Strategy Director for Participation

Strategy Director for Participation

Job Title:  Strategy Director for Participation
Department: Learning and Work
Reports to:  Vice President, Learning and Work
FLSA Status: Exempt
Location: Open

A remote work opportunity (outside of Indianapolis or Washington D.C.)—may require, on average, 3-5 days in the Indianapolis office per month with additional presence as needed.


The strategy director for participation leads a portfolio of work designed to increase enrollment and re-enrollment in AA degree and short-term credential programs. Over the past decade, postsecondary attainment has grown steadily but millions more traditional age and adult students would benefit from enrolling or reenrolling in postsecondary education. In a labor market where postsecondary credentials are a necessity for economic success and stability, there are 36 million adults with some college but no degree and over 50 million adults with high school diplomas only.  The economic upheaval the nation faces in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will only increase the number of workers who will find it necessary to learn new skills in order to re-enter the labor force.

The director will have an opportunity to develop and implement Lumina’s strategy, approach, and grantee portfolio in this field.  The director should have expertise in effective approaches to identifying, informing, engaging, and enrolling students in high-quality programs, well designed to promote credential attainment.  The director should also have insight into innovative marketing strategies, behavioral barriers to enrollment, and best practices in student advising and navigation.  In addition, the director should be conversant with the current array of strategies and reforms that address equity, quality, scale, and innovation to dramatically increase the enrollment, persistence, and completion of postsecondary credentials, particularly for learners of color and adults.

This position works in a collaborative and integrated manner within the Learning and Work division as well as across all other areas of the foundation to ensure that the goals of Lumina’s Strategic Plan are realized, and to assist the nation in making significant improvements in credential attainment.


Strategy Leadership, Design, Planning, and Implementation

  • Develops strategies and plans for an assigned significant area of the foundation’s grantmaking.
  • Establishes budgets and executes the work in the assigned significant area or defined critical outcome.
  • Develops, monitors, and reports progress on the annual work plan that incorporates multiple foundation tools.
  • Collaborates on grant and contract development and budget review in the cross-functional programmatic group.
  • Collaborates with other stakeholders and leverages resources that support the foundation’s strategies.
  • Assumes significant, shared responsibility for managing the foundation’s related grantmaking work including preparing for and actively engaging in grant review meetings, drafting grant and contract-related information, monitoring grant progress, and working with staff and grantees to identify and troubleshoot problems in funded programs.
  • Drafts concept papers and develops requests for proposals and grant/contract guidelines to support new programs.
  • Regularly revisits strategies to assure efforts remain responsive to emerging issues and information.
  • Prepares materials for, attends, presents, and responds to questions in board meetings.
  • Performs writing or analytical activities concerning grantmaking programs, research and public policy agenda, and communications that support organizational learning and lessons learned to the field.

Support for Lumina’s Commitment to Racial Justice and Equity

  • Strategy Directors advance Lumina’s commitment to ending systemic racism and barriers to learning beyond high school for Black, Latino, and Native American individuals.
  • Further Learning and Works’ specific practices that promote racial and ethnic diversity in hiring, contracting, grantmaking, inclusive decision making, and achieving fair and just outcomes arising from the department’s exercise of its duties and responsibilities.
  • Effectively communicate Lumina’s commitment to internal and external partners

Functional Leadership and Staff Development

  • Provide leadership for a strategy team by setting a clear direction, delivering frequent and open communications, and leveraging the strengths of team members, while also providing development opportunities within the team.
  • Support direct reports in their work by serving as an experienced, objective adviser and mentor.
  • Provide administrative oversight on expenses, travel, grantmaking, contracting, and other functional processes.
  • Onboard new hires to ensure they have the introductions, resources, training, and productivity tools necessary to be effective as quickly as possible.
  • For direct reports, collect feedback from internal or external stakeholders.
  • Review individual and collective performance and provides clarifying examples where necessary.
  • Support professional and career development by discussing and documenting with direct reports their professional development interests, strengths, and gaps.
  • Collaborate with direct reports to create a development plan, identify learning and reinforcing opportunities, and serve as a mentor to them.

Thought Leadership

  • Author and issue op-ed’s, position statements, reports, talking points, and other documents that advance the foundation’s strategic efforts
  • Collaborate with human network and design staff to identify, plan, and execute convenings, meetings, and conferences of grantees and leaders in higher education
  • Attend and/or make professional presentations at meetings of national associations and other groups.

Education and Experience

  • Graduate degree or demonstrated competency required in higher education, social and behavior sciences, or other related content area.
  • At least 8 years’ experience in a senior-level leadership role, preferably in the higher education, workforce development, nonprofit, and/or philanthropic sectors. Broad exposure to multiple employment sectors and employer community college partnerships ideal. 


  • Ability to learn quickly and connect learning to ongoing conversations related to the assigned body of work.
  • Ability to demonstrate how best to use the foundation’s resources to ensure the policies and practices envisioned in the Strategic Plan are aligned with Lumina’s principles of learning and credentialing.
  • Ability to make decisions in concert with others without complete information and to thrive in an outcomes-oriented, continuously evolving work environment in which thinking beyond the curve is encouraged.
  • Project management skills with demonstrated ability to execute and follow through to achieve intended results by following through on commitments, prioritizing work, and managing time and resources well.
  • Experience building and managing diverse networks that support efforts to produce systemic change.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills with the ability to communicate accurately, effectively, and in ways appropriate to different audiences.
  • Strong writing with the ability to review, revise, and synthesize a variety of information and help connect the foundation’s work to broader discussions within the higher education landscape.
  • Ability to manage internal and external constituents, projects, and budgets.
  • Analytical, problem-solving and research abilities and an ability to coordinate with researchers and program evaluators.
  • Adaptive problem-solving skills to respond to unforeseen challenges and new assignments.
  • Ability to prioritize a wide range of duties and responsibilities, organize tasks, and remain flexible to changing and multiple requests.
  • Ability to work collegially and diplomatically across the organization and audience groups, with an ability to resolve any conflicts.
  • Sound judgment in handling sensitive or confidential information.
  • Ability to use technology effectively, including databases, spreadsheets, and Microsoft Office 365 products.

Work Environment and Physical Demands

  • Work is performed in an office environment, mostly sedentary.
  • Visual and auditory acuity for extensive use of various forms of technology.
  • Currently, Lumina staff are not traveling. When travel resumes, this position travels 10-20%, including overnight stays.

This description is only a summary of the typical job functions, not an exhaustive list of all possible responsibilities, and may be subject to change at any time due to reasonable accommodation or other reasons.

Applicants should send the following to the e-mail address below:

  • a letter of interest that includes desired compensation,
  • resume/curriculum vitae as attachments outlining experience relevant to the position, and
  • a writing sample that focuses on a topic relevant to this position.

Amber Shelton
Human Resources Manager

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

Lumina is working with partners to design a learning system that gives every person—regardless of race and ethnicity, income, or other socioeconomic factors—the opportunities that only education and training after high school can provide. To achieve our mission, we work with governmental, nonprofit, and private-sector organizations to bring about widespread change. Our work relies on strategic communication, empowering leaders who can bring about change, policy outreach to state and federal officials, investments in proven and promising practices, and targeted efforts to measure and evaluate progress.

Lumina Foundation has a passionate and committed staff and is among the nation’s top private foundations with an endowment in excess of $1.2 billion.

Equal Opportunity Employer