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Managing Director of Research

The Managing Director of Research (MDR), under the direction of Filene’s Chief Knowledge Officer, is responsible for executing Filene Research Institute’s research strategy.

Job Purpose

This role is responsible for executing Filene Research Institute’s research strategy, which includes planning and managing the ongoing research operations, developing and updating the Institute’s research agenda, establishing and managing all aspects of Filene’s five centers of excellence in collaboration with academic leaders across North America. The MDR provides senior level assistance in the preparation and review of research projects, the management of research contracts and in the evaluation and dissemination of research. 


  • Model Filene values and play a key role in maintaining the culture of the organization through personal and cross-functional accountabilities
  • Actively support the achievement of Filene's strategic objectives, plan and metrics in a manner consistent with Filene’s mission, values and brand
  • Provide extraordinary service to Filene’s staff, members and stakeholders
  • Understand and engage in Filene’s complete body of work including research and impact programs in order to connect member needs with Filene solutions that can best meet those needs
  • Prioritize and manage workload to aggressive deadlines
  • Lead, manage, develop and retain research staff
  • Manage and be held accountable for the Institute’s research budget


  • Execute the Institute’s research strategies
  • Develop and execute Filene research projects
  • Establish the Institute’s Centers of Excellence and provide day-to-day management of their operations
  • Provide day-to-day management of the Filene Research Fellows, a national working group of academic researchers
  • Provide day-to-day management of the Filene Research Council, a North American advisory committee composed of 40 credit union CEOs, senior executives and leading experts from the vendor/supplier community
  • Identify, negotiate and manage external researcher relationships
  • Engage as a thought partner with researchers on research design and data acquisition issues
  • Provide technical advice and assistance to research staff and other departments
  • Support the project management flow of the organization by coordinating work through the project management office (PMO)
  • Serve as a mentor and coach to direct reports in support of their professional development goals


  • Work with researchers, editors, and designers to ensure quality, engaging reports that meet both internal and external standards
  • Communicate key research findings to credit unions and other audiences utilizing diverse delivery channels
  • Conduct periodic presentations on Filene’s research portfolio to executive audiences primarily in North America with infrequent international travel
  • Represent Filene to external audiences and immerse in Filene’s entire body of work in order to regularly and consistently convey and engage the market in the entire “story” of Filene

Relationship Management

  • Responsible for 3-5 senior level account management relationships with Filene donors
  • Develop, manage and nurture relationships with Centers of Excellence sponsors, Research Council members, Filene Research Fellows and Senior Scholars 
  • Facilitate donor recognition in a variety of Filene outputs in coordination with the Stewardship & Development Director and portray a “one-team” Filene experience 

Job Requirements

  • Exceptional writing (technical and creative), editorial and presentation skills required
  • At least five years of experience managing high-performing teams
  • Strong knowledge of and significant experience in the financial services industry is essential
  • Storyteller with a portfolio of creative, compelling written work. Demonstrated ability to translate technical and dense scientific material into compelling and easy-to-understand outputs for executives and the general public, without sacrificing accuracy
  • Enjoy working in a “think tank” environment where ideation, continually embracing change, being restless with the status quo and seeking reinvention is part of the culture
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills that contribute to overall organizational performance and to a positive, creative work environment     
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and build strong positive working relationships with people from many disciplines and backgrounds at all levels of various organizations
  • Demonstrated ability and comfort using various software programs, databases, and other cloud computing solutions. Must be able to self-teach, problem solve, and trouble shoot independently using available resources. Experience using Mac and Apple products desired
  • Willing to be empowered and held accountable for results
  • High degree of professionalism, tact and sensitivity to strengthen Filene's image in the marketplace 
  • Advanced graduate degree (i.e., MBA, PhD, MS) in a related field with a minimum of eight years of research or consulting experience required
  • Ability and desire to travel domestically and internationally up to 35% of the time

Job Location

Madison, Wisconsin