Director of Policy and Research

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About Demos.  Demos is a national public policy organization working for a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. We pioneer bold progressive ideas, reinforce them with original research and analysis, and equip grassroot partner organizations to move them into practical reality. Founded in 2000, the organization is headquartered in New York City with an office in Washington, D.C. We champion over-the-horizon policy solutions, shift the narrative to clear the way for their acceptance, and advocate until they take effect. We use the right strategy for the right moment, whether it’s research or communications, supporting organizers or litigating. This commitment to the full cycle of change has resulted in real victories, from landmark credit card reforms to nearly three million new voter registration applications from low-income citizens. Throughout all of our work, Demos is advocating not just for people, but for the very idea of the people—of one nation, united by a shared fate.

Director of Policy and Research. Demos seeks a highly qualified, innovative and ambitious Director of Policy and Research to lead Demos’ national policy development and research efforts aimed at creating a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. The Director of Policy and Research will have a well-developed understanding of the progressive movement and policy landscape and bring fresh research and policy ideas to the organization. The Director will have a successful track record of identifying gaps in the field and developing and executing initiatives that align with movement partner needs and organizational strengths and values. The Director will represent Demos as a public spokesperson, develop and maintain a presence as a thought leader for the organization, and build and sustain strategic alignments with organizational partners to advance Demos’ goals. In partnership with the Associate Directors, the Director will oversee the execution of all policy and research projects, and lead, manage and mentor a team of highly experienced researchers and policy experts. The Policy and Research Director will work closely with and report to the Executive Vice President of Programs and will be a member of the Directors’ Team. The Policy and Research Director is expected to be located in Demos’ New York City office, but consideration will be given to uniquely qualified candidates based outside of NYC. Some travel is required.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Identifying and assessing emerging policy and research gaps in the field and potential innovations and opportunities for Demos; in partnership with the Executive Vice President and Associate Directors, developing and executing new initiatives and supporting existing initiatives to fill gaps, align with movement partner needs and organizational strengths and values, and grow Demos’ footprint and influence in the field.
  • Building and maintaining meaningful relationships with external partners and allies including grassroots movement organizations, economic and democracy policy organizations, academics, and policymakers; working creatively and strategically to leverage these relationships to advance Demos’ programmatic and movement goals.
  • Bringing a racial equity lens and analysis of structural racism to all of Demos’ policy and research work and initiatives; centering race and conducting racial equity interventions with partners, coalitions, campaigns, etc.
  • Acting as a public spokesperson for Demos, representing the organization in public settings including conferences, media appearances, blog posts, op-eds, etc; developing and maintaining a presence as a thought leader on Demos’ core issues; representing the Policy and Research team at some Demos board meetings and in other official settings.
  • Fundraising including grant writing and reporting, building strong relationships with foundation staff and individual donors, and locating new sources of funds across the full breadth of the Policy and Research team’s portfolio.
  • In partnership with the Associate Directors, overseeing the overall execution of all policy and research projects and publications including major reports, advocacy briefs, government testimony, regulatory comments, data analysis, infographics and other visuals; coordinating research content and report releases with campaigns, legal and communications functions.
  • In partnership with Associate Directors, holding responsibility for overall effectiveness and mentorship of Policy and Research team, including overseeing team work plans, systems and processes that drive toward organizational goals; maximizing impact and growing team member skills; directly supervising Associate Directors including managing to individual work plans, administering reviews and providing mentorship and support for professional development; ensuring that other team supervisors effectively manage and support their staff; periodically managing work done by consultants, including management of contracts and deliverables.
  • Executing Director-level organizational management responsibilities, including developing annual budgets, assessing and addressing cross-organizational issues, consulting on organizational policies, practices and systems, and participating in Directors’ Team meetings.
  • Other tasks as requested by the Executive Vice President of Programs.

The successful candidate must have the following skills and experience:

  • Passion and Proven Ability to Identify and Develop New Policy & Research Initiatives and Interventions. You have a well-developed understanding of the progressive movement and policy landscape and will bring fresh research and policy ideas to the organization; you have a proven track record of identifying gaps in the field and developing and executing initiatives that align with movement partner needs and organizational strengths and values.
  • Advanced and Creative Research and Policy Development Skills. You have extensive research and policy development experience, with demonstrated success in leading sophisticated research and policy initiatives from start to finish and developing and implementing new strategic research and policy development projects; you have superior writing and research skills, have achieved high standards in the quality of your research and have experienced increasing responsibility over course of career; you are a creative and strategic thinker, with the ability to conceptualize impactful new projects, priorities and content in alignment with evolving strategic goals and a changing political landscape; you are able to conceive and implement research projects that effectively integrate with legal, campaign and/or strategic communication strategies.
  • Ability to Lead and Manage a Team. You have a demonstrated ability to rally a team around shared programmatic, organizational, and institutional goals; experience managing a collaborative team with a diverse set of expertise, knowledge and skills; demonstrated success in building respectful working relationships with colleagues and allies; and experience assisting more junior colleagues and supervisees in developing their skills and knowledge of research strategies.
  • Movement Orientation. You understand the role research plays in supporting effective campaigns and agenda setting and can work effectively with grassroots partners and advocates at the state and national level; in undertaking research and policy development, you understand the importance of, and have experience with, building respectful relationships with other progressive organizations, advocates and leaders in one or more areas of Demos’ work.
  • Ability to Lead Efforts to Advance Racial Equity. You are committed to leading on racial equity with Demos and our external partnerships, with a sophisticated understanding of how race and other identity dynamics affect supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, campaigns and coalition work; understanding of how systemic racism affects present-day systems and ability to advance racial equity goals through research strategies; demonstrated history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, partnership or campaign; and commitment to Demos’ culture of respect, shared responsibility, and consistent feedback.

The most competitive candidates will also demonstrate one or more of the following skills, experiences, or perspectives:

  • Strong Existing Network.  You are known and respected in the progressive research community, bringing existing relationships that will facilitate expansion of our research and policy work.
  • Experience with Core Demos Issues. You have expertise or experience within Demos’ core issue areas.
  • Public Presentation. You are a skilled public speaker who is experienced with presenting to groups and at conferences, and comfortable with engaging in media interviews or appearances on our issues.
  • Ability to Write Effectively for Broad Audiences.  You have experience writing effectively for broad audiences through blogging, op-eds, reports, briefing papers, or other similar outlets.
  • Bilingual and/or Bicultural: You bring bilingual language skills and/or bicultural fluency into your work.

Candidates need to bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in a fast-paced environment.  The position is full-time.

Salary and Benefits: The salary range for this position starts at $120,000 and is negotiable depending on experience.  We have a generous benefits package which includes health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 10 paid holidays, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, paid time off Dec. 25- Jan. 1, 12 sick days per year, and a 403b plan.

How to Apply: Upload a thoughtful cover letter, résumé, and 3-10 page writing sample. We are looking for an immediate hire so applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.  No phone calls please.

Demos is an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.  We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.

Location: New York, NY
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