Interested in leading us in our mission of advancing immigration policy worldwide? Read on for more details about our executive director position.  

IPL is seeking a new executive director. From developing new strategic research partnerships to leading fundraising efforts, this is a dynamic and multifaceted role that is well-suited to an energetic, empathetic, and service-oriented leader—someone who is ready to bridge the gap between academics and practitioners and shape the future of evidence-based immigration policy.

Is this you? Watch this video to meet our team and get a sense of what we’re looking for:


The Opportunity

The Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) at Stanford University designs and evaluates policies to advance the integration of immigrants and refugees worldwide. By producing new evidence and translating it into creative solutions, we seek to improve refugees’ and immigrants’ opportunities and strengthen their host communities.

Using new data and cutting-edge analytical tools, we bring evidence to bear on the urgent problems facing immigrants, refugees, and their service providers. We engage with community-based organizations as well as local, state, national, and international government agencies to test the effectiveness of current policies. In addition, we co-design new policies, programs, and tools that ultimately affect millions of immigrants, as well as increase the economic and social prosperity of the communities in which they live. Our talented team of faculty, professional staff, postdocs, and students has created a research model that combines the quality and rigor of an academic lab with the efficiency and innovation of a civic-tech startup.

Following five years of rapid development and growth since our launch in 2016, IPL is seeking a new Executive Director (ED) to lead and advance the Stanford branch at this pivotal moment. Working in collaboration with IPL’s faculty co-directors at Stanford, the ED is responsible for setting and executing the strategic vision for a globally recognized social science lab, while also managing seamless programmatic and scientific operations.

IPL is looking for an experienced leader with an appreciation of rigorous social science methods and a knowledge of immigration policy/issues where these methods can be applied; who values the rigor of the scientific process; who can articulate the importance of quantitative research to diverse stakeholders and audiences; and who also will deepen IPL’s focus on policy and social impact. The ED will manage the day-to-day operations of the lab and guide a professional team that includes research program staff, a data scientist, a communications director, and a software developer. The ED will facilitate training opportunities for postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates and continue to manage and grow an active community of affiliated researchers from top universities and organizations. The ED will also be IPL’s leading public voice, from Stanford convenings to international summits. Further, the ED will collaborate closely with the leadership team of the IPL branch at ETH Zurich to build a common vision and community across both branches.

This is a two-year fixed term position. Renewal will be based on performance and funding. Please note that there is a strong preference for the position to be located within commuting distance of Stanford’s campus, so that the ED can be “in person” at least 2 days/week, but we would consider candidates who work remotely and are willing to travel to campus regularly (e.g. monthly). 

Principal Role and Responsibilities

The Executive Director of the Immigration Policy Lab will:

  • Lead IPL’s strategic planning, research operations, and policy engagement
  • Represent IPL to Stanford, external partners, and other stakeholders
  • Provide expert consultation related to program development, funding opportunities, and other specialty areas
  • Define the overall activities of research programs; allocate appropriate staffing and other resources to achieve objectives; provide strategic and financial advice to faculty directors; coordinate grant proposal submissions
  • Oversee the development of, adherence to, and implementation of program policies and procedures
  • Direct and/or supervise research staff and facilitate collaborations among faculty directors and affiliates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows
  • Select, develop, and evaluate personnel to ensure efficient operations, leading them in multidisciplinary teams (in academia, across different faculties or schools, and across different business and industry groups)
  • Oversee research partnerships, typically with civil society or government partners
  • Author and co-author research articles with faculty co-directors, affiliated faculty, postdocs, and/or graduate students
  • Serve as IPL’s principal advocate with philanthropic foundations and other funders, as well as work with development teams

Other duties may also be assigned, as not all unique aspects of this job are covered by this job posting. Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Candidate Profile

The Executive Director of the Immigration Policy Lab will possess the following attributes and competencies:

Passion for Mission

The Executive Director will have a passion for IPL’s mission, a deep appreciation for the value of scientific contributions and evidence, a sincere commitment to immigrant and refugee communities, and a keen understanding of immigration policy and issues. This compassionate leader will have the ability and a strong desire to apply a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to their work.

Strategic & Visionary Leader

The Executive Director will be a strategic leader and visionary thinker who will have the drive and passion to lead IPL into its next chapter. They will be eager to identify strategic priorities for innovative research expansion areas in the immigration policy space. The Executive Director will be an outside-the-box thinker who leads the lab in new directions and new ways of operating. This leader will undertake a strategic visioning effort to ground the work over the next 3-5 years. A leader committed to service, this individual will be accessible, transparent, and comfortable at the helm of a non-hierarchical organization.

Fundraising & Revenue Development Expertise

The Executive Director will bring to the role a strong capacity in and genuine enthusiasm for fundraising, including securing foundation, government, and individual support. Bringing impressive networking skills, this charismatic fundraiser will have the ability to diversify IPL’s revenue stream. The Executive Director will have a strategic vision for longterm revenue generation and will offer innovative ways to increase funding to ensure long-term sustainability. 

Relationship Building, Collaboration & Communication

The Executive Director will be a confident spokesperson for IPL and will be able to communicate effectively with and garner respect from a diverse group of stakeholders. Comfortable leading through influence, this individual will build and maintain relationships, as well as initiate new partnerships, with a broad range of constituents, including academics, government officials, nonprofit organizations, and of course immigrant communities as well. This diplomatic individual will understand how to navigate government partnerships to impact policy. The Executive Director will be an engaged and active listener and will value transparent communication to build trust with staff, university administrators and faculty, funders, project partners, and academic collaborators. This leader will excel at articulating and motivating others around IPL’s mission and vision. 

Science & Research Orientation

The Executive Director will have a credible belief and interest in science with a real-world orientation and a grounding in data. Possessing a science-first orientation, this individual will bring a background in evidence generation, experience working in an academic or research setting, training in modern research methods, and familiarity with causal inference. Competent and conversant in the research world, the Executive Director will also translate research into policy impact. The Executive Director will have deep intellectual curiosity and keep up with relevant research to keep IPL informed on trends in the broader immigration and policy space.

Operational Savvy & Organizational Development

The Executive Director will be a strong and experienced institutional leader, with a thorough understanding of best-in-class nonprofit management practices and comfort with overseeing finance and operations. This individual will excel at building the infrastructure and implementing the standardized systems, policies, and procedures required to execute a strategic vision for IPL. Bringing experience in change management experience to the role, this emotionally intelligent leader will guide the organization through a time of growth and will help staff understand how their work fits into the greater vision for IPL.

An inclusive and unifying manager with a shared leadership style, the Executive Director will build trust with staff and establish clarity on roles, responsibilities, and targeted outcomes. This individual will demonstrate the ability to build, nurture, and retain a strong team of diverse professionals, building and promoting an inclusive and cohesive lab culture. Executive Director will understand the value of mentorship and develop clear pathways for professional growth.

Why Stanford is for you

Imagine a world without search engines or social platforms. Consider lives saved through first-ever organ transplants and research to cure illnesses. Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich the world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and unique perks empower you with:

  • Freedom to grow. We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a TedTalk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.
  • A caring culture. We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.
  • A healthier you. Climb our rock wall, or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.
  • Discovery and fun. Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.
  • Enviable resources. Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more!

How to Apply

To be considered, please go to this page and click the “express interest” button to fill out your profile. To recommend a candidate, please click “make a nomination.”

We recognize that the job description may not exactly match your qualifications. If you think you may be a good fit, we encourage you to apply.

Ready to apply? Go here.

The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classifications and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.

Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job.

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.