Director of Product Design and Research

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Obama Foundation · Los Angeles, CA/Chicago, IL/New York, NY/Washington, DC

Partners & Advocates
Posted 1 month ago

User Experience Design (UX)
Product Management

About the Obama Foundation

At the Obama Foundation, we are guided by a core belief: that ordinary people working together can change history. Our mission is to inspire those people to take action, empower them to change their world for the better, and connect them so they can achieve more together than they can alone.

We were founded by community organizers, so when we seek change, we do it by bringing people together. 

That approach begins at home, on the South Side of Chicago, where we are building the Obama Presidential Center. The Center represents a historic opportunity for Chicago: a chance to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African American President and First Lady, steps away from where he began his career, where she was raised, and where—together—they made their home. 

But that approach extends to all our work, whether it’s holding leadership training sessions in communities throughout the U.S., bringing local leaders together in countries around the world, working to support the global education of girls, or ensuring young men of color have pathways to opportunity.

As President Obama has said, “we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together.” So join us. 

For more information, please visit

Purpose of the Role

We’re looking for an experienced design leader to drive the vision, strategy, and execution of product design and research at the Obama Foundation.

As a founding leader of our growing product and technology organization, you will provide innovative design leadership, help define and drive the future of the Foundation’s product and design strategy, contribute to our product roadmap, and take the lead in envisioning complex user-experience ecosystems -- not just limited to the UX of digital products but also including that of place-based experiences, like those at the future Obama Presidential Center.

As Director of Product Design and Research, you will lead a team of talented designers and researchers and work closely with your product management and engineering counterparts to craft foundational design and research processes, kickstart and oversee execution of our product development roadmap, and hire and train new members of the team.

Core Job Responsibilities

  • Build and coach a team of exceptional, mission-oriented product designers and researchers and help them grow to the next level of their careers
  • Execute on an ambitious, novel product roadmap focused on scaling the Foundation’s mission and catalyzing people into action
  • Establish, direct, and manage foundational design systems and processes to guide product development and team scaling in the future
  • Advance the product and technology team’s OKRs by leading the design of a number of high-priority new product areas
  • Act as a product design adviser to cross-functional stakeholders across the organization, building relationships and familiarity with product design concepts and execution of user-centric design

Key Deliverables / Outcomes

  • Lead, mentor, and support our growing product design and research team
  • Partner with Product and Engineering leadership to ensure a seamless product development and prioritization process from discovery to launch
  • Guide and unblock the team through all phases of product design work: distilling research, ideation, reviews, prototyping, final spec design, implementation, and QA.
  • Foster and facilitate highly collaborative working relationships between the design team and members of product, engineering, and brand teams to deliver a seamless, unified, and impactful experience to the audiences we serve
  • Ensure that the team represents and advocates for the voice of the Foundation’s audiences, in all prioritization and planning processes
  • Communicate progress and key updates with other partners and stakeholder on a regular basis
  • Cultivate creative design processes built on strong cross-functional collaboration

Required Qualifications

  • 7+ years of experience in user-centered experience and or user interface design, with a demonstrated track record of shipping successful products and creating and implementing consistent and scalable product design frameworks; 3+ years of experience managing or leading design teams, and growing an organization’s design practice
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills and high-velocity UX thinking and execution, alongside proven experience recruiting, hiring, managing, and developing a high performing team
  • High degree of comfort working in a scrappy, fast-paced, mission-oriented environment; proven ability to build effective relationships at all levels of the organization and across teams
  • Ability to manage and work with individuals across geographic locations and with a variety of backgrounds
  • Passion for inclusive design and accessibility, and experience with reviewing design work to ensure it meets accessibility standards and best practices


Equal Opportunity Employer

The Foundation is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. The Foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply. If you are a qualified candidate with a disability, please e-mail us at [email protected] if you require a reasonable accommodation to complete this application.

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