Senior Program Officer, State & Local Government Relations, Tennessee

Senior Program Officer, State & Local Government Relations, Tennessee

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Washington, DC, United States

Position Summary

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.

Core Responsibilities

  • 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%.

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© EuroJobsites 2020

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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