Executive / senior industry position
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan Washington-based think tank established in 1986, seeks a new president. EPI carries out intellectually rigorous research and policy analysis to advance the interests of working families through economic policy, often challenging conventional wisdom and fundamentally shifting the terms of debate.
Today EPI is a key progressive voice in national, state, and local policy debates over inequality, wage stagnation, the minimum wage, fair trade, macroeconomics, racial and gender inequality, immigration, labor standards, unions, education policy, and retirement security. EPI’s research is recognized for its intellectual rigor and empirical foundation.
Media outlets, allied organizations, and policymakers rely on EPI to bring clarity to national and state dialogues about the economy’s impact on workers, their families, and their communities. By consistently and explicitly making gender, race and ethnicity a central part of its analyses, EPI promotes and disseminates effective and comprehensive policy solutions. EPI has an unparalleled breadth and depth of analytical skill and economic policy knowledge.
EPI’s Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) is an established network of state partners and national organizations. Via EARN, EPI connects and equips almost sixty local and state research, policy, and advocacy organizations with accessible data, technical assistance and messaging to advance local and state policies to lift wages and protect workers. Through these partnerships, EPI is able to impact policy well beyond Washington.
EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy (PREE) explores and explains how race, ethnicity, and class intersect to affect economic outcomes in the United States. PREE’s frequently cited research and policy analysis demonstrates that large racial and ethnic disparities in unemployment, wages, income, poverty, and wealth have persisted over generations; differ by class and gender; and are rooted in policy choices—including the failure to enact needed policies.
EPI seeks a talented President who can bring EPI’s years of experience to bear, advocating for an economic agenda that delivers higher wages and economic security to working people across the spectrum.
EPI’s next President will have a vision for future growth and success, a collaborative style, media savvy, a keen understanding of economic policy and its impact on working families, and exceptional fundraising skills. This person will need to articulate how s/he can build on EPI’s past success while also moving EPI to a new, even more effective level of performance.
For an entrepreneurial leader who can make a long-time commitment to EPI, this position presents an enormous opportunity to improve the lives of working Americans.
EPI has grown stronger under Thea Lee’s leadership, who has left for a position in the Biden administration. Our core commitment to research and analysis as the source of our credibility and impact has been maintained, and enhanced. Our program on race and ethnicity and our EARN Network have helped center us on critical issues of our times. As an organization we have become more collaborative and the culture within EPI is quite healthy, buttressed by improved and modernized internal operating systems. We have enhanced our work in coalition with key partners, and we have strengthened our fundraising and development efforts. The next President will have the opportunity to build on these strengths, to continue EPI’s growth and to enhance our use of social media to further advance our agenda.
We welcome candidates who are skilled and strategic leaders and fundraisers, with the ability to substantively advance and communicate our work, and who share our commitment and values. A Ph.D. in economics may be useful, although not required. Instead, we encourage candidates who understand economics and provide organizational leadership skills as well as demonstrate other critical and relevant strengths to apply.
EPI’s role as a trusted, objective, and vital source of research, analysis and advocacy in the national debate is critical. We seek a new President to lead EPI’s growth through expanded research, activism and impact on federal policy, state and local initiatives, and through a broader, strategic use of social media.
Strategic leadership and communication, fundraising, and organizational development will be central to the President’s work.
We will explore these goals and topics through open dialogue with top candidates.
The challenge and the opportunity facing the new EPI President are building on and shaping the next chapter of EPI’s story. The successful candidate will be a pragmatist who understands the current political realities and who understands how EPI can make the greatest difference in achieving an economy that ensures shared prosperity. The President must be a strategic and visionary thinker who understands long-range planning and is nimble and flexible in order to achieve EPI’s goals. S/he must be skilled and comfortable in the role of educating a variety of audiences regarding the importance of improving economic policies that impact workers.
Working with the Board of Directors, about 50 staff members (EPI’s staff is unionized with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union) and a budget of approximately $11 million this year, the next President will be an influential leader with deep knowledge and understanding of economic policy. S/he will have the capacity to communicate a coherent and compelling vision, as well as the experience and aptitude for building teams and engaging with national and state partners who share common values and goals. In addition, the successful candidate will demonstrate strategic acumen in charting a path toward success and the wisdom and flexibility to adapt to changes in the political landscape and opportunities as they arise. S/he will be capable of taking responsibility for raising the funds necessary to accomplish EPI’s mission – and for sustainably growing the organization to meet present and future needs.
The President will:
- Provide leadership in developing and implementing EPI’s vision, mission and strategic priorities, and in broadening the progressive movement’s agenda.
- Support the development of a vibrant future for EPI, and continue to cultivate, expand and make the best use of the Board, staff, and coalition partners.
- Set goals and priorities that address the most important issues concerning the economic status of working-class Americans.
- Ensure that EPI’s established goals and priorities shape its research and policy work and guide the allocation of resources.
- Take responsibility for expanding the financial support for EPI, maintaining current and pursuing new philanthropic funding sources, as well as exploring other creative sources of revenue for the organization.
- Attract, retain and manage a talented professional, high-performing and dedicated research and policy staff who possess the capacity to fulfill the organization’s mission and are empowered to speak for EPI in their areas of expertise.
- Expand the reach, influence and public recognition of EPI as a trusted leader among labor, worker rights, and other constituency groups.
- Cultivate relationships with Congress, the media and other stakeholders, and be EPI’s leading spokesperson to raise EPI’s public profile and increase its influence.
The ideal candidate for this position will be an inspirational, diplomatic, resourceful, and flexible leader who has a deep understanding of economic issues, a demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of workers and working families, and is committed to building a diverse and talented staff.
Candidates’ skills and experience should include:
- At least 10 years of senior management experience in either for-profit or non-profit organizations, or government.
- Bold, visionary, and strategic thinking, with a keen appreciation of the strength of EPI’s work.
- Deep knowledge of economic policy and research, with experience developing and promoting policy, and experience with the legislative and administrative policy-making process; a PhD in economics may be helpful, but not required.
- Respect and value for economic research and analysis as the foundation of EPI’s work and the root of its credibility, and experience turning in-depth research into accessible products for the media, coalition partners, and other thought leaders.
- Commitment to and experience in collaborative leadership with a diverse set of labor unions, academics, economists, policymakers and advocates.
- Commitment to the labor movement as integral to meaningful change for working class Americans.
- Experience working with a Board of Directors in shaping a vision for an organization.
- Demonstrated experience and capacity to raise funds from individual donors and foundations.
- Proven successful experience in budgeting and financial management.
- A track record of innovation; an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity to envision the future with demonstrated leadership; and administrative skills and experience managing growth.
- Exceptional communications skills including clear and persuasive writing and public speaking and experience working with traditional and digital media.
- Proven relationship builder with strong interpersonal skills, experience in coalition building, and working with external stakeholders.
- Strong management skills that support staff and foster collaboration, problem solving and decision-making experience, and must value diversity throughout the staff.
- Political savvy and ability to maneuver through complex politics effectively.
- Intellectually curious with an open mind and a good sense of humor.
Salary and Benefits
EPI has a robust benefits package and the salary for the new President will match those of peer organizations.
To apply or suggest a candidate, send a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line, EPI – President.
EPI believes that having a diverse and inclusive workplace not only strengthens the institute’s work, but is essential for understanding and creating economic policies that support all working people. EPI is an equal opportunity, fair chance, affirmative action employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior history of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, caregiver status, or other categories protected by law.
This position is based in Washington, D.C. EPI staff are currently working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. We will resume in-person work at EPI’s offices in Washington when it is safe to do so.