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Chief Government & External Relations Officer

  • Center For Reproductive Rights
  • Washington, DC
About The Center for Reproductive Rights

The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) is the global leader in using the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights. Headquartered in New York City, the non-profit, non-partisan organization has regional offices in Bogota, Geneva, Nairobi, and Washington, DC, and a staff of approximately 200 diverse professionals in 14 countries. The Center’s compelling human rights mission and reputation for excellence and cutting-edge legal work has powered its exceptional growth trajectory to an operating budget of $50 million and won the respect of the world’s leading law firms, as reflected in the additional $30 million annually in donated legal services, representing annually the work of approximately 800 lawyers in almost 50 countries.

The overarching goal of the Center’s new Strategic Plan sets a high mark for impact: By 2030, half of the world’s population will be living under stronger protections for reproductive rights than they do today. The Center has a track record of success to back up this ambitious goal. Since its founding in 1992, the Center’s game-changing litigation and advocacy, combined with its unparalleled expertise in constitutional, comparative, and international human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies worldwide on issues including maternal health, contraception, abortion, and assisted reproduction. It has won groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, led the development of historic, proactive legislation advancing robust protections for reproductive rights, and has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in more than 60 countries and counting.

To learn more about the Center for Reproductive Rights, go to www.reproductiverights.org.

Opportunity

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Chief Government & External Relations Officer (CGERO) will lead the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Center’s advocacy with the U.N., multilateral institutions, the U.S. government, as well as changemakers and leaders in other sectors to achieve policy wins and other strategic plan goals, as well increase the profile and influence of the Center with those actors and stakeholders.

Responsibilities

This role will be accountable for innovating and executing an ambitious strategy; conceptualizing, prototyping, and implementing new program ideas; inspiring and developing a results-oriented team; and collaborating across Center programs and departments, as well as outside partners, to ensure the Center accomplishes its mission and goals.

Lead Strategy, Development, and Implementation of Government and External Relations

  • As the Center’s first Chief Government and External Relations Officer, establish the division and function.
  • Lead development, planning, and implementation of breakthrough advocacy strategies at the U.N., multilateral institutions, and with the U.S. government, and changemakers and leaders in other sectors.
  • Stay abreast of global and U.S. political developments and keep leadership briefed on the risks and opportunities for the Center; Manage coordinated rapid response to crises and opportunities, engaging external stakeholders in response.
  • Develop and manage division budget (money, staff, pro bono); maximize pro bono engagement; ensure annual lobbying allocation not exceeded.

Serve as an Ambassador, Collaborator and Thought Leader

  • Serve as a strategic advisor and thought partner to the CEO, leadership team and Board of Directors.
  • Work with CEO to ensure key external relationships are developed and well-managed across the organization, inc. with UN Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, WHO White House, US State Dept, US Department of Justice, US Congress, and change-makers and leaders in other sectors.
  • Design and execute Center events that profile its expertise to key government, multilateral, and other external constituencies.
  • Design and execute the Center’s participation in major international events.
  • Lead development of conversation-changing analyses and reports in furtherance of the Center’s policy goals and external impact.
  • In collaboration with other Center leaders, represent the organization with key stakeholders.

Develop and Lead an Effective Team

  • Structure, recruit, develop, retain, and lead a diverse, goal-oriented, and successful team in the Government and External Relations division.
  • Identify and mentor the Center’s next generation of leaders.

Ensure Strength of Entire Organization as a Member of the Executive Team

  • As a member of the Executive Team, lead organizational change, position the Center for the future, generate new ideas and foster a climate of experimentation, develop systems for innovative thinking, develop long-term objectives and strategies for the organization-as-a-whole.
  • Model the Center’s values (global inclusivity, excellence, integrity, and impact) and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within and outside the organization.
  • Ensure effective collection of data and prepare periodic reports to the Board, CEO, Executive Team, and donors on impact of the organization’s government and external relations work and progress on goals.
Qualifications

The Chief Government & External Relations Officer has proven leadership, analytical, legal, and management skills, will be knowledgeable about multilateral institutions, and ideally have served in a senior role in the executive branch of the U.S. government.

  • Mission & Values Alignment: Commitment to advancing reproductive rights in law as human rights. Demonstrated fit with Center’s core values: globally inclusive, integrity, excellence, and impact. Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Center’s statement and commitments on DEI are here.
  • Executive Leadership: Experience driving strategy and execution in a C-Suite or equivalent role, in a high integrity, inclusive way. Proven ability to understand the operating environment, think about the organization-as-a-whole, and engage with stakeholders, internal and external, to define and achieve impact. History of strong partnership with a CEO, board, and other executive leaders.
  • Senior Policy Experience: 15+ years of leadership experience influencing government policy at the national or international level. Deep understanding of politics and achieving policy change. Significant experience impacting government policy in the U.S.; experience impacting agendas of multilateral institutions a plus. Experience with gender equality, human rights, reproductive rights and/or related areas.
  • Service in U.S. Government: preferably in the White House or the State Department.
  • Global Mindset: Understands the contextual differences within the countries and core constituencies with which the Center. Understanding of multilateral institutions. 
  • Staff Leadership: Strong people manager with a track record of leading teams around a vision and through organizational change. Proven ability to structure, attract, develop, and retrain a diverse, cohesive, goal-oriented, and successful team. 
  • Relationship Building and Collaboration: Ability to listen deeply, cultivate connections, break down silos, foster collaboration, and build a culture of trust within the division, across the organization, and with external stakeholders. Ability to establish credibility and trust with diverse constituencies. 
  • Effective Communicator and Interpersonally Savvy: Effective and persuasive communications and presentation skills at all levels of the organization and externally; Diplomacy skills to move leaders and partners.
  • Leads by Personal Example: Courageous, results-oriented, agile, and resilient, projects confidence and steadiness, learns from experience, self-aware.
  • Not-for-Profit Understanding: Experience working full-time and/or in a Board capacity at a non-profit organization, preferably at an INGO.
  • Law Degree: J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school, have a license to practice law in good standing or be a foreign-trained lawyer with an LLM from an ABA-accredited law school who has met the necessary requirements to be so licensed.
  • Ability to travel internationally and within the U.S., typically 35% of time.
  • Washington, D.C.: based or willing to relocate.
  • Fluent in English: additional languages a plus, particularly Spanish and French.
Compensation & Benefits

The Center offers medical, dental, and vision insurance; a retirement plan including employer match; and generous paid vacation, personal, and sick leave, along with paid parental leave.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring, and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage people from all groups and communities to apply.

Contact

Liz Lombard and Angie Sessoms of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or to Angie directly at asessoms@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group firm, is dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. Koya does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

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