Ashoka U – Growth and Partnerships Director

Washington, D.C.
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply


Ashoka invests in people who see the world not as it is, but as it could be; who seek to change a broken system instead of letting it continue. We call them social entrepreneurs, and over the past 35 years, we have supported more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows as leading social entrepreneurs in 70 countries.

Our work is based on a fundamental insight: Behind every social innovation, there are human beings. Supporting the best of them, and connecting them with a network of peers, is the most effective way to bring about social change.
Our vision is a world where everyone is a changemaker – a world where everyone has the skill and confidence to drive social change, and is committed to the good of all.
Changemaking is a way of being, including being empathetic and thoughtful, being curious and creative, and being resilient to make life better for yourself and your family, friends, community, humanity, and the planet. Becoming a changemaker, then, is a process of becoming equipped with and inclined to use a sophisticated worldview and complex array of changemaking skills.


Higher education offers the ideal platform for changemaking. Yet within colleges and universities, silos between different divisions and outdated educational methodologies have resulted a lack of clarity for students seeking to learn how to effectively contribute to social change. As a result, students may never get involved; or they may move too quickly, proposing new innovations without fully understanding the context or the existing players.
Ashoka U, founded in 2008 and serving as Ashoka’s University initiative, seeks to address this challenge by collaborating with colleges and universities to break down barriers to institutional change and foster a campus-wide culture of social innovation. As a result, we aim to impact the education of millions of students to build their skillsets and self-identity as changemakers.

To date, Ashoka U has designated 37 Changemaker Campuses across seven countries to set the standard for social innovation in higher education. We connect a powerful global peer network of over 150 colleges and universities representing 30 countries at the annual Ashoka U Exchange, the premier gathering for social innovation educators, and through the Ashoka U Commons, a virtual accelerator for changemaking education. The end goal? To shift higher education, from more traditional to more innovative and entrepreneurial, while demonstrating that social innovation and changemaking will more effectively prepare students for today’s world and equip higher education to solve global challenges through action and engagement. In short, we’re out to create an entirely new model. Instead of starting from scratch, we work in collaboration with the system to change the system.


You will join our team at a critical moment as we continue to grow and expand all three Ashoka U core programs: Changemaker Campus, the Exchange, and the Commons. To do so, the Director will develop an overarching strategy to effectively communicate Ashoka U’s system-changing goals, and results to date, to the most strategic individuals and institutions in order to change the field of higher education. In this context, we view scaling our work in terms of both breadth (reaching significantly more people) and depth (transforming relationships, structures, and systems) through a clear and focused thought leadership strategy.

The role will entail building and cultivating partnerships with higher education and social innovation networks; sharing compelling best practices for social innovation educational models in higher education and how to adapt them across different institutional types; and engaging key influencers with Ashoka U as the premier platform for social innovation in higher education.

Although this role is not specifically a sales position, the Director will work in close collaboration with the Ashoka U sub-programs to ensure that the thought leadership and outreach efforts contribute directly to specific growth (e.g. # of new Exchange attendees) and revenue targets (e.g resource sales). Your job is to make sure we are reaching the right people to move the needle in higher education as quickly, and effectively, as possible, while collaborating with Ashoka’s global team-of-teams to ensure that our messaging is aligned with Ashoka’s Everyone a Changemaker vision and partnership opportunities.


Thought Leadership Strategy & Execution

  • Align Ashoka U through leadership strategy with Ashoka’s global Everyone a Changemaker vision and objectives.
  • Develop a clear and compelling unified message, drawing on the best of Ashoka U and Ashoka.
  • Create a thought leadership strategy and platform where Ashoka staff and Fellows,  Changemaker Campus leaders and students, and influencers can share a uniform message.
  • Build relationships with a sub-set of Change Leaders and Ashoka Fellows as thought leaders that we can lift up through our distribution channels.
  • Design how to embed thought leadership into key platforms for distribution.
  • Develop and cultivate media partnerships and content publisher relationships.
  • Manage Ashoka U editorial calendar, including authoring and creating original content.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of core message, and the most compelling “messengers,” in sharing Ashoka’s overarching vision and Ashoka U’s stance on how higher education can play a key role.

Network Growth & Product Sales Strategy

  • Develop Ashoka U expansion strategy through a lean and leveraged influence model.
  • Define Ashoka U target market and set specific goals for network growth and product sales, focusing on innovators and early adopters (see the Diffusion of Innovation theory; e.g. who will we engage, in what ways, and why will engaging them change higher education faster?).
  • Educate our team on how to best think about network expansion, improving efficiency of efforts across sub-programs (Changemaker Campus, Exchange, and Commons).
  • Track progress towards our network growth and sales goals — aligned with our target market.
    Lead and Execute Marketing Strategy
  • Ensure our website, newsletter, and other forms of mass communications reflect our brand and engage our network in a meaningful way.
  • Ensure that we are leveraging our mass communications to drive sales for our products with the types of constituents we are seeking for upsells, cross-sells and new acquisitions.
  • Leverage our networks, existing and new marketing channels, and strategic relationships to drive high-quality customer growth and sales for our products.
  • Monitor effectiveness of specific messages and distribution mechanisms.

External Communications

  • Ensure full alignment of external communications and public appearances with Ashoka U’s overall strategy, impact measurement, and field-level influence ambitions.
  • Co-lead relationships with Executive Director for network partners, higher education field leaders, and thought leaders outside of our network.
  • Serve as a public-facing ambassador for all key Ashoka U constituencies, including funders, Change Leaders, Presidents/Provosts/Trustees, etc.
  • Organize conference sessions in collaboration with the Changemaker Campus network that are advancing key messages to higher education and social innovation audiences.
  • Help engage all of our partners and allies as collaborators, and engage them in helping us spread our ideas and influence higher education and achieve our impact goals.

Develop and capture metrics to quantify results (e.g. new partnerships, innovations adopted, key influencers engaged) and track credibility (e.g. media traction, name brand recognition, etc.).



…you’re industrious and can do a lot with a little. You’ve been around the block with about 8-15 years of market growth, strategic communications, digital marketing, or other relevant experience.

A Strategic Communications Expert.

…you’ve designed strategic communication campaigns, and can lead the execution of those plans. You know how to clearly communicate with various audiences and how to best coordinate various channels to do so.


…you love metrics and tracking data to prove progress against set goals. You’re unquestionably inquisitive and constantly evaluate and compare results vs targets.


…you leverage opportunities. Your ideas shoot off like rocket fire and you can imagine possibilities left and right.

Poised & Adaptable.

…you are comfortable with ambiguity and know how to make decisions without perfect information.


…you are deeply passionate about our mission. Impact comes first to you and you are relationship-oriented before profit-oriented.

Articulate & Sharp.

…you have a reputation for being particularly well-spoken, well-informed, and well-prepared for every encounter.


As part of our Ashoka global team-of-teams, you will interact with the executive leadership team and entrepreneurial staff from around the world who are working on a variety of different issue areas. As a senior member of the Ashoka U team, you will work directly with colleagues who bring more than a decade of experience in developing the field of social innovation in higher education. As the Growth and Partnerships Director you will play a cross cutting role across all of Ashoka U sub-programs. You will collaborate closely with Changemaker Campus, the Exchange, Commons and impact measurement staff.


You’ll be invited to join our team in our offices near the beautiful Potomac River in Washington, DC! If you have any questions about the role, please feel free to email us at

Additional Information

Please complete a quick application to the role of Growth and Partnerships Director at Ashoka U through this link – The application deadline is on WEDNESDAY, JULY 13TH, 2016; therefore we encourage you to submit yours soon!

The application will be a 2-part process. If your background and experience align, you will be asked to complete a short-answer questionnaire designed to replace a cover letter. Please take your time with them and copy in your answers from a separate document.
Next, if you are chosen as a finalist, you will be interviewed directly by the Ashoka team. Our target start date will ideally be August 1.