Director of Strategic Partnerships, Families



Understood has significantly expanded the scope of its operations in 2019. We went from one program (Families) to four programs (Families, Educators, Young Adults, and Workplace). We’ve doubled our team from 50 to 100 people. We’re serving millions of users a month and we’re just getting started.

We know partnerships are critical to deliver on our mission at scale. Understood is seeking a leader for partnership development across our Families Program. This role would report to the program leader. The Director of Strategic Partnerships will identify, cultivate, broker and execute partnerships that grow our impact for families of children who learn and think differently. 

Ideal candidates will have a track record of partnership results in fast-growth, high-performance social impact organization, experience across sectors (corporation, foundation, nonprofit, media, etc.) and understand multifaceted partnership programs (shared value, cause-related marketing, program support, licensing, co-development, etc.).

In this role, you’ll identify and focus our efforts on the partners with the greatest potential to support and amplify our work, develop and execute high-impact win-win partnerships, and make sure our work is coordinated and streamlined. You will be a primary point of contact for both our internal and external stakeholders. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Develops partnership strategy and plan for Families Program at Understood
  • With leadership, Families and functional teams, sets partnership targets and strategies that align to Families program goals 
  • Researches, analysis, and generates insights on the ecosystem of potential partners, market / industry context, etc. 
  • Develops a robust but focused pipeline of partnership opportunities
  • Supports design and build out of partnership program across the organization; participates in community of practice with partnership team members from other programs
  • Develops and executes strategic partnerships that help achieve the Families Program goals, including increasing credibility, impact, awareness, reach, use, and learning
  • Builds and manages a portfolio of top partners and prospects, acting as lead or support, as appropriate to the relationship
  • Designs and implements individual plans and strategies for developing key prospects, identifying opportunities, conducting due diligence research and evaluation, crafting concept strategy documents, and scoping activities with program and functional teams. 
  • Navigates to and builds mutually beneficial relationships, dynamically engaging with potential partners, crafting proposals and designing partnership programs, negotiating terms, and with support from counsel, formalizing agreements
  • Collaborates proactively with internal teams to share information, strategies, and best practices and align/coordinate efforts to create, execute, learn from, and evolve partnerships
  • Ensures key results are well defined and that partnerships are measured and evaluated to determine value and effectiveness; maintains excellent knowledge management hygiene and detailed records
  • Maintains knowledge about all programs, major initiatives and campaigns, ensuring partnerships are fully leveraged across the organization for maximum impact
  • Represents partner perspectives internally, providing recommendations to address inhibitors to effective partnerships
  • Actively engages priority field and industry-based relationships
  • Cultivates relationships with key leaders serving families across civil rights, social justice, learning disabilities, and advocacy fields to identify opportunities to strengthen impact, amplify messages, and deepen reach. Dreams big and develops recommendations with strong strategic forward thinking.
  • Represents Understood at key meetings, conferences and events


  • 7+ years of relevant experience, such as: strategic partnerships, program development, community relations, business development in fast-growth, high-performance organization(s)
  • 3+ years of experience in a director level position or higher
  • Proven track record of identifying, assessing, pipelining and realizing large scale partnerships
  • Experience project managing complex, cross-functional projects
  • Ability to attend events, partnership meetings and travel as needed

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Deep understanding of cross-sector strategic partnership
  • Strategic and analytical; able to develop and realize a proactive, yet agile partnership strategy
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills; independent and capability to navigate to, build, and nurture relationships, while also being a team player; approach situations with creativity, persistence, diplomacy, and discretion; inspire the trust of others
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills; deliver ideas and information confidently, effectively and compellingly, to both internal and external stakeholders
  • Exceptional insight and judgement; able to identify and evaluate opportunity and risk, negotiate and structure agreements
  • Diligent, highly organized and results focused; can project manage and operate interdependently across internal and external teams
  • Willingness to tackle everything from the nuts and bolts of a partnership to high level strategy on new initiatives; able to work through challenges
  • Motivated by working in an environment where we live out our mission and values daily; eager to and adept at applying concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion
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Confirmed 9 hours ago. Posted 30+ days ago.

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