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Director of Government Relations and Public Policy

Director of Government Relations and Public Policy


REPORTS TO: Vice President for Policy and Advocacy


SUPERVISES:  Staff in Public Policy and Government Relations Department


LOCATION: Washington, D.C.


PURPOSE OF POSITION: The Director of Government Relations and Public Policy provides senior leadership for Oxfam America to effectively engage the US federal government in support of the global Oxfam confederation’s advocacy agenda to fight inequality to end poverty.


The Director ensures a coherent and agile political strategy that enables Oxfam to advance multiple objectives that contribute to systemic changes in two focus areas: 1) Fair Economies and Equal Rights and 2) Rights and Dignity in Crises.





The broad responsibilities of the Director include:


US Federal Government Influencing Strategy and Relationship Management


The Director will:


1. Working with Campaigns, Program, Public Engagement and US Domestic Program teams, oversee and coordinate Oxfam’s US legislative and administrative advocacy agenda, updated regularly through quarterly reviews or more frequently as needed given external context.


2. Plan and guide OUS engagement around cyclical government affairs processes, as well as key global moments.


3. Develop networks and manage relationships with key figures in the US Congress and Federal Administration – Republican and Democratic, both authorizers and appropriators – in support of our global and domestic agenda.


4. Ensure state and local level influencing efforts are aligned with our relationship management and policy goals at the federal level, coordinating with Campaigns, US Public Engagement, and US Domestic Program teams.


5. Develop and implement strategies to engage US diplomatic influence in support of influencing agendas in non-US countries and regions where Oxfam works.


6. Monitor and lead analysis of and communicate internally on cross-cutting Presidential or Administration actions, orders, or legislative actions, and develop appropriate responses by OUS.


7. Prepare key staff and materials for OUS testimony to US government bodies.


US Public Policy Coherence and Thought Leadership


The Director will:


1. Ensure that OUS policy positions reflect Oxfam’s mission, align with OUS Strategic Framework, and cohere as a US government influencing strategy, managing existing OUS policy positions and new policy positions in collaboration with staff at OUS and the global Oxfam confederation (Oxfam International and other Oxfam affiliates).


2. Represent OUS in Oxfam confederation policy spaces and vet new and changed OI policy positions, in partnership with appropriate OUS policy experts, to ensure OUS policy coherence.


3. Contribute to OUS thought leadership both internally and externally. This includes publishing internal discussion pieces, blogs, op-eds, and publishing longer thought pieces on our priority issues.


4. Work with OUS fundraising staff to engage with donors and partner institutions in support of US federal influencing initiatives, including developing concept notes and new initiatives, prospecting for new funders, and developing and implementing special projects.


External and Oxfam Confederation Representation and Network Development


The Director will:


1. Build strong networks of US federal officials and allies, peers and thought leaders across the world and US in support of Oxfam’s mission, with an emphasis on open collaboration, courage and humility.


2. Represent Oxfam to inform and influence public officials and elected representatives in the US Administration and Congress, and with multilateral organizations, on our priority areas of focus (including economic inequality in the US and globally, humanitarian crises, climate change, and gender justice).   


3. Represent OUS in the media and serve as a spokesperson for our advocacy issues.


4. Represent OUS advocacy efforts and positioning with US government in relationships with Oxfam affiliates, allies, and other civil society organizations.


5. Play a leadership role with OUS allies and partners in the DC-based social justice, international development, and humanitarian communities – particularly with policy and government relations/affairs peers.


6. Harness the representational value of our CEO, and our VPs for Public Engagement, Global Programs, and Policy and Advocacy and others (Board, donors, etc.) to advance our relationships with the US government.    


Management and Leadership that Models and Delivers on Oxfam’s Strategic Vision, Goals, and Values


As a senior leader in Oxfam America, the Oxfam confederation and the Washington, DC office, the Director will:


1. Manage and develop a team of 5-7 government relations and public policy staff – and support policy staff that are part of issue-based teams – to deliver on OUS Strategic Framework focused on fighting inequality to end poverty, our US public policy and government relations goals, and to live our values that include a commitment to promote feminist principles in everything we do.


2. Build and maintain strong relationships with leaders of our Programs, Campaigns, US Domestic Program, and Private Sector, Public Engagement and Fundraising teams to build OUS’ political influence in the United States at the federal, state, and local levels.


3. Build and support a culture in the Washington, DC office and the organization that lives values of inclusion, empowerment and accountability, excels at open and humble collaboration externally and internally, learns through experimentation, and practices feminist principles.




The Director should:


• Stay abreast of professional standards, trends, and issues affecting this set of responsibilities, demonstrating continuous learning of the field.

• Demonstrate experience working in a matrixed management environment, coordinating policy across teams, strategizing directly with policy experts across the organization, and supporting campaign priorities.

• Work effectively and collaboratively in support of building a team-based culture of work, advance feminist principles in everything we do, perform all duties appropriately for a multi-cultural environment, treat all persons with dignity and respect, and be familiar with and committed to OUS mission, goals, and values.

• Work strategically to prioritize and sequence activities of the team in a content rich and fast-moving environment. During intensive periods, the Director is expected to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, coordinate the activities of several policy teams, and keep the VPs, peers, and other leaders in OUS leadership informed about ongoing policy and government affairs activities.

• Provide clear direction and guidance to staff and contribute to overall efforts to set realistic and measurable goals and objectives for OUS that are to be reached in an efficient and effective manner.

• Travel to the Boston HQ and global offices on a frequent basis each year (15%).







• Masters or advanced degree or equivalent. • Demonstrated deep understanding of US and Washington public policy making, including how executive policy and national legislation is developed, influenced, and implemented with a specific focus on US foreign policy and track record of using that insights to deliver results.


• A minimum of 10 years of management experience in an organization with a comparable advocacy, communications, and campaigning mandate. Demonstrated experience with media and public speaking preferred. 


• A deep understanding of how a globally networked social justice and anti-poverty organization seeks to use influence and advocacy to achieve impact.


• Appreciation of links between policy and practice in the field of humanitarian response and development to flight lobbying and public policy advocacy.


• Demonstrated experience in strategic decision-making, leadership, risk management, and operational management at a senior level in a complex organizational setting.


• Excellent written and oral communication skills and ability to represent the organization with high level contacts and the media.


• Excellent interpersonal and team-building skills.


• Aptitude and inclination to coach, mentor, and build a strong management infrastructure of shared values and approach.  Demonstrated ability to lead by word and example.


• Tact, diplomacy, and demonstrated ability to manage confidential information.




• Demonstrated capacity to raise funds from small and large foundations for influencing the US government on public policy.



  Oxfam America is a Gender Just organization and an equal opportunity employer. We have a zero tolerance policy for any sexual harassment, exploitation, and/or abuse. We welcome all persons to apply and do not discriminate. We take measures to prevent discrimination against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.



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