Chief of External Relations

Washington, DC

Thank you for your interest. This position has been filled.

About the Roosevelt Institute

The Roosevelt Institute is a think tank, a student network, and the nonprofit partner to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. We are learning from the past and working to redefine our collective future. Focusing on corporate and public power, labor and wages, and the economics of race and gender inequality, the Roosevelt Institute unifies experts, invests in young leaders, and advances progressive policies that bring the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt into the 21st century.

Roosevelt takes on today’s greatest challenges by developing bold, cutting-edge research and policy ideas and moving those ideas into action. We believe that the future of the American economy and our democracy depends on a new way of thinking about markets and government. Too few people hold too much economic and political power today, and we know that a stronger society is possible if we rectify this imbalance between private actors and the public. With a commitment to transforming corporations, restructuring markets, reviving democratic institutions, and reimagining the role of government, our work moves our nation toward a more resilient, equitable, and green future.

Our Culture

At Roosevelt, we recognize that the culture of the workplace and opportunities for career growth and development are important to all. We believe that diversity of background and experience among our people make our work to rewrite the rules of our social and economic realities stronger. Roosevelt is an equal opportunity employer. As affirmed in its policies and practices, the organization considers all job applications for all classifications without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, familial status, military status, height and weight, genetic predisposition or carrier status, arrest record, or other legally protected status. We strongly encourage people with diverse work and life experiences, diverse educational backgrounds, and diverse cultures to apply.

Roosevelt’s External Engagement Work

Over the past decade, the Roosevelt Institute and Roosevelt Forward have played a unique and catalytic role in laying the groundwork for recent historic policy successes. Our work has led not just to policy wins, but also to an increasingly powerful new way of thinking about the economy (new paradigms) and to a talent pipeline for hundreds of economic policy positions ready to enact these ideas (new people). The backbone of our work is a Rooseveltian political philosophy focused on the importance of a creative, pro-public, responsive, and equitable government—one that plays a direct and active role in managing our nation’s economic affairs.

Roosevelt is now ready to further grow its capacity to catapult ideas—and people—into action.


What You’ll Do

We are seeking an experienced strategic leader as our Chief of External Relations (CExRel).

The CExRel will report to the Roosevelt Institute’s CEO, developing and executing strategies to ensure that Roosevelt’s actionable influence work is targeted and successful. They will oversee federal affairs, advocacy, and partner engagement. They will also ensure that traditional communications and owned media work are aligned with an overall external engagement approach. The SVP for Communications and her team will report to this new role.

The CExRel will have additional strategic and managerial duties with the Roosevelt Institute and serve as a member of the Roosevelt Institute executive team. The CExRel will also serve as Executive Director of Roosevelt Forward, the Institute’s sister organization and a 501(c)(4). The CExRel will manage all of Roosevelt’s external engagement efforts. They will collaborate closely with the VP of Research and Policy and Chief Development Officer as well as with the CEO and serve as a public presence for both Roosevelt Institute and Roosevelt Forward at movement conferences and events.

The ideal candidate for this role will have demonstrated expertise in moving big ideas about the political economy into action and will work with the Institute’s fellows and staff to engage federal policymakers in support of our vision of a nation where government plays an active role in creating a more democratic and equitable economy, and everyone enjoys a fair share of our collective prosperity.

The CExRel will work closely with the CEO and other executive leadership to develop strategies to engage policymakers and coalition partners to advance our work and ensure that it is actionable. They will lead a DC-based team focused on advocacy and relationship building, and will be responsible for the translation of Roosevelt papers and reports into compelling and timely advocacy materials. Alongside a strong communications team, the CExRel will be responsible for continuing to strengthen and broaden Roosevelt’s reputation with the full range of actors, including lawmakers and public officials, allies, and the media. Additionally, the CExRel will work with Roosevelt’s development team, which is responsible for our strong relationships with the philanthropic community.

The successful candidate will have expertise in the entire federal policymaking process, both legislative and executive. They will have excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to serve as principal representing Roosevelt at meetings and other public events. And they will be very familiar with current and emergent progressive economic and public policy issues of our time.

This role is responsible for three distinct but related areas:

Strategy development. Lead the development of an external relations strategy: identifying key policy issues; identifying key audiences, especially public officials; and building and strengthening advocacy networks and partnerships. This requires understanding how to best utilize a variety of communications approaches, including media relations, social media, and events.

Execution—ideas into action. Lead an effective and coherent external engagement strategy. This includes building and maintaining relationships with the media, partners, allies, and funders. Represent Roosevelt in policy and organizing movement meetings as well as in government meetings, including with members of Congress and executive branch officials; support the translation of the Institute’s papers into policy proposals and analyze public policy developments and trends; identify opportunities for other Roosevelters to engage; and manage a team of DC-based external engagement staff.

In addition to managing external engagement staff, the CExRel will oversee a ten-person communications team, which is led by an SVP Communications, who will report to the CExRel. The comms team has primary responsibility for building and maintaining relationships with media, for social media, for publications, for events, and for overall brand. Together, the external engagement staff and comms staff will develop and execute an aligned strategy, which should have clear goals and measurable outcomes.

This execution will require continual strengthening of efficient and effective processes that make the most of Roosevelt’s research, communications, and external engagement resources. Such process improvements will be the responsibility of the CExRel, the SVP Communications, and the VP of Research and Policy.

Leading Roosevelt Forward. Lead the building of Roosevelt Forward and carry the title of Executive Director, Roosevelt Forward. This includes leading Roosevelt Forward’s appointments work, which places highly qualified candidates into senior-level federal government policy roles and other episodic or short-term work, which can include narrative research in Roosevelt’s core areas of expertise.

In addition, the CExRel will serve as a member of the organization’s executive team, which is responsible for all of Roosevelt’s management and managerial decision-making.

What You’ll Have

  • Track record of delivering results in shaping narratives and outcomes in the fast-moving political economy space
  • Experience working with policymakers, including key members of Congress and congressional committees, and with executive branch and other agency officials responsible for shaping economic outcomes
  • Strong, trusted existing relevant policy and movement relationships
  • Understanding of the relationship between elite and general public ideas organizing;
  • Experience working with a range of policy communications and outreach tools, from elite media to social media to in-person gatherings
  • Fluency across fields and relationships—politics and elected officials, organizing and movement-building spaces, academic and subject matter experts
  • Excellent managing ability with experience hiring and building a team
  • Creativity at the strategic and tactical levels—no idea too big, no detail too small—and the ability to leverage strong relationships to help a mid-sized organization punch above its weight
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills
  • Comfort serving as a principal and representing the organization in public meetings
    Flexibility, being able to shift and to lead others in an organization that is necessarily responsive to changes in political and fundraising conditions
  • 15-plus years of increasing professional responsibilities and experience in relevant fields

This is a location-specific position that requires day-to-day work in Washington, DC.

Please note: Interested candidates must submit both a cover letter and resume for consideration.

Salary Range: $194,000-$231,000