Director of Special Initiatives

Director of Special Initiatives

Tides Foundation

Flexible Location, USA   |   June 25, 2021

About Tides Foundation

Tides Foundation envisions a world of shared prosperity and social justice founded on equality and human rights, healthy individuals and communities, a sustainable environment, and quality education for all. Tides accelerates the pace of social change, working with innovative partners to solve society’s toughest problems.

For more information on Tides Foundation, please visit

The Opportunity

Tides Client Services (CS) Department interacts directly with Tides clients to provide strategic and management services to drive high-impact, effective philanthropy and to scale promising social ventures. The Special Initiatives Director will be the primary leader for two areas of Tides’ core offering – social impact strategy consulting services, and multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative design, development, and implementation. These services are rooted in trust-based and participatory practices and delivered to clients across each of Tides’ four core partner segments: corporates, social change leaders (or social entrepreneurs), high-net-worth individuals and families, and foundations.

Other responsibilities include:

  • managing and mentoring a team of client service advisors;
  • participating in the development of CS department strategies;
  • serving as an organizational leader among directors;
  • helping to secure new partnerships in collaboration with Tides’ Strategic Partnerships team; and
  • helping to ensure Tides stays on the leading edge of the social impact field.

In the past, Tides staff have worked predominantly from our offices in San Francisco and New York. Today, our new hybrid work model supports staff with remote work from anywhere in the United States, work from one of our offices when they formally re-open on September 7, or a combination of both. This is an exciting time to join Tides.

Candidate Profile

The Director, Special Initiatives of Tides will possess the following essential job functions:

Client Service Delivery

  • Oversee all service delivery to Tides’ strategy consulting and program design partners, ensuring all such partners receive the very best level of service from Tides.
  • Personally deliver high-quality service to a small and strategic set of high-touch strategy consulting and program design and implementation partners.
  • Resolve issues of concern as raised by client partners or internal stakeholders in a timely and proactive manner. Provide support to other Advisors in resolving challenges and develop policy and procedural changes to mitigate future service challenges.
  • Conduct partner trainings, onboarding, and orientation as needed. Ensure strategies and capabilities of new partners are aligned with Tides’ objectives.

Relationship Management & Growth

  • In collaboration with other CS teams, personally manage relationships with highly complex partners that require experience navigating ambiguity, managing expectations, relationship management, and strategic advising.
  • Ensure that Special Initiative Advisors are thinking proactively about deepening engagements with partners, by identifying additional ways Tides can support these partners and connecting these partners with new opportunities within the Tides ecosystem.
  • Partner with Strategic Partnerships (Tides’ business development team) to develop a pipeline of specific new partnership opportunities and secure partners with these clients to achieve annual revenue goals.
  • Develop and maintain broad external relations with desired partners, organizational expertise areas, and issue areas.
  • Lead efforts to mine the Tides Partner Network for prospective new partners, deeper engagement with current partners, and enhanced services opportunities.

Service Offering

  • Serve as Tides’ in-house expert on strategy consulting and program design, and implementation work.
  • Identify service improvements that enhance the partner experience and internal operations.
  • Deepen Tides expertise and knowledge management in specific strategy consulting and program design ecosystems, organizational expertise areas, and issue areas.
  • Establish and roll out a standardized engagement model for all strategy consulting and program design service team staff in Client Services:
    • Market and deliver additional and expanded services to accelerate the growth and development of existing clients.
    • Expand CS and Tides’ ability to deepening our understanding and expertise around new issue areas, geographies and approaches that are aligned with clients’ interests and impact strategies.
    • Personally model and practice the curation and delivery of expertise to a set of clients around strategy consulting and program design.
  • Partner with the Directors, Strategic Partnerships on new and existing client engagement models to ensure consistent and compelling service offerings and delivery.
  • Partner with Strategic Partnerships and Marketing & Communications to position Tides as a leader in the professional field of strategy consulting and program design, and implementation, including by ensuring Tides has a visible thought leadership presence in the field, is present at appropriate conferences and events, etc.

Department and Organization Leadership

  • Supervise Client Service Special Initiatives team members to achieve organizational goals, mission and priorities while also helping staff to achieve clearly defined and quantifiable individual professional goals.
  • Support the Chief Partnerships Officer with internal cross-functional initiatives that enhance the partner experience, address broader partner portfolio needs, or systemic change to partner service delivery at Tides.
  • Serve as a primary liaison for CS strategy consulting and program design, and implementation services with the Strategic Partnerships department.
  • Serve as organizational expert on strategy consulting and program design, and implementation to accelerate the impact of Tides and its partners.
  • With other directors, lead department team building culture and activities. Build a culture of trust, transparency, and accountability.
  • Serve as a member of the senior management team to drive progress on organizational culture, help set organizational goals, and advocate for client service throughout the organization.
  • Develop matrix staffing approaches in partnership with all Tides departments, including Human Relations, and Finance teams, that accelerate success, growth, and impact of strategy consulting and program design clients.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
  • 15+ years of relevant and applicable work experience in:
    • Social impact strategy consulting work in a professional services environment, working with non-profits, philanthropy, and/or corporate social impact partners.
    • Social impact program design, development, and implementation work in a non-profit, philanthropy, and/or corporate social impact environment, including experience with and knowledge of multi-stakeholder collaboration, collective impact, network science, systems change, participatory and trust-based philanthropy and/or organizational development and capacity building principles and practices.
    • Business and client development, the structuring of complex offers, and negotiating terms.
  • Knowledge and a minimum of 10 years of experience working in one or more of Tides’ social justice issue areas: Human Rights, Quality Education, Sustainable Environment, Healthy Individuals and Communities, and Economic Opportunity.
  • Established professional network in the non-profit, philanthropy, and/or corporate social impact community.
  • Strong personal alignment with Tides’ Vision, Mission, and Approach.
  • Ability to build long term relationships with a good networking track record.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize amongst multiple commitments, and to drive multiple high profile and complex projects simultaneously in a challenging and fluid environment.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and relationship-building skills with a strong ability to facilitate collaborative problem-solving to reach solutions that benefit all parties.
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity to and appreciation for diverse viewpoints, different communication styles, and a wide range of diverse colleagues and client partners.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking, presentation development and diplomacy when speaking directly with clients.
  • B.S. or higher degree; MBA preferred, or equivalent experience.
Compensation & Benefits

Tides offers a competitive annual salary for this role commensurate with qualifications and experience. Tides also offers a generous benefits package including comprehensive healthcare, paid time off, life and disability insurances, and confidential counseling and life balance resources designed to support the passion and energy they look for in team members.


Tides Foundation has engaged Koya Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan and Martens Roc here.


Tides is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part 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 Partners, visit