Government and Policy Advisor
844 million people – about one in nine – lack access to safe water. 2.3 billion people don’t have access to a toilet. We are working every day to change this. We are Water.org. We’re here to bring water and sanitation to the world. We want to make it safe, accessible and cost-effective because we believe that water is the way to empowering a bright future that we can all share in, worldwide. We are an international nonprofit organization based in Kansas City, Missouri that has positively transformed millions of lives around the world through access to safe water and sanitation. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, we pioneer market-driven financial solutions to the global water crisis. For more than 25 years, we’ve been providing women hope, children health and families a future.
The Sector Engagement team at Water.org leads the organizational engagement of bilateral and multilateral development institutions for the purposes of influencing governments, global water and sanitation finance forum decision-making, and the policies and practices of these institutions. This team strategically guides and strengthens Water.org's engagement skill in systems and collective impact with scale-enabling development finance institutions, government actors, and sector resource leaders and facilitates effective global-local relationships to underpin country strategies. The Sector Engagement team proactively and successfully cultivates and manages global relationships with these institutions and within these forums; while also providing opportunity landscaping, targeted policy and practice advice and assistance to our country teams, and influence leadership within and on behalf of Water.org.
The Government & Policy Advisor within the Sector Engagement team is a seasoned expert primarily responsible for defining and implementing the organization’s global strategy and discipline for government engagement, policy influence, and systems impact. Leveraging subject matter expertise with cultivating and navigating government and institutional partnerships, the Government & Policy Advisor will lead on strategy and provide an array of technical assistance, guidance, and support to Water.org’s field operations to efficiently drive policy and practice changes with governments. As a key member of this growing practice area, this role will enhance the organization’s knowledge base with this practice area through the development and publishing of position papers, practice guidelines, resource materials, training material content, and other external influence collateral.
The Government & Policy Advisor role may be based in Kansas City, MO or San Francisco, CA. Locations outside these two locations will be considered if this role is filled by a current Water.org employee.
Operationalize and Manage Government & Policy Practice (35%)
- Develop, deploy, and lead organization’s strategic framework for global government engagement, policy reform, and institutional practice changes that substantively strengthens the enabling environment for financing.
- Provide guidance and support to field operations in identifying, designing, and implementing scale-enabling policy shifts and transformational institutional practice shifts.
- Lead the generation of policy analysis and evidence to shape departmental and organizational strategy.
- Establish practice guidelines and relationship management protocol for effective government engagement and advocacy for Water.org teams
- Provide technical assistance to field operations on systems impact strategies and best cases for leveraging strategic partnerships to accomplish plan objectives
- Provide field operations with government and policy insights and guidance regarding regulatory and practice changes.
- Monitor and utilize scorecards for effective practice and partnership management
- Present on global and national stages at industry-specific conferences and fora on behalf of Water.org, as needed.
Partnership Management (35%)
- Secure, partner with and leverage a globally networked portfolio of organizations that strengthen conducive enabling environments within the water and sanitation finance sector.
- Serve as lead relationship manager for existing and future Policy/Practice Global Enabler partnerships
- Cultivate and manage portfolio of Resource Enabler partnerships (e.g., SWA, WSSCC, UN-Water)
- Maintains a constructive and proactive dialogue and collaborative relationships with program stakeholders, including donor, client organizations, relevant government agencies and other NGOs.
Information Generation & Distribution (30%)
- Regularly develop and deliver sector insights synthesis to Global Impact Department and Water.org Teams
- Collaborate with HR’s Learning & Development team to identify the timeline, objectives, and approach for internal training and development regarding government and policy engagement.
- Produce training material strategy and content for internal training and development in partnership with HR’s Learning & Development team.
- Proactively share upcoming learning opportunities with HR’s Learning & Development team for inclusion in communications and organizational calendars.
- Oversee internal learning solutions on an on-going cycle in partnership with HR’s Learning & Development.
- Create and structure government and policy engagement curricula resources, collateral, materials, trainings, and webinars for external audiences.
- Develop and co-author position papers on systems change, policy reform, and practice shifts, and other guidance documents for internal and external audience influence
- Develop suite of resource materials, best practice guidelines, and industry-relevant information for effective government engagement and policy advocacy that underpins systems changes
- Individual contributor with no subordinates.
- As Sector Engagement team evolves, the management responsibility for this role will transition to that of a supervisor, inclusive of hiring, discipline, and pay administration responsibilities.
This description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required. Some duties, responsibilities and activities may change or be assigned at any time with or without notice.
- Develop and lead global government & policy strategy.
- Provide subject matter expertise on government engagement and policy guidance best practices.
- Lead strategic partnership portfolio to influence global and national level enabling environment
- Create and manage key collateral to support organizational engagement with global governments.
Skills and Competencies
- Customer Focus – Building strong customer relationships and delivering customer-centric solutions.
- Nimble Learning – Actively learning through experimentation when taking on new problems, using both successes and failures as learning fodder.
- Drives Results – Consistently achieving results, even under tough circumstances.
- Collaborates – Building partnerships and working collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives.
- Self-development – Actively seeking new ways to grow and be challenged using other formal and informal development channels.
- Optimize Work Processes – Knowing the most effective and efficient processes to get things done, with a focus on continuous improvement.
- Manages Ambiguity – Manages ambiguity by operating effectively, even when things are not certain or the way forward is not clear.
- Instills Trust – Gaining the confidence and trust of others through honesty, integrity, and authenticity.
- Financial Stewardship – Demonstrates fiscally responsible decision making as applicable to one’s role.
- Directs Work – Providing direction, delegating, and removing obstacles to get work done.
- Values Differences – Recognizing the value that different perspectives and cultures bring to an organization.
- Manages Conflict – Handling conflict situations effectively, with a minimum of noise.
- Develops Talent – Developing people to meet both their career goals and the organization’s goals.
- Bachelor’s degree required in international development, politics/international politics, business, or other related discipline requiring both strong analytical and presentation skills. Master’s degree in related field required.
- 10+ years of experience as a senior officer working within advocacy, government stakeholder engagement, and/or government policy.
- Previous supervisory and talent management experience preferred.
- Demonstrated experience in managing government and policy stakeholder relationships for an organization.
- Previous experience designing, developing, and implementing development programs.
- Strategic organizational mindset with effective cross-functional alignment skills.
- Demonstrated ability to lead and influence internal and external partners.
- Cogent and influential written and oral communication skills.
- Strong background in sector research, synthesis, analysis, and reporting.
- Demonstrated experience in presenting on national and global stages.
- High level project management skills.
- Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office, including highly developed PowerPoint skills
- Knowledge and experience working within South Asia and/or Southeast Asia is highly desirable.
Up to 50% of domestic and global travel.
Salary and Benefits
This position offers full-time benefits, including medical/dental insurance, life and disability insurance, retirement program and periodic review for merit and incentive pay based on organizational and personal achievement.
Water.org is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing an inclusive environment. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, military and veteran status, genetic information, and any other status protected by law. We provide qualified applicants and employees reasonable accommodation, when necessary, to enable individuals to complete the application process and/or perform the essential functions of the job.