a heavy emphasis on a long-term safe and sufficient water supply
    • Help evaluate funding opportunities and projects against fit with UI strategy and assess the likelihood of transformative impact vs. the cost (time and money) of attempting to achieve such impact
    • Provide support to and oversight of funded water sector organizations
    • Business development and networking with organizations and companies that might be interested in expanding or piloting projects in Hawai‘i, and/or attracting organizations to entertain a Hawai‘i expansion
  • Support UI team as needed
    • Support the team internally, often across functions to advance UI strategy and mission
    • Represent UI in a manner that is consistent with our mission and values


  • Deep experience and familiarity with State and County water policy, regulation, and related land-use issues; strong preference for additional knowledge of Federal freshwater policy and regulation, and/or water treatment, storage, conveyance, and modeling technologies and techniques.
  • Strong analytic skills to support strategy, decisions, and implementation with data, metrics, projections, etc.
  • Strong strategy skills: worked at a strategy consulting firm and/or held a role where strategy development was important within an organization (including government)
  • Demonstrated track record of successful relationship building, with relevant experience in partnership/alliance development—able to work with lawmakers, regulators, and stakeholders with different interests and political views
  • Collaborative team player; needs to be comfortable being evaluated on both firmwide success and individual performance


  • 5–10 years or more work experience in the freshwater sector
  • Graduate degree in relevant discipline
  • Knowledge of and experience working with water policymakers and regulators in Hawai‘i and/or its counties
  • Existing network and relationships in Hawai‘i, particularly within the water sector including planning, development, and/or government
  • Prior demonstrated interest in creating positive social impact is highly desirable, with a proven interest in creating a positive impact in Hawai‘i
  • Strong alignment with Ulupono’s mission and values

How to Apply: Please submit cover letter and resume to communications@ulupono.com by Nov. 4, 2022.