Deputy Executive Director of Public Policy

30 Jul, 2019


Deputy Executive Director of Public Policy

Washington, DC
Position Summary:  The Deputy Executive Director (DED) of Public Policy provides strategic leadership for the department and is responsible for the overall design and management of a public policy and public affairs strategy that supports NAFSA’s goals of influencing public policy related to international education. This position helps manage department and association operations, as well as playing a lead role in crafting the association’s communication strategy and public positioning.  The DED directly supervises a Senior Director of Public Policy and Legislative Strategy and a Senior Director of Media Relations and Advocacy and provides guidance for a talented team of approximately seven individuals.


Major Functions and Responsibilities


Provides leadership for the policy, advocacy, and media relations teams in the development and execution of policy priorities and strategy (10%)

  • Continuously molds the association’s agenda positions and strategically leads issue advocacy campaigns to ensure relevance, credibility, influence, and impact.
  • Crafts the overall communications strategy for the association, including shaping and executing high-profile public affairs, advocacy and media relations campaigns on priority issues.
  • Collaborates with executive branch, congressional, coalition, and private sector partners to advance public policies that make the United States more welcoming and globally engaged through education.
  • Supporting the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), serves as communications spokesperson for the policy agenda.
  • Oversees the media relations and advocacy unit to ensure the association’s public messaging is properly aligned with its advocacy strategy.
  • Drives the development of the public policy objectives of the strategic plan with the Board of Directors
  • Sets goals for public policy advocacy and deploys the resources of the department to achieve them.
  • Serves as the point person for internal and external contacts regarding NAFSA’s position on relevant issues.
  • Identifies issues and develops positions; advocates with federal agencies and Congress.


Manages Senior Directors in the development and implementation of the strategic vision for public policy, media relations and advocacy (20%)

  • Guides and critically assesses the units’ vision, performance objectives and budget goals.
  • Support any change management in the policy and media environment and in association management or staffing.
  • Leads regular meetings of both Senior Directors as well as the entire department to provide transparent, concise, and clear communication.
  • Liaises with department staff to produce and promote annual economic value data, relevant issue briefs, media outreach, congressional testimony, action alerts, etc.
  • Strategically contributes as a member of the NAFSA Management Team (20%)
  • Serves on senior leadership team; contributes thought leadership and strategy on association management issues and public policy agenda.
  • Meets regularly with Executive Director and CEO to provide updates on department initiatives and future planning.
  • Leads discussion of public policy, media relations, and advocacy topics and issues at the Management Team meetings.
  • Serves as the communication conduit between Management Team and the entire Public Policy department.
  • Committed to maintaining the overall success of the organization, as well as actively contributing to the development and implementation of NAFSA’s strategic plan.


Manages accounting and finance activities of the department (10%)

  • Develops and monitors annual departmental budget including revenue and expense projections.
  • Guides Senior Directors in the development of the annual vision statement and budget narrative.
  • Reviews and signs checks as requested by accounting staff; serves as alternate to the CFO for ACH transfers, as needed.
  • Works closely with NAFSA Board of Directors on matters directly related to Public Policy (20%)
  • Acts as staff partner to the Vice President for Public Policy and Practice by providing initial orientation and ongoing support during their term.
  • Drafts Board reports for the Vice President and ensures that communications are completed.
  • Provides staffing support in addition to strategic advice on policy issues for both the entire Board and their Public Policy Committee as needed.


Lead cross-unit planning related to achieving the association’s public policy agenda (10%)

  • Collaborate with Management Team to coordinate advocacy messaging, events, logistics, and marketing to insure smooth planning and clear communication.
  • Partner with other departments to ensure alignment across the association on communications and advocacy activities.
  • Engage and educate internal staff and key stakeholders on policy matters affecting the association and the field as a whole.

Assume other responsibilities as assigned by the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (10%)



Work Relationships

As representatives of a membership organization with a broad and diverse range of activities related to education and training, NAFSA staff possess more than simply specialized capabilities. Each individual is expected to take the initiative to become knowledgeable about the organization as a whole. Association members and other staff expect colleagues to be accessible and responsive, to convey a positive attitude, and to exhibit a high degree of professionalism.


The Deputy Executive Director works collaboratively with all other staff, including the Management Team members, Marketing, Publications, Web Services, Finance, Technology Solutions, Human Resources and others.


Office Environment

The workday is generally 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The week after Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.


Travel is required occasionally related to job responsibilities, especially for the annual conference, regional meetings, and other leadership meetings. Participation in the NAFSA annual conference the week of Memorial Day, including the holiday itself, is a job requirement. The annual conference is held in varying cities in the U.S.


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent with substantive work experience in the field of public policy or governmental relations
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative, set priorities, and exercise sound judgment in a complex, fast-moving, political environment and contribute at a strategic level to advance the advocacy agenda
  • At least five years of advocacy or lobbying experience (legislative staff or committee experience preferred)
  • Ten or more years of management and operations experience including strategic planning and management of projects and budget
  • Extensive knowledge and understanding of the public policy process
  • Excellent communication skills including writing, editing, oral communication and public presentations
  • Exceptional leadership skills, including capacity to guide strategic planning with the ability to link long-term goals with day-to-day program implementation decisions and needs
  • Ability to lead in a team environment, while handling controversial issues with confidence, diplomacy, tact, and discretion
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to positively interact with a wide range of personalities including government officials, staff across organizations, key stakeholders, association members, and the general public.
  • Successful cultivation and maintenance of collaborative working relationships with staff peers and colleagues in cross-functional areas and teams
  • Commitment to the association’s mission



Desired Qualifications:

  • Juris Doctor or master’s degree in a relevant field
  • Previous experience with NAFSA or other higher education association, membership or nonprofit organization
  • Experience in international education
  • Familiarity with the U.S. federal policymaking process, especially congressional processes


NAFSA: Association of International Educators is an organization of people dedicated to building a global community and fostering a more peaceful world through advancing international higher education. With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world’s largest professional development and advocacy organization committed to international learning and creating a more globally engaged, welcoming, and educated United States. We are an organization of individuals who believe that: international education advances learning and scholarship; strengthens America’s diplomatic ties with countries across the globe and is an integral part of national security; and is essential for developing globally competent individuals. We believe that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security, and well-being for all. NAFSA is a workplace that not only appreciates diversity but believes it is our strength, and we strive to create an inclusive culture for all our team members. NAFSA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Job posted: 2019-07-30