Position Overview

The Strategic Learning & Impact team works with Foundation staff, grantees, and partners to set clear strategies, measure progress toward impact, and enable adaptation based on insights and lessons learned. As such, the team designs and facilitates the Foundation’s efforts to proactively measure, assess, learn, and share insights from its work.

The Director, Strategic Learning & Impact is an integral part of the Foundation’s strategic learning team, responsible for anchoring the full learning and adaptive management cycle for 1-2 programmatic initiatives – from supporting the strategy design process to designing, guiding, and managing measurement and evaluation work to building systems and processes that enable strategic learning and course correction throughout implementation.  The Director, Strategic Learning & Impact supports internal sense-making around programmatic data on progress and results and manages right-sized independent evaluative activities such as developmental evaluations, rapid assessments, and learning syntheses.

This role works in close partnership with initiative leads and teams to support the Foundation’s data-driven learning culture.  To promote the uptake and influence of data and evidence, the Director, Strategic Learning & Impact ensures that it is timely, of high quality, and communicated in ways that are relevant and compelling to internal and external audiences at all levels – including the Foundation’s senior leadership, Board of Trustees, program leadership, communications team, grantees and partners.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Program/Initiative Strategy: Provide design support and strategic counsel to strengthen programmatic strategy development and adaptation throughout the initiative lifecycle

  • Provide input into ongoing strategy development by facilitating of theory of change discussions, surfacing assumptions, making thinking visible, asking tough questions, and bringing the evidence base to bear.
  • Propose key strategic topics in need of refinement or review and develop structures to support teams in their strategic choice-making and assessment of tradeoffs.
  • Advise on how to select key indicators and metrics, including anchoring conversations around right-sizing short- and long-term outcomes and impact goals.
  • Identify and manage external consultants, when relevant, to bring additional capabilities needed to develop concrete and compelling strategies approved by RF leadership and the Board.

Measurement and Evaluation: Design and manage fit-for-purpose evaluations that assess the feasibility, effectiveness, scalability, influence and/or impact of the Foundation’s programmatic work

  • Support program teams in developing strategic learning questions and identifying high-value measurement and evaluation opportunities.
  • Design and manage fit-for-purpose assessments to fill key learning gaps responsive to decision maker’s needs, including development of evaluation questions, design and implementation of data collection processes, and synthesis of findings to best serve learning needs.
  • Scope independent assessments and manage competitive processes to identify high-quality learning partners.
  • Manage external evaluation and learning partner relationships and engagements that develop high quality insights and knowledge products for teams, RF leadership, the Board, grantees, partners, co-investors, and other key stakeholders.
  • Support grantees and program officers, as needed, in the development of measurement and evaluation plans that address critical questions and drive quality improvement.

Strategic Learning: Manage strategic learning processes that enable shared learning and adaptation within and across teams, grantees, and partners

  • Design and manage ongoing reflection, sense-making, and learning from the work to inform potential shifts in strategy when necessary.  Bring data and evidence to bear on strategic conversations.
  • Champion a culture of shared learning, inquiry, experimentation, transparency, candor, commitment to learning from failures, and evidence-informed decision making.
  • Create tools and cultivate spaces that enable strategic learning across initiatives.
  • Identify opportunities to share insights with the field, working with program and communications staff and learning partners to synthesize lessons and communicate findings.

Strategic Learning & Impact function: 

  • Build space within the Foundation’s regular business processes to foster a collaborative learning culture with room for discourse and reflection on what is and isn’t working.
  • Develop and refine internal systems and processes to better enable shared learning, reflection, strategy improvement, and knowledge management.
  • Keep abreast of strategic learning and evaluation trends and emerging approaches and apply them to the Foundation’s practice where possible, such as equitable evaluation, systems thinking, lean data methods, advanced facilitation techniques, etc. Cultivate a network of leading experts that can expand the Foundation’s ability to support strategic learning and deliver maximum impact.
  • Represent the Foundation at external events, including in the development evaluation community.

Supervision Received:

This role reports to the Managing Director, Strategic Learning & Impact.

Supervision Exercised:

The Director, Strategic Learning & Impact will help scope and support hiring and onboarding of new team members as needed (i.e., contribute to candidate screening, interview processes, etc.).   This role may include supervising other permanent staff, such as Senior Associates, or temporary staff, such as interns.

Education, Experience, and Skills

  • Advanced degree in relevant subjects such as international development, international relations, public policy, public health, education, economics or similar areas.
  • At least 10 years of experience managing impact evaluation and strategic learning assignments in the philanthropic, not-for-profit, and/or private sectors.
  • Experience in a consultative and/or senior advisory capacity preferred.
  • Knowledge of, and deep experience with, a range of strategy development, strategic planning, and strategic learning tools and approaches.
  • Experience applying evaluation methodologies and how evaluation can be used to support strategic learning, including designing, managing, and executing developmental evaluations, rapid assessments, and learning syntheses.
  • Experience applying an equity lens or conducting equity-oriented analyses.
  • Content expertise in one or more of the Foundation’s areas of programmatic work including public health, energy, climate, food systems and nutrition, innovative finance, and economic opportunity.
  • Comfort working across programmatic domains and in bringing strategic thinking, evaluation skills, and a learning orientation to bear in multiple content areas.
  • Expertise in workshop design and advanced group facilitation techniques.
  • High level of professional excellence, including demonstrated experience collaborating with a range of teams and stakeholders, experience managing complex stakeholder environments, and experience working in dynamic or ambiguous contexts and organizations.
  • A results-oriented, entrepreneurial mindset, with an ability to work experiment and iterate rapidly, both independently as a self-starter, as well as in teams.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity and ability to thrive in an environment of growth and change. Demonstrated ability to independently manage complex projects, prioritize conflicting demands and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Skillful listener with a high degree of self-awareness, humility, and diplomacy.
  • High proficiency to work, communicate, and write in English is required, with fluency in other languages an asset.Proficiency in Excel, PowerPoint,
  • Mural, Monday, and data visualization software preferred.

Qualifications and Competencies

  • Strategic thinking and analytical abilities: Ability to dissect complex challenges, understand root causes and develop creative yet sound approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Evaluation: Strong measurement and evaluation skills and ability to provide technical support to program teams; knowledge of how to use evaluation to support strategic learning.
  • Consultative and Advisory Skills: Experience working in a consultative or advisory role; demonstrated success managing partners or internal teams and ability to achieve impact through others.
  • Partnership and relationship building: Strong representation of the Strategic Learning & Impact team within the Foundation, effective relationship management with colleagues at all levels (peers, junior and senior staff), intercultural knowledge, strategic partnership building for greater impact
  • Execution: Strong project management skills, adherence to deadlines, sense of responsibility and accountability and the ability to effectively multi-task and work with diverse colleagues across teams
  • Leadership: Possesses the highest professional integrity with comfortable delivering tough messages, providing objective perspectives, and framing important choices.
  • Integration: Ability to identify where complementary skillsets are needed and to pull in those capabilities from within the team and across the organization. Demonstrates inclusiveness, collaboration and respect for all stakeholders, and represents broad organizational interests
  • Communication: Interpersonal communication abilities internally and externally; exceptional listening skills, excellent written and oral skills in English. Experience with development of materials for an executive-level audience

The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to offer a competitive compensation and benefits package that includes: comprehensive health insurance coverage, generous retirement savings plan with employer match and contributions, vacation and personal leave, safe and sick leave, summer hours, flexible work arrangements, tuition reimbursement and student loan repayments, an Employee Assistance Program, backup childcare and family support services, life and disability insurance, legal and identity theft services, paid family leave, semi-annual volunteering opportunity and gift matching program, and much more.

As an organization, we focus on six values to advance our culture and to continue our success. We are dedicated to being Transparent, Optimistic, Accountable, Collaborative, Trusted and Equitable. We operate from a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in everything that we do. It’s not only the right thing to do – we couldn’t make an impact without the diverse perspectives and experiences of our team members. We expect all employees at the Foundation to contribute by developing their unique perspective and talent, and to challenge conventional wisdom through evidence and reason, and by amplifying marginalized voices.

The Rockefeller Foundation is committed  the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning employment discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. To this end, the Foundation ensures equal opportunity to all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, lawful alien status, physical, mental, and medical disability, veteran status or liability for service in the United States Armed Forces.

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.