Manager, Emerging Issues

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.

We are an independent nonprofit organization ; the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.

Our work lays the foundation for effective policy solutions by informing and engaging citizens, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause and insisting on tangible results. Our projects encourage efficient, responsive governments ; at the local, state, national and international levels ; serving the best interests of the people. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.

With offices in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Brussels and London and staff in other regions of the United States as well as Australia, Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. We are a dynamic, rapidly evolving organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.

Government Performance:

Government Performance (GP), an internal operating division of The Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT), identifies and advances effective policy approaches to critical issues. It researches emerging topics, develops data-driven reports, and highlights innovative approaches to complex problems. When the facts are clear, GP advocates for nonpartisan, pragmatic solutions.

GP operates major state- and local-level initiatives in public pensions, children’s dental health, intensive home visiting/parent mentoring for at-risk families, sentencing and corrections, cost-benefit analysis, state budgeting and tax expenditures, and election reform, among others. GP makes use of the basic tools required to help states and localities explore and advance effective policies, regardless of the issue: credible, timely, and user-friendly research; assessments of public support for change; strategic outreach and dissemination to ensure that good information is widely communicated to decision-makers, media, influential stakeholders, and the public; the capacity to bring together diverse perspectives and find common ground; and the ability to identify and apply approaches that have proven successful elsewhere.


Position Overview:

Pew’s Emerging Issues unit, housed within GP, explores new public policy issues in which Pew might play a role, especially at the state level, and develops new initiatives as appropriate.

The Manager, Emerging Issues, would identify possible issues for exploration and evaluate ideas generated by others. Working individually and as a leader of teams, the Manager would coordinate all components of an exploration: scanning the field and doing in-depth research on the issue; interviewing external and internal experts; preparing written and verbal updates for the unit’s Senior Director and other GP and Pew leadership; ensuring the process is timely and effective, making smart course corrections when needed; and, most important, making strategic judgments along the way about whether an exploration should continue and why. If the exploration reaches the project development stage, the Manager may help craft and shape the proposed initiative for internal consideration. Projects approved by the board would be transferred to other units within GP.

The position requires a talented policy generalist and strategist with experience designing and/or managing major public policy initiatives. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated ability to quickly master new topics and understand the interests and needs of Pew and its target audiences. The position requires adaptability, creativity, initiative, and the right balance of pragmatism and optimism about the art-of-the-possiblea perspective grounded by years of experience in a diverse range of policy settings. This position, located in Pew’s Washington, DC, office, will report to the Senior Director, GP, who oversees the Emerging Issues unit.

Job Requirements

  • Work with Pew staff and outside experts to generate and explore ideas for new lines of policy work, particularly at the state level.
  • Stay current on public policy issues and research to aid in emerging issue identification; maintain awareness of effective public policy strategies and new trends and tactics.
  • Respond efficiently and effectively to discrete inquiries from Pew leadership that require limited research and analysis and a quick turnaround.
  • For larger-scale, longer explorations, conduct extensive outreach, data-driven research, and strategic planning to define the problem, available solutions, and a potential role for Pew, including identifying clear and impactful outcomes. Ask tough questions, maintain a healthy skepticism, and be willing to end the exploration if a case cannot be made.
  • Communicate findings verbally and in writing for consideration to the Senior Director, Emerging Issues, and other senior-level GP and Pew staff, engaging them at key strategic junctures in each exploration; incorporate feedback and guidance appropriately.
  • If a project under exploration moves forward for Board discussion or approval, work with other Pew experts and campaign strategists as appropriate to develop multi-year strategic plans (including compelling narratives), a clear summary of deliverables, project budgets, and staffing requirements, among other components.
  • Assist when appropriate in the transition of Board-approved projects to implementation status; assist with hiring and on-boarding of new staff and other tasks.
  • Lead a variety of teams comprising Emerging Issues colleagues and in some instances other internal staff or consultants. Set and communicate clear expectations and a process, expertly manage participation in a way that leverages unique skills and talents, deliver results in a timely and cost-effective way, identify and resolve issues and conflicts, and maintain momentum in the face of challenges.
  • Develop and manage contracts with consultants as necessary to inform an exploration.
  • Build and maintain productive working relationships with internal colleagues and external stakeholdersincluding state and federal officials, national and state policy organizations, researchers, and othersduring the course of an exploration.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree in public policy or a related discipline preferred.
  • Eight or more years of professional experience designing, launching, and/or managing strategies or projects aimed at informing and advancing effective public policy.
  • At least two years of experience supervising staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to learn and master new issues quickly. Significant knowledge of domestic political and economic trends, leading thinkers, and major concerns within public policy, especially at the state level.
  • Demonstrated project management experience, including overseeing small teams.
  • Strong analytical skills; asks probing questions, synthesizes material, and focuses quickly on the essence of an issue and the means to address it.
  • Resourcefulness in identifying and gathering relevant information and data, including interviewing high-level experts; highly skilled at analyzing and organizing a large volume of complex information into a clear and coherent narrative.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including the ability to present, facilitate, write clearly and effectively, convince and persuade, and listen carefully.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; proven ability to work productively with a wide array of stakeholders and perspectives and approach issues with a nonpartisan, objective mindset.
  • Ability to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and initiative.
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively, juggle multiple priorities, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time efficiently, remain attentive to details, and identify resources for projects.
  • Ability to fit into a fast-paced and highly professional corporate culture which emphasizes excellence, collegiality, and teamwork.


We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits package, including a generous 401(k) plan, four weeks of vacation and flexible benefit options. We also offer relocation reimbursement.



Occasional travel, including business meetings and conferences as required.

Pew is an equal opportunity employer.

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How to apply

Washington, District of Columbia
The Pew Charitable Trusts