Applied Practices Manager
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network’s (USDN) mission is to create equitable, resilient and sustainable communities by supporting local government sustainability practitioners as they pursue transformative change. We do this by building the capacity of local government sustainability practitioners to take action, scale innovative practices and solutions, influence systemic change, and harness data and insights to advance and influence the field.
The heart of USDN’s work is a network of local government sustainability professionals from over 250 cities and counties across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthy environment, advancing racial equity, and building thriving and resilient communities. USDN brings local government sustainability practitioners together to learn, innovate, collaborate, and accelerate the work of local sustainability.
USDN is powered by a distributed team of 20 people that work together across the United States, and a robust network of trusted partners and collaborators.
USDN believes that a diverse, inclusive, and equity-centered climate movement is essential to achieving our mission. For meaningful, long-term change local governments must work from the ground up through a collaborative approach with the communities they serve.
As a member of the Capacity Building Team at USDN, the Applied Practices Manager designs and implements USDN programs to help local government practitioners become more effective change agents who transform practice and generate equitable and impactful outcomes in the movement toward an equitable, resilient, and sustainable world. This position reports to USDN’s Capacity Building Director.
The Capacity Building Team designs and delivers programming (e.g., virtual peer learning groups, trainings, workshops, in-person events) to develop the skills and knowledge of USDN members in two areas:
- Foundational Practices (‘how’ members approach their work) - Building the capacity of local government practitioners to be effective change agents who center equity and marginalized communities as they envision and deliver their work. These practices include racial equity and inclusion, power analysis, leadership skills, change management skills, and communications skills.
- Pathways (‘what’ members work on) - Developing the capacity of local government practitioners to effectively move prioritized sustainability work forward to generate equitable and impactful local outcomes. These pathways include equitably reducing climate risk; accelerating transitions to low-carbon and resilient buildings, energy sources, and mobility systems; and investing in ecosystem regeneration and access.
For more details, please see USDN’s current network priorities: High Impact Practices.
Examples of recent USDN Applied Practices programming include:
USDN also provides foundational practices programming overseen by our Equity and Leadership Managers, such as our Equity Foundations training, our Operationalizing Equity learning group; and Adaptive Skills for Resilient Change Makers leadership training. We view these offerings as complementary and essential to the Applied Practices programs. The Applied Practices Manager will work closely with the Capacity Building Director and other managers to coordinate network learning.
Under the management of the Capacity Building Director, the Applied Practices Manager plays a lead role in the design and delivery of programming that focuses on developing the capacity of local government practitioners to apply USDN’s foundational practices within their sustainability work (e.g. mobility, high-performance buildings, etc.). This position collaborates with USDN staff, members and partners to design and deliver programming that meets member needs in alignment with USDN’s adopted program goals and strategies.
Program Management & Delivery
- Engage with staff, members, and partners to design and manage the delivery of ad hoc (e.g., in-person workshops) and ongoing (e.g., virtual learning groups and training series) capacity-building programming.
- Plan and lead virtual meetings, learning group calls, trainings and workshops (generally via Zoom or similar platform. This will include identifying topics, goals, and activities, planning agendas, coordinating with content providers, facilitating discussion, using technology to engage audiences, and occasional presentation of content.
- Identify, develop relationships with, and secure the participation of members and partners as needed to deliver effective programming.
- Manage communication with members about program offerings.
- Utilize USDN technology tools and systems to understand member interests, progress and participation related to applied practice programming to evaluate program effectiveness and inform the work of the Capacity Building Team and USDN more generally
- Ensure the delivery of high-quality member programs and services that encourage member engagement and respond to member needs and opportunities.
- Provide subject matter expertise on a range of sustainability issues (e.g., GHG reduction, climate adaptation and resilience, energy, buildings, racial equity, mobility).
Program Strategy & Development
- In collaboration with the team, identify and develop programming ideas that align with USDN’s goals and priorities.
- Collaborate with other team leads to develop, review and respond to program evaluation data
- In consultation with the Network Director and through member relationships, ensure programs are developed with a member-centered, equity-focused approach that prioritizes the member experience, member inclusion, and member diversity.
- Develop and implement a unified curriculum approach to professional development offerings informed by adult learning styles and diverse delivery modes for professional education and programming.
Team Management & Development
- Manage 1-2 direct reports, including a Program Coordinator to provide effective logistical support for USDN programming.
- Foster engagement, camaraderie, collaboration, and clarity within a remote environment.
- Develop clear work plans that align with an integrated team plan.
- Provide effective feedback to team members.
Communications and Relationship Building
- Facilitate cross-team and cross-staff collaboration within USDN.
- Share learnings and ideas with other internal teams and seek to learn from their experiences and perspectives.
- Establish positive working relationships and cooperative arrangements with key programmatic partner organizations.
- Contribute to written briefs, blogs, interviews, videos, and other educational materials that USDN may develop to broadly share and influence field knowledge.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Focus
- Cultivate and maintain professional competency in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). EDI is a central goal, fundamental value, and required competency for the practice of sustainability. USDN staff cultivate EDI skills and competencies through personal practice and training.
- Emphasize USDN’s adopted EDI principles in the design and delivery of programming and throughout the performance of job responsibilities. The position will advance EDI principles as a characteristic of responsible governance, where all levels of government have a fiscal and moral responsibility to address the long-term implications that inequity has on prosperity, health, and safety of residents.
- Identify and respond to EDI challenges that members are experiencing.
- Commitment to social justice and anti-racist prinicples.
While no single candidate may embody all the qualifications below, an ideal candidate would possess many of the below experiences and skill sets.
- Experience developing, delivering and evaluating programs including planning, costing, team building, execution, feedback, and evaluation techniques.
- Experience with equitable climate and sustainability practices and policies relevant to local governments.
- Experience working with or within local government
- Experience designing, convening and facilitating productive meetings, trainings, and/or workshops.
Desired Knowledge and Skills:
- Ability to manage multiple complex programs and projects and multiple deadlines simultaneously.
- Ability to work independently and with team members in a collaborative and dynamic environment.
- Ability to design and facilitate productive meetings (virtually and in-person).
- Experience managing staff members.
- High level of communication skills - interpersonal, written and verbal - and strong relationship-development skills.
- Knowledge of equitable local government sustainability practices and policies.
- Knowledge of racial equity theory and practice in an organizational and government context with application to various systems including zoning, buildings, energy, mobility, climate and resilience issues.
- Ability to develop relationships and work across a diverse array of teammates, partners, and communities.
- Structured thinking with a goal-oriented approach toward program implementation, management, and evaluation while managing inclusive engagement processes.
- Ability to work productively in an unstructured environment.
- Proficient in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Suite, Zoom.
- Engagement, problem-solving, and negotiation techniques and processes.
- Adaptive management techniques with the ability to rapidly make and implement decisions that take into account members’ diverse perspectives and changing conditions
- Proactively sharing information and knowledge across the organization as well as across a broad and diverse membership using relationships, technology, and other tools;
- Assessment and facilitation of complex and/or sensitive situations;
- Active listening, verbal and written communications.
- Full-time position
- Reports to USDN Capacity Building Director
- Compensation: Expected range $67,000-$85,000 annually, commensurate with qualifications. Robust benefits package, including health, dental, disability and life insurance, flexible leave policy, coaching and 401(k) program.
- Location: This is a fully remote, work-from-home position. USDN has no central office but staff collaborate extensively via video call meetings. Candidates must furnish their own quiet office space for conference calls. USDN provides a computer, smartphone, and IT stipend to cover internet and phone, software, and other home office supplies.
- Work hours: 9am-5pm Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific Standard Times (flexible); 40 hours/week
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to equal treatment of all employees without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical or mental disability or other basis protected by law.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.