Position: Throw-Away-Free Partnership Director

Location: New York or Boston Preferred

UPSTREAM is sparking a revolution across America to make throw-away behavior as weird as smoking indoors. In 2019, we are launching new programs aimed at reducing throw-away plastics and packaging in iconic venues across America. We will be partnering with place-based sectors and venues such as stadiums, zoos, and aquariums to create model Throw-Away-Free Places. We will be working with cities and business leaders to create Throw-Away-Free Communities with policy and innovative community reuse systems for to-go cups and containers. And we are working with media influencers and social marketing technology to support Throw-Away-Free Living and culture change. By the time we’re through, throw-away will be so yesterday and reuse will be the norm.

To get there, we need to bring sales and business partnership chops into our distributed team. We’re calling that person the Throw-Away-Free Partnership Director. Maybe that special person is you, maybe it’s someone else you know. Read on to find out more about this pivotal role in building the better way than throw-away.

What does a Throw-Away-Free Partnership Director Do?

We are building this program from scratch, so it will evolve undoubtedly as we go, but here are the highlights.


● Cultivating and maintaining partnerships with large event vendors and other institutional partners, entrepreneurs, investors, donors, and influencers is the crux of this job.

● Develop marketing and sales materials and proposals as needed to support the work.

● Oversee the implementation of reuse programs at partnering venues.

● Report to Executive Director with some managerial responsibilities of support staff. Work closely with our Throw-Away-Free Program Director and Associate to design and deliver services that address client needs and challenges.

● Co-lead the launch of a series of innovation labs or related gatherings of entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate the development of reuse systems in targeted metro-areas and eventually around the country.

● Support UPSTREAM’s public engagement via public speaking, writing, and interviews, as needed.

● Participate in UPSTREAM staff calls, team retreats, and virtual communication channels to ensure our team remains connected while distributed.

● Participate in fundraising activities as needed, such as major donor events and grant writing or reporting.

What kinds of things help you do this job well?

This is a new position for our organization and candidates will help refine the job function and sales and marketing strategy in particular. Core qualifications include:

● Desire to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world, combined with a strong, solutions oriented approach to changing throw-away culture and solving plastic pollution.

● Stellar communication skills and the ability to sell our vision of a better world. Specifically we are looking for multiple years of sales and lead management experience, skills in executive-level pitch creation and delivery, and an ability to understand and meet partner needs with our services.

● Experience in and understanding of the culture, core concerns, and language used in one or more of the following additional areas: client relations, business partnership development, entrepreneurship, venture capital, marketing and/or corporate communications.

● Significant experience and a successful track record working effectively across difference, including leading and working on teams that are diverse by race, gender, and age.

● A commitment to giving and receiving skillful, candid feedback, especially across difference, and to ongoing learning and professional development for yourself and the team as a whole.

● Strategic and creative vision combined with the ability to develop innovative solutions to problems that have no playbook. With this comes a need for humility and an experimental mindset--willingness to roll up your sleeves and do what needs to get done, and to reflect and refine work plans as needed.


● Accountability and self-management. As part of a small virtual team, a qualified candidate should be able to develop and execute programs and work plans with minimal supervision. Self-accountability, communication of priorities, needs, and new developments to team-members, and tracking task and decision details appropriately are core expectations of our team members.

● Comfort working with online platforms and virtual offices. We use technology to create a virtual office including Google Drive, Asana, Zoom, Voxer, and willingness to use these systems is crucial for this role.

Additional Qualifications:

● Experience in event management, waste management, procurement, food service or related business logistics experience is a plus. Note: We assume that whoever joins us can learn the technical content as part of onboarding--you do not need a background in non-profit work or environmental advocacy.

● Being based in and/or well connected in New York City and/or Boston is a big plus, as we aim to cultivate new partnerships and meet with clients in those cities. We also have partnerships and team members in California, and half of our team is in Maine. Regular travel for meetings, staff retreats, and other convenings is part of the job.


A Note on UPSTREAM Culture & Values

UPSTREAM sparks innovative solutions to plastic pollution and brings people together to transform our throw-away society to a culture of stewardship. We see plastic pollution as an equity and justice issue as well as an environmental one, because throw-away culture and the toxic impacts of plastic production, packaging, and waste disproportionately impact low-income communities, communities of color, the global south, and other marginalized constituencies.

We strive continuously to build a more just, inclusive culture within our organization, through our hiring processes, via our work in the world, and as founding members of the global #breakfreefromplastic movement. In addition to our focus on building a better way than throw-away in the US, amplifying the leadership of those most impacted by pollution is a core part of our work. We are committed to creating a staff team that represents the global constituency we serve, because we recognize a rich mix of perspectives and backgrounds improves the quality and integrity of our work and is an important expression of our values.

Though we know that the environmental and justice realities of our world can seem grim, at UPSTREAM we believe in the power of inspirational invitation over doom, gloom, and guilt. Within the larger movement ecosystem, we are visionaries, alchemists, and story-tellers helping to catalyze and amplify solutions of the better world already being built. We aim to foster a culture of creative action where a rich mix of talented people want to come, stay, connect as both colleagues and humans, and co-create a more beautiful, just world every day.


UPSTREAM operates as a virtual team. We have small clusters of team members scattered across the U.S., with no central office and minimal hierarchy on staff. We work from home and co-working spaces and cafes, and keep each other accountable and communicate often via online tools and video conferencing. We also gather frequently to work, connect, and play in beautiful places. We place a high value on work-life balance and on honoring the privilege of getting paid to do this good work every day. Our work culture balances trust and independence with an equal measure of collaboration and emphasis on supporting each other to do our best work.

If all this appeals, you’ll enjoy working with our passionate distributed team.


Contractors as well as part-time and full-time staff positions will all be considered for the right candidate. We are looking for talented leaders interested in committing to this program for multiple years, and will work with top candidates on developing an appropriate salary/benefits, or contracting arrangement. Anticipated salary range: $75,000 - $90,000 commensurate with experience.  

To Apply: Email a thoughtful cover letter and resume to by March 4th, 2019.