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Vice President, Systems Change Lab

Think of Us

Think of Us

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Who We Are

Think of Us (TOU) is a Research + Design lab on a mission to fundamentally re-architect the foster care system as we know it, powered by the data, leadership and insights of people with lived experience. The most challenging social problems we face – homelessness, mental illness, incarceration, and human trafficking – share a common intersection point: foster care. That’s why we are sparking, driving, and co-creating a nimble, responsive foster care system that will ensure every person has the conditions from which to heal, develop, and thrive. We partner with leading organizations driving change across the national ecosystem – from the White House to local providers and agencies – to identify leverage points and build solutions.

Think of Us is driving nationwide, catalytic change via multiple coordinated channels, including:

  • Mobilizing and leveraging the collective voice of 38,000 former foster youth into over $400M in Federal pandemic relief funds
  • Collaborating with three consecutive presidential administrations to improve Federal policy, participating in 26 engagements with the White House in the last year alone
  • Inspiring 22 states to commit to eliminating group homes within 72 hours of releasing our groundbreaking Away from Home report, and partnering with six jurisdictions to make this commitment a reality
  • Creating a new model for frontline support, TOU’s Virtual Support Services (VSS) connects individuals impacted by foster care with vital resources. Successfully operating in California, Georgia, and Boston, VSS boasts an <8 hour response time and 95+% of help seekers needs being met.

Our team members share a commitment to driving systems change through creative problem-solving, obsessive curiosity, and a love of quickly driving innovative, measurable, and impactful results.

Reports to: Managing Partner

Direct Reports: ~2-3 (plus consultants)

Location: Remote, with approximately 30% travel required

Category: Full-time, Exempt

The Role

The Vice President, Systems Change Lab is a new position in an emerging department at Think of Us. The Vice President will be charged with bringing forward Think of Us’ System Design Method (among others) as a vehicle to center lived experience to more deeply understand and take action on some of the trickiest challenges in child welfare, all to drive systems change and changing the way things are done.

Serving on our Senior Leadership Team and reporting to the Managing Partner, the Vice President will be a dynamic and creative leader poised to build - and support a team to drive - this critical work. This role will work directly with state and county leaders, funders, nonprofits, and thought leaders to design and execute high-impact projects, including a combination of research, process improvements, and narrative shifting campaigns. They are charged with building the department and hiring and managing a best-in-class team of employees, contractors, and Fellows to drive long-term strategic impact.


Strategy and Execution (~60%)

  • Define the vision and roadmap for the Systems Change Lab, charting the path to make Think of Us’ System Design Method a proven approach to systems change
  • Work nimbly and creatively in partnership with jurisdictions, funders, advocates, thought leaders, and lived experts to co-design and test what new opportunities and approaches can drive and normalize systems change in child welfare
  • Inform and collaborate with partners through the lifecycle of a project or contract to ensure continued engagement, driving cross-functional engagement with internal and external stakeholders on projects
  • Manage and direct the portfolio of projects the Systems Change Lab is leading at all stages to drive maximum impact

Innovation and Learning (~20%)

  • Support the strategic expansion of our systems change portfolio through new opportunities and continuous learning of current engagements
  • Explore and execute innovative ways to drive systems change in child welfare with partner organizations
  • Incorporate insights from diverse sectors and implement novel methods to accelerate innovation in child welfare

Leadership (~20%)

  • Build and lead a growing team, promoting a culture that reflects the principles of TOU and balances opportunities with capacity
  • Collaborate with field leaders and funders to to advocate for our work and the System Design Method at the state and national level. Take an active role in driving narratives and moving the Method forward as a valuable tool.
  • We see this role as growing to serve as a representative on behalf of TOU
  • Serve as a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), helping address overall organizational opportunities & challenges and ensuring coordination among departments


About You

  • Strategic Thinker: you anticipate and prepare for future events and outcomes. You examine issues and plans with a long-term perspective.
  • Relentless Problem Solver: Effectively identifies and solves challenging problems.
  • Adaptable: Adjusts easily to new or changing circumstances.
  • Diplomatic: Deals tactfully with diverse groups of people, situations and ideas. Resourceful: Finds alternative solutions to overcome problems or limitations.
  • Comfort in Ambiguity: you deal confidently with unclear or changing situations and switch gears easily in response to unexpected demands.
  • Develops Others: you coach or instruct others to improve their performance. You are able to respond to development needs and expectations of others.


Leadership and Partnership Experience:

  • Demonstrated track record of leading exceptional and groundbreaking systems change work with a diverse range of organizations and jurisdictions, including leveraging design thinking and participatory research strategies
  • 9+ years managing a high performing, high throughput teams, driving cross-functional initiatives, and working with jurisdictions to transform entrenched systems, ideally in the social sector
  • Prior experience working with vulnerable populations and deploying trauma-informed approaches
  • Exposure to social justice frameworks that offer opportunities to move beyond the structural inequities

Collaboration and Communications Skills:

  • Clear, concise and articulate communicator with the ability to translate ideas and insights into compelling and understandable information and share effectively across complex organizations and jurisdictions
  • Create brilliant presentations (comprehensive of the design, materials shared and interactive components) to bring forward a new approach to a problem or opportunity and drive behavior (and/or mental models!) change in order to get them implemented
  • Strong project management, partner management, and team management skills - exceptional ability to bring the right people in the room to make decisions quickly and move projects forward
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a non-partisan fashion, having ensured all voices necessary are heard and considered


  • Deep commitment to our mission and nuanced understanding of systemic, structural oppression and inequity
  • Unwavering commitment to centering the voices and experiences of people with lived experience in every part of the work‍

Compensation & Benefits


Our compensation philosophy is based on transparency and attentiveness to people's holistic needs. We believe that fair and competitive compensation is essential for attracting and retaining exceptional talent, which is crucial for achieving our audacious goals. Our compensation packages include both cash compensation and benefits and all decisions are made in accordance with our financial standing as a not-for-profit organization.

This role is a full-time remote position with domestic travel. This role has a salary range of $170,000-$190,000. We are looking to fill this position immediately - applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


  • “Build your office” stipend
  • Medical / Dental / Vision Coverage - We cover 100% of your premium and 50% of your family's premium for our "base" plan
  • Health Care & Dependent Care FSA
  • Employer-sponsored Short Tem Disability
  • Employer-sponsored Life and AD&D
  • Voluntary Supplemental Life
  • Voluntary Long Term Disability
  • 8 major holidays + 3 Org wide Breaks over Summer, Thanksgiving, & Winter
  • Flexible PTO
  • Sick Leave
  • Paid Leave of Absence
  • 401k for pre-tax retirement contributions
  • Individual ($1500 per person) & Organizational-wide Learning & Development
  • We hold monthly learning sessions organization-wide to deepen our understanding of foster youth's Lived Experience. We also discuss topics outside of Child Welfare to foster curiosity and growth in our culture.
  • We put you at the cutting edge of change in the child welfare system.
  • We offer you the chance to engage with inspiring leaders in government, foundations, the nonprofit sector, and entertainment who are passionately committed to transforming the child welfare system.

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