Government Relations Director

About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with an independent, objective voice promoting a healthy education system that prepares all students for success in college and career. Leaders from more than a dozen civic, philanthropic, business and education organizations founded Advance Illinois in 2008 to fill the urgent need to prepare more students to compete in a global marketplace.

Advance Illinois is an equity-driven, data-centered, student-focused organization that stays deeply connected to Illinois communities and educators. We approach our work by:

  • Developing policies geared toward improving student success and reaching the state’s goal of having 60 percent of Illinois adults holding a college or career credential by 2025 (“60 by 25”).
  • Building coalitions to influence public opinion and urge decision makers to do what it takes to provide a high-quality education for all children, no matter where they live.
  • Presenting the challenges and opportunities facing Illinois’ public education system through policy briefs and local storytelling to inspire the participation of education stakeholders and the public.
  • Engaging thought leaders, legislators, and policymakers and facilitating action on behalf of Illinois’ students—based on what research tells us what works.

The Opportunity
Advance Illinois’ next Government Relations Director will help shape and lead our advocacy strategy in Springfield. S/he will serve as the face of Advance Illinois in Springfield and among elected officials throughout the state, helping to educate and represent our advocacy work and our organization.

In addition to helping shape strategy, s/he will help execute on it by guiding and developing compelling materials and messaging to use with elected officials or non-elected policymakers, providing testimony at legislative or other hearings, representing Advance Illinois in meetings. S/he will also attend legislative committee meetings, screen education-related legislation, and recommend to the Executive Director and senior staff the position Advance Illinois should take. S/he, in conjunction with the Executive Director, will oversee and coordinate the work of our outside government relations firm, calling on them to advise and support, as needed.

The Government Relations Director will serve as a member of the senior staff, providing overall leadership to the organization, including presenting to the Board and working with Board members, assisting with annual planning, budgeting, and goal setting, and contributing to a collaborative team environment.

Personal Characteristics
The ideal candidate will be passionate about improving public education in Illinois through policy change and state-level impact. S/he will recognize and be able to articulate the multiple ways having in place strong state policy infrastructure serves the needs of students and families in school districts throughout the state. S/he will also be committed to educational equity and learning from and partnering with communities.

S/he will bring established relationships with state legislators, executive branch decision-makers, and other elected officials across the political spectrum and will be comfortable establishing new relationships and building on those existing relationships to help advance our agenda.
S/he will understand deeply the policy-making process in Springfield to develop strategy and be able to guide others in how best to effect change through that strategy. S/he will also be able to communicate effectively with policymakers, understand their perspective and decision-making process and therefore be able to help prepare the most effective tools and materials.

S/he will be intellectually curious, committed to learning, energetic, and bring a collaborative approach to the organization and to the work. S/he will be of absolute integrity, unquestioned ethics, and bring a high level of professionalism.

The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field and five or more years of experience in government relations. Residence in or around Springfield is preferred, with travel and extended stay in Springfield for someone who does not live there.

Application Procedure
The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applications should include a letter of interest and a current resume and be submitted electronically.

Nominations, applications, or inquiries about the position and/or the search process should be directed to:

Advance Illinois is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to engaging the skills and leadership of people of color, low-income persons, LGBT persons, differently-abled people, and other people from diverse backgrounds. People from these and other historically marginalized backgrounds and communities are strongly encouraged to apply.