Vice President of Learning and Research

Vice President of Learning and Research

Under the direct supervision of the Chief Strategy Officer, the Vice President of Learning and Research is responsible for providing organizational leadership, setting the vision for the Foundation’s learning, evaluation, data, and research priorities, and executing a plan to fulfill these objectives. This individual will strategically raise Missouri Foundation for Health’s profile as an innovative, creative, and impactful organization that uses research and data to catalyze positive change. The vice president manages the activities of the Learning and Research team and is a key member of the Foundation’s Executive Team, working collaboratively with the leadership team and Board of Directors to set Foundation strategy and culture.


Executive Duties:

  • Contribute to the development and evolution of Foundation strategy and effectively implement such strategy within area of responsibility. Clearly articulate Foundation strategy to internal and external audiences
  • Set organizational goals and priorities. Communicate goals and priorities to teams to develop tactics and action plans. Ensure successful execution of tactics to meet organizational goals while remaining responsive to environmental changes that call for action or change strategies
  • Seek out, develop, and maintain relationships with appropriate external partners. Be an ambassador for MFH by demonstrating integrity, professionalism, commitment, and humility. In your actions and decisions, demonstrate that you value diversity and equity. Instill those values in your team and its work
  • Ensure staff are effective, productive, and supported in their work and development. Create an environment in which all staff feel appreciated for their unique contributions to the work of the Foundation. Model and create an environment centered on MFH culture and workplace values including actively supporting a culture of collaboration with, and respect for, internal partners
  • Demonstrate fiscal responsibility, critical thinking, and sound judgement in all matters in order to safeguard MFH resources—financial, reputational, and human
  • Engage appropriately with the Community Advisory Council, the Board of Directors, and Board committees to accomplish the mission and goals of the organization. Support board members as they individually and collectively fulfill their legal, governance, and fiduciary responsibilities. Contribute to board education on various levels—understanding of the field, the nature of the work of the Foundation, and behaviors of effective board members

Functional Area Duties:

  • Ensure MFH has systems, structures, and projects in place to gather the information it needs to understand its role in the region, the impact and effectiveness of its work, and to identify opportunities for creating change in the larger health, philanthropy, and Missouri ecosystems
  • Directly supervise a team of six professional staff, including regionally-based Community Liaisons. Create a high-performing, highly collaborative team that works across the organization to drive results. Effectively manage performance expectations through annual goal setting, performance appraisals, and employee development plans. Create an environment of accountability balanced with the flexibility and support that enables staff to achieve superior performance
  • Develop and oversee the Foundation’s new community liaison function, which will serve as the Foundation’s presence in the community, deepening understanding of various communities’ cultures, health trends, values, and priorities. Build and empower a team of three Community Liaisons who identify and assess significance of regional and community trends relative to the Foundation’s current and future plans, strategy, goals, and projects
  • Provide leadership and oversight to learning and evaluation activities. Ensure that key performance goals and benchmarks are set across all strategic initiatives and that appropriate, right-sized structures are in place to measure overall impact of each body of work. Consider various perspectives in assessing success of work, advancing equitable evaluation approaches across both contracted and internal learning and evaluation efforts. Serve as internal content expert for learning and evaluation
  • Develop and implement the Foundation’s approach to research, leading work that will help MFH and the broader field better understand communities and the impact of various circumstances, policies, and programs on individual and community health. With colleagues from across the organization, seek and build opportunities to use research as change tool within strategic initiatives and at the organizational level. Serve as a thought partner and content expert in the management of research projects
  • Lead the Foundation’s efforts to create products that make it easier for stakeholders to access and utilize publicly available data as well as trend data that anticipates future health needs of Missourians. Oversee Foundation decisions related to investments in the gathering, generation, analysis, and publication of health-related data
  • Operationalize a strong organization-wide approach to learning, including implementation of a system or process for improving and streamlining internal learning from evaluations, research and data projects, and information gathered by community liaisons. Develop an adaptive approach for incorporating learning into Foundation strategy development at the organizational level as well as into current strategic initiatives
  • Position the Foundation as a thought leader on issues impacting Missouri residents by participating in media interviews, speaking on behalf of Foundation at conferences, representing the Foundation in key collaborations or partnerships, and seeking opportunities to disseminate information related to the work of the organization. Champion the sharing of knowledge and learning from research and evaluations with a broad audience of internal and external stakeholders
  • Retain and manage consultants as necessary to deliver on Foundation strategy and objectives
  • Create and manage the Learning and Research budget

Other Responsibilities:

  • Adheres to the Foundation’s core values and to staff values.
  • Participates as assigned in Foundation teams.
  • Perform general Foundation support activities and carry out special projects as required.

Qualifications and Education Requirements:

  • Significant experience leading research, learning, and/or evaluation activities intended to drive change. Successful record of developing and managing complex and creative strategies
  • Proven mastery of research methodology and data analysis methods applicable to work in public health, social service, and/or safety net sectors
  • Deep commitment to evaluation and research that is conceptualized, implemented, and utilized in a manner that promotes equity
  • Master’s degree or higher level of education. Preference for PhD in social science discipline (economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, health care, etc)
  • Minimum 12 years of experience in progressively responsible positions in an agency, academic, or consulting setting. Experience working with boards and senior leadership strongly preferred
  • Proven ability to manage, lead, and empower a highly skilled and diverse team of professionals to produce outstanding results
  • Excellent internal and external customer service skills and interpersonal skills. Ability to communicate complex concepts clearly and persuasively to diverse audiences ranging from an individual to a large gathering
  • Comfortable working in a highly collaborative environment as a leader and participant. Value creativity and flexibility in approach
  • Must present a professional manner and appearance

Physical and Work Environment Demands

The physical and work environment demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the responsibilities of this position.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with a disability to perform the position responsibilities. Physical demands, such as the ability to walk, sit, etc., are those of a typical office environment This position may require some evening and/or weekend hours.

Who We Are:

Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding.

Statement of Diversity:
Missouri Foundation for Health is an equal-opportunity employer seeking candidates who recognize diversity and inclusion are essential to organizational effectiveness and value the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of our employees, grantees, and the people in the communities we serve.

How to Apply

Click here to apply online.

The Foundation offers competitive compensation and benefits. For questions about the application process, please contact Tomye Harris.