Senior Director, Strategy & User Experience

Echo&Co is a unique human-centered design and technology company that helps purpose-driven organizations improve their relationships with end-users. We share our talent and expertise with clients to co-create inspiring human journeys, the modern platforms to enable them, and the internal capacity to improve them over time. Our clients include: ASPCA, Greenpeace, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Operation Smile, Newseum, Endocrine Society, BrightFocus Foundation, University of Chicago, Brennan Center for Justice, Climate Reality Project, Boston College, and others.

The Senior Director, Strategy & User Experience is an important subject matter expert and leader at Echo&Co who helps develop an engaged, thriving, and equitable community that respects the contributions of each team member. This position is supervisory, leading a growing team of strategists, content strategists, user experience architects, and information architects as Echo&Co grows its portfolio of clients and services. The Senior Director, Strategy & User Experience is an experienced and talented leader, who guides and develops team members through strong, empathy-based listening, coaching, and mentoring methods.

The Senior Director, Strategy & User Experience is located in Washington, D.C. and reports to the CEO. Remote locations may be considered.

Responsibilities

  • Be a confident and innovative leader, able to set and drive a vision for how to apply strategy and user experience design practices as a powerful force for good.

  • Connect your passion for doing good in the world with your vision for doing great user experience design, inspiring both Echo&Co teams and clients with both.

  • Partner with company leadership to guide the strategic growth and culture of Echo&Co and the delivery of great work with clients. 

  • Take best practices in strategy, content strategy, user experience, and information architecture and lead Echo&CO’s team in applying them to the context of social, cultural, and environmental good.

  • Lead performance improvements across teams and helps guide and shape the direction and growth of Echo&Co as a company. 

  • Maintain a thriving and growing strategy, user experience, brand and content strategy, and information architecture practice at Echo&Co, leading and mentoring teams and advising senior leadership on performance and continuous improvement. 

  • Develop strategies that help social sector organizations — nonprofits, foundations, social ventures — strengthen their relationships with constituents, attract new activists, donors, and supporters, and increase their digital literacy and sophistication. 

  • Lead client engagements from strategy to implementation, being a champion for using great user experience design to improve brand perception and engagement.

  • Achieve more with less, using lean principles to guide the development of great work while conserving scope, which is particularly important when working with nonprofit clients.

  • Be observant, strategic, and maintain an open mindset, learning from engagements and adapting readily to the needs they present, while maintaining stability in scope and timelines.

  • Build strong, collaborative, honest relationships with your colleagues and clients, focusing on setting shared vision and goals, open communication and collaboration, and direct resolution of uncertainty or conflict.

  • See risk and change as opportunities to deepen the relationship and trust with clients, and readily engage teams and clients in conversations that manage expectations, lead change, and open possibilities for new collaboration.

  • Advocate passionately for the needs and wants of users, while also tactfully balancing organizational and technology constraints; use user advocacy as an important tool for advancing organizational change with clients.

  • Develop high-level concepts for strategies, features and functionality, collaborating closely with the design and technology teams, and document through the creation of product roadmaps, wireframes, user flows, site maps, CMS specifications, and prototypes.

  • Facilitate design thinking workshops, brainstorming, and sketching exercises for ideation to drive and determine the direction for designs; use client working sessions as opportunities to mentor clients in improving their knowledge and expertise in user experience design. Train our teams in advanced design thinking workshop and facilitation skills.

  • Ground your design work in observation, research, and analytics and then validate through testing.

  • Be interested, engaged, and effective at helping clients overcome all user experience challenges presented, no matter how big or small, recognizing that small challenges met well often open the door for much larger strategic engagements.

  • Present effectively both internally and to clients. Explain strategy and design choices, and address issues and concerns; help partners reach consensus.

  • Provide ongoing oversight for qualifying projects and clients to ensure best-in-class and high quality user experience, content, and design. 

  • Lead enterprise content strategy and information architecture formulation and articulation.

  • Participate on project teams as a subject matter expert on user experience, content strategy, information architecture, and usability, collaborating closely with the project manager, software architects, and creative designers.

  • Serve on the leadership team by reporting and advising senior management with perspectives and guidance on the experience practice of the firm, including evaluation, analysis, and synthesis of program and practice performance.

  • Perform and/or delegate specific tracks of work on major operational engagement and user experience programs at the firm.

  • Assist in managing and setting expectations with project teams, including clients, project managers, developers, and designers, while driving profitability by fulfilling monthly billable utilization targets.

  • Develop and administer internal quality assurance processes to ensure that all experience practice-specific deliverables meet the firm’s standards for excellence. 

  • Work with portfolio of Echo&Co clients, strategy architects, project managers, creative designers, software architects, technical developers, contractors, and third-party providers through all aspects of the client lifecycle, including assessment and strategy development, technical integration, and ongoing service and support.

  • Support product and project managers in maintaining and strengthening high-level client relationships by working with client stakeholders and leading them through decision-making and change management.

  • Participate in the business development process by assisting in identifying and pursuing new opportunities and in upselling existing opportunities that capitalize on the engagement practice by cultivating and executing on new and existing leads, working on scopes and estimates, reviewing proposals and statements of work, participating in pitches, and evaluating RFPs or work orders. 

  • Must be active in the user experience professional field and have an understanding of industry best practices and trends; attend seminars, conferences and workshops (as appropriate) to learn new UX techniques and expand knowledge to apply to experience design.

  • Develop original thought leadership in strategy, user experience, content strategy, and information architecture within the social sector to advance Echo&Co’s public standing as a leading agency and to help the practice attract new clients.

  • Build meaningful relationships with clients, particularly at the leadership level, and lead client account quality, growth, and success in partnership with the account lead.

Qualifications

  • Significant experience successfully leading strategy and user experience teams and work within a professional services firm through all stages of delivery, from gathering requirements and prioritizing business goals, to designing solutions and leading clients through implementation. 

  • Demonstrated success in leading client engagements, facilitating clients in design thinking and strategic planning initiatives, nurturing client relationships, helping client organizations to manage project and organizational change.

  • 10+ years developing strategies and designs for complex enterprise web and mobile platforms and interactive projects within an agency environment, with a focus on business development, engagement design, strategy definition,  requirements analysis, specification development, content strategy, information architecture, user experience definition and design, and implementation.

  • 5+ years leading and growing user experience, content strategy, and information architecture teams.

  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communication, psychology, business, library science, graphic design, or a related field. Master’s degree in human factors, library science, or a related field a plus.

  • Have confidence in and enjoy presenting design options to and incorporating feedback from stakeholders at differing levels of expertise and levels within an organization.

  • Strong influencing, negotiation, and communication skills.

  • Success in leading client engagements and nurturing client relationships experience in strategic advising of client stakeholders, including executives; able to assist client organizations in managing project and organizational change.

  • Previous experience managing direct reports or managing product development teams is required. Working closely with multiple business, development, and operational teams throughout the project lifecycle, candidate must have proven experience in interface design, requirements analysis and documentation, leadership, and bringing world-class interactive experiences to market.

  • Demonstrated ability to create and leverage requirements assets such as use cases, user stories, process flows, wireframes, prototypes and presentations is required. The ideal candidate will possess strong technical acumen, ideally with understanding of digital content publishing architecture, development principles, and web technologies.

  • Knowledge across many functional areas, including product management, business development, software architecture, user interface design, and marketing as well as a comprehensive knowledge of operational systems such as ad sales, lead generation, and billing is required.

  • Must be a dynamic team leader, strong communicator, and proactive decision-maker within a fast-paced environment. 

  • Ability to think strategically and work both collaboratively, as well as independently. 

  • Possess excellent user experience, strategic thinking, and analytical skills, and be able to provide leadership and strategic direction to account teams and the firm as a whole.

  • Be trustworthy and sincere, with a “roll up your sleeves” work style.

  • Ability to organize and manage multiple priorities effectively.

  • Ability to analyze and resolve problems at both strategic and tactical (functional) levels.

  • Understanding of internet technology and web development processes.

  • Understanding of advocacy and engagement strategies and best practices.

  • Must have a social good orientation with an interest in working for mission-driven clients, including progressive nonprofit organizations, socially responsible enterprises, government agencies, and multinational institutions that seek to make positive change.

  • Must thrive in an environment that promotes change, embraces innovation, and runs on teamwork.

  • Willingness and availability to travel occasionally for job-related activities.

Echo&Co is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.