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Think Tennessee

Director of Policy and Research

Think Tennessee


Job Summary

ThinkTennessee seeks a Director of Policy and Research who is passionate about building a state where all Tennesseans are civically engaged and economically secure and who is eager to lead top-notch research and policy analysis and grow partnerships that affect real and long-lasting change.

The Director of Policy and Research will work alongside ThinkTennessee’s president, staff and board to develop our annual policy agenda and will design, implement and coordinate the execution of both internal-facing research and policy analysis and external-facing policy briefs and presentations. The Director of Policy and Research will also lead efforts to ensure that ThinkTennessee’s work is useful to – and used by – policymakers and stakeholders at the state and local levels.

Based in Nashville, ThinkTennessee is a nonpartisan, results-oriented think tank focused on building a state where all Tennesseans are civically engaged and economically secure. Founded in 2017, we drive evidence-based solutions that strengthen the voice of voters, support working families and move our state forward. We engage with policymaking at all stages, from inception to implementation, always driven by our commitment to providing actionable information to policymakers, the media and national, state and local partners.  

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, ThinkTennessee believes diverse teams are more innovative, creative and productive. Even if you aren’t sure if you meet all required skills, we encourage you to apply. 

More information about ThinkTennessee is available at

Job Responsibilities

Lead ThinkTennessee’s policy and research efforts:

  • Design, manage and help execute all policy and research projects needed to advance ThinkTennessee’s mission, including among others:
    • Policy briefs and other educational resources for a variety of audiences;
    • Research and analysis related to civic and economic policies and proposals at the state and local levels; and
    • Our annual State of Our State dashboard.
  • Serve as the organization’s lead outward-facing policy and research expert.
  • Proactively identify policy and research trends, identify gaps in the field and activate an appropriate policy, research or implementation response.

Ensure that ThinkTennessee’s policy, advocacy and communications efforts are informed by best practices and in tune with political realities:

  • Maintain a deep knowledge of the state’s policy landscape and be able to proactively identify policy opportunities on which Tennessee leaders might capitalize to increase civic engagement and family economic security.
  • Build and sustain a robust network of policy experts and stakeholders who advise on and inform ThinkTennessee’s work.
  • Lead organizational efforts to ensure that all communications, advocacy and policy work continues to be grounded in sound research and data.

Grow and nurture ThinkTennessee’s relationships with organizational partners and stakeholders:

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with policy leads at national, state and local organizations.
  • Identify policy developments that should be shared with ThinkTennessee partners and stakeholders and collaborate with staff to share these developments, e.g., through webinars, conference calls and/or convenings.
  • Represent ThinkTennessee at national, state and local conferences, as well as on coalitions and committees.


Successful candidates will have a passion for and a demonstrated commitment to ThinkTennessee’s mission. They will be self-motivated with a strong work ethic and an exceptional level of attention to detail and able to flourish in a start-up environment that requires adapting to changing priorities and duties within the organization’s overall mission.

Education and Experience:

  • PhD, MPP or MPA preferred.
  • 3+ years of work experience in a relevant field, e.g., public policy, advocacy or journalism.


  • Skilled at gathering and analyzing data from a variety of sources, both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Excellent at using data to tell a story, from distilling conclusions to using graphics to represent them.
  • Adept at turning policy ideas into legislative and policy proposals.
  • Strategic thinker able to adapt to, and thrive in, a changing policy environment.
  • Exceptional writer and communicator; comfortable with public speaking and media interviews.
  • Able to work with external stakeholders and partners to advance shared policy goals.
  • Familiar with Tennessee’s political and policymaking environment.

Additional Information


This position offers a salary and benefits that are commensurate with experience and designed to be highly competitive for the nonprofit sector.

How to Apply

Please email a resume and cover letter to Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.


  • Date Posted: February 3, 2020
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Analytics / Evaluation
  • Service Area: Government