Senior Director, Federal Government Relations

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Posted Date: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Washington, DC
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. To fulfill this mission, the Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world, and provides programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. We partner with volunteers to accomplish our work. Staff members engage volunteers through effective and timely communications, facilitating meaningful opportunities, and continually seeking and providing feedback for reciprocal growth and learning.
This position is responsible for driving and advancing federal policy initiatives impacting the day-to-day lives of people with MS and their families including policy related to accessing quality healthcare, affordable medications, long-term services and supports (including family caregiving), durable medical equipment, Social Security disability benefits and disability rights. As a registered lobbyist, this position represents the needs of people living with MS and their families on Capitol Hill and builds relationships and exerts influence with federal legislators, administration officials and their staff to ensure that federal laws and regulations help people with MS live their best lives.
This position also has high level engagement with the Society's activist volunteers, works closely with state advocacy colleagues on shared issues, and works with the Society's Services team on common issues.
Advocacy & Policy
  • Represent the needs of people with MS and their families on Capitol Hill through direct lobbying of members of Congress and administration officials
  • Build key relationships with members of Congress and their staff, using persuasive skills to shape federal legislation and regulations to improve the day-to-day lives of people affected by MS.
  • Lead the Society's advocacy strategy and research, analyze and influence federal policy related to accessing quality healthcare, long-term services and supports including family caregiving, durable medical equipment, Social Security disability benefits and disability rights
  • Plan and execute relevant advocacy strategies and tactics; to include activities such as briefings for Congressional and Executive Branch staffs, visits to Members of Congress, preparing public comments and testimony and relate activities
  • Direct development of internal and external communications related to these advocacy issues including congressional testimony, federal regulatory comments, federal action alerts and updates, position papers, and through social media
  • Work with Society colleagues across functional areas aligned to these issues
  • Partner with state advocacy colleagues to advance cross-jurisdictional issues like Medicaid, respite and others
  • As needed, partner to manage an advocacy program in a state(s)
Strategic Partnerships
  • Serve in leadership positions on national disability and health advocacy coalitions.
  • Collaborate with partner organization colleagues to develop mutually agreeable policy solutions and advocacy strategies to effectively advance those goals with the U.S. Congress and federal agencies.
  • Serve as external spokesperson for the Society
Activist Engagement and Communication
  • Cultivate and manage relationships with MS activists including grasstops activists
  • Strategically activate grasstops activists at critical points in the legislative process to more efficiently drive forward the Society's advocacy goals.
  • Identify and foster relationships with MS activists who have personal stories related to improving the day-to-day lives of people with MS; ensure these personal stories are utilized to advance policy priorities
  • Engage in the planning and execution of the Society's annual Public Policy Conference; including leading content development and training sessions
  • Contribute to the Society's Activism Advisory Committee by providing strategic advice around the Society's policy priorities and strategies needed to advance those priorities.
Team Responsibilities
  • Provide overall direction and leadership to identified advocacy staff as needed
  • Contribute to the development of strategy and implementation as needed
  • Utilize matrix management techniques to foster relationships with local market leaders
  • Ensure all volunteer engagement information is accurate in all Society technology resources
  • Supervise Society Advocacy interns including intern recruitment, selection and onboarding and ongoing project assignment as needed
Minimum Education:
  • Bachelor of Arts or Science preferably in Public policy, Political Science, Law, Public Health or related field
  • Master's degree preferred
Minimum Experience:
  • Minimum of 6 years direct legislative and/or policy experience with emphasis on healthcare, long-term care and/or disability policy
  • Abilty to work in a fast paced enviroment and manage mulitple projects at once.
  • Thorough understanding of legislative and regulatory processes and how to influence them;
  • Experience with issue management and advocacy tactics
  • Ability to quickly and thoughtfully provide analysis on an issue, identify strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations around support, opposition, strategies, etc.
  • Polished oral and written presentation skills to communicate the position of the Society.Ability to write technical responses to the government, such as support letters, hearing testimony, regulatory comment letters, etc.
  • Public speaking strength to convey policy issues to a variety of stakeholder groups and audiences
  • Excellent interpersonal skills that will be used to develop trusting relationships with clients, professional staff, chapters and key opinion leaders in Washington
  • Good networking skills and knowledge of Congressional and/or Agency staff 
  • Ability to manage volunteers
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Knowledge of how to search effectively and the Federal Register
  • Knowledge of effective use of tracking tools (i.e.
  • Commitment to the mission, vision, cultural values, and expectations of the National MS Society
  • This position will be required to drive/travel on Society business. Candidate must possess a valid driver's license, proof of insurance, and reliable transportation. The Society does run motor vehicle checks for all positions which require driving and the applicant must meet the Society guidelines.
  • Must be able to work occasional nights and weekends as needed to support events 
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society provides a highly competitive, comprehensive benefit package to employees. These benefits include a considerable Paid Time Off Plan; Paid Holidays; 401k Retirement Savings Plan with Society match; Educational Reimbursement Plan; Professional Development Assistance; Commuter Benefit Plan; Comprehensive Health & Welfare benefits including Medical, Dental, Vision, Flex Spending Accounts, Life Insurance, Disability Coverage, Life Assistance Plan as well as additional voluntary benefit offerings.