Posted on October 24, 2012
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Urban Habitat - Director of Strategic Initiatives
Organizational Background and Mission
Founded in 1989, Urban Habitat (UH) builds power in low-income communities and communities of color by combining policy, advocacy, research, leadership development, and coalition building to advance environmental, economic and social justice in the Bay Area. UH applies a critical race and class lens to issues of transportation, housing, land use, planning, and community development, and offers a clear vision and agenda for the equitable development of the region. The organization seeks an experienced, energetic, and creative individual to be its Director of Strategic Initiatives. This position will report to the President & CEO and lead the organization’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), Social Equity Caucus, and regional Leadership Institutes.
UH’s Strategic Initiatives
In order to achieve the organization’s ongoing policy and advocacy targets, the Strategic Initiatives department integrates popular education, technology and groundbreaking programming to ensure that we advance our ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ strategies. Strategic Initiatives build upon our race and class analysis and incorporate this learning throughout our core programming in transportation, land-use, housing, environment, and the economy.
Leadership Institute/Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) and Social Equity Caucus
Urban Habitat’s Leadership Institute (LI) develops innovative, authentic leadership and capacity-building learning experiences that advance equity for low-income people and people of color in the Bay Area region. The Institute supports Urban Habitat programs and campaigns by providing strategic and comprehensive learning experiences to a wide array of equity stakeholders, both those working “inside” our governance systems and those working “on the ground.” Our objective is to strengthen ties between inside and outside advocates in order to influence equitable urban planning and decision making.
Boards & Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI)
Urban Habitat’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI) is a critical program of the organization to identify, place, train, and support low-income people and people of color for priority boards and commissions seats in the Bay Area. The BCLI prioritizes seats that have the power to advance transportation justice, equitable development, affordable housing, good jobs, and climate justice. In its fourth year, the program has gained both regional and national recognition as an essential strategy to empower communities, advance civic engagement opportunities, and promote more equitable decision-making and policy making throughout low-income communities and communities of color. As the program continues to exceed expectations and success, our goal is to replicate the model in select regions throughout California and the United States.
Social Equity Caucus
Urban Habitat works with several coalitions and creates alliances with non-traditional partners, such as environmentalists, business, labor, and government to share strategies and build power in the region. Urban Habitat convenes the Social Equity Caucus (SEC), the Bay Area’s only multi-issue, multi-sector body dedicated to promoting a regional vision for social justice. SEC members represent economic, social and environmental justice community-based groups, as well as labor, public health, advocacy, faith, and youth organizations.
The Director of Strategic Initiatives leads Urban Habitat’s key strategic projects that include the Leadership Institute/Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (LI/BCLI) and the Social Equity Caucus (SEC), which convenes the organization’s annual signature event, the State of the Region. This position works with a diverse group of organizations, such as community groups, intermediaries, policy groups, government, labor, faith, and youth groups to create and implement customized curricula and leadership trainings. In addition, he/she interfaces with a variety of audiences that Urban Habitat trains, including elected officials, city staff, community groups, and neighborhood leaders and, as such, must have a good understanding of how these groups think and operate as well as an ability to exercise courtesy and professionalism. Finally, the Director of Strategic Initiatives reports directly to the Senior Director of Programs and supervises the Associate Director of the Leadership Institute and the SEC Coordinator.
Essential Functions of the Job:
- Program Design, Management and Implementation: Play a lead role in researching, identifying, designing, and implementing leadership-development and capacity-building strategies to support UH’s priority programs and campaigns. Provide broad oversight and strategic direction for the LI and the SEC, and related leadership development efforts. Identify and pursue opportunities to support other UH programs, including special events, educational forums, and publication “release” events. Participate in annual program planning to achieve organization’s long-range strategic goals.
- BCLI Replication: Lead UH’s efforts to replicate the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute throughout the state and nation. Advise the President & CEO on the timing and location of replication. Work with the President & CEO and Development team to fundraise for replication.
- Curriculum Design: Oversee the design of curricula and event materials on a wide range of topics related to regionalism, environmental justice, equitable development, economic development, community engagement strategies, and policy and decision-making processes.
- Alumni Network: Oversee the creation and sustainability of a network of Leadership Institute alumni to ensure that they remain engaged in UH’s ongoing programs and campaigns.
- Strategy Development, Documentation, and Evaluation: Develop strategies, facilitate planning sessions, and lead change activities to maintain UH’s standing as the innovative, go-to organization on issues regarding regional equity. Play a lead role in the documentation and evaluation of curricula, trainings, and methodology. Disseminate best practices and methodology to key allies throughout the country, as needed.
- Development and Communications: Provide regular program updates, talking points, and/or other information on the LI and/or SEC to support UH’s fundraising efforts. Track and share media coverage and other highlights with development team. Attend funders’ briefings and funders’ site visits, as needed. Support individual donor efforts to raise funds for the SEC and LI/BCLI programs. Represent UH at conferences, meetings, radio programs, and other media events, when necessary. Collaborate with other UH programs to support organization’s media, communication, and outreach efforts.
Education/Training/Experience and knowledge, skills, and abilities required for this position:
Master's or bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning, Education, Community Development, or related field.
At least four (4) years of facilitation and training experience required (preferably to an array of audiences).
Curriculum development experience required, including experience planning and implementing community conversations, workshops, and other types of educational/informational events.
Strong research and organizational skills as well as excellent written and public speaking skills required.
Experience in distance learning as well as the development and use of Learning Management System (LMS) a plus.
Experience in social media applications for movement building a plus.
Demonstrated ability to effectively engage with grassroots and base-building organizations, elected officials, and decision-makers as well as an ability to build partnerships and relationships with key campaign players.
Demonstrated sensitivity and understanding of issues facing low-income communities of color.
Capacity to establish goals and priorities along with the ability to manage multiple projects to achieve deadlines.
Proficient in Microsoft Office with some graphics applications.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume, and three references to: StrategicInitiatives@urbanhabitat.org.
Salary Range: Depending on experience. Generous benefits package, including health, dental, and vision insurance for employee and dependents; paid holidays; vacation and sick leave; and retirement.
Urban Habitat is an equal opportunity employer, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.