Director of Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation

Director of Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Westlake Village, CA   |   November 12, 2019

About The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is a family foundation established in 1944 by the man who started Hilton Hotels. The Foundation provides funds to nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of individuals living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage throughout the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants globally through grantmaking programs and Humanitarian Prize work. The Foundation’s assets are approximately $2.8 billion, with significant growth in the endowment expected over the next two years. The Foundation is located in the renovated former headquarters of Dole Food Company in the Westlake Village, California, a city in Los Angeles County on its northern border with Ventura.

The Hilton Foundation is guided by the last will of its founder. The Foundation works to improve the lives of individuals living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage throughout the world. Conrad N. Hilton’s humble beginnings in San Antonio, Territory of New Mexico, formed the fabric and foundation of his life. Grounded by the values and principles that embody the entrepreneurial spirit an ethic, Conrad dreamed big, thought big, and acted big – building a worldwide hotel empire. Today, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation seeks to exemplify the values and principles practiced by its founder:

Integrity, Thinking Big, Humility, Stewardship, Compassion

The Conrad. N Hilton Foundation incorporates these values not only into their workplace culture, but also into their philanthropic activities where they strive to fulfill Conrad’s directives. Every member of the team is expected to cultivate the work environment in a way that contributes to respectful, open, and engaging dialogue and connection that support meaningful innovation, learning and progress.

Guiding the grantmaking, workplace culture and values of the Foundation is an overarching Philanthropic Approach. The Foundation’s Philanthropic Approach employs four key pillars; grantmaking, communication and advocacy, collaboration, and learning. Together, these global and inter-related channels work to achieve impact by:

  • Supporting programmatic solutions to sustain and test recognized and exploratory approaches.
  • Investing in strengthening systems support efforts to scale solutions, improve public policy and infrastructure, and drive funders, providers and public leaders to invest resources and improve efficiencies toward shared goals.
  • Developing knowledge from both direct service and system strengthening programs, integrating this knowledge with what was known before, and disseminating the knowledge to create continuous learning and to support the application of knowledge in each area where they work.

The Foundation also has practiced a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as core principles interwoven throughout the fabric of the organization. With an understanding that the most vulnerable communities are those disproportionately impacted by systemic barriers and forms of discrimination, the Foundation strives to elevate the voices of those impacted by systemic disparities across race, gender and class lines to support long-lasting social change.

For more information about the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, please visit

The Opportunity

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is seeking a skilled, highly motivated and strategic leader to join the team as a Director of Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation (“SLED Director” / “The Director”). This new position has been created to help lead the Foundation in its current five-year strategic planning process and growing strategic learning practice. Reporting directly to the Vice President of Strategy and Programs (VPSP), the Director will work collaboratively with Foundation staff to design and implement a coordinated and comprehensive strategy, learning, and evaluation framework that advances the Foundation’s mission.  The Director must have the demonstrated ability to manage and lead a department while simultaneously possessing the ability to work collegially with peers and colleagues to ensure alignment and effective delivery of SLED programs.

The Director will also be responsible for providing thought leadership and team oversight around best in-class strategy, evaluation, and the ongoing development and revision of the learning plans within Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Division (SLED) and across the Foundation. Strategy, learning, and evaluation are at the core of the Hilton Foundation, and the Division been designed to play a central role in providing actionable information that helps inform decision-making about individual grants as well as overall strategy. The Foundation is dedicated to learning not only from their own grantmaking, but also with and from our grantees and partners in the field. Through a strategic approach to learning, the Foundation aims to develop stronger long-term plans and strategies to achieve the greatest impact.

Key Responsibilities


  • Partner with the Vice President, Strategy and Programs in providing strategic guidance to the Program Department, including scaling strategic initiatives in response to Foundation asset growth
  • Manage a team of 4 highly-qualified and experienced strategy, learning, and evaluation professionals (including 2 direct reports)
  • Stay current with developments in the field to ensure the Foundation employs the best evaluation and strategic learning approaches
  • Oversee a $10M annual portfolio in research and evaluation grants and contracts


  • Work closely with the VPSP, Strategy Officers, Learning and Evaluation Officers, and Senior Program Officers to oversee organization-wide strategic planning efforts that move the Foundation from an annual grant payout of $110 million to approximately $250 million
  • Serve as a thought partner in the formulation of initiative-level goals, the development of promising strategies by which to pursue those goals, and the integration of strategy-level evaluation findings into strategic planning efforts
  • Outside of formal planning cycles, work closely with the Board, Program Committee, VPSP, and Senior Program Officers to oversee the monitoring and communication of progress, track new developments, and adapt strategy as necessary to ensure maximum impact

Evaluation and Learning

  • Serve as a thought partner to the Learning and Evaluation Officers across the range of activities below:
    • Work with VPSP and Learning and Evaluation Officers to coach and support the program team, Board, and Program Committee to use evaluation to drive results and refine the Foundation’s strategies
    • Oversee RFP process and selection of third-party evaluators, study design, and implementation
    • Oversee communication of impact to inform Board of progress to date and potential strategy adjustments
    • Oversee the strengthening of data infrastructure required for ongoing monitoring, evaluation and learning efforts
    • Oversee capacity building of program staff around monitoring, evaluation, and learning best practices

Field Building

  • Provide thought leadership to the broader philanthropic community around best in class strategy and evaluation
  • Help disseminate foundation’s approaches to strategy and evaluation through original publications, conference presentations, and other forms of field engagement
  • Represent the Foundation publicly in the philanthropic and non-profit communities
Core Competencies

The Director of Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will possess the following attributes and competencies:

Strategic Mindset: The Director of Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Officer must be a visionary leader who plans for the future with imagination and wisdom and will play a critical role in shaping the Foundation’s five-year strategic planning process. In particular, the Director will provide leadership in the evaluating and implementing five existing programmatic areas, and seven new potential areas. The Director must have a demonstrated track record of solving complex problems and will utilize their expertise in delivering solutions to guide and assist peers and colleagues at the Foundation. To be successful, the Director must be able to anticipate obstacles and articulate potential challenges before or as soon as they arise. Additionally, the Director must be able to thoughtfully adjudicate between competing priorities and advocate and decide on the best course of action in alignment with the mission of the Foundation.

Effective Management and Organizational Excellence: The Director will be a results-oriented leader with strong management skills and sound judgement. The Director will support a range of organizational learning and development efforts, including advancing the Foundation’s monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning processes and approaches across the Foundation. The Director will work closely with the Vice President for Strategy and Programs and Senior Program Officers to implement internal processes for conducting ongoing monitoring and ensure consistent, accurate, high-quality data collection, analysis, and adaptation. As the leader of a new division, the Director must have a demonstrated track record of overseeing and managing a team and providing opportunities for growth, development and mentorship.

Collaboration, Learning, and Innovation: The Director must be a life-long learner, who is inquisitive and solves problems with bold thinking and innovation. By utilizing their natural relationship-building skills, the Director will develop relationships across the Foundation and will display intellectual curiosity to learn about different program areas. The Director must be dedicated to achieving excellence and working with others to tackle the tasks at hand and approach others with a service orientation. The Director will partner directly with Senior Program Officers to help develop program strategies, monitor, and learn from their work and adapt accordingly. It will be important for the Director to act as a trusted advisor to the senior leadership by demonstrating expertise and integrity. By developing the confidence of their peers, the Director will better position themselves to serve as a conduit and channel of critical organizational insights to help increase impact and the probability of success of the staff and program areas.

Effective Communication and Interpersonal Savvy: The Director will have advanced written and oral communication skills and will use their emotional intelligence to a large sophisticated diverse audience. The Director will be comfortable leading change management during a period of unprecedented growth in the Foundation and will serve as a model for managing complexity and ambiguity. The Director must have an inclusive approach to managing relationships with strong negotiation and conflict resolution skills. Additionally, the Director will be effective at communicating and translating urgency, expectations, and impact to various stakeholders who many not have the same degree of subject-matter expertise.

In addition to the role specific competencies listed above, our Core Competencies are just as important as they identify the key values and strengths shared by everyone at the Foundation, regardless of the job they perform:

Drives Vision and Purpose, Collaborates, Instills Trust, Global Perspective and Strategic Mindset

  • Master’s degree required (PhD preferred) in policy, planning, or evaluation fields
  • At least 10 years of experience leading and managing teams, implementing strategy, learning, and evaluation activities in an entrepreneurial philanthropic environment with a focus on metrics and data-driven decision making
  • A commitment to strategic philanthropy
  • Ability to process large amounts of complex information and present concise conclusions drawn from this information to a variety of audiences
  • Exceptional project management, prioritization and planning skills, with demonstrated success producing high-quality deliverables on time and within budget
  • Ability to effectively operationalize program department goals and Board directives
  • Familiarity with content and evaluation strategies across a range of content areas in both domestic and international contexts
  • Deep knowledge of best practices in philanthropy
  • Demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Experience in selecting and working with external evaluators, managing a portfolio of initiatives and strategic evaluations, working closely with staff to assure that the evaluations provide quality, useful and timely information to drive strategic impact
  • Experience implementing and managing a broad variety of qualitative and quantitative evaluation projects and knowledge of data analysis techniques
  • Experience managing direct reports
  • Experience working for a philanthropic foundation or with a strategy consulting firm that has worked in the social sector

Michelle R.S. Bonoan and Navid Nakai of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. All expressions of interest and recommendations will be maintained in the strictest of confidence. To express your interest in this role please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or via email to Michelle and Navid at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director 

Navid Nakai

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and we seek candidates from all backgrounds and experiences.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit