Reporting to the President, and supported by a team of 5 direct reports and a total team of nearly 30, you will lead the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s (CSPI’s) efforts in national, state, and local policy and advocacy; legislative and regulatory affairs; and, possibly, litigation. With a focus and strong commitment to health equity, you will advance our role as America’s most vigilant advocate for practical, science-based policies in nutrition, food safety, and health.
We are an independent, science-based consumer advocacy organization with an impressive record of accomplishments and a clear and ambitious agenda for improving the food system to support a healthy and just society. Unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor for death in the United States, contributing to over 500,000 premature deaths each year, primarily through heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Our science-based advocacy is a counterweight to industry’s powerful influence on public policy. We promote improving consumers’ access to practical, accurate information about the food they eat and removing harmful contaminants in our food supply. In addition, we address the scientific and regulatory concerns pertaining to the benefits and risks of genetically engineered plants and animals.
For over fifty years, we have advocated and litigated for policies that make it easier to eat well, be physically active, and advance public health. As VP of Programs, you will oversee a team that is informing the public and policymakers about deceptive food and beverage marketing practices that undermine the health of consumers and put the wellbeing of the nation at risk –advocating for access to, and appropriate nutritional standards in, programs such as SNAP, school foods, and food banking.
We will rely on you to think holistically about our programs and take a comprehensive approach to our work, elevating health equity and racial justice as we reexamine and reimagine how we advance health for all, follow the latest scientific developments to their logical conclusions, help find and address the root causes of public health problems, and carefully monitor the impact of our efforts. Key to your success will be striking the right balance in our programmatic work and leveraging our formidable capabilities in education, advocacy, regulatory and legislative affairs, and litigation for maximum impact. You will help us create powerful partnerships, build bridges, attract funding, and strengthen existing relationships, using your connections within academia, government, non-governmental organizations, healthcare and patient organizations, the anti-hunger community, and the private sector. Your efforts will help mobilize partner organizations across the nation, health professionals, and the public, and build momentum for wise and effective food and nutrition policies; help chart the course for CSPI by building coalitions, carefully considering inputs from a diverse range of stakeholders, and ensure that CSPI recommendations are scientifically proven to lead to positive public health outcomes.
As an inspiring and dynamic leader, you will develop and mentor a smart, talented, and passionately committed team – demonstrating curiosity and commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace that will help us find creative and effective solutions to our country’s most pressing and complicated public health challenges. And you’ll partner with other members of the Executive Management Team to help cultivate a learning environment where innovation is encouraged, and talented people can do the best work of their careers.
Policy development. In collaboration with senior leadership, program team members, and external stakeholders, develop innovative approaches that are evidence-based, community-informed, and meaningfully advance nutrition policy, food safety, and the public health. Prioritize strategies that also advance health equity and social justice.
Organizational leadership. Engage as a key member of the Executive Management Team and New Projects Committee. Collaborate closely with the President to develop our vision for the future and implement strategic policy priorities, working cross-functionally to leverage synergies across CSPI – including coordinating and consulting with the departments of Business Operations, Marketing, Development, Human Resources, Communications, Nutrition Action, and Science. Embody CSPI’s core values in all interactions: inclusivity, openness, accountability, kindness, and collaboration.
External relations. Nurture relationships with a network of scientists, academics, elected officials, public health officials, government regulators, media, funders, partner organizations, and industry contacts. Represent CSPI at conferences. Speak with the press on key policy campaign issues.
Staff management. Provide staff leadership to a team of nearly thirty, including five direct reports (Advocacy Director, Deputy Director of Federal Affairs, Deputy Director of Regulatory Affairs, Director of Biotechnology, and, potentially, Litigation Director). Model CSPI’s core values and healthy workplace practices with direct and indirect reports. Lead program strategy meetings and mentor staff in developing campaigns, identifying opportunities, and developing resources. Oversee and assure quality and accuracy of work.
Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree in a relevant field (nutrition, medicine, law, public health, or public policy) preferred.
10-15 years of experience managing diverse programs, budgets, and teams in government, nonprofit or related sectors, including significant executive leadership experience and leading large teams. Substantive experience and knowledge in nutrition (ideally), social justice, hunger, agriculture, environment, medical product regulation, public health, or related fields.
Strong familiarity with advocacy work including public policy work with Congress, federal and state regulatory agencies, low-income and BIPOC-led community organizations, and/or industry. Major plusses include a track record of developing and leading advocacy campaigns and/or strong relationships on the Hill and within the executive branch.
Experience promoting policies that seek to minimize disparities (for example: race, age, socioeconomic status, and gender). A public health degree with a focus or concentration on health equity would be a plus.
Able to work with lawyers and understand laws and regulations; familiarity with class action litigation; respect for legal boundaries related to representation of individual plaintiffs or classes.
Excellent written communication and public speaking skills. Experience working with funders, the media, and diverse audiences with the ability to analyze and present complex policy information at a level that is easily understood by people of varied backgrounds. A significant social media following would be a plus.
Passionate about social change. You care not just about science, but also about taking the best available science and translating that into the policies and practices that can improve lives.
Collaborative. You seek first to understand, then to be understood. You use influence rather than authority to achieve goals.
Curious. You have a fearless curiosity about all scientific findings. You ask questions and look at the data from different viewpoints. You notice trends and ask why. You are committed to following the science and you adjust your strategy based on new information. You view questions as opportunities for mutual learning, rather than challenges.
Flexible. You thrive in an environment that is in constant motion and change. You are an excellent sounding board for new ideas. You set priorities wisely and know how to make tough resource allocation decisions, always finding a way to advance strategic initiatives. You enjoy defining a job as you go along.
Inspiring leader. You enjoy leading and building teams – and you are good at it. You are compassionate and thoughtful, and you communicate your points easily. You have a strong ability to inspire passion in others and be a cheerful ambassador. People follow your lead, and you are interested in the professional and personal development of your team members. You can work from the head and heart and want to effect change that advances equity at the personal, interpersonal, and institutional levels.
Organizational agility. You will have many stakeholders with varying goals and needs in this position. You have good judgment and a thoughtful approach; you are sensitive to the challenges and constraints each stakeholder faces. You understand how organizations work, where to build relationships, and how to get results through other people.
Rapport builder. You have an inclusive work style and are open and collaborative, with the ability to develop strong and trusting relationships both internally and externally. You are comfortable sharing information and know who needs to be in the loop or informed. You easily articulate the benefits and value to each stakeholder and know how to connect the dots.
Relationship builder. You easily connect with individuals and build alliances both within an organization and working externally. You are committed to working well with diverse or marginalized populations and can bring in allies across diverse communities.
What’s Attractive to the Right Candidate?
This is a high-visibility, high-impact role. CSPI’s unique combination of expertise, connections, and funding will enable you to quickly make a significant impact on public health. Because we work on a broad range of issues, we have a vast network of alliances across the nation.
You are joining us at an exciting time in our growth. We are financially stable with a rich 50-year history of success. With recently increased funding, we can expand our scope and impact. We are open-minded about the future and will welcome your guidance.
Our racial justice organizational change process and commitment is underway. You are joining an organization that is thoughtfully balancing privilege, effectiveness, and humility, is dedicated to ongoing meaningful and robust conversation, is intentional and accountable in our actions, and is committed to fostering a workplace culture that is welcoming and inclusive to staff of different races and backgrounds.
Your colleagues are bright, energetic, and dedicated. As a member of the Executive Management Team, you will have the opportunity to guide and empower your staff to think boldly and create innovative solutions to address historical injustices and the problems of the future.
This is the perfect opportunity for a dedicated, experienced, results-oriented leader with strategic vision, excellent written communication skills, and enthusiasm for creating an equitable, healthy, and sustainable food system.
CSPI will support a hybrid work environment when our office reopens.
We offer a competitive compensation package that includes health and dental insurance, annual leave and holidays, 403b retirement plan, and more.
Use the "Apply" button on this page or simply email your resume and cover letter to Aileen Hedden at firstname.lastname@example.org with “CSPI - VP of Programs #2022-2680 ASAE” as the subject of the email. Please include your resume as a Word or PDF attachment to the email and paste your cover letter in the body of your email.
The salary range for this position is $175-200K.
Job responsibilities are similar to the following positions:Vice President of Policy Initiatives, Senior Advisors, Vice President of Nutrition Programs, Director of Advocacy.
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