Senior Director for Policy

January 24, 2022

Closing Date:


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a leading nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC, seeks a strategic, collaborative, and outcomes-focused senior director for policy. ACEEE conducts independent analysis and develops transformative policies to build a vibrant and equitable economy that uses energy more productively, protects the environment, and promotes the health, safety, and well-being of everyone.

ACEEE’s organizational culture is collaborative and team-oriented with a strong commitment to its mission. Staff work at an energetic pace within a dynamic and entrepreneurial environment with opportunities for professional growth and development. There is a high degree of workplace flexibility, with an emphasis on results, making ACEEE an enjoyable and fulfilling place to work. ACEEE is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion while integrating equity into our research and policy work. For more information on ACEEE, visit

Position Description

ACEEE seeks a senior director for policy to provide strategic vision and leadership on ACEEE’s policy work, advancing energy efficiency to address climate change. The senior director will likely oversee ACEEE’s Utilities, Federal, State, and Local Policy Programs, supervising each program’s directors, as well as serving as a strong proponent for equity, across all ACEEE research and policy programs and in the field. This position is an exciting opportunity for a candidate with extensive experience managing and developing high-performing teams; working directly with policymakers and other stakeholders; and guiding strategic policy and research in energy efficiency and climate change. The ideal candidate will have deep passion for addressing climate change through policy-focused research and an interest in furthering his or her career in a dynamic and growing sector. The ideal candidate will also have experience centering equity in policy work and an ability to talk about it critically. To thrive in the role, the senior director will also have the interest and communications savvy to support fundraising by powerfully articulating the value of ACEEE’s research and policy work.

The preferred candidate will be a relationship-oriented and emotionally intelligent leader as they provide mentoring and guidance on research, outreach, advocacy, management, and fundraising. Working with the program leads, the senior director will help guide strategic direction and priorities, oversee staffing, and ensure all financial goals are met. In collaboration with all staff, the senior director will provide policy direction and strategy and support the needs of other key teams.

As a member of the ACEEE Executive Team, the senior director will collaborate with managers, directors, senior directors, and executive team members on issues related to organizational planning and implementation of organizational policies. The senior director will also identify strategic objectives as they relate to equitable energy efficiency and will work closely with program directors to advance equity across sectors, guiding the organization’s research, policy goals, and outreach while regularly representing ACEEE externally via speaking engagements, testimony, and participation in boards or committees.

Core Responsibilities

  • As a member of the ACEEE Executive Team, participates in strategic decision making for the organization and works with the senior director for research and other staff to establish a strategic vision for policy and research activities of the organization
  • Oversees strategic direction and staffing for ACEEE’s Local, State, and Federal Policy and Utilities Programs and supports other programs involved with ACEEE’s cross-cutting policy work
  • Supervises program leads; provides mentoring on their activities, responsibilities, and professional development; and helps maintain high staff morale and productivity
  • Works with program leads to prioritize and coordinate policy and associated research
  • Tracks evolving strategic policy needs, empowering program leads to ensure that project deliverables stay on schedule and within the prescribed budgets
  • Works with all staff to engage with policymakers and energy efficiency advocates to develop successful, equitable energy efficiency policies and programs
  • Supports staff in presentation of ACEEE research, writing memos, and submitting formal comments
  • Provides policy input including briefings, strategy meetings and memos, testimony, and at times, lobbying
  • Works on fundraising in support of policy programs including grant writing and engaging with new and existing funders
  • Oversees and reviews ACEEE’s policy research and, at times, serves as a strategic advisor to research projects, particularly those with a policy focus
  • Provides direct input and technical assistance to outside stakeholders on matters related to energy efficiency policy and associated research
  • Co-leads ACEEE’s internal Research and Policy Council and works with the ACEEE Board Policy Committee
  • Represents ACEEE’s equity-focused activities to the ACEEE Board of Directors and major funders that have a focus on racial and social equity
  • Maintains relationships with key external partners at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Represents ACEEE externally to legislators, administrators, media, stakeholders, funders, and the energy efficiency community as a recognized expert

Core Competencies

  • Strategist able to assess complex input, make informed recommendations, and galvanize others toward a vision or goal
  • Collaborative bridge-builder with strong interpersonal skills who seeks to listen first and has the emotional intelligence to bring others together across divides
  • Outcome-oriented leader motivated to achieve goals and create change
  • Champion for equity and justice within teams and organizations and within the field
  • Comfortable communicating persuasively in external-facing roles with various members of the public (e.g., stakeholders, legislators, and funders)
  • Ability to simultaneously work on many ongoing tasks with competing deadlines
  • Highly motivated self-starter with superb organizational and project management skills
  • Highly analytical and detail-oriented thinker able to quickly review complex writing and data to ensure accuracy and reliability and to inform decision-making and strategy
  • Excellent writing and oral presentation skills
  • Tech-savvy and quick learner able to adopt new practices and technologies with ease
  • Articulate, thoughtful, and teamwork-oriented


Core Qualifications


  • Recognized expert in energy efficiency with at least five years of relevant work experience supporting energy efficiency and climate change-related policies, programs, and technologies and conducting and overseeing related policy research
  • Approximately fifteen years of total professional experience with transferrable skills gained in complementary sectors and work
  • Proven ability to build, manage, mentor, and lead a team to success including policy and research staff
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and manage strategic policy and research priorities
  • Extensive experience working with policymakers and other stakeholders and the proven ability to influence policy and manage disparate stakeholder interests
  • Experience advancing racial equity centering it in organizational culture and policy work with an ability to talk about it critically in a way that moves the field forward
  • Track record contributing to fundraising success
  • Extensive experience with project development and coordination
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products


Strongly Preferred:

  • Advanced degree in a relevant field including policy analysis, energy, law, engineering, or science (experience in excess of the minimum may be substituted)
  • Body of published work in the field


Preferred Start Date & Location: The anticipated start will be around May 2022. ACEEE’s team is currently remote (working from home) with the potential for remaining remote, however, there is a strong preference for the senior director to be based in Washington, DC, or willing to relocate to Washington, DC, post-COVID.

Salary & Benefits: The salary range is $141,560-$176,949, commensurate with qualifications and experience. ACEEE’s generous benefits package includes health, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage; a 403(b)-retirement plan; transportation and bike share benefits; three weeks of vacation in the first year and four weeks thereafter.

To Apply: ACEEE is partnering with Walker and Associations Consulting, a national Black- and woman-owned strategic management consulting and executive search firm, on this search. To apply, send a cover letter, resume, and brief (1-2 pages) writing sample to by Friday, February 25, 2022, at 5 pm ET. Use “Senior Director for Policy” in the subject line. Please let us know how you heard of this opening.

ACEEE is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination with regard to race, sex, color, age, religion, creed, class, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability. ACEEE is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in its organization and encourages applicants with diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds to apply.

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