Senior Associate, Planning, Strategy

Location US-DC-Washington
Posted Date 2 months ago(5/28/2020 2:35 PM)
Job ID
The Pew Charitable Trusts


The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our hometown and the majority of our staff located in Washington, D.C., our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.
Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven initiatives to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.
The Strategy Portfolio within Program
The goal of the strategy portfolio is to inform critical institutional decisions about Pew’s programs, 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 to help programs turn ideas into effective action; (3) using evaluation to improve program performance and inform decision-making; (4) ensuring that staff has 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. The strategy portfolio was created in 2017 through the merger of Pew’s longstanding planning and evaluation department and a new program unit focused on strategy and idea development and has approximately 30 professional staff.
Pew’s planning unit, within strategy, works in partnership with program and portfolio leadership and staff to identify, develop, and refine high-profile initiatives in line with institutional and programmatic needs and priorities. Specifically, in partnership with and support of program and portfolio leadership, the unit identifies and explores new public policy and research issues in which Pew might play a role; develops program designs, strategies, and initiatives to address these issues; and reviews, informs, and strengthens existing strategies and initiatives to meet new or revised objectives. 
Position Overview
Working in partnership with all planning team staff and relevant other program staff, the senior associate will support all phases of the planning lifecycle including developing new initiatives, refining existing ones, and helping to gracefully sunset projects. In performing this work, the senior associate will ensure the process is timely and effective, making smart course corrections when needed; and, most importantly, helping to make strategic judgments along the way to ensure the soundness of the projects’ program designs. The senior associate will help to respond to inquiries from Pew leaders or others that require limited research and a fast turnaround. The position offers the opportunity to shape the work of the environment, government performance, Philadelphia, and research and science portfolios which currently consist of 35+ projects, including focus areas ranging from environmental policy, land conservation, marine conservation and fisheries, and marine habitat protection to family economic security, health and human services, management and budget, and safety and justice.
The position requires a talented public policy strategist with strong interpersonal, analytical, and writing skills. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated ability to quickly master new topics and understand the interests and needs of an organization and its target audiences. The position requires adaptability, creativity, initiative, and the right balance of pragmatism and optimism about the art-of-the-possible—a perspective grounded by experience in a diverse range of policy settings. 
The position, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C., office, reports to the senior manager, planning.


  • Support exploring new ideas and strengthening existing ones by:
  • Conducting in-depth data-driven research and identifying and engaging internal and external expertise to address knowledge gaps.
  • Supporting the development of planning tools such as logic models, impact maps, and memos and project design components such as theories of change, problem statements, and potential advocacy campaign approaches.
  • Facilitating project team discussion and problem-solving.
  • Asking probing questions to validate underlying assumptions in project design components and providing impartial guidance to strengthen the team’s approach.
  • Participating in a rigorous vetting process to determine the technical and political viability of project design solutions and provide strategic recommendations on the potential role for the organization.
  • Assisting in translating project design components into outlines, idea agendas, strategy papers, and write-ups.
  • Stay current on public policy issues and research and maintain awareness of effective public policy strategies and new trends and tactics.
  • Help respond efficiently to discrete inquiries from Pew leadership that require research and analysis and a quick turnaround.
  • Help draft internal documents for strategy’s leadership team and other senior-level Pew staff, incorporating feedback and guidance appropriately.
  • Assist with formation of, and work with, ad hoc teams formed to explore new and emerging issues and comprised of strategy colleagues, internal staff, and/or consultants.
  • Help develop and manage contracts with consultants as necessary to inform explorations.
  • Support implementation of Pew’s yearly annual planning process.
  • Build and maintain productive working relationships with internal colleagues and external stakeholders during the course of an exploration.


  • Bachelor’s degree is required, advanced degree preferred in domestic or international public policy, or other fields relevant to the formulation of public policy.
  • At least four years of professional experience helping design, launch, and/or operate strategies or projects aimed at informing and advancing effective public policy at the state, national or international levels.
  • Demonstrated ability to learn and master new issues quickly. Knowledge of current domestic and international political and economic trends, and major concerns within public policy. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills; proven ability to work productively with a wide array of stakeholders and perspectives and approach issues with a nonpartisan, objective mindset. Consulting experience a plus.
  • Strong research and analytical skills; asks probing questions, synthesizes material, and focuses quickly on the essence of an issue and the means to address it.
  • Resourceful in identifying and gathering relevant information and data, including interviewing high-level experts; highly skilled at analyzing and organizing a large volume of complex information into a clear and coherent narrative.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including the ability to present, facilitate, write clearly and effectively, convince and persuade, and listen carefully.
  • Ability to work effectively on teams and independently, with a high degree of initiative.
  • Track record of thinking strategically and creatively, juggling multiple priorities, adjusting to changing circumstances, organizing time efficiently, remaining attentive to details.
  • Ability to fit into a fast-paced and highly professional corporate culture which emphasizes excellence, collegiality, and teamwork.
This position requires occasional travel to meetings and conferences.
Total Rewards
We offer a competitive salary and 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 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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