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Senior Director, Government Relations

The Optical Society

Washington, District of Columbia 20036
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
The Optical Society
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Job Details

The Optical Society is recruiting for a Senior Director, Government Relations. The Senior Director, Government Relations, with the support of the CEO, the OSA Board and various volunteer committees, oversees all OSA public policy and government relations program areas, with the goal of strategically increasing global government awareness and support of the optics and photonics community where it positively affects OSA’s members, volunteers, customers and the public.  In general, responsibilities include successfully identifying and implementing opportunities both within and outside the US, where OSA’s community can actively engage, advocate and educate government.   The individual is the ambassador for government relations for the organization and has the role of building relationships with targeted groups that will support the optics and photonics community, such as with US Federal agencies, US Congressional offices, various coalitions, OSA volunteer committees and more. 


1.       Strategic Plan and Related Annual Milestones

Working with the CEO and the OSA Public Policy Council, develop and implement a strategic plan that increases effective volunteer engagement and expands advocacy efforts to increase the worlds understanding and support (i.e. funding, etc. ) of the positive impacts optics and photonics serves to solving global challenges.  Lead the Public Policy Council on drafting a roadmap used to achieve the goals set out in the strategic plan.


2.       US National Photonics Initiative (NPI)

Serve as the OSA staff liaison on the NPI and manage all aspects of OSA’s participation in the initiative, including working with NPI Steering Chair and Committee and partner society staff to develop and implement a strategic plan and yearly priorities.  Work closely with OSA and NPI volunteers to keep them engaged and informed of NPI activities.  Interface with US federal agencies and members of Congress/staff to further the NPI goals.  Effectively manage all GR consultants to ensure goals and priorities are within budget and are met or exceeded.


3.       International Advocacy

Serve as the OSA staff liaison to support the International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC) and help direct the Society’s opportunities to expand OSA’s advocacy efforts outside of the US.  Provide strategic guidance and oversight to the IPAC Steering Committee. Effectively manage all GR consultants to ensure goals and priorities are within budget and are met or exceeded.

Work with OSA’s European Office to identify government relations opportunities in Europe that are consistent with the strategic plan.


4.       Volunteer Engagement

Serve as primary point of contact with OSA volunteers on public policy activities, including with the Public Policy Council, NPI and IPAC.  Interface with OSA Board, senior leadership and staff to inform, engage and lead policy efforts.  Examples include arranging meetings with US Federal agency staff/US Congressional offices to further OSA’s goals.


5.       External Presence

Actively participate in Coalition meetings and maintain strong contacts with government relation’s representatives with science societies and other groups on similar issues, as well as with key US Federal agency and US Congressional offices.

Examples include overseeing US Capitol Hill “Fly-ins”; Congressional Fellowship Program; Advocate of Optics Recognition; US District visits and other events designed to highlight OSA before a government audience.


6.       Communication

Manage the development of all written and online government relations materials to educate OSA volunteer about government relations activities.  Promote OSA government relations’ successes or opportunities, i.e. distribution channels such as social media or news releases.



1.       Master’s degree required; candidates with relevant experience will be given priority

2.       10-15 years professional work experience in a government relations or government role (Congressional or Federal agency) or scientific or engineering nonprofit organization/society.

3.       Experience working with a volunteer, governance driven science-based organization (i.e.. professional & individual membership); priority will be given to candidates who have worked in scientific/engineering nonprofit organizations and societies)


1.       Demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to operate diplomatically, effectively and collegially with volunteers, colleagues, partner societies, and global federal staff/US Congressional offices

2.       Bring exemplary oral and written communications skills to this role with effective creations of presentations and the skills to convey key messages/directives/accomplishments

3.       Ability to manage multiple projects at one time in a fast-paced environment

4.       Demonstrate excellent planning and project management skills, with attention to prioritization, execution, deadlines and efficiency

5.       Ability to develop and effectively manage budgets, billing and the related accounting systems

6.       Ability to effectively negotiate and manage contracts

7.       Ability to travel


Located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, OSA offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits. Please send your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to




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