Project director public policy strategic planning
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)
Function: Strategic Planning
Primary domain: Research
Postal code: 20004
State: Washington, DC
Country: United States
The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of todays big challenges and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our home town and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.
Full Job Title: Project Director, Planning – Cross Portfolio and Program Agenda, Strategy
The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today's big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our home town and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.
Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that furthers our philanthropic mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution's reputation.
The Strategy Portfolio within Program
The goal of the strategy portfolio is to inform critical institutional decisions about Pew's programs, strengthen the design and implementation of Pew's work, and generate knowledge that advances Pew's program objectives. We pursue this goal by (1) enhancing the organization's efforts to generate ideas for new initiatives and larger bodies of work; (2) applying a wide range of planning approaches to help programs turn ideas into effective action; (3) using evaluation to improve program performance and inform decision-making; (4) ensuring that staff has access to information that meets their needs to design, implement, and manage high-performing strategies, initiatives, and campaigns; and (5) collaborating with colleagues in preparing a wide range of planning and other types of documents for consideration by Pew's board of directors. The strategy portfolio was created in 2017 through the merger of Pew's longstanding planning and evaluation department and a new program unit focused on strategy and idea development.
Pew's planning unit, within strategy, works in partnership with program and portfolio leadership and staff to identify, develop, and refine high-profile initiatives in line with institutional and programmatic needs and priorities. Specifically, in partnership with and support of program and portfolio leadership, the unit identifies and explores new public policy and research issues in which Pew might play a role; develops program designs, strategies, and initiatives to address these issues; and reviews, informs, and strengthens existing strategies and initiatives to meet new or revised objectives.
This position, located in Pew's Washington, DC, office, reports to the senior director, planning. The project director oversees all planning aspects of the strategy team's support to the government performance, Philadelphia, and research and science portfolios which currently consists of 34 projects, including across four focus areas within the government performance portfolio – family economic security, health and human services, management and budget, and safety and justice. The project director ensures consistent and high-quality consultative guidance from the planning team to portfolio leadership and staff with emphasis on ensuring program strategies are rigorous, clear, and innovative by problem solving with the program teams to address substantive issues. The project director also oversees the work of the program agenda team who manages the institution's docket list process and ushers board documents in a timely fashion through the preparation lifecycle. To accomplish the work, the project director oversees two senior officer staff (with matrixed support from a cadre of additional staff as projects require), one associate manager, one associate, and one coordinator. Additional specific duties are detailed in the responsibilities section below.
The position requires a highly experienced public policy or strategic planning leader with strong knowledge of domestic policy challenges in conjunction with competencies in consulting methods, strategic planning, program design, theories of change, and advocacy approaches. The ideal candidate has a demonstrated ability to quickly master new topics and understands the interests and needs of an organization and its target audiences. The project director displays excellent interpersonal, communication, and analytical skills and approaches partnership with the portfolio leadership and staff with an adaptable, creative, and solutions-oriented attitude. Importantly, this individual must be comfortable engaging in discussions with portfolio leadership and staff and applying conflict resolution skills to professionally and constructively address disagreements that may arise.
Planning Team Leadership
- In consultation with the senior director of planning, establish long-term goals and short-term milestones for the unit, monitor progress toward their completion, and contribute to the development of budgets and workforce plans appropriate for meeting team goals.
- Work closely with strategy senior leadership, the project director – environment and annual planning, and the director of evaluation and learning to ensure a collaborative and productive relationship for the unit as it works across portfolio teams to explore new ideas, bring new initiatives to fruition, and refine existing projects.
- Oversee the work of the staff supporting government performance, Philadelphia, and research and science projects and the program agenda team to ensure consistent and cohesive guidance to portfolio leadership and staff and the submission of timely, thoughtful, and thorough work products across multiple initiatives.
- Structure and manage working relationships with the leadership of support units and other program portfolios that are critical to designing and refining lines of work including research and science, program coordination and services, finance, government relations, human resources, legal affairs, communications, institutional solutions, philanthropic partnerships, and the executive office.
- Share expertise with strategy colleagues to build the unit's knowledge, expand its capacity, improve the effectiveness of its engagements with program, and assist team members with helping program colleagues to connect the dots across project areas for improved efficiency and impact.
- Supervise and mentor staff while fostering professional development opportunities.
Planning Team Program Support
Working in partnership with the senior director of planning, the senior manager of planning, and portfolio leadership and staff:
- Periodically lead the development and update of government performance, Philadelphia, and research and science work plans, developed in consultation with that portfolios' leadership and staff, to identify and document the scope, scale, and technical requirements governing planning support for each fiscal year.
- Leveraging the government performance, Philadelphia, and research and science work plans as a foundation, design, launch, and supervise, in collaboration with portfolio colleagues, the execution of an array of planning activities including—
- Generating and selecting new ideas for project exploration through a variety of activities including hosting sparking sessions and ideas labs, scoping problems and potentials solutions, and building consensus around a shared vision.
- Developing and applying creative approaches to explore new ideas and strengthen existing ones by:
- Conducting in-depth topic research and identifying and engaging internal and external expertise to address knowledge gaps.
- Supporting the development of planning tools such as logic models, impacts maps, and memos and project design components such as theories of change, problem statements, and potential advocacy campaign approaches.
- Facilitating project team discussion and problem-solving and assisting in solutions-oriented decision-making.
- Asking probing questions to discuss and validate underlying assumptions in project design components and providing impartial guidance to strengthen the team's approach.
- Undertaking a rigorous vetting process to determine the technical and political viability of project design solutions and provide strategic recommendations on the potential role for the organization.
- Assisting in translating project design components into outlines, idea agendas, strategy papers, and write-ups by providing guidance on the appropriate content, level of detail, and length for each document and reviewing drafts products for comment.
- Suggesting phrasing to create measurable objectives, deliverables, and milestones that meet the organization's criteria.
- When requested by program and portfolio leadership, overseeing new initiatives approved by the board as the de facto project director during the start-up phase until the staff complement is effectively on-boarded. In collaboration with relevant operations units, managing the hiring of new staff, developing and executing initial project grants and contracts, and launching appropriate project start-up activities.
- Offering support to program leadership and staff in “connecting the dots” across project, portfolio, and program areas to improve organizational coordination, information sharing, and impact.
- Assisting in designing wind-down and transition strategies that ensure a thoughtful exit from the project area and an intentional hand-off of work to partner organizations for project impact durability.
- Build a strong relationship with the portfolio's senior leadership (vice president, senior directors, directors, and project managers) that will foster a strong communications flow between portfolio and planning staff and organizational trust in the planning service offerings.
- Participate in an annual conversation with portfolio senior leadership to highlight areas of strong support from program planning and identify continued areas of improvement; integrate the feedback from these conversations in planning training activities, PMP materials and conversations, and updated processes and procedures as appropriate.
Working in partnership with the senior director of planning and the associate manager of program agenda:
- Oversee the timely and accurate development of the quarterly docket lists and execution of the quarterly docket kick-off meetings;
- Oversee the board document production process to ensure quality materials, timely sequencing, and frequent communication.
- Review the program agenda process on a quarterly basis to identify areas of concern for immediate improvement for the next cycle; review the program agenda process on a yearly basis to identify additional effective practices and areas of improvement that would benefit the program agenda process; update the standard operating procedures as needed and ensure the program agenda team's comfort with the execution of those procedures.
- Oversee effective coordination of the program agenda process with other organizational stakeholders including the executive office, finance, legal, government relations, and program coordination and services.
Working in partnership with the senior director of planning and the project director – environment and annual planning:
- Support the government performance, Philadelphia, and research and science project teams in the development of the material for their respective annual plans.
Special Project Activities
- Support strategy-related special project activities when requested.
- Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree in public policy or other fields relevant to the formulation of public policy preferred.
- At least 10 years of professional consulting experience demonstrating intellectual and strategic leadership in public policy and assisting external or internal clients with designing, launching, and implementing strategies or projects aimed at informing and advancing effective public policy at the federal, state, or local levels. Those with consulting experience gained in complex private, nonprofit, or government institutions are encouraged to apply.
- Minimum of 3 plus years of direct supervisory experience required (additional supervisory experience preferred) including experience managing a performance management process for direct reports and providing career development advice and counsel.
- Demonstrated ability to manage complex projects, including significant experience developing and managing interdisciplinary teams functioning across institutional management units.
- Strong policy research and analytical skills and the ability to organize diverse and complex information into a clear and coherent narrative.
- Knowledge of current domestic social, political, and economic trends, leading thinkers, and major concerns within public policy and society.
- Resourcefulness in identifying and gathering relevant information and data, including interviewing high-level experts.
- Excellent written and oral communications skills, including the ability to present, write clearly and effectively, convince and persuade, and listen carefully.
- Excellent facilitation skills including the ability to quickly synthesize and frame key themes during meeting discussions and to drive project teams to solutions-oriented decisions.
- Strong interpersonal skills and proven ability to work productively with a wide array of stakeholders and perspectives and approach issues with a nonpartisan, objective mindset.
- Strong understanding of how to manage by influencing others and the ability to accurately read nuances of meaning.
- Ability to think strategically and creatively, juggle multiple priorities, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time efficiently, remain attentive to details, and identify resources for projects.
- Ability to fit into a fast-paced and highly professional corporate culture which emphasizes excellence, collegiality, and teamwork.
Occasional domestic travel, including business meetings and conferences, as required.
We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.
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