Earthwatch Reviews

Updated February 7, 2015
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3.0
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Larry Mason
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Earthwatch

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, excellent collaboration. Opportunities to be creative.

    Cons

    Financial difficulties and reorganization have created challenges, but upper management is in the process of repairing the damage done by prior managers who had drifted from the mission.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on two to three big ideas and on delivery of the original research program.

  2. Exciting place to work: great mission, great people

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Earthwatch

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to stretch yourself and grow as a professional. Awesome colleagues who inspire and encourage you on a daily basis. All dedicated to a critical mission perhaps never more relevant than it is today. This is an exciting time to be at Earthwatch --

    Cons

    We are a relatively small staff running an impressive global operation -- so it usually feels like there isn't enough time in the day. To me this isn't a con but a challenge but some may consider it a con so I mention it here.

    Advice to Management

    Our execs have rid the organization of the layers of bureaucracy that used to exist and created a refreshing, "can do" culture that is empowering. They continue to seek feedback from the staff, they listen hard, and are constantly looking for ways to move the organization forward.

  3. Long Standing Employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Earthwatch full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great staff, positive work environment, leadership that cares about you as an individual, collaboration and teamwork allows staff to get involved in areas outside of their normal job.

    Cons

    Limited resources, which impacts areas like compensation, professional development and career advancement. The organization strides to improve in these areas and is showing great progress.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused, discipline in decision making and perserverance can carry you forward.

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  5. Focus the mission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    It's an amazing experience for the volunteers and fellows who participate in the mission, who come away energized and educated. The company hires talented, energetic and idealistic employees.

    Cons

    The business execution of the mission is ever changing and un focused. Individual departments are at cross purposes and the different country offices cannot agree on what the fundraising and mission focus should be. This creates a lot of inertia and dissatisfaction. Revenue goals are rarely hit and the senior management and board lay the blame at the feet of the workers never themselves.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to hire smart talent and be honest with goal setting and revenue expectations. Stop balancing budget deficits by arbitrarily increasing prices and /or customer growth numbers. Identify talent and promote them before they are about to leave.

  6. Good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at Earthwatch

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I like my colleagues, they are hard working and dedicated. Although we've had a lot of change over the summer, it feels like we are moving in a good direction. I now feel like I can contribute to and influence decisions. My opinions are actively sought out. We are strengthening our focus on science in our communication, have become less hierarchical, and have more growth opportunities.

    Cons

    We lost a lot of knowledge and work/life balance has been a challenge after recently letting staff go, but I don't expect this to last forever.

    Advice to Management

    We need better record keeping practices so we don't lose so much historic information with staff turn over.

  7. Helpful (1)

    Wonderful organization, difficult time to work there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Boston, MA

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    First of all, I was thrilled to work at Earthwatch, and while it was challenging, I had a really supportive supervisor that allowed me to travel and explore. I am really glad that I was there before I was tethered to anything besides my boyfriend and able to take advantage of all the opportunities. This may be a difficult place to work if you are older, since there isn't a ton of work/life balance, but it was such a honor to work there in my twenties when I could take advantage of wonderful travel and first class risk management training. The executive team do realize that turnover is high and hurting Earthwatch and I was offered an improved title and more responsibility to stay, which even though I decided to not accept, was such a pleasant surprise!

    Cons

    Ultimately, I left because Earthwatch is an organization in trouble. Financially, Earthwatch is borrowing from its line of credit to make payroll and putting pressure on its biggest donors to give earlier to fill the gaps. Mission is out out the door as the CEO and COO are choosing to accept funding from corporations that are not willing to even do research, which is core to the mission of the organization. Staff are not communicated with and if you complain about it, then you are disloyal to the organization, leading many of us to smile and look for another job. The executive team do realize that turnover is high and hurting Earthwatch and I was offered an improved title and more responsibility to stay. But,while I seriously considered it, many of the people recently promoted are floundering since they might not have been ready to be promoted professionally, their positions were not backfilled, and if they say anything about workload, they are considered to be complaining and not taken seriously as a team player.

  8. Dig for Dinosaurs, Don't Work For Them

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The Earthwatch mission is novel, and their expeditions are truly life-changing by volunteers who join them in support of ocean health, wildlife and ecosystems, and climate change.

    Cons

    The Board and Executive team is unclear of direction. Strategies are changed daily. In the last few months, the Director of Programs, Director of Marketing, and Director of Development were all laid off, while the Director of HR was reduced to part-time. Even the recently hired Chief Scientist only works one day a week. The COO is also a retiree, and a former leader at Earthwatch's largest funder, creating somewhat of a conflict of interest, as it could be argued the hire was made merely to retain the organization’s largest funder.

    Earthwatch is rumored to be eliminating their offering of expeditions to the public, and have even discussed closing the current Boston office entirely to move to a new less expensive region.

    What remains of Earthwatch personnel is talented, but heavily mid-level to junior-level underpaid staff that stays with the organization solely due to their passion for the mission. in summer months, the interns outnumber paid staff, because they work for free. All acquisition activity was halted more than six months ago, due to lack of funding, and the marketing team has been reduced from more than a dozen employees to one, so departments are no longer supported with strategic marketing.

    Earthwatch scientists are proclaimed as world-class, and its expeditions indeed do change perspectives of its volunteers. However, deep into 2014, while there are many fascinating volunteer stories, the organization has struggled to identify more than a handful of publishable outcomes of substance from it's portfolio of more than 50 expeditions.

    Moreover, one could estimate that the entire loss of revenue at Earthwatch could be offset if not for the conference Earthwatch is planning for it's scientists over the winter, that the Board is mandating. There is near zero revenue expectation from the event. Some of the other Earthwatch offices are in such disagreement with the conference, it has been grumbled that they are not participating with attendance at all.

    If you are a volunteer looking for a world-class experience, you can probably get it from Earthwatch. However, there are other less expensive options that have more publishable outcomes that you may wish to consider investing in. As a corporate partner, I would recommend researching the organization quite closely before making an investment. The project leads are wise, but their bosses could hinder a successful program.

    There is no need to get into the organization's financials, as the annual report is of public record, though the most recent data has not been posted for several years. Investors can make their own conclusions on financial health based on these documents.

    Advice to Management

    Board: Rethink senior leadership. The current CEO is unable to give Earthwatch his full attention, as public record shows that he simultaneously owns and operates multiple senior living franchises. Plus, since he has limited non-profit background, many question his ability to think strategically, or with firm direction. Plus, it has been rumored that female staff can be made uncomfortable by some executive staff, not made simpler by an almost entirely male executive team. There are almost no directors within the organization, so the mid- and junior-level employees feel misguided, unsupervised, and unmentored. (Note: Within the last week, much of this mid-level staff was promoted to director level titles, once again, eliminating all middle management).

    Executives: When the directors of nearly every revenue-generating business unit are terminated, individuals must wonder if the people are the problem, or if the strategic leadership is the problem. Hire smart people to lead, and then trust those people to lead. Science should be cutting edge, new, and exciting. Not much of this remains at Earthwatch, and it’s unfortunate. Make a change, or risk extinction.

  9. Confusion reigns

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great coworkers, and getting the chance to work with research scientists around the world was exciting and interesting.

    Cons

    The organization has existed for more than 40 years, but somehow can't figure out its mission. Instead of trying an approach for enough time to see if it actually works, leadership changes its mind on which direction to take the organization with each big project. The CEO and other leaders do things that appear insane to appease the board (e.g., planning a conference with less than a year to go, when no one on staff has event planning experience and the org does not have funding for a conference), which makes it hard, as a staff member, to feel confident in the organization. It often feels impossible to do a good job due to the lack of resources and coherent direction.

    Advice to Management

    Pick a strategy and go with it. And if you don't actually care about the fate of the organization, resign.

  10. Helpful (1)

    Worst Leadership Team Ever - I'd Turn Back If I Were You

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Earthwatch full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The staff are committed. If this is your first job out of college, and you can afford to live on beans, you will find plenty of peers.

    Cons

    The CEO is a nightmare with zero non-profit experience, zero fundraising experience and a leadership style straight out of the 1950's - lots of big talk, no action, all white male, top-down, yatta, yatta... His strategy changes every 5 minutes to cover up the fact that he has no idea what he's doing. The rest of the "leadership team" aren't much better.

    Huge turn-over, most of the people with experience have left (or gotten fired), and very little overall appreciation of staff.

    Advice to Management

    Really, there's no other advice but to ask them to resign so that people who know how to manage and lead can come in and take their place.

  11. Helpful (1)

    Company slipping.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Earthwatch full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Once a strong mission, the organization puts together expeditions for volunteers that are life changing.

    Cons

    Earthwatch no longer has a mission that is understood by staff, as the CEO changes direction all the time. Due to hemorrhaging of revenue, most director-level staff was terminated this summer, and the COO who was placed by HSBC, Earthwatch's leading funder is now in charge. As a result, attention has turned to corporate expeditions, and expeditions offered to the general public is no longer the focus.

    Because of revenue challenges, there is no longer permanent staff in Human Resources or Marketing, and the Chief Scientist works just one day a week from home. Morale is at an all-time low.

    Advice to Management

    The Board needs to remove the CEO and COO. Earthwatch was a great organization for 40+ years, and in 6 months, these two individuals with a combined zero years of non-profit experience have run it into the ground. It is sad.

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