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Omidyar Network
Lisa Costello

1991 Broadway St, Suite 200
Redwood City California United States 94063


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Principal, Strategic Engagement & Research

Job ID: 6665
Job Views: 171
Location: Washington D.C., California, United States
Postal Code:
Job Category: Corporate Publications/Newsletters
Employment Type: Full time
Posted: 11.11.2021

Job Description

About Omidyar Network:

Established by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, Omidyar Network (ON) is a social change venture that has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations since 2004. Omidyar Network works to reimagine critical systems and the ideas that govern them, and to build more inclusive and equitable societies in which individuals have the social, economic, and democratic power to thrive.

To learn more, visit, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork.

Position Summary:

Reporting to the CEO with a dotted line to the Head of Strategy, the Principal will inform ON’s strategy and investments by expanding our awareness of and engagement on current groundbreaking thinking from diverse sources ranging from the social sciences to science fiction writers. We’re seeking an intellectually curious, action-orientated strategist and hard-working networker who is passionate about our mission, and comfortable working in a fast paced, sometimes ambiguous, and dynamic work environment.

While our team is currently working remotely, this role will be based in Washington, DC, and we expect the candidate to be in office once health conditions allow. Candidates must have a current US work authorization to be considered.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Support the CEO and Head of Strategy to develop and advance an agenda that will focus on different ways of understanding current social, political economy, and other dynamics to feed into our understanding of the world, and how change happens.
  • Locate, persuade, and engage with a diverse and non-recurring range of scholars to meet with us to help develop our perspectives via 1-1 conversations, and by coordinating convenings for ON and potentially fellow funders. Develop ways to maintain contact and networks with some of the scholars we engage.
  • Lead and coordinate ongoing small convenings with experts to improve ON’s knowledge of current thinking, social science, cultural shifts, physical science, and other contextual factors that should inform our strategic choices of both what to do, and how to engage.
  • Conduct and manage research and help develop and translate conclusions in two areas in particular:
    • Intellectual scaffolding of macro ideas: Examine and answer key questions we will need to confront, to improve and inform our choices, our impact, and impact model. Questioning our key and core assumptions, challenging orthodoxies that may have outlived their usefulness. Includes activities like:
      • quickly understanding major external shocks and events and current trends, e.g., COVID, US elections, January 6th, and implications for our work
      • thoughtfully curating and bringing in diverse outside perspectives to introduce alternative interpretations of what’s currently happening in our world
    • Informing our change model: advance our understanding of how change happens, to inform different potential ON approaches to change. Includes activities like:
      • gathering insights from innovative social science thinking to understand complementary levers of change beyond our existing modes that focus on policy, building evidence bases, and shifting power
      • generating lessons for ON leadership from history, movements, and other countries and contexts on how change happens (e.g., what combination of bottom up and top-down; from the center out vs from the left or right; spurred by a crisis vs. in ordinary times; etc)
      • increasing the number and variety of people in the ON “orbit” with whom we are engaging for insight and perspectives
  • Manage a small grants and project budget to engage consultants and research projects, pay outside speakers honoraria, or make occasional small grants.
  • Support the CEO in drafting speeches, conducting relevant research for outside engagements, co-writing op-eds and other external publications along with Comms team, based on these and other insights.
  • Provide support for strategic projects and sense-making tasks as applicable that may arise internally or from The Omidyar Group.
  • Scope and conduct or commission primary or secondary research. Examples of topics you might be asked to explore, and help define or bound, could include questions like:
    • What is an evolving, 21st century conception of “freedom” that encompasses both the conventional western emphasis on individual liberty, but also a more expansive consideration of the “freedom to” participate fully in our society as equals?
    • What can we can learn from psychology and other social sciences about the role of fear and how it drives (or inhibits) social change?
    • How do we make sense of emerging/new shocks and crises (e.g., COVID in 2020), and their role (if any) in driving social change? What opportunities get accelerated? What becomes less possible? Under what circumstances?
  • Synthesize knowledge from a variety of sources and translate into practical implications for our strategic decisions and programmatic work in Reimagining Capitalism, Responsible Technology and Pluralism/Belonging.

What you'll bring to the team:

  • Minimum of seven (7) years of relevant professional experience
  • Superior written and verbal communication skills, and ability to organize and synthesize complex materials in accessible ways including writing, slides, media, etc.
  • Strong strategic, independent research and analytic skills
  • Ability to influence and engage others and knows how to build relationships with diverse groups of people at varying levels internally and externally
  • Ability to translate raw conversations and research into insights and cogent discussion topics
  • Strong interest in translating academic and conceptual theory into practical application to help philanthropies be more effective
  • Experience in finding outside expertise and structuring and managing good convenings among them
  • Deeply interested in ON’s three core impact themes, mission, and passionate about using your skills and knowledge to build a more equitable world
  • Demonstrates an open-mindset, non-doctrinaire, and not committed to a singular political ideology


At Omidyar Network, diversity, equity, and inclusion are directly aligned with our fundamental belief that people are inherently capable, but they often lack opportunity. We know that a diverse workforce allows us to see problems in more nuanced ways, creating the thought leadership needed to have outsized positive returns on the world. We actively recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. Omidyar Network is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes people from all experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply.

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