The executive director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership leads a uniquely positioned, university-based institute at the forefront of a movement to engage the full diversity of residents in solving local government challenges. With the support of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and an advisory council composed largely of local government practitioners, the executive director will lead the Institute’s mission to help build stronger communities by promoting public participation in local governance.
The executive director oversees the Institute’s three major program areas: training, thought leadership, and convening. In addition to managing budget and programs, the executive director seeks new opportunities for program development, strategic partnerships, and fundraising. They will serve as supervisor for the Davenport Institute staff (including student employees) and oversight of consultant and partner efforts. In addition, the executive director seeks to expose Pepperdine School of Public Policy students to this important field through a variety of student-facing activities as well as connections to local government professional development, mentors, and internship and job opportunities.
The ideal candidate will work from our Malibu, CA location. We will also consider candidates who want to work virtually, but remote workers would need to travel regularly (at least quarterly) to Malibu.
Development, Vision, and Oversight (20%)
- Oversee all Institute activities ensuring integrity and consistency of Institute vision and brand throughout staff and partner activities.
- Manage Davenport Institute endowment and professional education budget.
- Supervise Davenport Institute employees and graduate assistants, as well as any consultants or partners.
- Lead Davenport Institute Advisory Council, which will meet at minimum both once/year in person and once/year virtually.
- Supervise assistant director in developing and maintaining the Institute’s website, social media, and monthly newsletter.
- Implement the Institute’s strategic plan as approved by the advisory council, including facilitating review of and updates to the strategic plan by the advisory council as necessary.
- Grant-writing and management, fundraising, and other nonprofit resource development.
- Build strategic partnerships to stretch resources for greater impact.
- Work with the assistant director to design, develop and evaluate the Institutes training programs, ensuring consistency of mission and delivery for all training programs for municipal and civic leaders/staff.
- Expand the Professional Certificate training program.
- Develop new types of public engagement trainings across all delivery types (virtual and physical trainings as well as short sessions, half-day, full day, and professional certificate)
- Oversee assistant director in providing ongoing networking/learning opportunities for alumni of Davenport Institute certificate programs
- Deliver train-the-trainer workshops as needed to onboard new trainers. Co-train with or match new trainers with experienced trainers for initial co-training.
- Support assistant director in identifying training opportunities and connecting approved Institute trainers with those opportunities.
Thought Leadership (20%)
- Support local leaders in innovating and managing change in the evolving discipline of public engagement.
- Write and speak at conferences and events on issues of public engagement, civil discourse, and transparency under the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership banner.
- Lead Davenport Institute staff, advisory council, and strategic partners in creating resources to support local government public engagement efforts.
- Advocate through professional associations and other appropriate partnerships the importance of public engagement and civic leadership in coordination with the assistant director.
- Increase the impact of the Institute by bringing together partners committed to civic leadership and public participation in local government.
- Collaborate with School of Public Policy administration and outside partners to host conferences and retreats on relevant topics.
- Provide a platform and opportunities for sharing stories of success and lessons learned.
- Design and implement public engagement processes intended to address complex community issues.
- Coordinate a network of municipal, civic, and academic leaders, both learning from and educating within this still nascent field.
School of Public Policy Support (15%)
- While this is not an academic appointment, the executive director will be working in an academic environment and interacting on a daily basis with faculty, students and university staff.
- Oversee the School of Public Policy’s (SPP) ICMA Student Chapter and the related Annual City Manager in Residence program.
- Serve as liaison between the SPP student and career services and local government for the purpose of providing opportunities for professional development as well as internship and job leads for SPP students and alumni.
- Help identify potential course offerings and adjunct faculty for relevant SPP course offerings. May teach a course on public engagement.
- As relevant to the Davenport Institute’s network, support School of Public Policy recruitment and retention efforts.
- With the assistant director, coordinate speakers for SPP’s Davenport Discussions series each semester.
- Work with SPP administration, faculty and events staff to host occasional conferences and events with a local government focus.
Other Duties as Assigned (5%)
The executive director is expected to be innovative and creative in identifying new opportunities to promote the Davenport Institute Mission and Vision.
- Master’s degree in a related field required
- 1-3 years of experience in the field of public engagement either as an academic, practitioner, or public official
- 1-2 years of public sector training experience
- 3-5 years of nonprofit, municipal, or academic management
- Strong financial management, administrative experience, and staff development
- Experience working with diverse stakeholder groups
- Experience creating and delivering public sector training programs
- Experience supporting policy and/or advisory boards
- Demonstrated track record of emotional intelligence, cultural awareness, and people skills
- Strong oral communication, including public speaking, and written communication including professional and academic journals, blogs, and other publications
- Understanding and familiarity with “leadership through networks”
- Familiarity with Zoom Conference and Google Meet
- Direct experience working within or with local governments.
- Experience and name recognition in California a plus.
- Experience with Microsoft Office, Excel, Word, and Powerpoint
Qualified candidates should submit the following application materials in one PDF document:
- Cover letter detailing your interest in this position, why you think the mission of the Davenport Institute is important, and your salary requirements
- Résumé or CV
Applications should be submitted to Talent Market via this link:
Questions can be directed to Claire Kittle Dixon, Executive Director of Talent Market, who is assisting with the search: [email protected]
Only direct applications will be considered. No phone calls, please.
Talent Market is a nonprofit entity dedicated to promoting liberty by helping free market nonprofits identify talent for critical roles. We provide free consulting and recruiting services to free-market think tanks, policy organizations, research centers, and capacity-building institutions dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government and free enterprise.