Executive Director

  • Full Time
  • Chicago, IL
  • Applications have closed


This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead a national movement for political transformation, as The Institute for Political Innovation (IPI), a cross-partisan, not-for-profit organization founded by business leader, entrepreneur, author, and political innovator Katherine M. Gehl, seeks its first Executive Director (ED) to restore healthy competition in American elections and legislation, at federal and state levels, in service of real results for real people.

IPI is the culmination of a multi-year period of scholarship and research – a pivot toward investment and action – with an immediate, laser-focus on Final-Five Voting™, a system wherein the top five candidates are selected from the primary ballot and ranked-choice voting is used in the general election to ensure that politicians are held accountable for delivering results.

In 2016 Katherine Gehl and Prof. Michael Porter co-authored the seminal Harvard Business School report, Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America: A strategy for reinvigorating our democracy, which reshaped the national conversation on political reform. Katherine and Michael have subsequently broadened that work into a book, The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy, which was released on June 23, 2020. To support action, Katherine and Michael are donating all proceeds of the book to IPI.

IPI’s Executive Director will be a transformative leader accountable for the success of the organization. Above all else, that success will be measured by passage of Final-Five Voting™ legislation in multiple states across the country, and substantive changes to Congress’s partisan legislative machinery.

A critical – if secondary – goal is the establishment and furthering of IPI as a thought-leading institution and producer of new research and scholarship.

For more information about IPI, Ms. Gehl, Prof. Porter, the organization’s mission and work, please see the attached addendum and visit https://political-innovation.org.

Please cite PCDN as the source of the posting in your application.

The Role:


Chicago, IL (remote work with regular trips to Chicago will be considered)

Reports to:      

IPI Board of Directors


Key Responsibilities:

IPI Strategy, Systems & Sequence: The ED will shape the mission and vision of IPI, in partnership with Ms. Gehl and IPI’s Board of Directors, and build a disciplined approach to keeping, protecting, and creatively improving it.

IPI Organization: Build and manage a high-performing, data-driven approach to—advocating public policy; budgets, finances, compliance; staffing and human resources;
establishing a culture of excellence, accountability, and growth; establishing core set of supportive competencies; branding and external communications;
leveraging Gehl-IPI network and assets; creating and optimizing a nationwide network of influencers; managing and optimizing Board of Directors and Advisory Council.

IPI Fundraising: In partnership with the IPI Board and Venn Innovations, perfect the approach to managing the already available start-up capital, and drumming up and converting new political philanthropy via our partner fundraising vehicles.

IPI Advocacy: In partnership with IPI’s Deputy Director and Marketing & Communications Director, build the start-up cookbook for state-level FFV campaigns, act as the leader of the consulting team with these campaigns.

IPI Audience: Support and guide the Marketing & Communications Director in building and perfecting the IPI universe and funnel.

IPI External: In partnership with the Deputy Director and Marketing & Communications Director, produce and approve a game plan for external relations, and execute that plan in a highly-organized fashion. Appear as a public/front face, in media/events/meetings, as needed.

IPI Platforms & Content: Oversee the Marketing & Communications Director’s building, designing, optimizing and managing of IPI website, social media channels, email, audio-visual, printed materials, the master CRM and key databases, along with other adjacent tools and services.

IPI Relationships: Develop the “leadership-raising” strategy; build and manage relationships around the country, with a keen eye toward “network-effect opportunities” and through active collaboration with other organizations in the field.

Network Support: As a member of a network of common cause political innovation organizations, IPI and the ED will work in close collaboration with Venn Innovations and Democracy Found, among others.

In-House Expertise: Bring to the table, and perpetually hone, a best-in-class base of knowledge, creative instincts toward and execution of political innovation

The Person:

This role calls for an experienced, exceptional, multi-faceted individual. Those highly qualified candidates will also share the IPI team’s commitment to mission and will embody the organization’s core values.

The successful candidate will possess a range of skills and experience that will include, but not be limited to:


·         At least 10 years working in professional environments through roles of increasing responsibility, with a demonstrable track-record of driving measurable results and successes.

·         Prior direct experience in politics and/or academia is preferred, although leaders with a substantial mission-alignment and relevant experience from the private sector will be positively considered.

·         A seasoned, innovative and inquisitive political mind with second-to-none advocacy chops (instincts, approaches, networks, successes).

·         A deep familiarity with and/or a gravitational pull toward nonpartisan political innovation­ – in theory and toward building campaigns – particularly around structural change to elections and lawmaking.

·         Experience and comfort with fundraising and development work (high-net-worth individuals, foundations).

·         Experience and excellence in media management, both strategically (toward setting agendas) and actively (social media, longform writing and appearances).



  • A natural leader who gravitates toward problem-solving at a grand scale.
  • A preternatural ability to build buy-in around a plan, and drive to completion.
  • A dynamic personality who can engage effectively with grasstops and grassroots audiences, both one-to-one, and one-to-many.
  • A manager who identifies and hones talent and creates exceptional environments.
  • A strong backbone; ability to work at a fast pace and manage coolly through a crisis
  • An entrepreneur in spirit and is steadfastly passionate about nonpartisan political innovation, i.e., transforming the system in service of real results for real people.
    Intrinsically motivated; a self-starter who seeks out and thrives in fast-paced environments with the highest expectations for accuracy and efficacy.
  • Unbreakably organized with demonstrated ability to simultaneously balance deadlines and projects in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment.
  • Ability to assess opportunities and create systems to execute on strategic priorities.
    A collaborator, a phenomenal written and oral communicator, an excellent strategic thinker, and an outstanding project manager.
  • Adept at engaging stakeholders with through external relationship management.
    Exhibits a positive attitude and executes tasks with ease and a calm demeanor.
  • Willingness to engage at all levels, doing whatever it takes to get the job done.


Bachelor’s degree is required.
Advanced degrees in public policy/law/business, preferred.

Additional Requirements:

Currently able to work legally in the United States without sponsorship.
Willingness to travel as required for the position.
English proficiency.
Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, CRM, databases and various social media platforms, WordPress (CMS).
Willing to take post-offer pre-employment psychological profile and, if requested, a drug screen.

While this profile is intended to be an accurate reflection of the most significant duties of the current position, it is not necessarily exhaustive of all responsibilities, duties, efforts, requirements or expectations. Other duties may be assigned as necessary, in discussion with the IPI Board of Directors.


IPI is an equal opportunity employer. All employment decisions are based on business needs, job requirements and individual qualifications, without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, veteran’s status, citizenship status or any other protected status under applicable laws or regulations.

We encourage individuals of all political backgrounds to apply. IPI’s mission is deeply rooted in cross-partisanship, which makes a diversity of political ideologies an asset.

If you are a qualified candidate who needs reasonable accommodations to apply for this position, please contact us.

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