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Director of Research and Thought Leadership


Atlanta, GA, USA

Director of Research and Thought Leadership

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) seeks a dynamic Director of Research and Thought Leadership to advance the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter’s work to catalyze thriving and inclusive housing markets. As a part of Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center management team, s/he will be responsible for developing and implementing a knowledge management strategy for internal communications and learning, as well as an external engagement strategy for positioning the Terwilliger Center as a thought leader in innovative, market-based solutions to affordable housing.

We are seeking a self-starter with a passion for research, thought leadership, and building learning networks. S/he will demonstrate creativity in approaching research and thought leadership, and a willingness to test new ideas and iterate. This role is ideal for someone strong in cross-cultural communications, able to communicate effectively with team members of varied experiences and work styles, and with a good sense of humor. We are seeking an individual who is flexible and patient in navigating a complex matrix environment and a multi-tasker with the proven ability to balance competing priorities and meet deadlines. This position will report to the Vice President for the Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and will work across the Center’s multiple practice areas and geographical regions.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

Research & Knowledge Management

- Work cross-functionally with the Terwilliger Center’s practice areas and with HFHI’s Advocacy, Urban, and Disaster Response teams to identify key research objectives and develop an overarching learning and knowledge agenda that advances the Terwilliger Center’s 2023 catalytic goals.
- Plan, coordinate and lead prioritized research efforts. Advise country and regional teams on active research.
- Foster innovation and thought leadership within the Terwilliger Center by engaging staff on research and knowledge sharing efforts.
- Work across Terwilliger Center’s practice areas and geographical territories to understand research, thought leadership, and knowledge sharing needs.
- Build on existing initiatives to curate learning engagement opportunities for the Terwilliger Center’s current bank of research, seek feedback on performance to ensure ongoing improvement, and to develop new research and learning strategies.]
- Provide project management support for content development and dissemination plan and implementation, working cross-functionally with practice area teams, Habitat’s Communications Team, and other relevant external parties to identify appropriate audiences, craft effective messaging, determine timeframes, monitor progress, and monitor overall focus of learning and messaging coming out of the Terwilliger Center across diverse program units.
- Support HFHI to refine research, thought leadership, and knowledge management platforms that facilitate internal and external knowledge dissemination and engagement and align with platforms and processes of HFHI at large.
- Actively cultivate and maintain a network of external researchers (independent as well as organizations) willing to support the Terwilliger Center’s mission.

Thought Leadership and Influence

- Lead development of a Thought Leadership role and Influence strategy for the Terwilliger Center to support increased uptake of key research and learnings, as well as increasing the exposure and influence of the Terwilliger Center, internationally, with key stakeholders in affordable housing.
- Actively pursue new business development opportunities and strategic partnerships that help advance the Terwilliger Center’s Thought Leadership role on catalyzing inclusive housing markets.
- Serve as a key agency external focal point on affordable housing thought leadership, research, and learning representing the Terwilliger Center’s research and knowledge management initiative and key content at major events.
- Support both internal and external messaging of progress in research and thought leadership, including information on uptake and influence of learning.

Preferred Knowledge and Experience

- Master’s degree (M.A, M.S) required, PHD or work towards one would be a plus.
- Excellent interpersonal communication and networking skills, the ability to sell ideas, get buy-in and win support.
- Experience in social science research, monitoring and evaluation, using qualitative and quantitative methods.
- Proven ability to work cooperatively with internal and external stakeholders, and to play a leadership role in convening and facilitating groups.
- Excellent writing skills and the ability to communicate complex research findings or technical content to non-technical audiences, to demonstrate project impact and convey the application of research through relevant mediums.
- Proficiency in multi-media platforms, strong preference for experience in designing and developing innovative digital strategies for advancing research to learnings.
- 5 to 7 years of demonstrated understanding of research and thought leadership roles, including knowledge management and learning principles.
- Previous experience with and demonstrated understanding of on the ground work in market-based development strongly preferred.
- Fluency in written and spoken English is required; Spanish is a plus.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

- The position is based in Washington DC, Atlanta, GA, with other locations of global influence considerable. The positon requires up to 30% travel to HFHI/Terwilliger Center field locations and regions.


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