Executive Director


Job Summary


The Sycamore Institute is an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center focused on
Tennessee. Its staff and board come from across the political spectrum to help policymakers, the
media, and the public understand complex issues that affect and connect Tennesseans’ health
and prosperity.
Sycamore seeks its next Executive Director, who will join a talented, ambitious, and innovative
team to write the next chapter of the organization’s success. Founded in 2015, the organization is
at a critical inflection point as it graduates from its successful start-up years and grows into its next
phase of organizational development and increasing levels of influence in the public policy
arena. The successful candidate will build on Sycamore’s well-established credibility and
momentum to sustain and expand the organization, its work, and its value in a socially complex
and politically polarized landscape.
Tennessee is a state of tremendous opportunity, from its thriving business environment and
culturally rich tourism industry to its beautiful landscapes and abundant outdoor recreational
activities. Alongside these strengths, however, the state struggles with longstanding challenges
across many domains, including education, health, and opportunities for economic mobility.
People of all political stripes agree Tennessee can and must do better – but how?
Sycamore was founded on the idea that public policy is a critical tool for addressing the upstream
root causes of our state’s most pressing challenges. Crafting sound, sustainable public policy is a
continuous and iterative process that calls for diverse stakeholders to work together using trusted
data and analysis. By providing reliable information and engaging with everyone, Sycamore helps
Tennesseans of all political stripes uncover the facts to solve complex problems.
The next Executive Director will shape Sycamore’s role in moving the needle toward a healthier
and more prosperous Tennessee.

LOCATION: Nashville, TN

Some travel is required both around the state and to national conferences and meetings. All staff
members are able to request approval for hybrid and flexible work schedules, but in-person work
is a priority.

As a member of the Sycamore team, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care
about and work with great colleagues who are fun, smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. At
the Sycamore Institute, our internal culture is as important to our work as high-quality research.
We embrace collaboration, complexity, intellectual honesty, empathy, and disagreement. We
reward skill, innovation, and hard work and provide ample flexibility and meaningful
opportunities to learn and grow in ways that benefit both you and the organization.

Job Responsibilities


The next Executive Director will be a dynamic leader with gravitas, credibility, and a strong track
record in managing complex teams and environments. Key responsibilities include the following:
– Partnering with the board and staff to cast a vision that embodies the organization’s mission
and potential and then executing that vision through strategic and operational plans.
– Continuing Sycamore’s strong board governance and operational and financial excellence.
– Supporting and guiding the staff using collaboratively developed performance evaluation
tools and metrics.
– Serving as the external face and most public champion of Sycamore for a wide range of
stakeholders with special attention to the reputation and integrity of the organization and its
– Securing the funds necessary to support and grow Sycamore’s work and impact



Compelling candidates will be driven by Sycamore’s nonpartisan mission, possess a strong
entrepreneurial spirit, and have the capacity to cast a bold vision for what’s possible in our next
– Passion for data and evidence-driven policymaking.
– Exceptional relationship-building skills and ability to work with diverse stakeholders.
– Appetite for imagining new directions and leading a team in uncharted territory.
– A track record building or scaling an organization or running a complex, high-touch program.
– Successful fundraising experience.
– Experience in human resources, including transitioning staff in and out of an organization.
– Experience managing a team through a milestone transition.
– Strong oral and written communications and the ability to move comfortably in public forums
and present Sycamore’s vision and mission to diverse audiences.
– Experience with financial management and budget development.
– A leadership style that is collaborative, inclusive, transparent, and decisive.
– Masters level degree preferred.

Additional Information


We offer a comprehensive benefits package that meets employees’ needs during the various
stages of their life – including paid time off and parental leave, medical and life insurance with
dental and disability options, and a 401(k) matching option.

The salary for the Executive Director position is $125,000 to $135,000.

How to Apply


Email a resumé and cover letter expanding on your interest and qualifications to
Careers@SycamoreInstituteTN.org. No calls or in-person application submissions please.
Priority will be given to submissions received by September 17.
The Sycamore Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes qualified candidates
from all backgrounds and experience to apply for this position


  • Date Posted: August 31, 2021
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Community Development
  • Salary Range: $125,000-135,000