Government Relations Director, North East

Western Governors University
January 13, 2021
Atlanta, GA
Job Type


**Current WGU employees must submit their internal application before 1/25/2021 to be considered for this position.**

Essential Functions and Responsibilities

•         Direct regional level lobbying efforts on behalf of the University.

•         Develop, strengthen, and maintain relationships with elected officials, policy makers, and leaders of appropriate state agencies.

•         Monitor legislation and policy activities, update and advise University partners about policy proposals and actions, and work with relevant University teams to analyze potential impacts on the University.

•         Serve as the primary representative in managing, and working with, consultants contracted by the University to support its initiatives in the relevant region of leadership.

•         Plan and implement state-level events and other activities to support the University’s government relations goals, such as hill days, town halls, affiliate visits, and meetings.

•         Serve as the University’s representative to relevant associations and policy bodies, such as legislative, governor, and lieutenant governor associations, economic development groups, and related public-private partnership efforts.

•         Participate in the development of a wide range of materials in support of the University’s government relations agenda, such as talking points, legislative summaries, factsheets, testimony, reports, and letters.

•         Be an inspiring and motivational leader for individuals at all levels, and in all functions of the University. Initiate education and training opportunities to engage staff in and to demystify the legislative process.

•         Authentically reflect and portray the mission of WGU. Become a reliable subject matter expert on student success, disruptive innovation, and competency-based education.

Required Education and Experience

•         BS/BA degree required.  Advanced degree preferred.

•         Minimum five (5) years of managing successful multi-state lobbying initiatives preferred, with experience in higher education and academic operations highly desired.

Required Skills

The successful Director of Government Relations will have experience as an operational leader and a record of achieving aggressive goals, while operating in a cross-functional capacity. The Direct of Government Relations adeptly navigates external environments that may impact the University and its operations. S/he effectively engages University partners, and is probing, open-minded, and solution-oriented. S/he will also be comfortable with ambiguity, willing to experiment and make decisions with less than perfect information. Must be able to clearly articulate WGU’s purpose, mission, vision and goals, and able to motivate others to achieve those goals. These qualities are driven by the following competencies:

•         Student focus – always keeps the student at the center of what we do, and why we do it. Makes decisions and guides efforts to improve and expand value and opportunity for students and employers. Demonstrated and documented record of accomplishment in developing intergovernmental relationships, and pursuing opportunities to enhance the University’s offerings and positioning in higher education.

•         Integrity – we do what is right even when no one is watching.  This is a foundational principle governing how we interact with all people, and is vitally important in a role that represents the University before external audiences, many of whom have the ability to impact the environment in which the University operates.

•         Execution- and Results-oriented – focused on results, not just activity. Exceptional skill and demonstrated success in establishing and improving governmental relationships and opportunity, in a higher education leadership role.

•         Initiative – self-directs with a strong bias for action, leads the way in improvement of performance and opportunities for our students and the University.

•         Managerial courage – willing to tackle difficult topics and challenge conventional thinking; doesn’t hold anything back that needs to be said.

•         Strategic thinking – applies broad strategic direction, with university-wide impact, and in a distributed organization context.

•         Being Resilient – operates confidently under pressure, maintains a positive attitude despite adversity, and bounces back from obstacles and setbacks, while growing from hardship and negative experiences.

•         Develops and earns trust – works effectively across functions, internalizing their motivations and priorities, and energizing others’ engagement in devising solutions and driving execution; a personal style that favors inquiry over advocacy, listening over speaking.

•         Innovation – collaborates to form bold visions, navigates the political environment, and delivers results; operates with a mission-driven mindset to expand access to education for all students

•         Clear, effective communicator – exceptional and persuasive communication skills, oral and written, in addressing external and internal audiences; while successfully balancing the appropriate levels of decorum and respect for office holders when asserting the positions of the University, necessary to advance student opportunity.

•         Great judgment – Deals effectively with paradox; exhibits good instincts, while willing to make tough calls, with some degree of adaptability.

Preferred Qualifications

•         Experience working in remote management environment

•         Demonstrated expertise in defining performance metrics for external partnerships

Special Position Requirements

•         Ability to travel

•         Schedule flexibility to include evenings and weekends

Competencies Required

•        Problem solving skills – Investigates appropriate resources and involves partners when appropriate.  Is future-oriented.  Assesses what will help or hinder achieving goals.  Focuses on what is important.

•        Interpersonal skills – Deals with others in a considerate, respectful, and unbiased manner.  Approaches conflict proactively.  Solicits and shares feedback openly.  Listens with empathy and maintains composure.

•        Accuracy – Draws on facts collected from a broad knowledge of WGUs goals and processes.

•        Adaptability – Corrects behaviors and communication style to meet the needs of a wide range of situations.  Tackles obstacles appropriately.  Is comfortable with ambiguity.

•        Reliability – Accountable to others; does what it takes to get the job done.  Actions are consistent with words.  Follows through on commitments.  Exhibits exceptional integrity.

•        Attitude – Displays commitment to the organization and to personal growth.  Is self-motivated and able to motivate and inspire others.  Asserts self appropriately to champion ideas.  Tells the truth in a direct and constructive manner.

•        Initiative – Self-directs with a strong tendency for action.  Leads the way to improve performance or processes.  Displays keen interest in students and organization.

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