Senior Program Officer, State & Local Government Relations, Tennessee
At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we believe that by creating an environment for our employees to personally and professionally thrive, we will have maximum impact toward our missions to achieve our vision.
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The North America Team develops and executes policy, advocacy, communications and government relations strategies to build political support and advance domestic and global programmatic priorities that are funded by, or executed within, the United States, Canada, and the United Nations. Management of cross-cutting assets, tools and engagements that are utilized across all teams and sub-teams, using these assets to craft strategies across teams.
Leadership & Culture
Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.
The Senior Program Officer (SPO), State and Local, Government Relations, will be responsible for developing and executing a place-based advocacy strategy to advance effective policy solutions that align with our Early Learning, K12, and Postsecondary policy priorities in Tennessee. To achieve this goal, the SPO will develop and maintain relationships in the state with key decisionmakers who are involved directly in making policies aligned with our priorities. The SPO will also manage grantmaking to state advocacy partners who will be responsible for the effective coalitions needed to drive the adoption of effective policy solutions. Finally, the SPO will monitor policy developments within their geography and be prepared to take appropriate opportunistic actions based on recommendations from Government Relations (GR) and US Program (USP) leaders.
The SPO will bring a depth and breadth of knowledge about the political landscape in their geography and specific expertise about policy making related to education and economic mobility policies in Tennessee. They will also possess at least 7-10 years of senior experience working in legislative or agency roles aligned with foundation priorities and be able to demonstrate that they are active and well-connected with state advocacy networks.
- Monitor and track issues across the foundation’s P-16 priorities
- Establish and sustain relationships with key decision-makers (i.e. legislators, agency/institutional heads) and cultivate policy champions (key business, community and philanthropic leaders) that support policy solutions that align with our priorities
- Collaborate with the NAT Policy and Finance Team to identify and adapt needed policy solutions to state policy contexts
- Develop, implement and coordinate place-based advocacy strategies that support the adoption and scaling of K-12 education, Postsecondary education, and Economic Mobility policy solutions
- Track state budget development processes and assess implications of changes for foundation priorities
- Update NAT, GPA, and USP leadership about political and policy trends within coverage states;
- Coordinate opportunities to use foundation leadership voices in advocacy activities in coverage states
- Identify potential advocacy partners; assess their alignment with foundation priorities; evaluate their capacity to advocate; manage resulting policy, advocacy, and communications grants; and then assess their performance over time
- Represent the foundation to key external constituencies including making speeches, attending conferences and other formal/informal meetings as necessary
- Operate effectively in a highly dynamic and matrixed environment;
- Adapt effectively to change and maintain a positive attitude
Core Knowledge and Skills
- Demonstrated record of success working with Tennessee state leaders and their senior staff, including state education agencies and postsecondary governing agencies/institutions
- Senior-level experience working in Tennessee state government with an emphasis on roles that align most closely with foundation priorities
- Deep knowledge of state policy making processes, particularly as it relates to state budgets
- Access to senior level staff and/or state government officials with proven ability to expand networks as needed
- Experience designing, implementing, and evaluating effective advocacy strategies
- Experience leading and coordinating successful advocacy coalitions
- Demonstrated ability to collaborate with other funders and public sector agencies/institutions
Position Reports to the Deputy Director of the State and Local Government Relations Team within Global Policy and Advocacy’s North America Team (NAT).
Education and Experience
- Advanced degree related to public policy, education or equivalent experience
- At least 7+ years of progressive oversight leading a portfolio of government relations work related to the foundation’s education policy priorities related to the state of Tennessee
- A deep dedication to education and economic mobility issues
- Ability to navigate complex relationships successfully, show respect, cultivate trust, maintain transparency, and build energy
- Ability to share political intelligence in a clear, succinct manner
- The ability to adapt rapidly to changing conditions
- Willingness to travel up to 20-30%
*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.
All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:
* Sexual Orientation
* Gender Identity
* Gender Expression
* National Origin
* Genetic Information
* Veteran Status
* Marital Status
* Prior Protected Activity
Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation pride ourselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Our vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. We have four missions to:
- Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;
- Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;
- Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and
- Inspire people to take action to change the world.
Key to enabling these missions is our commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk taking. Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Mark Suzman and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. We have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.
Job posted: 2020-10-23