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Policy Director

Job Location

Traverse City, MI


Type of Job




Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Jun 7, 2023

About the job

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ABOUT FLOW: Everything we do is reflected in our name: For Love of Water or simply “FLOW.” Our vision is a future where healthy waters sustain healthy communities in the Great Lakes Basin. Our mission is to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all. FLOW’s law and policy work focuses on: (1) maintaining public ownership of water and water infrastructure; (2) promoting awareness and use of the public trust doctrine to defend public waters and public trust uses; (3) ensuring that water is safe and affordable for all; (4) strengthening state and local protection of groundwater and drinking water. Through our targeted policy initiatives, FLOW has built key partnerships with state and regional Great Lakes groups, leveraged our expertise to influence agencies and impact state and federal legislation, and grown to be a trusted source of current information on issues affecting our freshwater seas. For more information about FLOW’s history, programs, staff, or board visit:

FLOW is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a diverse and inclusive workplace, and seeks a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds. FLOW is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment, promotion, compensation, or other terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law. FLOW encourages all qualified candidates to apply!

POSITION SUMMARY: FLOW is seeking a strategic, highly organized, detail-oriented Policy Director. The role will include the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of our diverse portfolio of water-related program initiatives. This dynamic role involves advancement of environmental policy strategies through regular coordination with coalition partners and stakeholders, and internal program management with FLOW staff. The Policy Director will work closely with the Executive Director and the Legal Director to develop and refine strategies that advance overall programs and impact.

The successful candidate will possess a proven track record of designing, developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating effective policy programs and strategic interventions. The candidate also is a strategic thinker and writer in possession of strong interpersonal skills and a collaborative approach to problem solving that results in measurable success. While capable of outstanding independent work, the ideal candidate is also a team player working internally and with partners and will demonstrate superior organizational skills, including an ability to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously and meet deadlines. The ideal candidate will have extensive policy and legislative research experience, including interacting with policymakers and staff and testifying, excellent writing skills, be comfortable issue spotting and synthesizing policy trends, demonstrate creativity, effectively represent FLOW in coalitions with allies, and possess a keen attention to detail.


  • Lead Strategic Policy Interventions and Campaigns: Develop coordinated program strategies with the Executive Director, Legal Director, and staff to implement strategic policy interventions and support FLOW’s efforts to educate policymakers and the public. Lead policy campaigns, conduct and direct policy research, author and supervise policy reports and briefs, keep abreast of relevant national or state policy ideas outside of Michigan, track legislation and policy developments, trends, and partnership opportunities for programs and develop and/or assign preparation of responses where appropriate for Great Lakes issues concerning groundwater, water privatization, water infrastructure and affordability, septic system and polluter pay reform, and other emerging matters. Develop and revise targeted weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual policy goals and work plans to accelerate Great Lakes protection.
  • Build and Maintain Partnerships, Alliances, Coalitions: Cultivate and maintain relationships with partner organizations, thought leaders, experts, and stakeholders, and develop meaningful local, state, regional, or national partnerships with new allies. Manage coalition members and listservs as needed. Share with other staff opportunities to lead or represent FLOW in regional, state, and local coalitions, task forces, steering committees, working groups, and public events.
  • Oversee and Manage Partnership Relationships: Assure effective coordination and communications across staff, interns, consultants, advisors, and coalition partners for program planning, implementation, evaluation, and grant documentation. Oversee and manage expert contractors, including government relations firms, and interns.
  • Supervise Effective Collaboration and Communication: Work with communications staff in identifying and delivering key policy-related content. Work with the development team to identify and pursue funding opportunities in support of program work. Oversee and monitor implementation of program work plans to assure success.
  • Direct and Monitor Milestones and Timelines for Program Impact: Manage program timelines and assure programs meet established time and content milestones, monitor project scope, support the design, development, and implementation of work plans, and support program evaluation. Track and document program activities, outcomes and accomplishments for internal use, supporting Fund Development and Communications teams by providing program descriptions, strategy updates, outcomes, and forecasting. Create program overviews, educational outreach materials, evaluation metrics, and indicators of success.

WORKING CONDITIONS: FLOW is based in downtown Traverse City, Michigan, and we offer a hybrid remote-work option upon completion of necessary training. It will require moderate programmatic travel occasionally.


Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • A minimum of seven (7) years of related professional experience. Prior nonprofit experience is desirable.
  • Proven track record of effectively developing, implementing, managing, and leading successful public policy plans and campaigns.
  • Experience leading teams of internal and external members, advisors, and contractors to develop and deliver policy change.

Skills and Proficiencies

  • Strong working knowledge and understanding of public policy and legislation.
  • Superior spoken and written communication skills and problem-solving ability.
  • Impeccable interpersonal engagement and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated strong supervisory experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to be highly organized, self-driven, and in possession of excellent time-management skills.
  • Proven ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment, including managing multiple policy campaigns at once.
  • Experience participating in coalitions and collaborating with external partners.
  • Ability to create compelling presentations to summarize and visualize findings, familiarity with grant-making processes for non-profit organizations.
  • Budget skills for effective policy design and implementation.
  • Strong work ethic, intellectual curiosity, systems thinker, self-motivated, and committed to excellence, sound judgment, and confidentiality.
  • Proficiency or professional experience with essential software, including Google Workspace, Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, and project management tools.
  • Professional discretion, sound judgment and ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Willingness to travel and work occasional nights and weekends for events.

Shared Values

  • Commitment to FLOW’s mission to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all.
  • Dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion and an ability to infuse those elements into policy strategies and organizational and campaign planning.
  • Commitment to building a healthy work culture based on collegiality, teamwork, collaboration, partnerships, and public engagement.

COMPENSATION, BENEFITS, AND APPLICATION PROCEDURE: This is a full-time, Director-level position with a salary range of $75,000-$90,000, commensurate with experience, and benefits.

TO APPLY: Please complete our online application form.

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