Oct 31, 2023

Chief of Programs & Strategy

$220,000 - $230,000 yearly
  • Demos
  • Remote (Hybrid, remote-first; offices in Washington D.C. and New York City)
Full-Time Executive Management (CEO/ED) Programs

Job Description

Chief of Programs & Strategy. The Chief of Programs & Strategy will be a results-driven and experienced leader, who will champion and lead Demos’ four programmatic teams: Strategic Communications, Democracy, Economic Justice, and Movement Building. This strategic leader will work closely with the President and other leadership team members in designing and implementing strategies that leverage Demos’ institutional think tank capacities (legal strategies, policy and research, strategic communications, and Demos’ deep relationships with movement partners) to drive policy and systems change that leads to a more inclusive democracy and functional economy that centers equitable outcomes. The Chief of Programs & Strategy will be joining Demos at an exciting time as we continue to build out new programmatic strategies and will play a critical role strengthening the synergy between Demos’ internal program teams. The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker, experienced in change management, having led teams or an organization to adopt new bodies of work or implement new strategies. The Chief of Programs & Strategy should also understand the vision of the organization, be committed to building power with and for Black and brown communities, and proactively propose and develop program interventions, spot gaps in the field, and bring new ideas to the organization. The Chief of Programs & Strategy will regularly represent the organization externally, at events, on panels, and in the media and is seen as the number two external spokesperson, after the President. The Chief of Programs & Strategy will work closely with, advise, and report directly to Taifa Smith Butler, President of Demos.

Success in this role will require someone who is:

  • A visionary strategic leader able to articulate and communicate a clear and compelling vision for the programmatic work that inspires, mobilizes and galvanizes Demos’ programmatic staff and to ensure the long-term impact and sustainability of this vibrant enterprise;
  • An exceptional relationship builder, increasing rapport, trust, and transparency across a diverse and growing community of robust, passionate, talented stakeholders, including staff, funders, supporters, and nonprofit partners; and
  • A strong listener, public communicator, and storyteller who can articulate and amplify the values, lived experiences, and lessons that demonstrate the potential and impact of the work in meeting communities where they are.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Cultivate, assemble, and lead a high-impact team.

  • Responsible for articulating and driving a healthy, results oriented team culture across Demos’ programmatic work, including modeling organizational values and translating a compelling vision into action. 
  • Ensure relevant program leaders have the skills, tools, support, input, and feedback they need to effectively lead high performing, high impact teams; 
  • In partnership with leadership, ensure the availability, alignment, and good stewardship of Demos resources in the short and long-term, setting priorities and designing programs that optimize the impact of Demos resources; 
  • Working closely with the Development Team, meet with funders to describe our program strategy and ensure adequate resources are secured to achieve programmatic goals.
  • In partnership with the Finance leadership, regularly review organizational financial documents and identify areas of concerns and opportunities; 
  • Recruit, hire, assess, supervise program leaders (Democracy, Economic Justice, Movement Building, and Strategic Communications) partnering on problem solving and providing coaching and mentorship, as needed; and 
  • Supervise staff and lead program teams during gaps in program leadership positions, as needed. 

Represent Demos and Manage Effective External Relationships

  • Develop program strategies that help build power for and with Black and brown communities. 
  • Work to maintain, build, and extend partnerships in the service of Demos’ work and its commitment to core issues of democracy and racial and economic justice. 
  • Represent Demos at conferences, high-level strategy meetings, retreats, key national tables, philanthropic gatherings, etc.; and 
  • Grow strategic relationships with external partners within the movement, political ecosystem, think tanks, funders, or other spheres to further position Demos as a leading resource for policy, narrative, and legal ideas that advance a multi-racial populist agenda.

Lead on executing strategies for impact, guiding the organization to identify gaps in the field and ideate innovative solutions that drive impact.

  • Build on the long-term strategic vision of the organization; primary responsibility for designing and adjusting programmatic strategies needed to integrate the organization’s program ideas, issues, and narratives into the public discourse and policy arenas to connect the work to strategies to build progressive governing power of Black and brown communities, adjusting strategy in response to changing events; 
  • Work closely with the President and programmatic senior leadership team to design and execute organizational program strategy; and 
  • Stay abreast of developments in relevant fields, including an ability to spot emerging gaps and opportunities for impact in advancing bold new policies and ideas that shift power and promote structural reforms to building a racially just democracy and economy.

Executive Leadership, to include: 

  • Lead the implementation of strategic direction & organizational success. 
  • Track key issues before the organization and planning appropriate responses.
  • Ensure adequate Board outreach, staff leadership, team structures, strategies and resources are in place to pursue Demos’ priorities and goals. 
  • Work closely with the Executive Team, as needed, on organizational crisis, working to adequately protect the organization and live our values. 
  • Foster organizational culture of collaboration, learning, and inclusion where all staff feel safe, seen, and supported. 
  • Make organization-wide decisions re:   
    • Investments in new areas of work (wholesale changes to priorities or addition of totally new areas, not day-to-day decision-making about projects) or areas of work to ramp down/ phase out   
    • Review financial and program performance reports and take decisions on needed changes  
    • Budget priorities and adjustments as needed for effective financial management.

Hiring Organization



The successful candidate must demonstrate the following skills and experience:

  • Leading on racial equity and building an effective organizational culture. You are able to hold and inspire a diverse, multiracial, multifunction team to execute strategy and advance a vision of an organization and society premised on racial equity; You are creative in building an effective organizational culture committed to racial equity, and have a demonstrated history of successfully intervening in problematic dynamics and deepening a racial justice approach within an organization, team, or table; you have lived experience that promotes knowledge of and sensitivity to the challenges vulnerable communities face including appreciation for historical context, discernment of relationship nuances and power dynamics, and understanding of social, racial and ethnic realities; you have strong relationship building and communication skills with the ability to have authentic dialogue around sensitive issues including strategic priorities, and ecosystem partner concerns;
  • Creative, collaborative strategic leader. You have proven experience leading on crafting and executing strategies for impact, guiding a think tank or organization to identify gaps in the field, generate bold new ideas, and drive impact through those ideas; you have a passion for how a movement-centered think tank can advance structural change; you have the ability and interest in creating new initiatives and comfort with the ambiguity that stems from starting new bodies of work; and the ability to work in partnership with researchers, communications experts, policy & research, and legal staff to co-create and achieve shared goals and concrete outcomes; you have demonstrated organizational leadership skills in creating a clear vision for staff, championing the implementation of strategy, taking responsibility for major decisions, and marshaling resources; you are a hands-on strategic leader who balances a sense of urgency with empathy and humility when building and maintaining relationships with new and existing funding partners and with leaders and power builders in the field;
  • Exceptional management skills. You have proved experience leading people, building cohesive teams, coaching and developing staff, and empowering managers to own their functional areas; you have proven project management experience that includes scoping, planning, and integration of people and resources, managing risk, prioritizing activities, and planning for contingencies; you have the ability to manage multiple, complex priorities within demanding timeframes; you have successful experience leading a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds; you have a highly developed emotional intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal and political skills in collaborative ways;
  • Research and writing skills. You have excellent writing, editing, analytical and oral communication skills including the ability to collect, review, synthesize and present information and findings;
  • Passion for Demos’ mission and fluency with core issues. You have the desire to work to build program strategies that help build power with and for Black and brown communities; you have prior experience with the progressive movement, grassroots organizing, and/or think tank ecosystem, with a focus on democracy, voting rights, social, economic justice, and/or racial justice issues.
  • Public speaking experience. You have exemplary public communication skills and experience participating in national and regional convenings as a panelist or keynote speaker. The most competitive candidates will also have media experience.
  • Communications management experience. You have prior experience with management responsibility over external affairs, public relations, communications and/or other related functions. You understand strategies for increasing brand awareness and implementing effective marketing strategies to influence public policy.
  • Low Ego. You are committed to advancing the whole rather than yourself. You have an optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, kindness, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment. You are willing to set aside a personal agenda in favor of organizational and/or community goals and objectives.

The most competitive candidates will also demonstrate several of the following skills and experience:

  • Content expertise with Demos’ core issues. The most compelling candidates will have demonstrative expertise in one of Demos’ program areas: democracy, economic justice, or movement building.
  • Fundraising experience. You have prior experience in a senior-level position with a proven track record of substantial and diverse fund development and experience with foundation and individual giving. Direct experience cultivating and asking for major gifts would be ideal.

Additionally, candidates must bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in an evolving environment. 

Work Location: Demos is working to adopt a hybrid, remote-first work model with in-person meetings taking place in the current offices in New York City or Washington, D.C. Candidates based in any continental U.S. location with the ability to travel are encouraged to apply.

Industry/Service Area

Public Policy, Social Justice, Think Tank




Salary and Benefits: The annual salary range for this position is $220,000- 230,000. Salary is determined based on job responsibilities and other factors determined by law. For purposes of internal equity, Demos will not negotiate salaries outside of this posted range. Demos has a generous benefits package, which includes health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 11 paid holidays, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, 12 sick days per year, paid time off the last week of August, and Dec. 24 – through the first week of January, and a voluntary 403b plan.

Application Instructions

How to Apply: Please upload a concise, thoughtful cover letter and resume, that speaks to how your experience and skillset meet the qualifications for this role. We are looking for an immediate hire so applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.  No phone calls or emails please.

Demos is an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.  We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.

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