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Policy and Research Director



Job Summary

Position Description:

Based in Nashville, ThinkTennessee is a nonpartisan, results-oriented think tank that uses research and advocacy to build a state where all Tennesseans are civically engaged and economically secure.

We believe our state does best when voters have a say in the decisions that impact their lives and workers earn enough to support their families. We focus our work on building a shared understanding of how our state stacks up nationally and researching and advocating for policies that empower voters and support working families. ThinkTennessee seeks a Policy and Research Director who is passionate about evidence-based policies that will help Tennessee families better make ends meet and is eager to lead top-notch research and policy analysis and grow partnerships that affect real and long-lasting change.

The Policy and Research Director will work alongside ThinkTennessee’s president, staff, and board to develop our annual Working Families policy agenda which focuses on policies that address the three key pieces impacting household budgets: income, expenses, and debt. He or she will implement and coordinate the execution of both internal-facing research and policy analysis and external-facing policy briefs, reports, and presentations. The Policy and Research Director 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.

Job Responsibilities

Key Responsibilities:
Lead ThinkTennessee’s Working Families policy and research efforts:

  • Direct and execute policy and research projects needed to advance ThinkTennessee’s mission, including among others:

           Work with the president and senior staff to conceive of and coordinate economic and infrastructure policy and research projects.

            Author and design policy briefs, reports, and other educational resources for a variety of audiences.

           Conduct research and analysis related to economic and infrastructure policies and proposals at the state and local levels; and

           Oversee the State of Our State dashboard.

  • Serve as the organization’s Working Families policy and research expert at events and in the media.
  • Proactively identify policy and research trends, identify gaps in the field, and activate an appropriate policy, research, or implementation response.
  • Manage and develop policy team staff.

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 proactively identify policy opportunities on which Tennessee leaders might capitalize to increase family economic security.
  • Build and sustain a robust network of policy experts and stakeholders to advise on and inform ThinkTennessee’s work.
  • Lead organizational efforts to ground all communications, advocacy, and policy work 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.
  • Staff the Board of Director’s Policy Committee.
  • Track policy progress and successes for use in grant reports and other communications.
  • Monitor proposed legislation and existing policies and collaborate with communications staff to share relevant developments with partners and stakeholders, e.g., through webinars, conference calls, and/or convenings.
  • Represent ThinkTennessee at national, state, and local conferences, as well as on coalitions and committees.

Commitment to a diverse workplace: ThinkTennessee is an equal-opportunity employer. As an organization focused on moving Tennessee forward, we understand that diverse teams are stronger, more innovative, and more productive. Interested candidates who do not meet all listed criteria should still apply, as our organizational structure focuses on providing opportunities for professional growth.


Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree is required. An advanced degree in public policy, economics, law, or a related field is preferred.
  • 3+ years of work experience in a relevant field, e.g., public policy, advocacy, or government.


  • Quantitative skills—including the ability to conduct high-quality data analysis in and oversee others’ data analysis in Stata, SAS, R, or similar programs—are required.
  • Skilled at gathering and analyzing data from a variety of sources, both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Analyzes and clearly documents data to make comparisons and draw conclusions.
  • Identifies cause and effect relationships to solve complex problems.
  • Excellent at using data to tell a story, from distilling conclusions to using graphics to represent them.
  • Strategic thinker able to adapt to, and thrive in, a changing policy environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize complex ideas and findings through oral and written communication.
  • Able to build and strengthen relationships with external stakeholders and partners to advance shared policy goals.
  • Able to assist, support, and encourage associates, research assistants, and other policy and research staff in identifying difficulties, prioritizing tasks, defining goals, and producing positive results.


  • Passion for and demonstrated commitment to ThinkTennessee’s mission.
  • Familiar with Tennessee’s political and policymaking environment.
  • Self-motivated with a strong work ethic and an exceptional level of attention to detail.
  • Ability to flourish in a small team environment and adapt to changing priorities and duties within the organization’s overall mission.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work well as part of a team and across organizations.

Additional Information


Compensation: Competitive salary ($85,000 – $95,000) commensurate with experience. We offer comprehensive benefits, including medical/dental/vision insurance, retirement, paid family leave, and generous paid time off, including sick leave, vacation days, and holiday schedules.

How to Apply

Applicants should send a resume and a cover letter to info@thinktn.org by January 31, 2023.


  • Date Posted: December 8, 2022
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Programs and Service Delivery
  • Service Area: Other
  • Start Date: 02/06/2023
  • Salary Range: $85,000 - $95,000
  • Working Hours: 40 hrs/wk; M-F, 9:30am - 5:30pm