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Chief of Staff, Strategic Advising Practice

Bellwether Education Partners

Job Description

Chief of Staff, Strategic Advising Practice

Full Job Description

About Bellwether Education Partners

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for systemically marginalized young people and their communities. We do this by accelerating the impact of education leaders and organizations, informing and influencing policy and program design, and sharing what we learn.

Bellwether envisions a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict opportunities and outcomes for students and the American education system affords all individuals the ability to determine their own path and lead a productive and fulfilling life.

We provide direct services to organizations to deepen and accelerate their impact, and we amplify insights and ideas to reach beyond the clients we serve directly. Our direct service work focuses on strategy and growth planning, academic strategy, policy analysis and research, program evaluation, and capacity-building support.

Our Strategic Advising practice advises leaders and organizations on their most pressing strategic, instructional, and operational issues. Our work ranges from supporting entrepreneurs through business plan development to partnering with established organizations on growth and performance improvement to assessing new opportunities for impact as the education field evolves.

Our Policy and Evaluation practice conducts rigorous, nimble, cutting-edge research and analysis to inform clients and the field about critical issues affecting the educational success of underserved students. Our work includes both field- and client-facing work, which includes engaging with multiple stakeholders through publication, facilitation, and convening as well as partnering with policymakers, public agencies, think tanks, funders, advocates, and educational operators to help them understand and navigate the complex policy ecosystems that affect their work.

Our External Relations (XR) team develops and implements strategy for Bellwether fundraising and communications, and leads Bellwether’s external relations work.

Our Core team is responsible for ensuring that Bellwether’s program areas have the tools and services needed to serve our client partners and ultimately achieve Bellwether’s mission.

Why bring all this together? Bellwether was founded on the belief that the only way to ensure that all children have access to high-quality schools is to take a holistic approach to education’s most pressing challenges. Having various areas of expertise makes our work stronger by tying innovative thinking to perspectives regarding on-the-ground realities.

In this way, Bellwether has carved out a special and desperately needed niche in the education reform landscape. We aren’t just a think tank or a consulting firm. We are both, and more, providing comprehensive, coherent, and lasting solutions to education’s most long-standing and complicated problems.

About the Position

The Chief of Staff is a senior-level position within the Strategic Advising practice that provides direct support to a Bellwether Senior Partner (in this case, Rebecca Gifford Goldberg, who leads our Strategic Advising practice) and works across a range of activities to achieve both tactical and strategic objectives on behalf of the practice. Our Strategic Advising team includes 30 team members, growing to 45+ team members over the next three years. The Chief of Staff will serve as a member of the Strategic Advising practice leadership team, playing a critical role in developing and implementing processes and structures to maximize the team’s ability to deliver on Bellwether’s mission.

The ideal candidate is comfortable juggling multiple competing priorities, centering equity in decision making, managing up, interacting with senior leaders, and acting proactively and with discretion at all times. Successful candidates will enjoy collaborative decision making and building relationships across lines of difference.

In this position, you should expect to serve as a strategic thought partner to the Practice Lead and the leadership team of the Strategic Advising practice. Specific areas of focus include:

Operational leadership (~50%)

  • Lead staff capacity management for the Strategic Advising practice, including managing the process, systems, and communication structures to support business pipeline tracking and aligning team member capacity to projects. Serve as the practice owner for capacity management by providing timely and responsive input to sellers on team member availability for projects, team member strengths, learning goals, and interest areas, supporting alignment of teams to projects, and ensuring technology systems are up-to-date so the team has full visibility into available capacity across the team. Coordinate with relevant members of other teams around staffing changes, hiring processes, and other human capital management issues with implications beyond the Strategic Advising team. Partner with relevant team members across the organization to identify cross-teaming and cross-staffing opportunities. Communicate updates and changes to team members. Manage and improve communication structures and norms and cross-team learning.
  • Manage the meeting cadence for the Strategic Advising practice, including full team, practice leadership, Strategic Advising Quarterly Business Review (QBR), and Strategic Advising senior leader/partner meetings. This includes recommending scope and sequence for topics in collaboration with others, identifying objectives, developing materials in collaboration with others, ensuring materials are sent in advance, facilitating components of meetings, and ensuring follow-through on action steps.
  • Lead design and development of in-person retreat agendas and programming for Strategic Advising team and leadership retreats, and support organization-wide retreat planning, in close collaboration with practice and organizational leadership.

Annual planning and budgeting (15%)

  • Manage annual planning process for the Strategic Advising team to inform organizational and practice-level objectives and key results.
  • Update dashboards for reviewing key performance indicators during the QBR process.
  • Over time, develop a proposed budget for the Strategic Advising team in close collaboration with practice leadership.

Direct support for Strategic Advising Practice Leader (15%)

  • Develop internal communications, including practice-wide communications, emails, and newsletters, to support the Strategic Advising Practice Leader.
  • Collaborate with the administrative support team, including Strategic Advising Practice Leader’s executive assistant and others across organization, to strategically manage use of time against practice strategic priorities.
  • Maintain relationship and coordinate with Bellwether Talent Manager for hiring and onboarding of Strategic Advising team members.
  • Collaborate with other organizational leaders on the P&E, Core, and XR teams to ensure continued alignment and progress on priorities.

Special projects (20%)

  • Lead special projects for the Strategic Advising practice as identified by the Practice Leader, including creating systems and processes to streamline operations and facilitate decision making, balancing efficiency and inclusiveness.
  • Research, benchmark, analyze data, and make recommendations on a range of topics related to leading a rapidly growing strategic advising practice, including supporting strategic decision making around the investment of team time and resources.

This Chief of Staff is accountable to Rebecca Gifford Goldberg, and over time will work closely with the senior leadership team of the Strategic Advising practice.

Qualifications

Bellwether is a good fit for professionals who possess strong personal drive and motivation, who demonstrate exemplary professional behavior and values, and who are resourceful, responsible, tenacious, independent, and self-confident.

Excited? We are too. You should apply if you have:

  • Success in a similar or analogous role.
  • A passion for and commitment to improving schools serving high-need students and familiarity with the challenges and disparities facing underserved students and education reform efforts in the United States.
  • An understanding of and broad commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • A commitment to our work to address policies and practices that lead to inequitable outcomes for marginalized young people.
  • A track record of problem-solving in collaboration with executive leadership (within business, education, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector), juggling competing priorities, and cultivating stakeholder buy-in.
  • Demonstrated ability to turn high-level ideas into tactical project plans for successful execution.
  • Familiarity with providing analysis, recommendations as a foundation for senior leadership to make high-impact decisions.
  • A well-rounded interpersonal skill set with the demonstrated ability to work on teams and with a variety of professionals and effectively support them with a specific focus on cross-team communication, information flow, and collaboration.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to tailor communications to the needs of a variety of stakeholders.
  • An ability to model a high degree of reflection and self-awareness, build trusted relationships across lines of difference and positional power, and seek out and respond to perspectives different from your own.
  • A highly self-motivated work style and willingness to proactively take on leadership roles to solve problems and drive projects forward.
  • A learning mindset and the drive and ability to constantly seek out and synthesize new information.
  • Comfort with and experience in using a range of tools for analysis and communication, including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
  • An analytical mindset that includes comfort with descriptive data analysis and understanding and presenting financial data and a willingness to learn.

Compensation

Salary range starts at $140,000 annually.

Bellwether Education Partners provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package that includes a performance bonus based on individual and organizational success, health care coverage, and a 401(k) plan with an employer matching contribution policy.

Location

Washington, D.C. residence preferred, but not required.

This is a home office opportunity based remotely anywhere in the United States.

Our work is national in scope, and our team lives and works around the country. Even before the pandemic, our flexible working style has allowed our professionals to work where they have built their lives, thereby enabling Bellwether to hire the best person for each role, regardless of geography.

To Apply

Applications or inquiries about the position should be directed to Rebecca Gifford Goldberg, Senior Partner and Strategic Advising Practice Leader. Use your application — a custom letter of interest and a current résumé — to show us how you’ve got the skills we’ve listed or why the skills you have are the ones we actually need. This role has a priority application deadline of July 8, 2022. We are prioritizing applications received on or before that date but will review applications as we receive them until the position is filled.

Bellwether is committed to building a team that reflects the varied backgrounds and experiences of the students we seek to serve. It is important to us that you use your application materials to clearly surface ways in which your background and experiences align with Bellwether’s core values, including our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Bellwether Education Partners is committed to providing equal opportunities. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are not discriminated against on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, color, disability, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Further, as described above, Bellwether is committed to building a diverse team and strongly encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply.

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