The Pew Charitable Trusts

Senior Director, Planning and Project Development, Strategy

Location US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 3 months ago(11/8/2017 2:04 PM)
Job ID
Program-Strategy & Operations
The Pew Charitable Trusts


The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life.


We are an independent nonprofit organization – the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.


Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments – at the local, state, national and international levels – serving the public interests.


With offices in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Brussels and London and staff in other regions of the United States as well as Australia, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.


Strategy is a program department within Pew whose goal is to inform critical institutional and program decision making, strengthen the design and implementation of Pew’s work, and generate knowledge that advances Pew’s program objectives. We pursue this goal by (1) enhancing the organization’s efforts to generate ideas for new initiatives and larger bodies of work; (2) applying a wide range of planning approaches that help turn ideas into effective action; (3) using evaluation to improve program performance and inform decision making, (4) ensuring that staff have access to information that meets their needs to design, implement, and manage high performing strategies, initiatives, and campaigns, and (5) collaborating with colleagues in preparing a wide range of planning and other types of documents for consideration by Pew’s board of directors.


Planning and Project Development:
Planning and Project Development is part of the Strategy department within Pew’s program division. The unit’s primary aims are to strengthen the organization’s efforts to generate ideas for new initiatives and larger bodies of work; apply a wide range of planning approaches that enhance the organization’s capacity to undertake projects that achieve programmatic and institutional goals; oversee the launch of initiatives resulting from the approval of new strategies; engage with programs and projects to review and revise existing strategies and initiatives; and provide guidance and feedback to the vice president, Strategy, and executive vice president, Program, about the suitability of a range of planning proposals, including idea agendas, strategy papers, and write ups.


This team is also responsible for managing the timely production of high-quality documents for the quarterly board agenda process for all of Pew’s programs. In addition, the unit leads program’s efforts, in collaboration with the Government Relations and Legal Affairs departments, to ensure Pew’s compliance with lobbying requirements and the tracking and reporting of program’s events with government officials.


Position Overview:
The senior director will have a high level of strategic planning expertise; experience in developing and launching program strategies and initiatives; and the ability to analyze and critique program development and to identify creative alternative solutions to planning problems. The position requires a highly experienced strategist with strong research, analytical, and team and project management skills. Strong candidates will have demonstrated an ability to quickly learn new topics and assess whether they have the potential to align with an organization’s strengths. The position must have or rapidly develop a deep understanding of a complex and varied set of program strategies and initiatives, along with the broader organizational environment in which they operate. Excellent interpersonal, analytical, and written and oral communication skills are a must. In addition, the senior director will oversee new projects prior to the recruitment of project leadership as well as project teams in transition as they refine or revisit strategic objectives. This senior director position, located in Pew’s Washington, DC office, reports to the vice president, strategy and leads all aspects of the planning and project development team’s duties as detailed in the responsibilities below.


  • In consultation with the vice president, strategy, establish goals and milestones for the planning and project development team, monitor progress toward their completion, and develop budgets and workforce plans appropriate for meeting team goals.
  • Strengthen the organization’s efforts to generate and explore ideas for new initiatives and larger bodies of work. Work closely with vice presidents, senior directors, and project leadership to generate and assess these ideas. Support the organization in pursuing the most promising ideas from conception to initial launch. This responsibility may include at least some of the following activities:
    • Frequent meetings with colleagues throughout the organization to generate and explore new ideas;
    • Interactive meetings with outside experts, selected for their vision and creativity, to spark new ideas; 
    • Experimenting with other ways for Pew to generate new ideas, particularly those that could lead to new lines of work; and 
    • Managing the program development budget and deploying it productively to support the assessment and design of potential new areas of work and the extension of Pew’s work in its existing fields of operation.
  • Oversee planning engagements that support the board, CEO, CPO, and program staff, and strengthen the organization’s capacity to plan, launch, and manage projects that achieve programmatic and institutional objectives. Examples of the types of activities needed to carry out this responsibility include:
    • Meeting regularly with program and project leadership to determine priority planning needs;
    • Ensuring that the unit uses creative approaches to meet the organization’s strategic planning needs, including generating program logic models, supporting the design of project plans; facilitating peer problem-solving sessions, and identifying and engaging internal and external expertise to address knowledge gaps;
    • Supporting strategy development within and across program portfolios, collaborating with vice presidents, senior directors, and their designated leadership to ensure productive strategy reviews, explorations, and developments; and
    • Overseeing and, as needed, leading development of program strategy and project proposals in new areas, or in areas that do not clearly align with existing portfolios. Managing the preparation of planning documents for consideration by program leadership, the CEO, and board of directors. 
  • Ensure that the board, CEO, CPO, and staff are informed by overall program progress and direction through an annual planning process.
  • Oversee and manage the project directors of existing TOPs during periods of transition when their future objectives and strategies are in development. 
  • Launch and oversee new initiatives approved by the board during the start-up phase.
  • Provide programmatic leadership and oversight of the institution’s lobbying, government officials, and program commitments budgets.
  • Ensure that programs and cross-cutting operations units have positive relationships with planning and program development, and understand the full range of the unit’s responsibilities, and that the Strategy department’s work adds substantive value to the organization and its programs.
  • Collaborate with the evaluation and research unit to ensure that evaluation findings and recommendations, along with other relevant organizational knowledge and experience, are reflected in the development of strategies for current and new bodies of work.
  • Oversee the program agenda team that prepares approximately 250 documents each year for consideration by Pew’s board of directors (write-ups, overviews, reports, idea agendas, board trip and learning session descriptions, and memos in response to board queries) to ensure planning documents prepared for the board’s consideration are timely and of high quality.
  • Ensure there are systems in place to manage and track priorities, deadlines and longer term planning working in close conjunction with other departments. 
  • Manage and motivate the unit that is accountable for carrying out the above responsibilities, and work with the vice president, strategy, and the leaders of the other units in the department, to support the overall success of the strategy team.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. An advanced degree (Master’s level) in a relevant field (e.g., business, economics, law, public policy) is strongly preferred. At least 15 years of relevant experience, including five years in a strategic capacity with an advocacy, public policy, or policy research organization, or a consulting firm, preferably providing expert services to nonprofits pursuing public policy objectives. A minimum of eight years of direct supervisory experience required, including managing performance management processes for direct reports and providing career development guidance.
  • Knowledge of and interest in current and emerging domestic and international social, political, economic, and technological trends. 
  • Demonstrated ability to manage and deliver tangible results from complex projects, including significant experience engaging with or developing and managing interdisciplinary teams functioning across institutional management units.
  • Quick-thinking, creative, flexible, and entrepreneurial; able to think imaginatively about opportunities, to identify potential connections between issues, and to respond with novel and innovative approaches to address these issues.
  • A consummate team player who is energetic, articulate, and self-assured; strong interpersonal skills; able to exercise a productive presence in convening groups and shaping a dialogue; able to effectively manage conflicts. 
  • Able to assess risks and opportunities when problem solving, and then make decisions, justify recommendations, and respond to issues with clarity and diplomacy. Excellent listening skills. Highly articulate.
  • Experience with and ability to access broad professional networks. Build solid relationships both inside and outside Pew to influence positive outcomes. 
  • Strong understanding of how to manage by influencing others and the ability to accurately read nuances of meaning. Persuasive written and oral communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to treat sensitive information about the business and affairs of Pew and those with whom it has relationships with discretion and confidence. High level of professional integrity.
  • Able to thrive in the creative, fast-paced, and highly professional corporate culture of Pew that emphasizes excellence, collegiality and teamwork.


Occasional travel, including business meetings and conferences, as required.


Compensation and Benefits:
As this is a full-time position, we offer a competitive salary and complete benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to help you maintain a good balance.


The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.


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