Careers Chief Operating Officer

Share this posting

Chief Operating Officer


The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank created in 1986 to include the needs of low- and middle-income workers, women workers, and workers of color in economic policy discussions. EPI believes every working person deserves a good job with fair pay, affordable health care, retirement security, and the power to bargain effectively for their fair share of wealth and income. EPI uses the tools of economics to achieve these goals, conducting research and providing data and analysis that informs and shapes the way the people in Washington, DC and in state capitals across the country think about the economy and economic policy. EPI’s research helps policymakers, opinion leaders, advocates, journalists, and the public understand the bread-and-butter issues affecting working people.

EPI has a strong commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity, and we believe that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential to its core work. With a unionized staff, generous benefits, and the same pro-worker principles guiding both our culture and our work, EPI lives its values.

EPI has a staff of 50 and a budget of $12 million in 2023.  Revenue comes primarily from foundation grants, contributions from labor unions, and individual donations. For more information about EPI, please go to



The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a newly created position within EPI’s management structure, and the COO will serve as an integral member of EPI’s senior management team. The COO position requires substantial management experience, a detail- and systems-oriented approach, and a collaborative, collegial style.


Reporting to EPI’s President and CEO, the COO will be responsible for five major areas:

1) Human Resources & Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; 2) Finance, including systems and controls, reporting, forecasts, and investments; 3) Operations; 4) IT systems administration through outside service providers; and 5) Risk Management and Compliance. The position will have two direct reports: the Director of Finance and Operations and the Director of Human Resources.


Human Resources & Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Oversight

  • Big Picture Oversight: Provide big picture oversight of the management of the human resources

program (including recruiting and onboarding program, retention strategies, union relations, policy and procedure development and implementation, performance reviews, and benefits administration) and in the overall evaluation and improvement of HR practices. Ensure that managers get the support they need to manage and develop their teams and staff receive the feedback and coaching they need to grow in their roles/careers; and that EPI continues its growth towards its goal of becoming an anti-racist organization.

  • Provide leadership to develop and integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion goals in the

full spectrum of HR practices and in the organizational culture and climate.

  • Labor Relations: Work closely with the President, Vice President, and General Counsel on collective bargaining and building strong labor management relations.


Financial Oversight

  • Financial Strategy: Working closely with the President and Director of Finance, provide strategic financial oversight on issues affecting the organization, including financial management, deployment of resources and long-term planning to achieve our mission.
  • Internal Controls: Ensure strong internal controls, monitor and review policies and procedures on an ongoing basis to ensure that they are working effectively and efficiently.
  • Board Engagement: Working closely with the President and Director of Finance, keep the Finance Committee and Treasurer apprised of key financial issues impacting the organization.


Operations and Facilities Management

  • Provide oversight of administrative and operational functions, including insurance, property management, contracting and procurement, leases, and vendor relationships.
  • Assess EPI’s current use of office space and identify what might work most effectively in the future in preparation for the end of EPI’s lease in 2026.


IT Oversight

  • Ensure that IT infrastructure is aligned with organizational and staffing needs, including through working closely with the external IT services provider to strategize and implement IT solutions.
  • Authorize business technology decisions, purchasing, and project implementations. Ensure information security.


Compliance and Risk Management

  • Establish a compliance program and identify areas of vulnerability and risk across the organization, including evaluating and aligning organizational policies, protocols, guidelines, and practices to be consistent with the compliance program.
  • Ensure that EPI’s 501c3 and 501c4 entities have sufficient and necessary separation, while benefiting from sharing resources to advance their missions.
  • Ensure organization is compliant with all laws relating to health/safety – including with the organization’s continuing response to COVID and future health hazards, as well as the physical security of staff and the office.


Other duties:

  • Special projects as assigned.
  • Serve as a member of EPI’s Executive team.


Education/Experience and Skills/Competencies:

To be successful in this position, you will excel in these areas:


  • Managing a high-performing team: You are highly results-oriented, with a proven track record of managing a team to achieve results and a demonstrated ability to set and manage ambitious, yet achievable goals. You have an ability to generate trust, respect, and commitment from staff and colleagues.
  • Detail and systems oriented: You have a track record of developing systems and processes to manage work effectively. You are comfortable digging into the specifics and have a fine attention to detail and You have the ability to track a lot of moving parts and manage complex projects.
  • Problem-solving: As the organization grows rapidly, issues or roadblocks arise, from the mundane to the complex, that need smart, strategic solutions. You are able to develop and implement thoughtful approaches, including both short-term, in-the-moment fixes and longer term, systemic solutions, and to create systems that will help build a strong team and increase efficiencies and overall effectiveness of the team.
  • Highly competent in managing Human Resources: You have had experience managing HR directors and have substantive knowledge of best practices in managing nonprofit, unionized staff. You have substantive experience creating or managing hiring, onboarding, and performance review processes, and developing teams through coaching, feedback, exposure, and stretch assignments. You understand what needs to be done to administer payroll and benefits flawlessly. You believe that an extremely effectively run HR department is critical to running a successful organization.
  • Financially competent: You have had experience working with numbers, spreadsheets, and managing a budget for a major program or organization. You have substantive knowledge of financial management and accounting oversight, especially for nonprofit and grant funded entities. You have the ability to translate programmatic goals and strategies into budgets, track and analyze progress, and make smart recommendations on financial You also understand the importance of timely processing of income and expenses and how a strong financial department is crucial to an organization’s viability. You have managed other financial professionals.
  • Values alignment: You have worked in a unionized environment or are deeply committed to strong labor management relationships. You believe in EPI’s mission and are deeply committed to our values of economic, racial, and gender justice. You are comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and have the flexibility to adapt and switch gears when opportunities or needs arise. You demonstrate sound judgement in decision-making, high integrity, and utmost respect for confidentiality. You are a strong owner of work and a self-starter who can deliver as an individual performer, while also being a good team player. You are also happy to work behind the scenes to make your colleagues’ work easier.
  • Cultural competency: You have experience working in diverse teams and creating equitable and inclusive environments. You are able to build strong, trusting relationships across a diverse team, and to consider and adapt to perspectives beyond your own to strengthen the results of the



  • A. or equivalent education and experience; M.B.A., M.P.A., M.P.M., or a degree in nonprofit management is desirable.
  • Deep experience in managing and administering organizations. This experience can be based in non-profits, for-profits, campaigns, or government. Successful candidates may have their deepest experience in any of the major functions of the position but must demonstrate knowledge and familiarity across most of the functions and must show overall aptitude and experience in organizational management.
  • Minimum of 8+ years leadership experience, in a supervisory role, with a depth of experience in managing teams and the success of people who report to you. Ideally, you will have 3-5+ years of senior leadership experience specifically in financial/operational/administrative management.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle difficult situations/individuals effectively.
  • Experience creating effective processes, systems, and structures.
  • Knowledge of employee and labor relations best practices and programs.
  • Knowledge of employment, wage and hour, FMLA, and EEO laws and regulations.



  • The salary for this position ranges from $180,000 to $195,000 and is dependent on experience.
  • EPI offers an excellent benefits package, including generous paid time off, a 9.25% employer-provided 401k retirement contribution, fully employer-funded medical, vision, dental coverage for the employee, short- and long-term disability, and life insurance.
  • EPI is a unionized workplace with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). The Chief Operating Officer is not in the bargaining unit.



This position is in EPI’s Washington D.C. office. EPI operates under a new trial hybrid work policy with Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the office, and as needed. 


Please send a cover letter highlighting your relevant experience and interest in working at EPI, along with a resume, to with Chief Operating Officer in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Applications without a cover letter WILL NOT be considered.

EPI believes that having a diverse and inclusive workplace not only strengthens the institute’s work but is also essential for understanding and creating economic policies that support all working people. EPI is an equal opportunity, fair chance, affirmative action employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior history of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, caregiver status, or other categories protected by law.

Back to careers page