Project Manager, Postsecondary Education
Strada Education Network
Indianapolis, IN, USA
Posted on Friday, November 10, 2023
Strada’s Postsecondary Education (PSE) team is responsible for many of the activities and relationships that advance the organization’s north star and strategic pillars. The teams advancing Strada’s postsecondary education strategy and programming in the pillar areas of affordability, coaching, and work-based learning are situated within the PSE team. Strada’s Education Research Center, our HBCU initiative, and our grants management function are all included in the PSE team. This dynamic and collaborative team has a focus on building partnerships with postsecondary education institutions and other national organizations and foundations working on postsecondary education with an eye toward creating systems-level change that will improve access to equitable pathways, especially for those individuals who have faced the greatest barriers. This Project Manager (PM) position is a full-time role within Strada’s PSE team. The PM serves as a project manager supporting strategic initiatives and/or other similar projects. The person in this role will also support the grants management function. As a key contributor to the day-to-day operations of the PSE team, the PM must have the skills needed to work both collaboratively and independently based on agreed upon project plans. The PM must have the experience and good judgment, about when to work independently and when to consult with a supervisor and/or other member of the team. This role requires a flexible and collaborative team member with a track record of running complex projects on time and on budget while building relationships of trust with colleagues and other stakeholders both internal and external to the team and/or organization. Strong organizational, logistics, planning, project management, interpersonal, and communication skills are required.
Strada Education Foundation is a national nonprofit social impact organization that supports programs, policies, and organizations that strengthen connections between education and employment in the U.S., with a special focus on helping those who have faced the greatest challenges securing economic opportunity through postsecondary education or training (PSET). Our new strategic plan focuses on five strategic pillars: clear outcomes, quality coaching, affordability, work-based learning, and employer alignment. We work with partners in postsecondary education and training, nonprofit organizations, industry, startups, and public policy. We leverage strategic philanthropy, investments, research, communications, advocacy, and collaborating organizations as tools to help advance equitable pathways to opportunity. Strada aspires to be a nonprofit partner of choice working with education and training providers and leaders, policymakers, and peer organizations. Strada offers a dynamic, collaborative, and inspiring professional environment that provides learning and professional development opportunities, both within the organization and with external partners.
Key Responsibilities: The Manager has three core responsibility areas, listed below with the approximate time required.
- Area 1: Project Management (60%)
- Provide day-to-day administrative support and management for multiple strategic projects including building project plans, tracking project progress and budget, scheduling relevant meetings, documenting conversations, and initiating follow-up after meetings and events.
- Ensure project progress through clear communication about upcoming milestones. Alert relevant colleagues when project milestones are approaching and when risks to project success arise. Work collaboratively to address project challenges and to implement contingencies.
- Provide logistical support and coordination for meetings and events. Build agendas, reserve internal and external space, communicate with relevant stakeholders, create supporting materials, and ensure smooth execution. Build and maintain subject matter expertise in relevant fields through reading, attending conferences, and other knowledge sharing efforts.
- Area 2: Grants Management and Sponsorship Support (30%)
- Provide logistical and organizational support for Strada’s grants management function including entering data, generating reports, and communicating with internal and external colleagues as directed.
- Support members of the PSE team by navigating grantmaking efforts in full compliance with Strada’s comprehensive grants management systems and processes including sourcing, vetting, grant structure, grant execution, grant payment, relationship management, shared learning, and grant reporting. Where assigned, provide grantmaking and/or sponsorship advice and support for colleagues outside of the PSE team.
- Provide logistical support for Strada’s sponsorship function including inviting sponsorship applications when directed; communicating with external entities about applications, sponsorship agreements, payments, and event details;, ensuring accurate sponsorship data is entered into Strada’s grants management system; and coordinating among internal entities when sponsorships include other commitments (e.g., speaking at events).
- Ensure that Strada’s grantmaking and sponsorship functions build trusting, positive relationships with organizations and leaders in fields relevant to Strada’s mission. Help create and maintain a service culture for partners when monitoring grantee deliverables, budgets, measurement and evaluation, while also maximizing the range and types of support Strada provides and minimizing administrative burdens.
- Area 3: DEI (10%)
- Support an inclusive workplace culture through actively engaging in Strada’s diversity, equity, and inclusion activities. Incorporate tools and approaches to execute on Strada’s commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion through grantmaking.
- Partner with Talent and the DEI leadership to support policies and programs that attract, promote, develop, and retain staff of diverse backgrounds.
Required Experience, Dispositions and Skills
- Education: Bachelor’s degree or related experience
- At least 3 years experience in project management.
- Strong project management, collaboration, and communications skills, with the ability to work with colleagues at all levels of the organization.
- Good judgment and the ability to maintain flexibility and composure when managing multiple priorities.
- Excellent organizational, multi-tasking, time management, and prioritization skills.
- Strong written and verbal communications skills.
- Positive, solution-oriented approach.
- Willingness to be flexible and adaptable.
- Comfortable operating in a matrix organization.
- Comfortable working in a team, both leading and taking direction from others.
Preferred Experience and Skills
- Certification as a Project Management Professional, through the Project Management Institute or a similar certification process, or work experience that indicates similar skill levels as required for certification.
- Experience and/or interest in a relevant aspect of postsecondary education or a similar field.
Mission and Values Alignment:
Committed to providing equitable pathways to opportunity through PSET, particularly for individuals who have faced significant barriers. Demonstrated alignment with Strada's guiding values, commitment to building a strong and healthy workplace culture, and working in a collaborative environment.
Strategy and Innovation Leadership:
Adept at operationalizing strategy and effectively communicating strategic endeavors within the organization and in external contexts, both verbally and in writing. Particular skill in designing annual plans, monitoring progress, and refining plans as needed. Adaptable with tolerance for ambiguity. Able to problem-solve and navigate varied viewpoints. Capacity to refine efforts based on evidence that change is needed. Ability to lead efforts to visualize and monitor change. Capability to see and support innovative ideas and opportunities across the organization, and to embed innovation within operational plans. Capabilities in taking the perspective of others and adapting an agenda and approach – toward a shared aim - accordingly.
Strategic Problem Solving:
Ability to effectively utilize a hypothesis-driven approach to problem solving, with effective quantitative and communication skills. Ability to take on broad-reaching and sometimes ambiguous questions while working collaboratively and cross-functionally with Strada team members across the organization.
Execution and Operations Leadership:
Ability to translate innovative, strategic ideas into tangible, actionable steps, as well as to effectively monitor progress and partner with others on identifying improvements during implementation to increase the likelihood of successful execution.
Commitment and professional experience advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within and organization, including incorporating stakeholder perspectives in the design, implementation, and evaluation of strategic efforts.
Relationship Building and Collaborative Capabilities:
Demonstrated ability to cultivate, grow, and manage positive, mutually beneficial relationships at all levels of an organization and with partners outside the organization. Strong communication, interpersonal and relationship management skills—including identifying and working through challenges—underscored by strong judgment and emotional intelligence. Proven collaborator, able to work with colleagues at all levels in the organization.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to Strada’s organizational vibrancy, employee experience, and mission. Strada is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workplace-certified by Diversity for Social Impact, a strategic professional and organization development company dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion to drive social impact worldwide. We strongly encourage applicants from people of color/the global majority, immigrant, bilingual, and bicultural individuals; people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA2S+ and gender nonconforming communities; and people with other diverse backgrounds and lived experiences. We believe every member on the team enriches our workplace by exposing us to a broad range of ways to understand and engage with the world, identify challenges, and discover, design, and deliver critical insights and solutions.