March 4th, 2021


  • Full Time
  • Senior Level
  • Applications have closed
Job Category: Executive
Location: Manhattan
Job Sectors: Other


About Public Agenda


“It takes more than just voting to make democracy work. All Americans should be conscious of how precious—and fragile—our democracy is. Participating in making it a more just and effective problem-solving institution is a privilege.” – Dan Yankelovich, co-founder Public Agenda


Public Agenda works to strengthen democracy and expand opportunity in America by fostering thoughtful public opinion, meaningful public participation, and responsive public institutions. Founded in 1975 by the social scientist and public opinion research pioneer Dan Yankelovich and soon-to-be secretary of state Cyrus Vance, Public Agenda is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and public engagement organization. 


Public Agenda is founded on the belief that a strong democracy requires informed citizens, engaged communities, productive public conversations, and policies that reflect the public’s concerns and values. Through nonpartisan research and public engagement, Public Agenda works to make these essentials a reality while fostering progress on the issues people care about most, particularly those essential to expanding opportunity for all Americans.





Public Agenda seeks an experienced, mission-driven leader to oversee the organization’s next phase of growth and service. The President must be a leader who inspires both external partners and the talented Public Agenda team.


The President will oversee all aspects of the organization, working closely with the professional staff and Board to create and fund programs and projects, manage the organization’s finances, increase its influence and impacts, and strengthen the organization’s mission-driven culture that strives toward excellence, growth, respect, caring, fairness, humor, communication, and collaboration.


At a time when the American democratic experiment faces daunting challenges, Public Agenda’s mission and unique capabilities are more important than ever. Public Agenda seeks a visionary leader who will maximize Public Agenda’s ability to elevate public discourse and strengthen democracy.







Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Develop and implement strategic plans that meet objectives aligned with the organization’s nonpartisan mission and created in partnership with the organization’s staff and Board.



  • Represent the organization externally to bolster its relationships with partners, organizations with symbiotic goals, and to develop new relationships to increase its visibility and influence.



  • Provide inspirational leadership and direction to the senior team, and ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization.



  • Establish effective decision-making processes that will enable Public Agenda to achieve its long- and short-term goals and objectives.



Fundraising and Financial Management

  • Ensure that funding allows for Public Agenda to make continuous progress towards the achievement of its mission and that those funds are allocated properly to reflect present needs and future potential.



  • Develop a strong, nonprofit business plan that increases and diversifies revenues, strengthens productivity, and empowers creativity.  



  • Maintain, develop and deepen relationships with donors including individuals and foundations. The President will be expected to be a fundraiser with a demonstrated track record of success.



  • Ensure sound financial systems and practices that support efficient cost management.



Management and Operations

  • Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and increased internal communications among staff  members throughout the organization.



  • Create and promote a positive, productive, enjoyable work environment with clear, equitable and compassionate HR policies and practices.



  • Ensure programmatic excellence and consistent quality of financial management, administration, fundraising, strategic communications, and work systems.



  • Support, develop and manage the senior leadership team, including conducting annual reviews and setting annual goals with direct reports.



  • Ensure commitment to and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations across the organization.



  • Ensure the delivery of high-quality services while managing for current and future growth.



Board Governance

  • Cultivate a transparent and effective working relationship with the Board of Directors and ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.



  • Support the building of a diverse and inclusive Board of Directors representative of the community that is highly engaged and willing to leverage and secure resources.




Desired Qualifications

  • Passionate commitment to Public Agenda’s nonpartisan mission of strengthening democracy and expanding opportunity for all Americans.



  • Visionary, entrepreneurial leader who can imagine and enable Public Agenda’s place in the world in the years to come.



  • Substantial nonprofit managerial experience, ideally at the Executive Director, Executive Vice President, or COO level, or equivalent position, and a demonstrated ability to develop and implement strategic plans, manage organizational finances, and undertake successful fundraising.



  • Significant familiarity with the fields of deliberative democracy, democracy reform, civic engagement, and public opinion research.



  • Strong interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to support professional development of individual employees and a healthy, productive organizational culture with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.



  • Significant experience and networks relevant to foundation- and donor-based fundraising.



  • An intellectual field-leading expert with a reputation for work around democracy and civic engagement.



  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.



  • Experience, knowledge and networks in the fields of K-12 education, higher education, health care, journalism and/or other current social and political issues. 



  • An extrovert who enjoys getting out in the community, is able to galvanize excitement from the outside world, and has experience engaging with the news media. 



  • A great team motivator and inspirational leader.



  • A sense of humor.





This position description is based upon material provided by Public Agenda, an equal opportunity employer.




Public Agenda is committed to equal employment opportunity and diversity in the workplace.  We will not discriminate against employees or applicants for employment on any legally-recognized basis [“protected class”] including, but not limited to: veteran status, uniform service member status, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information or any other protected class under federal, state, or local law.


Jessica Hammerman, Talent Consultant


Public Agenda

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