Director of State Government Relations and Public Policy

  • LL Jackman and Associates
  • Washington D.C., DC, USA
  • Jul 26, 2021
Full time Government Affairs / Relations

Job Description

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD).  The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business, and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization.  Since its inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $1 billion in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.


We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually.  Today, the Foundation has approximately 155 full-time employees who are based in New York City and Washington, D.C.


Job Title: Director of State Government Relations and Public Policy

Position Summary:

The Director of State Government Relations and Public Policy directs, oversees, and implements initiatives that support The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) state-level public policy priorities.  Work will focus on legislative and regulatory policy across all 50 states involving investments in Parkinson’s research, ensuring research freedom, and retaining and expanding access to care, as well as makes diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority in policymaking.


The person in this role reports to the SVP of Public Policy and will represent the organization before state legislatures and administrations, build relationships and communicate with key legislative offices, collaborate with stakeholder organizations, and engage MJFF’s grassroots network of Parkinson’s advocates, as well as other patient-related committees and advisors, to support important policy asks.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Working with SVP and others at MJFF, identify key priorities in which MJFF can have impact, and implement a strategic policy agenda that advances Parkinson’s policy priorities and meets or exceeds goals.
  • Evaluate and grow the current public policy portfolio and create new legislative and regulatory opportunities where MJFF can advance its goals for research and access to care.
  • Manage contract lobbyists in key states and work with the Associate Director of Grassroots Programs to strategically identify volunteers for advocacy training.
  • Solve problems, make decisions, and recommend clear and outcomes-driven initiatives to senior leadership for approval.
  • Lead, collaborate and drive strategy that benefits MJFF as a part of various coalitions and working groups.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Government Relations and Public Policy to ensure federal and state strategies are in alignment with common goals and objectives.
  • Work collaboratively and be a clear communicator with MJFF marketing communications, development/advancement, industry relations, and research on support for strategizing and executing government relations and public policy goals and objectives.
  • As needed, engage with the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council and MJFF’s Patient Council.


Qualifications for the position:

  • Demonstrated excellent lobbying, public policy, leadership, and government relations strategy and skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Law degree or Masters in public health, public policy, or related field a bonus. Minimum of eight to ten years of relevant work experience at a state legislature, an administration, or in a similar state government affairs position.
  • Experience negotiating with others to ensure the highest-level results and outcomes for the Foundation.
  • Knowledge about state legislative and regulatory processes.
  • Drive to evaluate current public policy initiatives and suggest other approaches, as well as define new areas of focus.
  • Experience managing people and processes, and an instinct for organization, structure, and nimbleness when timely issues arise.
  • Ability to get the best work out of direct reports and help them grow their skills.
  • Experience writing, editing, and overseeing the creation of legislation and/or report language, regulatory memos, and similar work products.
  • Proven ability to collaborate across teams or subject matter areas, and clear and professional communication skills both in writing and speaking.
  • Able to translate complicated policy issues to clear, understandable language for all audiences to understand.
  • Ability to work with policymakers and staff of all ideologies; ability to work both independently and in collaboration with others.
  • Commitment to MJFF mission and goals.
  • Upon lifting of COVID protections, minimal overnight travel requirements (bi-monthly to NY office; travel to individual states as needed); evening and weekend work on an as-needed basis.
  • Position located in Washington, D.C. with flexible in-office and work-from-home opportunities.


additional criteria:

  • Ability to work with people at all levels with a professional and collegial approach; a mature sense of humor appreciated.
  • Very high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Is a good listener and has the ability to read a room.
  • Ability to remain calm, professional, focused, and solution-oriented under pressure.
  • Thrives and enjoys working in a fast-paced and fun environment.
  • Organized, enthusiastic, proactive in communications, and works with an underlying clear sense of responsibility and accountability.


How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume, writing samples, and links to previous work performed in state government relations and public policy.  Candidates also must include a thoughtful story-driven cover letter describing their interest in the position, accomplishments that showcase their specific qualifications, and salary requirements. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered.  

Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 


The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.



Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research