Organization: Skillful

Location: New York, NY

Express Interest

About the Markle Foundation and Skillful:

A defining challenge of our time is ensuring that all Americans are included in the benefits of the digital economy as automation and technology transform the workforce in unprecedented fashion. After more than a decade of work in health and national security, the Markle Foundation created Skillful, an initiative with LinkedIn, the state of Colorado, and others to create a skills-based labor market. Launched in 2016, Skillful is centered on the skills job seekers have, not the degrees. Skillful is enabling Americans, including the nearly seven out of ten American adults who do not have a college degree, to learn the skills needed for today’s rapidly changing jobs.

Skillful is a project of the Markle Foundation, whose mission is to identify intractable problems, invest seed capital to incubate and test solutions, harness the power of technology and innovation, and build strategic partnerships to achieve scale and to generate broad social impact. While Markle’s work has evolved through the years, its mission to meet the needs of the American people has endured. Currently, Markle is engaged in a nationwide initiative aimed at driving innovations that expand opportunities for employment and broaden ways for all Americans to learn and train for the work of the future.

For more information on the Markle Foundation and Skillful, please visit and

The Director of State Expansion Opportunity:

Skillful is seeking a dynamic, strategic, and analytic Director of State Expansion to lead the next phase of Skillful’s growth. Drawing on Skillful’s success in Colorado, the Director will drive the process to expand Skillful into a second state in 2017, a third or more new states in 2018, and will shape and execute the strategy to scale to future regions in 2019 and beyond. This is an exciting opportunity with potential for growth for an entrepreneurial, motivated individual to deepen the impact and reach of an innovative program aimed at creating new pathways to opportunity.

A rigorous analytical thinker, the Director of State Expansion will oversee the research and analysis phase to assess each potential location against a set of quantitative and qualitative factors including economic and demographic data, job opportunities for middle-skill job seekers and key workforce initiatives already occurring across the state.

Reporting directly to and partnering closely with Skillful’s CEO, the Director of State Expansion will lead and coordinate in–the–field conversations with state leadership, key operators and practitioners and leading local foundations with the goal of identifying states most suited for Skillful. A skilled relationship builder and adept communicator, the Director of State Expansion will develop an astute understanding of local workforce dynamics, evaluate a state’s receptivity to workforce innovation, foster partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders, and position Skillful compellingly within the local community.

The Director of State Expansion will bring strong strategic thinking and project management skills to then lay the groundwork for Skillful’s move into a selected state, leveraging the resources of Skillful Colorado and Skillful’s headquarters in New York, and will help build and launch a local staff team.

The Director may also build a network of “shadow states,” which Skillful may not actively enter but which may be able to leverage Skillful’s learnings. The Director will establish a process for potential states to become shadow states and facilitate mechanisms for them to leverage and deploy Skillful’s learnings. S/he will also oversee the creation of Skillful-in-a-Box, which will allow Skillful learnings and tools to be packaged and quickly deployed, ensuring consistent and effective implementation.

This is a full-time role located in New York, NY. Exceptional candidates in Denver, CO or Washington D.C. will also be considered.

Candidate Profile:

Skillful seeks an experienced and strategic leader who is passionate about and dedicated to the organization’s mission, politically savvy, analytic, and collaborative. Successful candidates will have a demonstrated record of building relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders that lead to effective, ongoing partnerships. Successful candidates will possess the following attributes, experience, and knowledge:

  • Strong strategic leadership skills that can establish and execute an ambitious expansion strategy for Skillful
  • Exceptional communication and influencing skills including the ability to represent Skillful to senior stakeholders and decision makers and achieve their buy-in for expansion; experience working in client services a plus
  • Exceptional relationship management skills and the ability to curate the right set of stakeholders to support Skillful’s expansion within a state
  • Knowledge of relevant trends and dynamics nationally and locally and the ability to rapidly assess and build key state-based connections
  • Management experience and the ability to oversee a team of researchers to ensure accurate qualitative and quantitative assessment of potential states
  • Demonstrated analytic skills with the ability to interpret and use qualitative information and quantitative data to target the most fruitful states for expansion
  • Understanding of state government; knowledge of federal government preferred
  • Strong knowledge of state and national workforce trends preferred
  • Experience with business and technology desired
  • Ability to travel extensively
  • No degrees or credentials are required

Compensation & Benefits:

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


The Markle Foundation has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan and Alena Guerra here.

Skillful is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.  All applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations and marital status.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit