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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Chief Public Policy and Research Officer

Organization: American Foundation for the Blind

Posted: 2/12/2018

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is creating a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. We mobilize leaders, advance understanding, and champion impactful policies and practices using research and data.

Career Opportunity:

AFB is presently seeking an established leader/investigator with deep knowledge of public policy, research, and blindness issues to serve as its Chief Public Policy and Research Officer. This position offers a unique and exciting opportunity to utilize data, establish a research agenda, and develop organizational and scientific relationships to move the needle on some of the most significant social challenges facing Americans who are blind or visually impaired. The successful candidate will serve as a visionary to identify emerging topics and will pursue, conceptualize, and create forward-looking knowledge on key issues facing people who are blind or visually impaired by fostering collaboration, overseeing the identification, production, and dissemination of independent research, and utilizing strategic public- and private-sector relationships, coalitions, and networks to bring about crucial changes to public policies. This position oversees a team of professionals, reports to the President & CEO, and serves a member of the Senior Leadership Team, helping to align the organization around mission and values and guiding the implementation of strategy. This position will work out of AFB’s DC Metro office.


  • Oversee the establishment, cultivation, and growth of the Public Policy and Research Institute advisory board, aligning policy and research strategy with carefully selected high-impact individuals capable of advancing policy and research to create systemic change.
  • Provide leadership, strategic direction, and oversight of AFB’s public policy agenda. Oversee the development of and proactively communicate AFB’s public policy philosophy, strategy, and agenda. Establish and cultivate public and private-sector relationships, coalitions, and networks to ensure AFB’s presence in key national policy conversations and catalyze public policy advancements.
  • Provide leadership, strategic direction, and oversight of AFB’s research agenda, including both policy research and applied research. Identify research and knowledge gaps to ensure prioritization of high-impact research initiatives. Ensure the strategic cross-organizational alignment of research-related activities and communications. Develop and participate in public and private-sector relationships, coalitions, and networks to disseminate research for the purposes of promoting understanding, shaping policy and practice, and cultivating AFB’s role and reputation as expert advisor and consensus builder.
  • Provide overall leadership, strategic direction, and oversight of the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. Ensure JVIB’s alignment with and support of AFB’s knowledge production objective, increasing focus on forward-looking developments in research on key issues facing people who are blind or visually impaired. Evaluate and implement business models that meet the needs of various strategic audiences within and outside the field, while ensuring financial sustainability. Serve as facilitator of the Corinne Kirchner Research Award subcommittee of the Public Policy and Research Institute advisory board.
  • Participate as a member of the Senior Leadership Team, providing leadership in the development of organization-wide plans and strategies and communicating information and strategic vision throughout the group and the organization.
  • Supervise staff, adhering to AFB’s policies and practices regarding recruitment and orientation; communicating expectations, policies, information, goals, mission, and strategy; supporting staff in areas of job responsibilities, problem resolution, and benefits; identifying professional development opportunities; ensuring policies and procedure compliance; and addressing areas requiring improvement and opportunities for rewards and recognition.
  • Working with AFB’s Community Engagement group, serve as an AFB spokesperson to the general public, media, blindness field, donors, and other key organizations and individuals as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with Resource Development and strategic partners to develop private and federal grant/funding proposals to support AFB’s public policy and research initiatives. In collaboration with Resource Development, manage and cultivate select key funder relationships.
  • Perform other duties and special projects, as assigned.


    Graduate degree in education, social services, public policy, organization development/planning, law, political science, public administration, or related field. PhD or JD preferred. A minimum of ten years’ experience in direct service and/or administration in a human services environment, including governmental relations experience. Extensive management experience and superior oral and written communications skills, including media relations and public speaking. Superior interpersonal and leadership skills with sensitivity to the field of blindness. Ability to implement strategic plan objectives through programs and successful track records in developing, evaluating, and implementing initiatives.


    Commensurate with experience.

    AFB IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. AFB DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES AND WE INVITE PROTECTED VETERANS TO APPLY. Applicants have rights under Federal Employment Laws: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO); and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA).

    Interested parties, please email a Cover Letter, Resume, and Salary Requirements to Human Resources

    Contact: Human Resources - No phone calls please


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