IPL Seeks an Executive Director

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:


About the role

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 organization 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.

We are looking for an experienced leader with in-depth knowledge of immigration policy and/or research; 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 team of professional staff that includes research program managers, a data scientist, a communications director, and a finance/operations manager. The ED will provide training opportunities for postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates and continue to grow and manage an active community of affiliated researchers from top universities. The ED will also be IPL’s leading public voice, whether at Stanford convenings or international summits. Further, the ED will collaborate closely with the leadership team of the IPL branch at ETH Zurich to build and implement a common vision and community across both branches.

This is a two-year fixed term position with possibility of renewal based on performance and funding. Please note that the expectation is that the position will be required to be located on campus and a regular remote position is not possible. IPL will offer some flexibility for a hybrid on-site/work from home arrangement.

Your responsibilities:
  • Lead the strategic planning, research operations, and policy engagement of IPL
  • Represent IPL to Stanford, external partners, and other stakeholders
  • Provide expert consultation related to program development, funding opportunities, or 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; lead or participate in multidisciplinary teams (in academia, across different faculties or schools, and in industry, across different functions of the business)
  • Oversee research partnerships, typically with civil society or governmental 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. 

To be successful in this position you will bring:
  • Advanced degree and five years of relevant experience in the social sciences and/or social impact sector, or combination of relevant education, training, and/or experience
  • Experience, deep engagement, and/or enthusiasm for research, design, monitoring and evaluation, experimental methods, and/or quantitative analysis
  • Experience managing a budget and developing financial plans, program partnerships, and funding sources
  • Advanced oral, written, and analytical skills, exhibiting fluency in an area of specialization
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to oversee, mentor, and direct staff and build strong organizational culture
  • Experience leading a team, organization, or unit, including managing staff with diverse roles and functions
  • Excellent leadership skills in a non-hierarchical environment
  • Experience managing complex projects and organizations and executing creative problem-solving
  • Experience working in projects and programs with diverse external partners and stakeholders
In addition, preferred requirements include:
  • PhD in a relevant social science field or experience with quantitative and experimental methods (e.g., political science, economics, sociology, statistics, psychology)
  • Substantive knowledge of and/or experience working in immigration and refugee policies and/or processes
  • Demonstrated success in leading fundraising efforts
  • Experience advising or guiding policy or programs in a relevant area
  • Professional fluency in a language other than English

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.

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 submit a cover letter, résumé, and a work sample that reflects your engagement with research along with your online application. If you have questions, please contact Amy Cui, finance & operations manager:

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 to submit your application.

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.