Conservation International "ci" Reviews | Glassdoor

Conservation International Employee Reviews about "ci"

Updated Oct 10, 2019

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3.8
70%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan, PhD
M. Sanjayan, PhD
18 Ratings
Pros
  • "The people at CI are some of the most intelligent and passionate people I have ever met all working on the most critical issues of our time(in 20 reviews)

  • "Good benefits, theoretically interesting projects(in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • "I can not think of any cons about working at CI(in 17 reviews)

  • "Staff are overworked and stressed and there is high turnover as a result(in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "ci"

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  1. "Great place to work with a great mission!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    Benefits, Location in Arlington, VA, People, Mission, Culture

    Cons

    I can not think of any cons about working at CI

    Conservation International2018-09-05
  2. "Great staff, poor company culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Conservation International full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Wonderful, world-class colleagues. Great benefits, competitive salaries (for a nonprofit). Opportunity to travel. Opportunities to interact with different teams and decent upward mobility.  The organization is in a period of transition, and it's hard to know where it will land. Several of the previous leaders left around the same time, shifting the organization from a more old school approach to new... leadership. The transition has been slow, and some of it has been good. Leadership did take some action after the damaging Mongabay article last year, in particular dealing with serious harassment claims that had previously been ignored (some for years). 

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    Cons

    Lack of organizational focus, leading to many staff frantically cover multiple roles because no one will make a call on what's important. Impact is hard to assess - the organization has been fundamentally unable to identify a niche in the environmental space, and company strategies, while improved from some of the previous indecisiveness, still don't encompass much of the work done by teams on the ground. Lots of... passing the buck on responsibility, especially among leaders. Disconnect between leadership and lower-rank employees, particularly in the field divisions. HR is widely distrusted internally and creates more problems than it solves. Poor organizational coordination and knowledge management - the wheel is constantly being reinvented for even basic tasks. Limited professional development on many teams. Promotions are generally based on image and brown-nosing rather than competence and need, leading to some bad managers. Company culture has become a bit ruthless and competitive. Staff are overworked and stressed and there is high turnover as a result.  Despite the new leadership, there's still a culture of favoritism remaining from the older days, and your experience and opportunities at the company are only as good as the team you're with and the manager you report to. The new leadership means well and is trying to implement changes to bring the organization into the 21st century, but the jury is still out on how well it will work - in particular how CI will continue to sustain its current level of programming given that its best fundraiser was the previous CEO. 

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    Advice to Management

    Staff have given management advice on how to improve, and there are some very easy ways the organization could improve, but step one is admitting there's a problem to address. Management is very selective about who they listen to, and they need to start rewarding people for being honest, not just rewarding people who tell them what they want to hear.

    Conservation International2019-10-11
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  4. "Good organization, could be a bit more focused"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends

    I worked at Conservation International full-time

    Pros

    In general CI values employees, has great benefits, and has a big vision.

    Cons

    They could use a little more focus in what they are trying to achieve. I struggled at times to always link what we were doing with the overall mission.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employees and allow them to assist in making improvements.

    Conservation International2018-12-14
  5. Helpful (1)

    "Innovative environmental nonprofit with stellar benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Recommends

    I worked at Conservation International full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Working at CI means you'll spend your days alongside highly motivated, capable people dedicated to creating a sustainable future. HR is focused on work/life balance with a 35-hr workweek on the books, though expect to work more, plus some odd hours if corresponding with field teams in 30 countries. You'll thrive here if you have a tendency for entrepreneurship; CI as a whole is generally innovative and open to new... ideas.

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    Cons

    Many people are overworked, so tasks that you need input on might not be their priority. Teams don't always keep each other in the loop as well as they could/should. Since it's a somewhat small organization, there isn't much opportunity for career advancement, depending on the position; several people have left CI and then came back at higher positions.

    Advice to Management

    Think about career pathways to retain talent, and get more people in HQ out into the field to experience the work firsthand.

    Conservation International2018-05-13
  6. Helpful (7)

    "Not "one CI" - too bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Conservation International full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    In so many ways, CI is an extraordinary organization. Many passionate, intelligent staffers working all over the world. While it can be difficult to determine what the actual impact of the organization is on protecting nature, there are a number of projects that do good work. The physical space of the office is nice and if you are accepted into the cliquey "in" crowd, you can have a lot of unique and fun... experiences. Pay can be fair and the benefits are very good.

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    Cons

    Unfortunately the cons vastly outweigh the pros. The founder and former CEO used to like to say that we are "one CI" meaning that all of the many components and locations of CI are working together toward a common goal. While I have enormous respect for Peter S, this couldn't be farther from the truth. CI is one of the most siloed organizations I have ever known. For an organization that brings in A LOT of money... from some of the wealthiest people and institutions in the world, they always seem to have money problems. They can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to host a board meeting, but can't seem to fund some of their mainstay programs. The office environment at HQ can be incredibly stressful. Not necessarily because all of the jobs are so demanding, but due to nepotism (or some other poor decision making), many people are put into managerial positions that have no business leading others. Obviously this can happen at any workplace, but something at CI makes this seem sewn into the fabric of the org. I witnessed many of my colleagues either leave or betray their own conscience when put under this pressure. Human resources is also a bad joke. Make no mistake, they are there to represent the best interests of the organization and that will never translate to what is in your best interest. I was once told by an HR person that the best way to get ahead at CI was to step on my coworkers and pave my own way. That leads to another major problem with CI. They like to think they have this pseudo-entrepreneurial spirit because of how they were founded. You will constantly hear things like "you can be the master of your own job, if you see a gap in our work, fill it and we will create that role for you." This may sound nice, and may have actually worked out for a few, but it is absolutely ridiculous. Back in the real world, people have bosses and are responsible for answering to the specific tasks they are assigned, they can't just go do other things that interest them. I worked at CI for nearly four years and I would be hard pressed to name a dozen tangible accomplishments of the org. This doesn't include the accomplishments of the smaller organizations that CI would grant money to, but the conservation work that actual CI staff did. Go to the website. Most things are very abstract, not really specific about what they do. CI has often been accused of "green washing." I won't go so far as to say it is true, but I understand why people may think it. They work with some very questionable partners and businesses and get a lot of money from them to do it.

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    Advice to Management

    I'm not really sure I have any. There are a number systemic problems that start with the top. Have someone in HR, or better yet, someone else that actually cares about staff, sit in on meetings with staff and their supervisors. Set up policies on how teams should operate. Hold leadership accountable for failures and don't let them find scapegoats. Be very aware of selective opportunities for staff, especially those... offered to young, good-looking women by their male superiors.

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    Conservation International2018-02-24
  7. Helpful (1)

    "Takes Initiative to succeed but worth it for this amazing organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Director 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The people at CI are some of the most intelligent and passionate people I have ever met all working on the most critical issues of our time. You are constantly challenged at CI and constantly inspired by our brilliant team and leadership. There are tremendous opportunities for those that take initiative and amazing benefits.

    Cons

    Tackling global environmental issues can be daunting at times

    Conservation International2018-01-29
  8. "Summer Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - Intern - Hourly in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International for more than a year

    Pros

    The whole CI office is very supportive and happy to answer questions.

    Cons

    Some of the equipment that is lent to interns is on the older side and can make simple computer tasks take a long time.

    Conservation International2017-08-13
  9. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Policy Intern in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Conservation International for less than a year

    Pros

    Ability to become full-time/move around within CI, Passionate staff, exposure to many different departments and people within the organization, including senior management

    Cons

    Poor mid-level management, Not enough time given to foster new ideas, poor fundraising, constant changes, information silo-ing

    Conservation International2017-03-04
  10. Helpful (6)

    "Great people doing important work in spite of institutional identity crisis"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Director in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International for more than 8 years

    Pros

    -Mission: protecting nature for human wellbeing will get you up every morning, or it ought to -Colleagues: extraordinarily committed, hard-working, knowledgeable, skilled, fun folks from across the globe. Vestiges of the tight-knit "family" that CI was in the 90s and early 00s still exist. -Network: On the best days you're part of a 1000-person team protecting nature in 20-30 countries, in government offices,... corporate boardrooms, international negotiations, academic conferences, rivers, reefs, and rainforests. Their work is your work; their victories are your victories.

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    Cons

    -Institutional identity crisis: the organization grew large on the strength of a single donor and a clear approach: identify the world's most biodiverse places, and protect them by supporting national protected areas. When the original donor funding was running out, CI broadened its mission from biodiversity to human wellbeing, and broadened its approach from protected areas to other mechanisms. In a perfect world... this move would have appealed to a broader donor base. But unfortunately this mission change happened around the same time the financial crisis hit, when everyone's wallets were snapping shut. The practical effect is that a lot of world-class scientific expertise on the old topics was let go/left, without much growth in new directions. Ever since then the organization has struggled to find its identity. -Travel: one day you're flying sky high to a workshop in Ecuador (Pro), the next day you've burned out because you're flying to.....yet another workshop in Ecuador (Con). Not the case for everyone--some people travel internationally constantly; some never get to. -Management: hit-or-miss. Many promotions appear to be based more on ability to charm the CEO than competence.

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    Advice to Management

    -It's long past time for the Chair of the Board to hang up his spurs as CEO (yes, one man holds both positions). His fundraising prowess is top-notch, but he checked out from the day-to-day life of the organization a decade ago and the organization has been suffering for this ever since. There are rumors this may finally happen but I'll believe it when I see it.

    Conservation International2017-02-09
  11. "A mission-driven organization that treats people well"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Conservation International full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    CI helps ensure the foundation for human well-being and sustainable development through better management of biodiversity and natural ecosystems. It generally takes good care of its people and provides opportunities for learning and advancement.

    Cons

    Due to shifts in strategy and funding, CI sometimes lets good people go through no fault of their own.

    Conservation International2017-02-10
Found 27 reviews