Director of Opportunity Nation and Strategic Initiatives


Job Type

Full Time

Published:

05/15/2018

Start Date:

07/01/2018

Address

7064 Eastern Avenue Northwest
Washington DC
District of Columbia
20012
United States

Description

PURPOSE: Lead the Forum’s work to use data about economic mobility and opportunity in America to generate media attention, galvanize a coalition, and secure bipartisan support for policies that improve racial, social and economic equity. This includes all Opportunity Nation activities and additional related strategic initiatives over time.


Position Background and Responsibilities

The Director of Opportunity Nation and Strategic Initiatives will lead the Forum’s efforts to use data about economic mobility and opportunity in America to generate media attention, galvanize a coalition, and secure bipartisan support for policies that improve racial, social and economic equity. His/her initial focus will be on the successful transition of Opportunity Nation’s activities to the Forum, using the transition as an opportunity to build upon Opportunity Nation’s current initiatives and align them with existing Forum activities when doing so would be mutually beneficial. Over time, the Director will take on a broader leadership role at the Forum assuming additional related strategic initiatives. Responsibilities include:

 

a)     Embody, cultivate and foster the values, attributes and styles of work that define the Forum’s culture (see below).

b)     Conceptualize and successfully implement innovative ways for using data about economic mobility and opportunity (i.e., the Opportunity Index) to generate media attention, galvanize a coalition and drive bipartisan support for policies that improve racial, social and economic equity.

c)     Oversee the execution of the Opportunity Index, the Opportunity Nation Coalition, the Opportunity Leaders program, and related papers, communications activities and events.

d)     Be a highly visible leader and spokesperson for these activities, speaking with a passion from the heart based on his/her unique lived experiences.

e)     Oversee the partners, contractors and consultants involved in the delivery of Opportunity Nation activities, including the firm that develops the Opportunity Index, the team that manages the Opportunity Nation and Opportunity Index websites, and the partners and consultants supporting Opportunity Nation’s fund development, media relations and events.

f)      Cultivate high-level strategic relationships with policymakers and media, not only for the Forum’s Opportunity Nation activities, but also for additional related Forum activities.

g)     Help secure funding not only for the Forum’s Opportunity Nation activities, but also for additional related Forum activities.

h)     Become familiar with all aspects of the Forum’s work, identifying, creating and taking action on opportunities to align and support work across departments and teams.

i)      Other duties as assigned.

 

Team Culture

Like the organization as a whole, we are fanatical about the values, attributes and styles of work that comprise our team culture. We seek to hire based on fit with our culture at least as much as based on credentials and work experience. Our goal isn’t to judge the overarching value or quality of an applicant. Instead we are assessing how well their values, attributes and styles of work fit our own. We look for the values that make you a passionate champion of our mission, the essential attributes that make you a great part of the Forum family, and the work styles that make you a strong contributor to our team. We encourage applicants to approach this process as an opportunity to assess whether our culture is a fit for what makes you come alive both personally and professionally.

 

Mission and Values

We are mission driven and fueled by a set of deeply held values. Applicants should ask themselves “Do these connect with my own passions? Do they speak to me on a deeper level than just words on a page? Are these the things that make me come alive both personally and professionally?”


·       We are passionate about helping children, youth and families. We talk about “changing the odds” that all young people will succeed. This isn’t just a job for us. It is a calling. It is what we would be doing even if we weren’t paid to do it. It is what we care about outside of work in addition to inside of work.

·       We stand up for social, economic and racial equity. We are here to advance social justice. We see our work as a part of the broader civil and human rights movement. We stand up against intolerance of all forms. We explicitly address implicit bias. We work to address structural and institutional racism (the policies, institutional practices, cultural representations and other norms that, intentionally or not, produce outcomes that chronically favor, or put at a disadvantage, one or more racial groups).

·       We believe in the power of youth and local community members to lead the charge. We work to shift balances of power to increase the influence of those who are too often marginalized. We value diversity and inclusivity. We value each other’s contributions and hold the conviction that only from diverse backgrounds and divergent points of view can we find the best solutions. We seek staff who speak with a passion informed by their unique lived experience.

·       We strive to embody humility, respect and stewardship. We recognize the role we play is a small one, and we only succeed through the work of local leaders. We value both local lived experience and national expertise.  We believe that no task is beneath us, no matter where we are on the organization chart or the roles we are playing in a community. We dedicate ourselves to responsible stewardship of the resources that we have been entrusted with to improve people’s lives.

 

Essential Attributes

We seek and cultivate a set of essential attributes that collectively make the Forum a great place for all of us to work and a place where each of us can be our best possible selves. Applicants should ask themselves “Do these attributes really describe me? Are these things I want to be accountable for living every day?”

 

·       We have an insatiable desire to work hard, grow and learn. We look for people who are optimistic about what is possible, take pride in their work, and are relentless in achieving their goals. People who have extraordinary self-awareness, are quick to identify their weaknesses, actively seek help to improve, and approach each new task as an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. People who see feedback as a gift. People who want to show up every day and be pushed to be better than they were the day before.

·       We like to laugh and genuinely care about each other. We look for people who approach work with a smile on their face and a bounce in their step. We love what we do and want you to as well. We are big on witty banter and humor – especially of the self-deprecating variety. We are there for each other not just as coworkers, but as people. Our ability to be vulnerable with each other requires us to be worthy of each other’s trust. We cultivate a safe, supportive space in which everyone can open up to each other about aspects of themselves that they want to work on.

·       We are team players. We look for people who care about collective success more than personal success. People whose personal ambition is inextricably linked to helping the organization succeed. People who are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self and define success collectively rather than individually.

 

Work Styles

The Forum has a distinctive style to the way we tackle work. It works great for us, but, like all styles, it isn’t for everyone. Applicants should ask themselves “Is this how I like to work? Would this be fun for me?”

 

·       We work collaboratively. We enjoy constructive debate, brainstorming meetings, collaborative processes, and joint decision making, both within the Forum and with partner organizations. We bring teams together to collectively shape a body of work. None of us seek complete autonomy on anything: we prefer to work together with a great set of people who make all our decisions better. We foster an environment in which we are all part of the same team, working together toward common ends.

·       We are entrepreneurial, flexible, and learn by doing. We are trailblazers and visionaries, optimistic about what is possible, and fearless in trying to do things that haven’t been done before. We are comfortable with ambiguity and non-linear paths. We learn by doing. Want to learn about government relations? Great – let’s learn by passing a piece of legislation. Our responsibilities and projects shift frequently as we adapt to new opportunities and challenges in the field.

·       We embrace complexity. Our work aims to “move ideas to impact.” We are excited by and have respect for the power of ideas. Many of our projects include grouping things we are seeing and hearing into categories and summarizing the results. We use lots of charts, matrices, graphics and visual frameworks to convey thoughts and ideas. We spend a lot of time discussing and improving upon our frameworks and tools to guide thinking and help users connect theoretical models to specific, tangible actions to drive their work forward. Doing this work is both an art and a science. We are both analytical and creative. We enjoy projects and approaches that allow us to blend the two together.

·       We move fast. Policymaking and other types of decision-making often come with a schedule and timeline we can’t control. When windows of opportunity open, we often need to deliver as much as we can as fast as we can. At times, for certain projects, we can have a campaign mentality and dynamic style of work.

 

Additional Qualifications

In addition to being strongly aligned with our team culture, the successful candidate will also likely have many of the following:

·       A powerful personal story to share about opportunity in America. Someone who speaks authentically and inspirationally about his/her unique lived experiences.

·       A vision for ways in which the Opportunity Nation activities could be even more successful in using data about economic mobility and opportunity in America to generate media attention, galvanize a coalition, and secure bipartisan support for policies that improve racial, social and economic equity.

·       A demonstrated track record of success in generating media attention for social issues.

·       A demonstrated track record of success securing high-level bipartisan support for issues, events and policies.

·       A strong network of corporate, philanthropic, nonprofit leaders, or those who demonstrate the ability to rapidly develop such a network.

·       An affinity for partnering with grassroots youth organizers.

·       A history of advancing racial, social and economic equity throughout their career.

·       Experience leading projects and people, with a leadership style strongly aligned with the Forum team’s culture as outlined above.

·       At least 10 years of related work experience, or at least 8 years plus a master’s degree in a related field.


About the Forum for Youth Investment

The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are ready by 21®--ready for college, work and life. Informed by rigorous research and practical experience, the Forum forges innovative ideas, strategies and partnerships to strengthen solutions for young people and those who care about them. The Forum is a thriving organization with more than 45 staff and an annual budget of more than $8.1M. dollars. It is funded by a mix of foundations, corporations and fee-for-service contracts. The Forum’s headquarters are in Washington DC, with an office in Ypsilanti, Michigan focused on improving the quality of youth-serving organizations, and a small office in New York City focused on effective online storytelling and mobilization. The Director of Opportunity Nation and Strategic Initiatives will be based in the Forum’s Washington DC office, and will report to the Vice President for Policy Advocacy, who oversees the Forum’s work on federal policy, Opportunity Youth (16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school and not employed), evidence-based policymaking, and racial, social and economic equity.

 

About the Opportunity Nation Campaign

In April 2018, the Forum became the new home of the Opportunity Nation campaign. Opportunity Nation is a bipartisan, national campaign to expand economic mobility and close the opportunity gap in America. Opportunity Nation activities include the Opportunity Index, updated annually; the Opportunity Nation Coalition; the Opportunity Leaders Program; along with related publications and events. While the Forum operates the branded set of Opportunity Nation activities, it does not have a siloed team focused exclusively on them. Instead, an integrated team tackles all activities related to policy, equity and opportunity, including but not limited to Opportunity Nation activities.

Benefits

Position & Compensation

Salaries at the Forum are competitive with comparable non-profit organizations in the region and will be based upon experience and expertise. Salary range, duties and responsibilities of this position meet the requirements of Section 13 (a) (1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and therefore it qualifies as an "exempt" position.

 


The Forum for Youth Investment is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and drug-free workplace, and to comply with ADA regulations as applicable. All applicants are considered for all positions without regard to race, religion, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, national origin, ancestry, physical/mental disability, severe/morbid obesity, medical condition, military/veteran status, genetic information, marital status, ethnicity, alienage or any other protected classification, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please email us at jobs@forumfyi.org if you require a reasonable accommodation to complete your application.

Professional Level

Professional

Minimum Education Required

Master's degree

How To Apply

jobs@forumfyi.org

http://forumfyi.org

If interested, submit a resume, cover letter, and a separate document with salary requirements to jobs@forumfyi.org. Please be sure to specify that you are applying for the Director of Opportunity Nation and Strategic Initiatives position. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If your application is selected for an interview, you will be contacted directly. No telephone calls or inquiry emails, please.

 

The Forum for Youth Investment is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and drug-free workplace, and to comply with ADA regulations as applicable. All applicants are considered for all positions without regard to race, religion, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, national origin, ancestry, physical/mental disability, severe/morbid obesity, medical condition, military/veteran status, genetic information, marital status, ethnicity, alienage or any other protected classification, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please email us at jobs@forumfyi.org if you require a reasonable accommodation to complete your application.


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