Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), a dynamic social enterprise solving Americas rural economic crisis by empowering small towns to build thriving digital economies, is seeking nominations and applications for the new position of Director of Knowledge.
Guided by a strong belief in rural ingenuity and small-town potential, RISI and its sister organization, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), provide strategic support to rural communities wanting to develop inclusive, resilient digital ecosystems. CORI and RISIs comprehensive systems approach to digital economy ecosystems involves building a nationwide network of local economic change agents; using mapping and data to highlight rural opportunities; making direct investment in underserved rural entrepreneurs; and closing the digital divide so all Americans can participate in the 21st century digital economy.
Founded in 2017 in Hartland, Vermont, CORI and RISI have grown into dynamic enterprises bridging rural America to the future of work and building scalable support for rural entrepreneurs in the digital space. With early funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and other national partners, CORI and RISI have launched a nationally respected technical assistance program providing strategic guidance to 20 rural communities based on its Digital Ecosystem model, leading to over $6 million in federal investment in those communities. They have also created the Rural Innovation Network (RIN), an engaged community of practice supporting diverse rural leaders as they execute on digital economy ecosystem strategies.
COVID-19 has challenged assumptions about where digital economy jobs and tech talent can exist, and CORI and RISI are seizing the moment to create a more equitable distribution of these high-paying jobs. Recognizing the diversity of rural communities, CORI and RISI have called for transformative action to address the tremendous disparities communities face and are actively working internally and externally to further transformation efforts. To understand and share RISIs learning widely, the Director of Knowledge will be responsible for synthesizing learnings from consulting projects and network partnerships to accelerate effectiveness, generate insight reports to benefit the field, and strengthen tools to inform RISI and CORIs work and mission. To accomplish this, the Director will organize and execute on research and data analytics products to inform the field on rural economies in the age of automation. Research will include both qualitative and quantitative analysis on rural economic trends; best practices in scalable entrepreneurship; impact of policies and government funding on rural innovation, economic development resources, broadband strategies, and digital economy jobs. The Director of Knowledge will collaborate with the senior team to set the strategy and direction of this department, lead partnership development with aligned research organizations, design research projects and work with the Director of Development to identify funding, and ensure the research products are aligned with and directly support the consulting and Rural Innovation Network support needs. The Director will grow and lead a team of researchers, data scientists, and data visualization experts to deliver excellent, actionable work products with the reader and user in mind. Additionally, the Director will execute on fee for service contracts for data analytics, case study analysis, and policy. The position will also provide thought leadership at appropriate conferences and contribute proactively to the national conversation.
Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Director of Knowledge
The Director of Knowledge will collaboratively set a vision for CORI and RISIs research and data needs and build and lead a team that will engage in the following areas:
Synthesize learning to advance field knowledge and understanding of strategies and practices in rural digital economy ecosystem development and broadband deployment. The Director will lead knowledge management practices to document effective ecosystem building approaches in a rural context, with a clear focus on equity and inclusion, converting organizational learning into actionable best practices and toolkits, insights, and strategies. The Director will collaborate with the Director of Communications raise awareness of CORI and RISIs work and deliver learning and analysis to advance knowledge in the field, inform policy makers, network developers, investors and others, and shift the national narrative on the potential for rural digital economies.
Lead a team executing on research and data analysis projects. The Director will identify and lead analysis of research and evaluation of community projects to discover and report on what works across CORI and RISIs strategies as well as broader economic development federal and state funding programs in rural America. They will provide tools to support Digital Economy Ecosystem consulting efforts as well as fee-for-service data aggregation, analysis, and mapping and visualization projects with think tanks, government, and private clients.
Grow and manage a team and internal assets for increasingly efficient research and data analysis efforts. The Director will recruit, develop, and empower a diverse team of researchers, data scientists, and data visualization experts to help CORI and RISI synthesize internal and network learning as well as broader field research to advance the national dialogue about rural communities. To do this, the Director will lead the development of internal team assets for increasingly efficient research and data analysis generation.
While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
The salary range for this position is $100,000-$110,000. RISI offers a range of benefits including health insurance, employer matched 401K, and personal and professional development opportunities, among others.
Youll enjoy working at CORI/RISI if:
CORI is an Equal Opportunity Employerpeople of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. CORI is committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting staff with ongoing career development opportunities. CORI is interested in your ambitions, personal experiences, great ideas, and passions, and believe that everyones unique story and perspective adds value to our organization.
Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
RISI will manage the application and review process using our Workable platform. Please direct all inquiries through this system. We are unable to respond to phone inquiries at this time.
Rural Innovation Strategies Inc.