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Harvard University Director of Strategic Operatio in Cambridge, Massachusetts

56704BRAuto req ID:56704BRJob Code:360058 Admin Offcr/SrIndiv Contrib Location:USA - MA - Cambridge Business Title:Director of Strategic OperationsSub-Unit:------------ Salary Grade ( :058Time Status:Full-time Union:00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary Basic Qualifications: Bachelor's degree and a minimum of 6 years of professional experience. Additional Qualifications and Skills: Many kinds of experiences could prepare an individual to thrive in this role. We expect the strongest candidates will have many, but likely not all, of the qualifications listed below:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent preferred.

  • Success in previous management, coaching, and development of direct reports and diverse teams.

  • Excellent written and verbal comm unications, including memos, slide decks, and public speaking.

  • Experience and commitment sup porting needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations, and ability to apply that to their work.

  • Experience conceptualizing, structuring, and delivering projects and programs that result in meaningful improvements to an organization's operations or impact.

  • Demonstrated commitment to GPL’s mission of improving government performance and solving social problems through previous experience working with state or local government, non-profit organizations, or organizations focused on addressing serious social challenges.

  • Experience in a rapid-growth, entrepreneurial organization or team.

  • Proven capacity to solve problems and identify key strategic insights that advanced the goals of the organization.

  • Track record of building, maintaining, and navigating complex relationships, such as with senior executives, clients, peer organizations, or funders. Experience balancing priorities across multiple stakeholders.

  • Demonstrated ability to handle sensitive information and decisions with discretion and sound judgement.

  • Experience with hiring, training, and retention processes.

Additional Information: Application Instructions:

Candidates should submit a cover letter, current CV, writing sample, and list of 3 references.

Writing sample: Writing samples should include 1. either a memo or slide deck used to advance a decision with senior stakeholders; and 2. a tool or support created by the candidate to assist with project management (such as a GANNT chart, project workplan, tracker, outline of new process, etc.)

This is a fully benefits-eligible term appointment ending one year from date of hire with possibility of renewal.

We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide visa sponsorship.

Harvard University requires pre-employment references and background checks.

Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

Note: This position can work from in any U.S. location, but must be able to travel to Cambridge and other work sites throughout the year.

Harvard requires COVID vaccination for all Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement and exceptions may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage:

Salary Range: $79,000 - $135,000

Note: Starting salaries typically fall in the lower half of the salary range; however, they are ultimately determined by the scope of the position, the candidate's relevant experience, and internal equity.

Harvard offers a generous benefits package including:

  • Time Off: 3- 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.

  • Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans, all coverage begins as of your start date.

  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.

  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.

  • Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.

  • Wellness Options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation and complimentary health services.

Harvard access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events and many discounts throughout metro Boston.

Department:Taubman CenterPre-Employment Screening:Education, IdentityJob Function:General Administration Job-Specific Responsibilities: Responsibilities

  • Oversee strategic operations: Connect GPL strategy to the direction and execution of central functions including finance, human capital, events, training, and compliance. Continually review current practices for needed improvements to increase GPL’s impact. Design and lead special projects that increase the efficiency, efficacy, and equity of the GPL’s practices in the following areas:

  • Hiring and retention: Help the GPL maintain and improve its ability to attract and retain diverse, talented staff. Lead ongoing assessment and improvement of hiring and retention practices, including increased transparency around the promotion process and additional supports for post-fellowship placements. Work with the Director of Operations to lead continuous improvement work on the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding of new GPL employees.

  • Professional developmen t : Ensure that staff are given the support and training they need to succeed in their positions and execute high-impact work with their governments . Lead improvements to staff training in core GPL capabilities, including analytical thinking, project management, stakeholder management, and communications. Lead improvements to the GPL’s professional development systems designed to assess performance, promote growth of team members, and create transparent and equitable growth pathways. Lead continuous improvement of the team’s performance management system, including its annual review process.

  • Manager supports: Lead improvements to manager supports and resources, including assembling and deploying DEI-related management resources and supports for GPL managers.

  • Finance: Ensure that finance policies and decisions reflect organizational priorities, university requirements, programmatic insights, and staff experience. Lead improvements to finance policies and practices.

  • Develop and implement strategy: Work with the GPL Director, Executive Director, and executive team to refine GPL’s strategy by leading special time-bound projects that may include: assessing and advancing the GPL’s impact in the field, improving the GPL’s strategic knowledge management and impact framework, and supporting development.

  • Strategic knowledge management and impact framework: Special projects in this area will be focused on better aligning GPL project work (what most staff are focused on achieving day-to-day) with our policy areas (our medium- and longer-term vision for what we can achieve through our work) by helping GPL capture and retain valuable knowledge and insights gained through project work, and establish a system to share it across the team. Lead improvements to the GPL’s knowledge management for key policy areas and tools, including processes to generate, organize, and document insights from project work across the GPL, facilitate cross-project and cross-jurisdiction learning, update GPL tools to reflect new insights, create and deliver trainings that move GPL staff to the cutting edge of knowledge in that area, and produce and distribute strategic capability or policy area publications.

  • Development: Identify, conceptualize, and lead special projects that support the GPL’s executive team in developing strong relationships with current and potential funders.

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): Across all areas of strategy and operations, advance GPL’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by seeking opportunities to incorporate it into project and management approaches, measurement of impact, and enterprise work by seeking and managing external resources. Work with senior leaders on DEI competencies and supports. Provide oversight for integration of DEI into trainings and professional development structures.

  • Team culture: Contribute to an inclusive and supportive team culture, within which team members feel supported, included, and valued.

School/Unit:Harvard Kennedy School EEO Statement:We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.Job Summary: The Director of Strategic Operations for the Government Performance Lab (GPL) is a senior leader with a passion for accelerating solutions to difficult social challenges to shape the strategy and impact of the GPL’s work. The Director of Strategic Operations will work closely with the GPL’s Director and Executive Director to sharpen the GPL’s strategy. They will work across the GPL team to lead special projects that translate the GPL’s strategic vision throughout the organization’s operations--designing and implementing systems to improve efficiency, efficacy, and equity of GPL core functions in order to drive greater impact for the organization. To this end, the Director of Strategic Operations will work closely with the Director of Operations in leading a 3-person team and oversee the strategic direction of critical central functions including finance, human capital, training, and staff and manager supports. One of the most important aspects of the Director of Strategic Operations work will be to consistently elevate and integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into the GPL’s strategy and operations. Promising candidates for this position will be innovators as much as operators, seeking opportunities for improvement in how the organization functions, detail-oriented, strategic thinkers, and have a track record of achieving results. They must be flexible and thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and highly interactive environment.

Note: This position can work from in any U.S. location, but must be able to travel to Cambridge and other work sites throughout the year.

About the Government Performance Lab:

The mission of the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL) is to speed up progress on difficult social problems by improving how state and local governments function. We do this by working closely with state and local governments to develop and test hands-on tools for designing, managing, and sustaining initiatives that lead to the creation of more just and effective service systems in areas including child and family wellbeing, criminal justice, homelessness and behavioral health, and economic mobility in historically marginalized communities.

We hire and train full-time team members to collaborate closely with government innovators, providing applied research and technical assistance for high priority initiatives, often for 12-36 months. GPL capabilities include improving how governments spend money through results-driven procurement and contracting, applying data-driven performance management to the improvement of core agency practices and contracted services, redesigning the service matching and referral systems to improve beneficiary success, and supporting governments in incorporating equity and client voice into government’s core functions.

These intensive collaborations yield demonstrations of promising practices, which we then spread to communities across the country. By increasing government’s ability to translate ambitious vision into concrete action, we help unlock the investments of communities, advocates, and providers working to bring about systems change. To date, the GPL has engaged with 89 jurisdictions spread across 35 states and has conducted more than 200 projects shifting more than $6B in government spending towards results. We are a team of 50 with an annual budget of approximately $7M.

Because many of the challenges we work on are rooted in historic and systemic wrongs, particularly systemic racism, we know that addressing them requires solutions that center diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We are committed to increasing diversity, improving equity, and fostering inclusion in our internal and external work – from the methods we use to hire and train our staff to the way we select and execute projects in the field.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Harvard Kennedy School’s Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership—because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.

Learn more about Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. (

Harvard Kennedy School’s mission is to improve public policy and leadership so people can live in societies that are more safe, free, just, and sustainably prosperous. Our teaching, research, and engagement with practitioners focus on these priorities:

  • Protecting security, freedom, and human rights

  • Strengthening democracy

  • Advancing social justice

  • Increasing economic well-being

  • Enhancing sustainability

  • Improving public leadership and management

    You can be part of this endeavor. Explore and learn more about Harvard Kennedy School ( .