Global Director, Data Lab

Data Analysis & Technical Research Washington, District of Columbia

Job Responsibilities

We seek a Global Director for our new Data Lab with vision, passion and a deep and broad understanding of the rapidly shifting data technology landscape to help address urgent global challenges at the nexus of environment, economic growth and human well-being. In this role, you will build upon our pioneering efforts in harnessing the data revolution to advance sustainable development and ensure that WRI remains a leader in an increasingly crowded and competitive field. Responsibilities include creating and leading a new Data Lab that will bring together approximately 25 data technologists across the institute’s global network. The purpose of the Data Lab is to create stunning new data tools that advance sustainable development while accelerating improvements in existing data-intensive platforms, such as Resource Watch, Aqueduct, and Global Forest Watch.

Technology Leadership (50%)

  • Develop and socialize with relevant staff and external partners an integrated data and technology vision for the Data Lab that will accelerate progress towards our mission.
  • Grow WRI’s external profile as a leader in harnessing data and technology for a sustainable future (e.g., by engaging in high-profile external speaking opportunities, media outreach, meetings with technology companies, donors, etc.)  
  • Cultivate strategic partnerships, funding, and in-kind support from leading technology companies and research organizations, building on existing partnerships held by Resource Watch and Global Forest Watch.  
  • Support fundraising by integrating WRI’s Data Lab vision and expertise into funding proposals lead by WRI’s Programs and International Offices.
  • Stay abreast of trends in data technology and their applications that could support WRI’s mission and competitive position and develop a common vision on how to integrate relevant technology into existing or new applications.
  • Work closely with the Director of Digital Communication, web management, and on-line engagement teams to ensure that WRI’s data platforms and web-based work can be integrated with minimum effort.

Staff Management & Mentoring (35%)

  • Manage a team of matrixed technical staff that serve WRI’s programs, centers, and international offices, including software engineers, data scientists, and digital product managers.
  • Work with WRI’s Human Resources Department to establish a career path and mentorship opportunities for technical staff to improve and staff retention and job satisfaction.
  • Coach and advise digital product managers across the institute in: selecting and managing external technology vendors, developing and executing R&D strategies, identifying relevant technology trends and opportunities, ensuring that product strategies meet end user needs, etc.
  • Organize knowledge exchange between WRI and relevant technology organizations (e.g., fellowships, exchange programs, training workshops, and hackathons, etc.)

Risk Management (15%)

  • Identify opportunities to maximize economies of scale and make efficient and effective technology investment decisions across the Institute, working closely with the Director of Digital Communication.
  • Minimize brand proliferation across WRI’s data platforms, working closely with the Director of Digital Communication.
  • Oversee procedures for managing new data platforms and decommissioning existing ones that have reached their end of life.
  • Develop and implement strategies to minimize data hosting and processing costs

Job Requirements

  • Advance degree in a related field and a minimum of 15 years of experience in the Information and Technology arena including at least 10 years management and strategic experience
  • Strong network and relationships in the Information and Technology arena as relevant to our work.
  • Passion for sustainability issues in a global context; previous knowledge and experience in this field highly desirable.  
  • Ability to actively communicate, inspire and motivate all levels of staff.
  • Ability to think and act strategically, creatively, and proactively.
  • Strong writing and presentation skills.
  • Ability to travel
  • Based in Washington DC; other strategic locations (e.g., Silicon Valley) may be considered but not preferred.