Senior Program Officer, Leadership for Better Health

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we have been providing funding, assistance, and research for projects and programs to help people, their families, and their communities be as healthy as possible. RWJF is committed to working alongside others to build a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

We take seriously our responsibilities, and we pledge to work in ways that reflect our Guiding Principles. These are rooted in equity and influence everything we do at RWJF. Diversity, inclusion, and collaboration allow our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives to enrich our work and strengthen our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. With a career at RWJF, you will make a difference.

The Opportunity

Senior program officers are professional staff responsible for developing, implementing, and managing RWJF’s initiatives to improve health and health care. Their primary responsibilities include providing intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new initiatives; evaluating proposals; monitoring programs and grants; learning from program investments and activities; providing mentorship in the development of junior staff; and creating impact through dissemination of knowledge.

This senior program officer will have an assignment with the Foundation’s Leadership for Better Health (LBH) focus area, or theme. LBH recognizes that leadership and its development occur within the context of an ecosystem that is influenced by multiple types of stakeholders at different levels within systems that influence health and well-being. Leadership development is needed at the level of the individual, within institutions, networks, and communities. LBH seeks, through individual and collective leadership approaches, to support changes in the conditions, narratives, systems, and policies that advance health equity. This system change happens through collective leadership of multisector stakeholders. Stakeholders include, but are not limited to: health and health care practitioners; academics; community organizers; artists; and other changemakers in diverse sectors such as transportation, environment, education, business and policy.

The senior program officer is a key staff member who holds several interrelated responsibilities, to include:

  • Refining, developing, and implementing strategies that support and strengthen the capacities of individuals, groups, networks, and organizations to achieve systems change through the efforts of multisector stakeholders.
  • Partnering with the theme’s director and members to initiate and contribute to the design and implementation of initiatives that advance strategy and goals.
  • Working with internal staff, consultants, other funders, and external organizations to plan, develop, and respond to requests for funding.
  • Drafting or overseeing the development of work products that support deliberation and decision-making at the level of the Foundation’s senior management and Board of Trustees.
  • Working with staff and consultants to harvest learning, program results, and evaluation findings from previous and current grant investment in order to strengthen the strategies, initiatives, and the field. 
  • Serving as an external ambassador for the Foundation and the Foundation’s leadership.  

Candidate Profile

All senior program officers at the Foundation are expected to have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Commitment to Equity

You have a history of fostering inclusive environments, engaging diverse voices, and are able to consider underlying inequities, privilege, and power dynamics in your work.

Connective Thinking

You excel at creatively exploring problems, issues, and opportunities. You are a lateral thinker who is able to translate ideas from different spaces, make connections between seemingly disparate ideas, and see how they fit within a broader whole.

Curiosity and a Rapid Learning Curve

You are intellectually curious and able to dive into new spaces to quickly become “an expert.” You like to explore different, disparate ideas and can swiftly make sense of complex issues. You are comfortable with experimentation and risk-taking and are able to find and refine the truly transformative “nugget” in an idea—even if others don’t see it yet.

Systems Thinking

You can articulate how social structures such as racism, sexism, ableism, etc., influence health and well-being at multiple levels. You understand how to lead for systems change. You are able to identify leverage points and assess how new ideas have the potential to influence or change a system. You understand the internal and external work that supports systems change.

Excellent Networking Skills

You are a relational person and are able to build robust networks that allow you to cast a wide net, make connections, and see opportunities and challenges from diverse perspectives. You should have experience forging and maintaining dynamic partnerships at the local and national level to achieve change.

Open-Mindedness, Additive Thinking, and Humility

You are open-minded and willing to explore ideas, whether they are yours or not. You are an additive and generative thinker who builds on the ideas of others. And you are self-aware and recognize a grantmaker’s role in supporting the work of their grantees.

Ability to Drive and Communicate

You are able to work both independently and collaboratively and to manage multiple priorities effectively. You spend your time generously and judiciously. You consistently deliver on project goals and outcomes.

Collaborative Approach

People enjoy working with you and you enjoy working with others. You are able to work effectively with others and work with efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy—both individually and as part of a team. You build productive and reciprocal relationships with a diverse group of colleagues, grantees, consultants, and others.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Demonstrated thought leadership in the area of leadership, systems change, network development, or deep equity.
  • Strong track record of collaborative program implementation and strategy development.
  • An external network of partners (individuals and organizations) and demonstrated capacity and commitment to mentorship.
  • Recognized in the fields of leadership development, deep equity, network development, or collaborative systems change.
  • Strong written and verbal skills; demonstrated persuasive and respectful presentation skills for communications with internal leadership, external high-level stakeholders, and people from the communities we are working to reach on a range of complex issues.
  • Comfort with using social networking tools to further RWJF’s work.
  • Familiarity with, but not necessarily a professional background in, philanthropy and philanthropic processes.
  • Ability to travel; including applicant and grantee site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
  • Ability to provide mentorship/guidance to encourage the development of staff.
  • Education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree (master’s) and six (6) or more years of relevant experience.
  • Six (6) or more years of extensive experience and proven leadership, and recognized in the field for specific knowledge in one or more of the Foundation’s focus areas.

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RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented applicants.

How to Apply

RWJF has engaged Koya Partners to help with this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume.

Application Deadline: Closed

(Post Date: Jan. 25, 2021)

This position is located in Princeton, N.J. If hired, you would be required to work from our Princeton office when our facilities re-open.

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