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Earthwatch Reviews

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3.2
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Scott Kania
3 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    "Earthwatch: not just a "job"; a meaningful, fulfilling career"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Allston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Allston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Earthwatch full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    There are a lot of things I love about working at Earthwatch (amazing, similarly-motivated colleagues, connection with inspiring science and world-class researchers around the globe, knowing you are contributing to a meaningful mission every day, free breakfast on Fridays, etc), but I want to highlight something this organization has excelled at in the last couple of years in particular, and which is one of the reasons I have been with Earthwatch for 15 years and have had the opportunity to rise from Coordinator to Manager to Director. There is a strong focus within the Earthwatch management culture to tease out what really interests people (regardless of their current job description), what their hidden talents are, and find ways to capitalize on those passions and skills: develop those skills, apply the talents to special projects, even sometimes customize a position to best benefit the staff member and the organization. Internal promotions are strongly encouraged in order to ensure we are fully using the talent we already have at our fingertips; I can no longer count on both hands the enthusiastic/smart/energetic people hired on after a successful internship. I have seen so much potential blossom into reality in the last couple of years, and personally I have reached a professional level I had not before bothered to imagine was an option for me. I feel empowered to forge my own career path, but I also have the support and guidance of my manager at all times. In my 1.5 decade history here, this is definitely the best time to be an employee at Earthwatch.

    Cons

    Like I said, I have been with Earthwatch for 15 years. Prior to that, I had worked at a variety of environmental nonprofits. Like the other nonprofits, Earthwatch has weathered some tough times, and during those tough times, we definitely saw some good staff leave us. That was definitely challenging, as I am sure it is at other organizations as well. But I feel that the shift in focus towards embracing individuals' particular strengths and interests is at the root of our current low turnover rate, and the resulting high staff morale. So I feel that what I am describing here is essentially a con-of-the-past.

    Advice to Management

    I am management... but I would say to all of us that we should continue to carefully consider and support the needs and professional trajectory of each individual staff member. This is a ethos that will serve the organization and those who work here very well, far into the future.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Amazing opportunity, great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I have been at Earthwatch for 10 years and there has never been a more exciting time to work here. Current leadership is incredibly supportive and open to new ideas from anyone in the company - they actually listen and take the ideas of others on board. The culture is one of open collaboration and passion for the mission. I have never worked anywhere that had such intelligent, caring and truly interesting people, all working together towards a common goal. And, the best perk of all is getting into the field on an expedition - which is honestly a wonderfully life-changing experience. There have been some bumps in the road in the past - but those are behind us now - and I really couldn't be more excited about what the future holds. It is time everyone knew what an amazing organization Earthwatch truly is.

    Cons

    I really can't think of any cons.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you are doing.

  3. "Great place to gain experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    As a recent grad, I was able to get lots of exposure to the wide variety of professions that Earthwatch encompasses. Additionally, if you are ambitious, driven, and have a good head on your shoulders there is always additional work to be done. This enables people to really choose where they grow once they master the administrative aspects of their jobs. As a result of this, I was able to cater my job towards my own career goals, was able to diversify my portfolio. After two years I have an awesome resume for a 25 year old. Senior management always encouraged and supported this as long as my administrative work still got done. For example, I was able to work on over 40 independent projects in one 12 month period. These were things that I cared about and was interested in seeing incorporated into our organization. Finally, I was able to travel a lot with work as a young person. This travel was not just to a foreign board room but to go train National Park Rangers in risk management, tag leopards in South Africa, count fish in The Bahamas, the list goes on. That’s priceless. Most importantly to me, I had a variety of mentors at Earthwatch whom I will carry with me throughout my career.

    Cons

    If you want a job where you know exactly where your next step and subsequent raise will be, it is unlikely that Earthwatch is the place for you.

    If Earthwatch wants to reduce turnover then Earthwatch needs to pay its employees better and make its training and hiring process more efficient and effective. One person doing two people’s jobs for months on end does not make business sense and will cost you employees as well as revenue.

    Advice to Management

    While I truly enjoyed my job and tasks at Earthwatch, I never felt like the organization made any credible progress towards a goal. I think that this is the result of not having a clear, quantifiable goal. I don’t think that this is due to a lack in actual progress or achievements; rather, management needs to better quantify the organization’s achievements. You do a great job of qualifying the transformative experiences offered to volunteers; you need to have tangible results from your projects and scientists. How many national parks have been created? Where has our data been presented?
    Culture at a non-profit is great but can be inefficient. Focus on increasing efficiency around meetings and tasks. This sounds trivial but your employees will feel more useful, needed, and should become happier when you show that their time is valuable.


  4. "On of a kind place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Allston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Allston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Earthwatch full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The mission is incredibly relevant and really draws people in. I've never met so many passionate, dedicated, and intelligent staff. The dedication shown by the researchers, funders, partners, and volunteers is absolutely inspiring.

    Cons

    Not sure. We do not have a large endowment or a plethora of funds to rely on. Although this keeps us lean and constantly looking for efficiency, it would be nice to have more financial resources to put into technology or marketing.


  5. "Dynamic Atmosphere"

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

    I have been working at Earthwatch full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great Mission, Very committed and dedication employees. Collaborative atmosphere. Great place to work

    Cons

    Hard work for low pay


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great mission poor revenue model"

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

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great place for recent grads and mid-career staff to get their feet wet in the cut and thrust of an environmental mission.

    Cons

    Conflicted mission. The organization doesn't know what it should be. Chases the corporate $$ at the expense of real science and impact. Neglects the public who are the heart and soul of the mission. Revolving door of senior leadership ensures same business mistakes are repeated.

    Advice to Management

    Address the shortcomings of revenue model not how to keep your job.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Wonderful organization, difficult time to work there"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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. Helpful (2)

    "Dig for Dinosaurs, Don't Work For Them"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time

    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"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Earthwatch full-time

    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)

    "Company slipping."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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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