Director of Strategic Learning

Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
  • Location
    Houston, Texas
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Jun 06

Position description

Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC) strives to create a collaborative, respectful, humble, transparent, equitable work environment so that each person can bring his or her best self to the job. HILSC is committed to a collaborative culture. Our work is challenging, it requires great emotional intelligence and resilience. Having a sense of humor and optimism is highly valued. For more information about HILSC, visit our website

The Houston metropolitan area has one of the highest concentrations and fastest-growing populations of immigrants and refugees in the country. More than 1.6 million immigrants and 70,000 refugees call Greater Houston home and 63% of them are non-citizens; more than 500,000 Greater Houston residents are undocumented.  HILSC grew out of a 2013 conversation among Greater Houston immigrant-serving organizations and funders seeking to grow legal services capacity in this region. Launched to expand legal resources to help DREAMers apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), HILSC convened working groups to identify gaps in service and incubated new programs such as the Immigrant Rights Hotline, Deportation Defense Houston, Forensic Evaluations, Disaster Justice, Connect for Healthcare to meet community needs. HILSC works at the intersection of immigrant rights and racial equity to promote immigrant inclusion, equity, and justice by working with allies through value-based collaboration. 

 Vision for Strategic Learning at HILSC:

HILSC is committed to understanding our effects, influences, impact, learning from our partners' successes and challenges, and sharing insights to promote dialogue and inform action, both internally and externally. We believe that strategic learning is integral to adapting and improving our strategies, so that we may strengthen our collective efforts to advance equity and improve the well-being of the people we serve. We understand strategic learning as “the use of data and insights from a variety of information-gathering approaches – including evaluation – to inform decision making about strategy. Strategic learning occurs when organizations or groups integrate data and evaluative thinking into their work and then adapt their strategies in response to what they learn. Strategic learning makes intelligence gathering and evaluation a part of a strategy’s development and implementation – embedding it so that it influences the process.” Coffman, J. and Beer, T., Center for Evaluation Innovation (2014).

Position Overview

The Director of Strategic Learning is a new position at HILSC and will report to the Executive Director (ED). It is a full-time permanent position. The Director will oversee the Strategic Learning function at HILSC, and will work closely with the Executive Director, staff, and network partners. The Director will play a key role in designing, developing, and applying tools to collect, analyze, and communicate evidence of the impact of mission delivery for systems change within HILSC, to support learning from data and experiences. The Director will support the organization’s strategy development, build, and implement an actionable strategic learning and evaluation system for HILSC, facilitate evaluation capacity building and learning activities with staff and the Advisory Board, work with the ED to keep the Board of Directors informed and engaged in the Evaluation and Learning function, and will share key learnings and insights with the field through in person and written communications. The Director will also help the HILSC network to be strategic and systematic in engaging in immigration legal services as well as supporting the immigrant community.

 Principal Duties and Responsibilities 

Supporting Program Teams’ Strategy Development and Implementation

  • Consult with program teams throughout their strategy development process -- surface critical choices, hypotheses, and assumptions
  • Facilitate theory of change discussions
  • Identify short- and long-term outcomes that teams hope to see on their way towards longer term outcomes and goals
  • Work with teams to identify questions or indicators that demonstrate progress towards longer term outcomes and goals
  • Identify strategies for meeting the learning needs of multiple stakeholders, including leadership, grantees, program staff, and Advisory Board
  • Manage relationships with strategy consultants

Supporting Program and Organization Evaluation and Learning Efforts

  • Develop organization-wide strategic learning and evaluation system that includes a vision statement, organization level theory of change, strategic learning questions, guidance on grantee reporting, proposed evaluation studies, communications plan, timeline, and budget for 2-3 years
  • Consult with program teams to design and coordinate third-party evaluations
  • Support ongoing reflection, sense-making, and learning from the work to inform potential shifts in strategy when necessary. Bring data and evidence to bear on strategic conversations.
  • Support ongoing adaptive management of programmatic and non-programmatic work by harvesting, analyzing, synthesizing, and visualizing data – including from monitoring and evaluation products and processes
  • Champion a culture of shared learning, transparency, candor, and data-informed decision-making by developing processes for shared learning and mechanisms for surfacing and acting on feedback
  • Develop and support institutional knowledge management (and documentation) processes to support shared learning within and across program teams

Supporting the Sharing of Insights Internally and with the Field

  • Create tools and venues that enable learning across programs 
  • Identify opportunities for program teams to learn from one another on specific issue areas
  • Make data on successes, challenges, and implications for the future discussable and actionable
  • Facilitate sharing of learning materials and products with grantees and partners
  • Identify opportunities to include grantees in learning activities
  • Connect grantees with opportunities to learn from each other
  • Represent HILSC at external events

Qualifications & Skills

Preferred Education, Training and Experience 

  • Advanced degree in relevant subjects such as public policy, international relations, social work, public health, education, economics, law, or other relevant education. Coursework and/or workshops on various evaluation topics or evidence of evaluation knowledge required.
  • At least 5 years of experience engaging in and/or supporting strategic learning and evaluation projects in the philanthropic, not-for-profit, and/or international development sectors.
  • Experience in a consultative and/or senior advisory capacity.
  • Knowledge of a range of strategy development, strategic planning, and strategic learning tools and approaches.
  • Experience applying evaluation methodologies and how evaluation can be used to support strategic learning, including designing, managing, and executing developmental evaluations, rapid assessments, and learning syntheses. 
  • Experience applying an equity lens or conducting equity-oriented analyses.
  • Content expertise in immigration systems, law and policy preferred. Lived immigration experience is an asset.
  • Expertise in workshop design and advanced group facilitation techniques.
  • High level of professional excellence, including demonstrated experience collaborating with a range of teams and stakeholders, experience managing complex stakeholder environments, and experience working in dynamic or ambiguous contexts and organizations.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently manage complex projects, prioritize conflicting demands and meet deadlines. 
  • Skillful listener with a high degree of self-awareness, humility, and diplomacy.
  • High proficiency to work, communicate, and write in English is required, with fluency in other languages an asset.
  • Proficiency in Excel, PowerPoint, on-line collaboration tools (e.g., Mural), and data visualization software. 


  • Strategic thinking and analytical abilities: Ability to dissect complex challenges, understand root causes and develop creative yet sound approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Evaluation: Strong measurement and evaluation skills and ability to provide technical support to program teams; knowledge of how to use evaluation to support strategic learning.
  • Consultative and Advisory Skills: Experience working in a consultative or advisory role; demonstrated success working with internal teams and partners.
  • Partnership and relationship building: Ability to develop strong and trusting relationships with staff, Advisory Board, Board of Trustees, and network partners.
  • Execution: Strong project management skills, adherence to deadlines, sense of responsibility and accountability and the ability to effectively multi-task and work with diverse colleagues across teams
  • Leadership: Possesses the highest professional integrity and comfortable delivering tough messages, providing objective perspectives, and framing important choices. 
  • Integration: Ability to identify where complementary skill sets are needed and to pull in those capabilities from within the team and across the organization. Demonstrates inclusiveness, collaboration, and respect for all stakeholders, and represents broad organizational interests.
  • Communication: Superior interpersonal communication abilities internally and externally; exceptional listening skills, excellent written and oral skills in English. Experience with development of materials for an executive-level audience.

Generous benefits include employee health, vision, and dental insurance; a 401(k) defined contribution retirement plan; and flexible work schedules. Employees have a generous leave benefit inclusive of vacation, sick and holidays, including an office closure the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Application instructions

Interested candidates should email a cover letter explaining how your skills and background fit this position and a resume, with subject headline: Application for Director of Strategic Learning.

Please include as an attachment a short writing sample of 5-10 pages on a topic relevant to evaluation and learning within a non-profit or public sector setting.

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