Director of Public Policy, State

Washington DC/ Hybrid
August 2023
Full time, Regular, Exempt
Reports to
Vice President of Public Policy

Founded in 1968, the Guttmacher Institute is a global leader in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. Through a unique and interrelated program of high-quality research, evidence-based advocacy and strategic communications, the Institute works to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate, and promote sound policy and program development; its overarching goal is to ensure the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people worldwide. The Institute is engaged in building a more inclusive, transparent and equitable organization.

Position summary

The Director of State Policy is a senior position responsible for managing all aspects of the Institute’s work to advance a state-level policy agenda for SRHR that is comprehensive, evidence-based and rooted in human rights principles. Reporting to the Vice President for Public Policy, the Director works with a broad range of stakeholders to bring the Institute’s data, analysis and strategic expertise to bear on policy projects and analysis. An expectation of this position is to take an active role in advancing an organizational culture that centers equity and justice, collaboration, integrity, nimbleness and a global perspective, seeing connections across SRHR issues and different contexts throughout the world. The Director must be committed to supporting an equitable and inclusive work environment and managing relations with a diverse staff, including staff under their own supervision. 


Vision and strategy of the division
  • Work with the Vice President for Public Policy to translate the Institute’s Strategic Framework into actionable policy initiatives with measurable milestones and results.  
  • Serve as a member of the division’s Management Team responsible for managing the division’s work in pursuit of the Institute’s vision, goals and priorities; collaborate with the Executive Leadership Team and other division Management Teams to create a high-performing, impactful and collaborative organization.  Ensure that program strategies have clear objectives, outputs and outcomes, and that those efforts are integrated and complementary across the division and the Institute.  
  • Inform nimble strategy iteration by monitoring the SRHR landscape, watching trends and consulting with key informants, resulting in rich intelligence-gathering.  
  • Stimulate, encourage and contribute to the development of new ideas and approaches and work with the VP to create a culture of innovation in policy analysis, development and advocacy.  
Direct the Institute’s state policy agenda for SRHR  
  • In collaboration with the Vice President for Public Policy, develop a program aimed at deepening the Institute’s impact at the state level through collaborative partnerships with state advocates.  
  • Provide day-to-day management of the Institute’s state team.  
  • Build trust and strong partnerships with a broad base of progressive allies; seek their input to help shape the Institute’s priorities; and ensure they are equipped with timely evidence and incisive analysis in support of their policy goals.  
  • Maintain a substantive grasp of state policy issues and provide technical expertise to policymakers and advocates.  
  • Collaborate with the Institute’s research and communications staff to develop and disseminate policy-related materials and respond to external requests for information. Represent the Institute in the media and with funders.  
  • Contribute to the Institute’s policy-relevant research.  
  • Develop and review written materials in a range of formats and for a range of audiences.  
  • Promote coordination between the state, federal and global policy teams.  
Division management and supervision  
  • Guide and supervise policy staff at all levels, including setting clear direction and performance expectations, building a collaborative culture committed to excellence, building individual skills and assessing progress.  
  • Work with division leadership and Finance and Administration staff to coordinate budgetary and administrative work of the division.  
  • Manage project-specific work to ensure that it meets its objectives, is completed within a set timeframe and budget, and is high-quality.  
  • Represent the Institute in meetings with donors and contribute to grant proposals.  
  • Promote a culture of high-performance grounded in the Institute’s guiding principles of equity and justice, collaboration, integrity, nimbleness and a global perspective, seeing connections across SRHR issues and different contexts throughout the world.  
  • Work with the Learning and Development Specialist in Human Resources on staff development initiatives.  
  • Performs other job-related tasks as appropriate.  
Qualifications and skills
  • A demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the principles of reproductive rights, health, and justice, and the role of the Institute in promoting antiracism in the reproductive rights field. 

  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant work experience in the fields of SRHR, immigrant rights or health equity.  
  • Deep understanding of the role of state advocates in the SRHR policy-making landscape.  
  • Proven track record on collaborative partnerships; understanding the value of mutually beneficial and impactful working partnerships; ability to coach staff to collaborate on a deeper level with external partners.  
  • Strong supervisory skills, with the ability to assess and manage performance in pursuit of ambitious goals, retain high-performers and develop staff.  
  • Strong management and organizational skills with a capacity to marshal the talents of a diverse, competent and creative team and build a culture of belonging and inclusion.  
  • Strong leadership skills, with the foresight and ability to design new initiatives and steer a program toward maintaining its strategic focus.  
  • Deep commitment to the impact of the programs they oversee, including possessing the ability to overcome obstacles individually or as a team, make hard decisions, and move everyone forward productively.  
  • Ability to develop solid working relationships with senior leadership across the Institute and represent the Institute in high-level contexts externally.  
  • Ability to foster an inclusive workplace, where all staff feel respected, heard, engaged and valued.  
  • Compelling and thoughtful communication style that meets the needs of internal and external audiences and engenders trust and collaboration.  
  •  Able to travel up to 20% of time. 
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills.  

Salary and benefits

Salary starting and range for the role is at $156,000 to $252,173 and will commensurate with experience.  Excellent benefits that include medical, dental, vision and life insurance; vacation, personal and sick time, paid parental leave; tuition reimbursement; commuting subsidy; and 401(k) with employer match. The Guttmacher Institute strives to provide the training and support staff need to be successful in their positions and to grow professionally.    

The Guttmacher Institute is an equal opportunity employer. 

How to Apply

To apply, submit resume and cover letter here.

Please note that telephone inquiries will not be acknowledged. No agencies, please.

Guttmacher is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer  

The Guttmacher Institute seeks to foster a diverse, inclusive and equitable work environment, where employees’ talents are valued and recognized as an asset to the achievement of our mission. We endeavor to make the application process accessible to all users. If you need assistance learning about or applying to our employment opportunities, please contact our human resources department at (212) 248-1111 or [email protected].