Strategy Specialist

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 26

Position description

Strategy Specialist, Strategy Unit, New York, Deadline: 10/11/2018

The Strategy Unit is OSF's primary service department facilitating the evolution of the Foundations' strategy and results assessment practice. Working closely with OSF's 50+ programs, foundations and departments, the Strategy Unit helps staff and boards create strategies that are informed by continuous learning and adjustment, and aligned with budgets and staffing plans. The Strategy Unit also supports strategy at the organization-wide level, helping to develop and lift up cross-cutting work, encouraging collaboration, and providing guidance and training in research methods. We facilitate the review and authorization of strategies with executive leadership and the global board, and support staff-board engagement on a variety of issues relevant to the OSF's global network.

The New Enterprise team supports OSF staff as they design and develop experimental approaches within their grant making or advocacy portfolios. We support program and advocacy officers to respond to changing contexts and new opportunities in the fields and geographies where they work. We believe that experimentation, informed risk-taking, and integrated learning are important aspects of strategic planning and decision-making. New Enterprise provides guidance and models for teams who are considering 'spinning off' internally supported projects as independent enterprises in the field. We document and share examples of experiments, design and facilitate peer-learning spaces for OSF and partner staff, and conduct research to improve efforts in these areas.

Job Profile

The Strategy Specialist is a full time role reporting to the Senior Program Manager for New Enterprise. This team serves as a service unit to OSF program and foundation colleagues as they design and develop portfolios with deliberate opportunities for experimentation or decide if pursuing a spin-off is a strategic and operationally sound choice. The Strategy Specialist will collaborate across the Strategy Unit while also partnering with staff outside the team on multiple initiatives. Collaboration skills and a service orientation are critical. You will have experience working with or supporting civil society organizations and will bring understanding of creative approaches to experimentation, human centered design, or other applied innovation approaches. The role may include the following programmatic and administrative responsibilities:
  • Support the creation and implementation of cohort models and peer learning workshops for teams to test new ideas and approaches within their portfolios
  • Develop creative communication materials to capture and share learning from experimentation efforts
  • Assist OSF staff exploring whether to "spin-off" a project to become an independent enterprise or initiative, working closely with relevant programs and departments
  • Provide support to internal and external research projects that document and share useable examples, resources, and tools.
  • Conduct outreach to OSF programs, advocacy offices, and foundations, as well as to external actors, including incubators, non-profits, and other philanthropies
  • Coordinate and oversee the work of temporary staff, fellows and interns, and consultants
  • Responsible for operational duties or projects on a periodic or regular basis which may include leading budget planning and monitoring for the team, monitoring, developing new tools and templates, organizing event logistics, and processing vendor contracts and consultancy agreements.
  • Take on special projects as needed.
  • Domestic and international travel as required, up to 20% of the time


Candidate Profile

  • 3 - 5 years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties described above
  • Experience working in or with non-profit organization or social enterprise, ideally at early stages of growth, is an advantage
  • Proven ability and interest to pilot new approaches, analyze and synthesize information, and identify learning opportunities
  • Flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects and ability to prioritize tasks, all while under time pressure
  • Demonstrated event-planning experience
  • Some experience in facilitation, presentation and instruction skills using a range of modalities, including formal presentations, interactive methods, tailored workshops, virtual meetings and webinars is ideal;
  • Proven ability to collaborate, listen well, demonstrate respect for other people's opinions and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communications differences
  • Professional demeanor and maturity, including the ability to work with people of varied backgrounds and work styles
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
  • High level of self-motivation and at ease working independently when necessary
  • Strong commitment to inclusion, diversity, and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity


Application instructions: Please upload a resume and cover letter when submitting an application.

Competitive rates of pay apply.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.
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