Senior Director, Safety and Justice, State Government Location

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • Jun 27, 2019
Full time Legal Nonprofit-Social Services

Job Description

Position Overview
The senior director oversees three current projects: civil legal system modernization, public safety performance, and dental health. Each of these conducts data analysis and produces research to inform critical policy debates, provides technical assistance, and manages advocacy campaigns that deliver meaningful policy reforms, and considers how technology can be brought to bear on particular public policy challenges. Together, the combined budget of these projects exceeds $15 million annually and encompass approximately 50 staff.

In addition to overseeing these projects, the senior director draws on his/her understanding of federal, state, and local government strategy and practice and experience in a range of domestic policy areas to partner with the vice president and the other senior directors to set overarching strategy for the portfolio, generate new project ideas, and collaborate with program colleagues to plan for how to operationalize new initiatives.


The senior director, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C., office, reports to the vice president and head of government performance.


  • Provide strategic guidance to position the leaders of the three teams to realize the project objectives, build cohesive teams, and ensure professional development and mentoring of staff.
  • Strategize full life-cycle of project initiatives including standing up new ones, providing leadership and direction through different phases, and leading planning for wind down, hand-off or closeout of projects.
  • Partner with the Government Performance leadership team to plan, develop, and execute a strategic vision for Pew’s relationship with state and local government.
  • Collaborate with leaders in Government Performance and the program strategy team on the development of materials for the board of directors.
  • Work with project directors to build and maintain a culture of excellence and accountability, establish positive and productive teamwork, effectively manage and coach individual staff, provide appropriate opportunities for professional development and acculturate them to Pew.
  • Oversee operational aspects of the portfolio and ensure that program staff are complying with institutional policies and procedures. Ensure appropriate staff receive lobby training and teams have sufficient systems in place to maintain compliance with federal, state, and local lobbying and ethics laws.
  • Engage with operations counterparts to review program’s role in existing processes and identify opportunities to further enhance systems and streamline protocols.
  • Review funding proposals and reports, job descriptions, staff promotion and award nominations, news releases, media statements, publications, and other work products generated by staff. Approve project letters of agreement, per the delegation of authority policy, and review other project contracts prior to approval by vice president.
  • Partner with vice president and head of government performance and Pew’s philanthropic partnerships group to cultivate relationships with potential donors (i.e., both foundations and individuals) for the purpose of securing financial resources needed to achieve program objectives.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with associations of government officials, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other key individuals and institutions.
  • Participate on program’s management team.
  • Work with vice president and head of the government performance and the government performance portfolio leadership team, on strategic-planning efforts for the portfolio.
  • Contribute to and participate in tasks of the program department as assigned and participate in Pew-wide projects as requested.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree in a relevant field, such as public policy or law, preferred.
  • Minimum of 15 years of professional experience in related field, with responsibility for strategic planning, idea development, project management, and a sophisticated understanding of the formulation of policy is required.
  • Minimum of 8 years of experience managing and developing public policy campaigns and talented advocacy and policy teams, including direct supervisory experience managing performance management processes for direct reports, providing career development advice and counsel for direct reports, and oversight of these responsibilities for their teams.
  • Prior to commencing employment with Pew, candidates for this position who were registered to lobby in any jurisdiction must certify termination of previous registration(s) and provide copies of termination notices with said jurisdiction(s) to Pew.
  • Experience running multiple projects and programs concurrently preferred.
  • A strong results orientation, with a track record of solving problems creatively.
  • Media-savvy and politically astute.
  • Excellent analytic and problem-solving skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; an excellent listener who has the ability to work productively and diplomatically with a wide array of people and institutions.
  • Persuasive and effective at “selling” ideas and gaining support and commitment for initiatives from individuals and organizations capable of providing financial support for Pew projects.
  • Excellent time- and project-management skills. Highly flexible, with the ability to juggle multiple priorities, adjust to changing circumstances, remain attentive to details and identify resources for projects.
  • The ability to make decisions after contemplating various courses of action, justify recommendations, and to be responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ease in briefly summarizing the essence of issues and means to address them. Strong oral, presentation, facilitation, and written communication skills such that complex ideas, thoughts and concepts are clearly articulated for a general audience. Clear, effective writing style.
  • Strong operational management acumen. Ability to analyze budgetary information, assess organizational needs and problem solve within a large institution.
  • Ability to fit into the creative, fast-paced, and highly professional corporate culture of Pew, which emphasizes excellence, collegiality, and teamwork.

Occasional domestic travel to develop and manage partnerships, attend conferences and meetings, and perform other business.