Think of Us (TOU) operates as an R+D lab for child welfare. We take on strategic projects with the goal of causing “good trouble” and, ultimately, driving concrete, structural changes in policy, practice, resource flows, power dynamics, relationships and mental models. Our ultimate goal is to integrate Lived Experience at every level, ensuring everyone touched by the system has the conditions they need to Heal, Develop and Thrive.
We work across the ecosystem of current and former foster youth, child welfare workers, philanthropists and policymakers to Spark, Support and Drive to systematically center lived experience touched by the system.
Examples of what this looks like include:
We are excited to invite a driven and entrepreneurial leader to join Think of Us (TOU) as our inaugural Vice President, Proximate Policy. This role will lead a key pillar within our Center for Lived Experience (CLE) – a groundbreaking participatory research, proximate policy, and community-building initiative – that integrates the insights, data, and leadership of people with lived experience to re-architect the child welfare system.
There is bipartisan agreement on the need for Child Welfare reform - there is real opportunity to build the infrastructure to drive proximity at scale, create new congressional champions, leverage proof points + evidence, and engage constituents to generate action. TOU is committed to support the broader ecosystem and, working collectively, poised to impact each of these points, building the infrastructure so partners across the ecosystem can align to transform child welfare and ensure that the voice, collective insight, and leadership of people with lived experience are central to every decision.
The VP, Proximate Policy will be responsible for building a first of its kind advocacy machine and infrastructure that will create proximity at scale through elevating lived experience data, establishing proof points, driving policy reform, maximizing the value of the present moment and laying the groundwork to leverage future opportunities, building permanent structures that empower people with lived experience to co-create a child welfare system that supports humans to heal, develop and thrive.
Key Responsibilities of the VP of Proximate Policy include:
Building Proximity: Lived Expert Feedback Loop
- Build capacity to collect and disseminate lived experience data at scale to shape priorities and facilitate alignment with the field and with policymakers around the needs and experiences of people closest to the system
- Create the infrastructure to organize and support people with lived experience and the organizations that represent them (youth boards, community based partners, etc.) to effectively empower people with lived experience to set the agenda at the local, state, and federal level
- Elevate the visibility of child welfare across government entities through diverse tactics which may include creating a congressional fellows program, create partnerships with local, state, and federal governments organizations, working directly with the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and more
Bipartisan Coordination and Collaboration
- In partnership with the broader team, cultivate and nurture exceptional relationships with national and state leaders and partners to build TOU’s National Network (both inside players and outside disruptors including lived experts, nonprofits, think tanks, technology vendors, and advocacy group); this network will set the agenda for child welfare reform, catalyze sustained public investments and provide bridge funding to fill agency gaps
- Organize and support policy and long-term advocacy campaigns across the ecosystem and lead the conversation to elevate lived experience data, create proof points, and drive policy reform to establish the importance of lived experience data in policymaking and shift mental models
- Establish a Congressional community of practice that educates congressional staff, working to build a bipartisan cohort that understands the urgency of child welfare reform and the value of lived experience expertise
- Ensure effective implementation of federal policy, leveraging state feedback loops and working directly with states and the federal ecosystem to leverage opportunities, identify roadblocks and improve accountability mechanisms
- Build on our groundbreaking vision - own full responsibility for strategy and execution, hiring and leading an exceptional team to work in partnership with TOU and across the broader ecosystem to define proximate policy in words and in action
- Work in partnership with the VP of Research + Design and the VP of Strategic Partnerships to lead the Center for Lived Experience and design a new model for how this work can be done
- Serve as an insightful and collaborative member of our Senior Leadership Team, charged with informing and shaping TOU's work and direction
- Team Leader: You are responsible for overseeing all activities within a team. You provide guidance, instruction, direction, leadership, and coaching to your direct reports for the purpose of achieving group aligned results.
- Mission-Aligned: You are deeply passionate about our work and ideally have experience in and/or proximity to foster care, systems change and policy.
- Strategic Thinker: You anticipate and prepare for future events and outcomes. You consider the potential effect of future events on current plans and evaluate situations for strategic advantage.
- Comfortable with Ambiguity: You deal confidently with unclear or changing situations. You have the ability to switch gears easily in response to unexpected demands and deal successfully with conflicting priorities. You make sound decisions when faced with unclear situations.
- Articulate: You express complex ideas easily and effectively. You know how to use a communication style suited to the subject and audience.
- Innovative: You use original thinking to generate new ideas and solutions. You develop unique or unusual solutions. You’re not afraid to explore fresh, innovative approaches to improve results.
The ideal VP of Proximate Policy candidate will have the following qualifications:
- You are mission-aligned and deeply passionate about our work with experience in and/or proximity to systems surrounding child welfare;
- You have 10+ years of public policy or government affairs experience, including 6+ years building and leading a public policy team
- You are a systems-level thinker who can understand and cut through the weeds while continually raising the issue up to the broader impact level
- You have been the head of a public policy or government affairs department
- You have a documented track record of policy and legislative advancements at the federal level
- You have understanding of, and ideally direct experience with, regulatory issues that impact child welfare and other human services areas.
- We provide generous health, dental, & vision coverage for you and dependents as well as a 401k plan for your pre-tax retirement contributions
- We're a remote team with schedule flexibility
- We have a flexible vacation policy
- We hold monthly organization-wide learning sessions to deepen our understanding of the Lived Experience of foster youth and also on topics outside of foster care to build culture of curiosity and growth
- We provide the opportunity for you to interact with leading voices in government, foundations, the nonprofit world, and entertainment working to reform foster care
Salary + Timeline
This role has a salary range of $160,000 - $190,000. We are looking to fill this position immediately - applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Click on the link below!