Director, Research Program Operations
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $750 million in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.
Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various therapeutic strategies and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. In order to achieve our mission of finding a cure for PD it is critical that we engage with, and bring together, members of the PD community including researchers, physicians, health professionals and most important, people with Parkinson's and their families. We believe that raising the Foundation’s profile with a broader audience will help us more efficiently reach and mobilize highly engaged stakeholders who are more likely to feel personally vested in helping speed progress toward a cure.
We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 130 full-time employees who are based in New York City. This is an onsite position and is not conducive to telecommuting.
Director, Research Programs Operations
Reporting to the Senior Vice Presidents of Research Programs, the director of research programs will play a significantly role in delivering the vision of the SVPs, and in operationalizing the strategic and tactical goals of the research programs science team. The director will be responsible for the operational success of the research programs department by providing effective leadership, team management and development, systems, processes and procedures, quality control and evaluation, and continual process improvement goals that support and help drive complex grant making programs. The director will directly manage a team of six grants management staff within a matrixed organizational structure, and will be the primary operations liaison between the department and the wider foundation on operational activities.
S/he will be instrumental in ensuring consistent and effective internal processes and communications in order to strengthen the programs team's ability to fund and manage ambitious research to meet the foundation's singular mission--to cure Parkinson’s Disease.
• Oversee, coach, guide, and manage a team of grants management staff in a matrixed structure.
• Cultivate a team dynamic that reflects the foundation's values of mutual respect, credibility, trust, transparency, and mutual accountability.
• Cultivate relationships with internal and external stakeholders, with the goal of ensuring sufficient project planning resources and other access to services to deliver grant making projects effectively, on time and on budget.
• Support the SVPs to cultivate a department wide culture of collaboration, shared ownership, and positive forward-thinking energy.
• Develop and recommend training tools and support systems to strengthen each individual's efforts towards the larger goals of the foundation.
• Support the development of continual improvement planning to engender pro-active and systematic assessment towards process and program effectiveness.
Team Management and Development
• Oversee the program operations day-to-day activities to guide, trouble-shoot, and advocate.
• Develop and oversee recruitment, on-boarding, training, development, performance evaluation.
• Guide and coach individuals to achieve required individual and team skills to grow as effective managers on their teams, and to be active participants to maintain team dynamic.
• Recommend and implement professional development programs to support employee experience and bridge skill gaps.
• Strengthen operational excellence and best practice by establishing and maintaining annual planning benchmarks, timelines, and activities needed to achieve strategic goals; proactively recommend and drive towards continual process improvements; set standards for accountability and measurements of success.
• Engage staff from across the science team and other MJFF departments to develop and move forward applicant processes and procedures to support large-scale Requests for Application funding opportunities.
• Bachelor's degree required, graduate degree preferred; at least 10 years of professional experience in a general management role, ideally in a rapidly evolving institution
• Highly organized and ability to wear multiple hats in an ambiguous, fast-moving environment; a driving force who manages toward clarity and solutions
• A successful track record in setting priorities, shaping processes, guiding investment in people and systems, and developing an infrastructure that creates a stronger and more efficient organization
• Thorough understanding of project management; able to work effectively under pressure to meet tight deadlines and goals
• Excellent communication and coalition building skills with an ability to balance, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders; high level of knowledge and understanding, especially as it relates to program and project design and management, and building effective partnerships with individuals and teams.
• 7 to 10 years of experience with no less than five years as a team manager.
• Demonstrated success developing and evaluating program models, and selecting and successfully operationalizing innovative programs
• Proficient in using technology as a management reporting tool and experience working with information technology staff to develop and implement program evaluation systems
• Strong project management skills managing complex, multifaceted projects resulting in measurable successes and program growth
• Experience having worked with a high-performance, collaborative, constructive peer group
• Strength in hiring, recruiting, managing, developing, coaching, and retaining individuals and teams, empowering them to elevate their levels of responsibility, span-of-control and performance
• Demonstrated results in managing through complex systems and proven experience negotiating win-win agreements
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills with exceptional attention to detail
• Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and affinity with MJFF's mission and goals
• Ability to lead and be led; comfortable leading from the front and serving as an advisor or consultant on projects managed by others.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual with team management experience to develop and coach a talented and enthusiastic team of grants management professionals, and to partner with a thoughtful, deeply committed science team focused on collaborative learning and knowledge share towards a common goal of cultivating the highest quality research to serve Parkinson's Disease patients and the wider PD community as effectively as possible.
How to Apply
Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please click on this link to apply. Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.
If you are interested in joining MJFF as a volunteer please send your resume and cover letter to:
Office Manager and Human Resources
The Michael J. Fox Foundation
Grand Central Station
P.O. Box 4777
New York, NY 10163-4777
Computer literacy and a minimum commitment of eight hours per month are required.