DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

Location: CT – New Haven metropolitan area

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION

Since 1992, Heron has worked to help people and communities help themselves out of poverty. Always the servant leader, Heron has understood from its earliest days that its impact is rooted in the success of others. Heron values the collective wisdom of its partners — on the ground in communities and within the capital markets — and uses that wisdom to help the foundation think differently.

Over the past 25 years, those values have led Heron to challenge what we perceived as broken conventions in philanthropy. The foundation began making general operating grants when restricted grants were the norm. Heron is committed to investing in alignment with its mission when others expected it to focus exclusively on our financial returns. And Heron constantly works with partners to leverage different tools (financial and non-financial alike) in service to mission.

Heron is currently working to shift from traditional philanthropy toward a model of participatory philanthropy, ceding the authority to make investment decisions to local integrated capitals committees in a number of communities across the U.S. It is in the process of forming its first committee, made up of a diverse group of representatives that will create a shared vision for their community.

ABOUT THE POSITION

The Director of Strategic Initiatives supports the Office of the President by prioritizing work in line with organizational priorities. They will manage internal and external communications, including the President’s inbox. The Director of Strategic Initiatives will be responsible for coordinating board and stakeholder support and managing strategic initiatives.

This is an opportunity for a highly strategic, organized individual with exceptional professional judgment and communication skills to be a part of the development of an organization poised to create systems-level change.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Presidential Support and Relationship Management

Support and create leverage for the President, helping to ensure that Heron achieves its strategic objectives.

  • Serve as primary support, advisor, and project manager to the President, positioning the President to focus on their unique role as chief strategist, steward, and leader in the field
  • Serve as a thought partner to the President on key relationships, managing communications with internal and external stakeholders
  • Manage the President’s inbox and ensure that follow-up is communicated to the team and executed in a timely manner
  • Develop and implement strategies and systems to ensure a high degree of responsiveness to external and internal stakeholders
  • Ensure that the President’s time and attention are put to the best possible use by understanding current and future priorities, working with the team to ensure alignment of calendars, and marshaling the resources they need to be effective
  • Support the President in a thought leadership / external communications strategy, including vetting press and speaking engagement inquiries and staffing preparation for those interviews and presentations (e.g., preliminary research, talking points, powerpoint presentations, etc.)
  • Manage the Office of the President including the coordinator in planning and coordinating travel, coordination with host organizations, etc.
  • Advocate for internal and external partners to ensure they feel heard and respected

Organizational Leadership

Support organization-wide strategy and ensure team, systems, and operations work efficiently and effectively.

  • Maintain strong communication with the President and ensure alignment on key issues and priorities, enabling independent decision-making when appropriate
  • Support in strategic management of the Board of Directors, ensuring effective Board engagement and communications; lead materials development and distribution for Board meetings
  • Align and connect the President’s priorities to organization-wide priorities, enabling the translation from vision to action.
  • Manage and own key projects as needed
  • Partner closely with the operations team to identify and address capacity needs

Communications Management

Support and maintain strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders through effective and efficient communications and information-sharing.

  • Support engagement and cultivation of partners by supporting the President’s needs in preparing for meetings, ensuring timely follow-up and execution on deliverables, and owning or supporting creation of materials as needed
  • Maintain regular communication and strong working relationships with the President’s direct reports (permanent and project-based) to facilitate aligned action and coordinated decision-making, and to ensure the team has what they need to succeed
  • Work with external firms to create, update, and maintain collateral, website, and presentations designed to inspire and inform a range of audiences, as well as periodically set strategic communications goals
CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS:

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Eight or more years of professional experience, with a preference for work in mission-driven environments.
  • Experience supporting senior leaders and comfort with serving as a thought partner on broad, strategic initiatives.
  • Superb writing skills and an ability to draft external-ready content (emails, memos, and presentations) with minimal instruction or oversight; strong knowledge of PowerPoint is required.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills and an ability to deliver timely, relevant, mission-critical information in a clear and concise manner.
  • Track record of building strong, professional relationships with colleagues and external stakeholders at all levels and across a variety of contexts, including external consultants.
  • Exceptional professional judgment, a high level of trust, and an ability to challenge and an ability to challenge conventions when necessary.
  • An entrepreneurial and flexible orientation, comfort with ambiguity, and the ability to maneuver effectively in the face of rapidly evolving priorities and work streams.
  • A demonstrated ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment, lead projects, meet multiple concurrent deadlines, and prioritize.
  • Strong strategic thinking and problem-solving skills combined with superb organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • A true listening and servant leadership orientation, and strong desire to ensure space is created for others to be heard.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:

Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

This organization is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Apply to this position here.