LSST-DA is Hiring a Director for Strategic Engagement


Posted Date: January 19, 2024

Position Summary

LSST Discovery Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that develops and implements bold programs that accelerate transformative breakthroughs in astrophysics through scientific networks, interdisciplinary collaboration, and inclusive access to research opportunities and resources.  LSST-DA is hiring a Director for Strategic Engagement to play a leading role in developing and nurturing relationships and networks with the people and institutions interested in LSST Discovery Alliance. This work will include responsibilities in organizational planning, research and tracking, media relations, and communications.  We are looking for someone with a (social) scientific or technical background who is excited to support scientific innovation and inclusion in a unique way. This position reports to and partners closely with the Chief Executive Officer.

We offer an outstanding benefits package, a supportive work environment, and opportunities for professional growth and development.   To apply for this position, please submit a resume or CV, a cover letter that describes your interest in and qualifications for this position, and the contact information for 3 professional references.  Apply at https://lsst-inc.prismhr-hire.com/job/736398/director-for-strategic-engagement. Review of applications will begin on February 15, and will continue until the position is filled.

Direct questions to CEO, Beth Willman (bwillman at lsst-da dot org).

Organization Overview

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory will soon begin an unprecedented 4-dimensional map of the Universe with the world’s largest digital camera on a new telescope in Chile.  This map – the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) – will generate open access, curated astronomical data at a scale never previously seen.  LSST is destined to have a transformative impact on humankind’s understanding of the Universe.  LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission to maximize the scientific and societal impact of LSST. 

Fulfilling LSST-DA’s mission requires changing how astronomy is done and who’s at the table.  To do this, LSST-DA develops and implements bold programs that accelerate transformative breakthroughs in astrophysics through scientific networks, interdisciplinary collaboration, and inclusive access to research opportunities and resources.  LSST-DA leverages the expertise, ideas, and commitment of Alliance members and our close collaboration with the Rubin Project and LSST Science Collaborations. We are funded by dues from member institutions, grants from foundations, and donations from corporations and individual donors.

Who You Are

You are a creative and strategic thinker with exceptional communication and collaboration skills.  You enjoy meeting new people and building new relationships.  You are highly organized and detail oriented in research and the documentation of your work.  You have a strong understanding of the landscape of large scientific projects and the process of conducting scientific research.  You are energized by Rubin LSST’s potential to revolutionize humankind’s understanding of the universe through inclusive discovery.  You have a (social) scientific or technical background and are excited to support scientific innovation and inclusion in a unique way.  You have a sense of humor and don’t take yourself too seriously. 

What You Will Do

You will be responsible for developing, implementing, and assessing strategies to engage and build relationships with key stakeholders, including Alliance members, current and potential funders, relevant disciplinary experts, and potential participants in LSST-DA programs.  Your work will ensure that the people and institutions interested in LSST-DA are engaged with LSST-DA in authentic, dynamic, and trusting relationships that are meaningful and beneficial to them and beneficial and productive for the Alliance.  In close collaboration with LSST-DA staff, you will also play a crucial role in developing LSST-DA strategic initiatives and in external communications. Reporting to and working closely with the Chief Executive Officer, you will partner with the Chief Scientist and a fundraising consultant to form a working development team and execute key strategies to increase fundraising capacity and memberships.

Specific Responsibilities

Director for Strategic Engagement will play a leading role in developing and nurturing the relationships and with the people and institutions interested in the LSST Discovery Alliance. This work will include responsibilities in organizational planning, research and tracking, media relations, and communications.  Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Deepen and support existing relationships, including with Alliance members, current and potential funders and potential donors, relevant disciplinary experts, and potential program participants.
  • Initiate and nurture new connections and networks with strong reciprocal potential.
  • Engage in strong collaborative relationships with key stakeholders internal to the Rubin LSST ecosystem, including the LSST-DA Board of Directors, Rubin Project leadership, and Science Collaboration leadership, to ensure alignment and effective collaboration on shared priorities.
  • Collaborate with the development team to continuously evaluate and evolve engagement (including fundraising) strategies, measuring success against established goals.
  • Collaborate with Discovery Alliance staff and the Board to assess, utilize, and leverage their strengths in the development of productive external relationships.
  • Develop lists of and conduct research on prospective and current funders and evaluate their priority for engagement.
  • Maintain a tracking system with timely and accurate data on all contacts and engagement activities.
  • Plan and coordinate development and/or fundraising events where there is a solid potential to connect LSST-DA with influential prospective and/or current stakeholders.
  • Serve as an LSST-DA ambassador by attending and networking at events and conferences.
  • Ensure all support from external and internal sources is quickly and appropriately acknowledged.
  • In consultation with the development team and consultants, prepare written materials, presentations and talking points for targeted and general use to inform and educate about LSST-DA.
  • Serve as a point of contact for media relations and collaborate with the development team and consultants on developing and implementing a media strategy.
  • Solicit gifts and grants as appropriate and agreed to by Chief Executive Officer.
  • Other duties as assigned – Work across the LSST-DA internal team to ensure continuity when demand for staff time and energy is unusually high.
  • May work anywhere in the continental U.S.

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree, or higher, in natural science, social science, or technical field (preferably in astronomy or related field).
  • Familiarity with the current state of the astronomy field’s challenges and opportunities.
  • Work experience in a scientific research, science education, or science outreach organization.
  • Strong strategic thinking and analytical abilities, with the capacity to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.
  • Exceptional organizational, collaboration, and project management skills, with the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Outstanding writing, listening, and feedback skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to LSST-DA’s values of inclusion, scientific discovery, and innovation.
  • Demonstrated reliability and ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • A sense of humor.
  • Skilled in Microsoft Office and/or Google Workspace applications. Demonstrated ability to acquire proficiency with new software.
  • (Desired, not required) Fundraising experience.
  • Must be available for occasional weekend and evening events and for regular domestic and occasional international travel.