Director of Policy Engagement

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $100,000
Maximum: $120,000



Application Deadline



8720 Georgia Avenue
Suite 803
Silver Spring
United States


Position Summary

The Director develops and leads COMPASS’ strategy to connect scientists to policy dialogues. The Director oversees work to connect scientists to decision makers across scales in the United States (from local to federal); actively bridges the worlds of science and policy and prepares scientists to engage; contributes to organizational strategies and initiatives; helps raise funds to support COMPASS’ work; and supports an inclusive workplace culture of trust, excellence, risk-taking, and collaboration.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

1. The Director leads the organization’s policy engagement efforts by developing strategies to connect scientists to policymakers across scales, from federal to local. This includes:

  • Lead the development of program strategies that realize COMPASS’ mission, especially strategies that focus on our work to connect scientists to policy dialogues across scales, primarily the federal context and the western U.S. region.
  • Oversee the implementation of relevant strategies.
  • Develop and maintain a diverse network of decision makers, policy experts, thought leaders, and others to understand where science can have impact in the policy context.
  • Develop, manage, and oversee program budgets, annual planning, and goal setting, as well as longer-term strategic planning and thinking.
  • Oversee coaching and supporting individuals and groups of scientists to engage with policy audiences.

2. The Director is a member of the COMPASS Leadership Team and actively supports efforts to help COMPASS be a high-functioning team. This includes:

  • Participate in organization-wide strategic planning, budgeting, goal development, and evaluation.
  • Provide input around organizational systems, management, and culture.
  • Support COMPASS’ diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to strengthen our team and increase the impact and relevance of our work.
  • Supervise and manage staff: mentor members of the team to excel in their work, collaborate generously, grow their leadership and professional skills, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Manage the COMPASS office in the Washington, D.C. area to ensure that operations are fully functional and running in accordance with COMPASS’ culture and values.

3. The Director contributes to organizational fundraising and outreach goals. This includes:

  • Develop strategic thinking around fundraising plans and goals, in conjunction with the Executive Director and Leadership Team.
  • Forge relationships with COMPASS’ existing and potential funders, in conjunction with the Executive Director.
  • Seek and cultivate leads for earned-revenue opportunities for COMPASS.
  • Build, broaden, and diversify COMPASS’ networks in order to fulfill the above work and advance COMPASS’ mission and strategies.
  • Contribute to COMPASS’ visibility and communication strategies by giving talks, contributing to the COMPASS blog, and improving COMPASS’ overall public presence, including on social media.


The ideal candidate must have:

  • An ability to think strategically across the organization and to recognize or create opportunities that align with program or organizational goals.
  • Experience managing program budgets, annual planning, and goal development.
  • High-level connections within the U.S. federal and/or western regional policy realms and an ability to build and grow new networks.
  • Experience designing and executing high-level briefings, workshops, or meetings.
  • A demonstrated commitment to fostering an inclusive working environment, as well as valuing and respecting efforts to broaden participation in science and policy. 
  • Strong strategic communication skills, both verbally and in writing.
  • Strong grounding and experience in policy and science, including:
  • An understanding of the cultures and norms of the worlds of policy and science.
  • An understanding of how public policy decisions are made and the relevance of science to decision making.
  • An ability to understand and synthesize environmental science across a diversity of topics.
  • An aptitude for organizing people and generating effective workflows and systems, including:
  • Ability to work in an environment that requires a proactive approach, fast turn-around times, and poise under pressure.
  • A work style that combines tenacity, creativity, and thoughtfulness.
  • An ability to supervise and mentor others and to encourage and build an inclusive culture of trust, excellence, risk-taking, and collaboration.

Education and Experience

The ideal candidate has an advanced degree in the natural or social sciences, policy, non-profit administration, or other relevant discipline. The Director should have minimum 10 years experience working in policy, preferably at the intersection of science and the environment. A background in a non-profit with experience in fundraising and program and organizational management is preferred. Policy experience in federal or state government is also preferred.

Organizational Relationships

The Director reports to the Executive Director.

Physical Demands

The job predominantly involves working at a desk as well as local and domestic travel (car, plane, train, etc.). Physical requirements while working in the office will include the ability to sit for long periods of time; perform extended computer-based research; key data into the computer; conduct business by phone; reach, stand, bend, and lift up to 25 pounds. Physical demands while traveling include being able to sit for long periods of time, being able to spend significant amounts of time standing or walking (e.g., walking around a room of event participants, walking between meetings across town), and carrying or moving up to 25 pounds.


Salary range is dependent on qualifications and experience, with a generous benefits package. The Director is an exempt position. Exempt employees are expected to work the appropriate and necessary time in order to complete key assignments and related tasks on schedule.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

Master's degree

How To Apply

This position will remain open until filled. Applications will close on October 31st. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their application materials as soon as they can. Email a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references as one single PDF to We will not contact references without first notifying a candidate. Due to the volume of applications we may not be able to respond to individual requests for information.