Vice President of Research and Insights at Coforma

Remote (some travel required)

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We’re looking for a driven and proven Vice President of Research and Insights to guide and thoughtfully grow our approach to qualitative and quantitative research, analytics, and insight development to ensure we generate equitable, inclusive, and trauma-informed solutions that support communities.

Reporting directly to the Chief Experience Officer and co-owner of Coforma, you will co-lead with the VP of Design to continue building a design organization that excels at crafting human-focused, data-informed, well validated, and tested solutions. As VP of Research and Insights, you will support and guide a collective of talented individuals to do things like influence government policy development, rollout healthcare benefits to large constituencies, communicate the needs and wants of high-risk groups, and other high-visibility and high-impact work. You will act as a champion for a consistently strong, participatory, and trauma-informed research practice. You will also advocate for and craft the conditions that enable team success, and work in partnership with leaders across Coforma and our clients to create more opportunities for values-driven work. 

As a business leader of a significant portion of the Design organization within Coforma, you will establish thoughtful and disciplined operations. You will provide mentorship, direction, and guidance for your team’s craft by modeling research processes and standards, both for discovery and as a seamless and continuous partner to design and development. You will co-architect the career development of the Design organization, creating a space where designers can regularly make a positive impact, accomplish their best work, and still be able to live balanced and fulfilled lives outside of work.

$192,000—$204,000 Base Salary + Benefits

Placement within the provided salary range will be based on the competency level of the candidate:
- Tier 1: At this (Associate VP) tier within this level, you more than meet the minimum qualifications, showing experience and competence. Beyond onboarding, you will need guidance and training before being able to perform all of the responsibilities of the job.
- Tier 2: At this tier within the VP level, you are highly experienced and can fully perform all responsibilities of the job well once through onboarding.

This posting is set to close January 13, 2023, unless an extension has been noted.
The desired start date for this role is in late February 2023.
This is a US-based, remote position and some travel will be required.

Responsibilities: Design Team Development

    • Create an environment of high standards and strategies for excellence, and elevate work to meet those standards; ensuring all research plans are solid and research insights valid
    • Play both a consulting and a governance role in ensuring that all systems, processes, and roles in the Research practice area of Design are aligned with the company values and company goals, working with DesignOps as applicable
    • Mentor direct reports, and equip managers to do the same; give clear and usable feedback where needed; elevate work and share your insights and experience in 1:1 and team sessions
    • Provide cover and direct support to help ensure that directors, principals, senior directors, and senior principals are able to keep the time they each have allotted for their non-project leadership work
    • Contribute to and eventually help lead programming to inspire, motivate, and provide advance direction to a growing design team
    • Co-establish departmental goals and strategies for evolving Coforma’s research practice(s), including advocating for key internal projects being prioritized

Responsibilities: Project Quality and Standards

    • Lead and/or support organization research projects at all levels of the organization from scoping to delivery; specifically, contracting, scoping, organizational assessment, development of sound research plans, recommendations, and implementation support as needed
    • Scale quality by collaboratively establishing research standards across the research practices and company; evolve established research practices and introduce additional best practices
    • Ensure that we are crafting inclusive and accessible products and services in alignment with our values and beyond the status quo
    • Continuously improve the overall quality of research output and its contribution to business objectives

Responsibilities: Design Resources and Operations

    • Co-craft and manage the Design budget, practicing human-centered research and design to generate a budget that works for those in Design and the business
    • Manage and develop talent, working with Design leaders to assign the right talent profile to the right project/program, or even future business unit
    • Hire, grow, and lead a team of individual contributors and managers, helping create clear paths for their future success and impact by providing insight, guidance, inspirations, and mentorship to the team
    • Proactively assess research and insight risks across Coforma projects, resolve issues before they become bigger problems, raising flags where more support is needed
    • Work closely with PeopleOps, DesignOps, and other leadership to ensure equity in promotions, recognition, celebration, and in the provisioning of new opportunities, as well as across Design process changes over time
    • Collaborate with DesignOps to ensure the research practices areas in Design have project-appropriate, secure, and modern tools to perform qualitative and quantitative user research within our overall budget

Responsibilities: Cross-Practice Leadership

    • Build strong working relationships with Design and other practice leads to create connections and environments in which world-class solutions can be crafted, thoughtfully iterated on, and successfully delivered
    • Regularly collaborate with VP of Design, VP of Delivery, and other leaders across levels to ensure ways of working and concepts are aligned with strategies to deliver on goals, and that research and insights are properly incorporated into roadmaps

Responsibilities: Representation and Presentation

    • Participate in business strategy and development conversations and advocate for creative solutions that drive value
    • Provide visibility and accountability for the work of the Design team’s researchers; present to stakeholders, clients, and potential clients as useful, explaining the role of various types of research and how it can support business goals and customer needs
    • Educate clients, potential clients, other disciplines, and so forth on the value of research, user perspective, and lived expertise, across practices areas, skill sets, project types, phases of work, and elsewhere as appropriate


    • The ideal candidate has developed a deep bench of personal connections and resources to enable a wide range of types of delivery.
    • 15 or more years of professional work experience
    • 12 or more years working in research
    • 10 or more years managing and developing a team/group (5+ designers)
    • 2 or more years experience working on a remote team or remote freelancing at a senior or higher level
    • 2 or more years of successful experience managing managers
    • Prior, recent professional services or consulting experience 
    • Ability and experience working in a service organization where direct reports may be cross-matrixed across different teams and projects
    • Deep understanding of and experience executing across data and analytics, market research, insight creation, strategy development, and qualitative research
    • Expertise in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and experience developing community or audience-based research, including fieldwork and survey design
    • Fluency in third-party data sources and a point of view on data integrity and validity of sources
    • A successful track record as a researcher with command of digital and social media, exhibiting intellectual curiosity
    • Experience winning contracts and business whether through writing, verbal presentations, and/or challenges as well as experience writing or editing requirements for government proposals
    • Highly skilled in advising and leading clients, modeling stakeholder relationship building, and growing and maturing the consulting and leadership skills in managers, emerging leaders, and individual contributors
    • Experience with research within and outside of agile frameworks like lean, Scrum, kanban, and test-driven development
    • Diverse portfolio of work that illustrates an ability to have impact and lead at the project level, product level, organization level, and company level
    • Digital connection — will prioritize and maintain access to strong, reliable internet for the remote nature of our work (except when on vacation/holiday/leave)
    • Travel flexibility — will attend in-person meetings, workshops, trainings, events, and more (with health and safety precautions being paramount)

Preferred Qualifications

    • Direct work experience with government (federal, state, local, and/or tribal) work, whether through contracts or direct employment
    • Experience leading and managing teams that drive high-visibility, high-impact design projects
    • Experience coaching skilled individuals/groups from varied of backgrounds


    • Industry competence — has a general understanding of design and product industry trends, emerging technologies, and the constantly shifting business and cultural landscape to speak to and help achieve our business vision
    • Systems — will apply systems thinking, problem solving abilities, and critical thinking skills daily
    • Calm and nimble — will navigate a fast-paced environment and ambiguity, changing priorities, and unexpected project challenges without adding unnecessary stress or pressure
    • Interpersonal — will foster excellent relationships across levels, and take genuine enjoyment in creating them
    • Continual learner — is committed to ongoing learning and knowledge sharing with an interest in integrating into a culture of feedback; will apply to our industry, our businesses, evolving standards, styles and practices and most importantly about our clients and their users’ needs and pain points
    • Authentic leader — will show up as themself, build an environment where everyone belongs, and create teams that are engaged and galvanized around common goals (whether we’re setting those or not)
    • Cooperative — able to manage up and work with top executives and high-level contacts; cooperate with staff across different teams
    • Communicative — will communicate strategies, themes, and trends, and create personal relationships through writing and in-person exchange, customizing the delivery to each audience
    • Presentation skills — will, as an avid evangelist of design and digital services, speak at conferences and events with passion, clarity, grace, and effectiveness
    • Delegation and time management — will oversee multiple experienced employees at once; as needed, helping keep projects on schedule and staff working within established deadlines and budgets
    • Brand representative — will represent Coforma professionally and sincerely, modeling the company values to be and help others be collaborative, accessible, empowered, informed, ethical and responsible, values-driven, and transparent for the sake of accountability and community


    • Yearly base salary: VP roles at Coforma earn within the $192–204K yearly compensation range, within our equitable pay scale for the 2023 year
    • Professional membership: Design team members are provided with AIGA memberships to support with training and upskilling, certifications, resources and inspiration, community building, and industry discounts
    • Unlimited paid time off: Available after the first 90 days of employment, you can enjoy unlimited paid time off, plus the last week of the year off every year
    • Paid holidays: Coforma offers generous paid holiday time off—including Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Juneteenth, Indigenous Peoples Day, and US national election day
    • Leave coverage: We provide other kinds of leave which include paid sick leave, paid family leave, military leave, and bereavement leave—all available after 90 days of employment
    • Medical coverage: We offer multiple medical insurance plans for employees, paying for either 80% or 100% of the premium, depending on the plan selected. Spouse and qualifying dependent care premium coverage will be offered by Coforma beginning in 2023
    • Dental and vision coverage: We cover 100% of the premium on dental and vision insurance for employees. We also offer dental and vision insurance for your spouse, domestic partner, and child(ren), with family premium coverage coming in 2023
    • 401K plan with match: We match up to 4% of the employee's salary in a Safe Harbor 401k Plan, allow immediate vesting, and also provide both Roth options—all available after 90 days of employment
    • Pre-tax spending accounts: Pre-tax Health Spending Account (HSA), FSA, and Dependent FSA account options are available for employees, spouses, domestic partners, child(ren) and qualifying elderly dependents
    • Internet and phone stipend: Coforma provides an internet and phone stipend to help  full-time employees maintain a stable and professional remote work environment. This stipend is automatically added to paychecks after the first 90 days of employment
    • Home office stipend: We provide a home office stipend to full-time employees after their first 90 days, to help each individual build and sustain a healthy remote work environment that allows them to do their best work
    • Professional development: We provide a $2,000 professional development fund each calendar year and our internal professional development resource archive includes lessons, books, specialized talks, and more

We Don’t Care About

    • Whether or not you have a degree of any kind
    • Whether your educational major, if you had one, is related to this role
    • Whether or not you have GitHub contributions
    • Whether or not you have worked at a well-recognized company
    • Whether you’re sure that you check every box

We Do Care About

    • Your passions — professional or otherwise
    • Your well-informed opinions about technology, teams, and process
    • You
We're Coforma

The stress of job searching can make you wonder if you’re enough. Studies have even shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply to jobs when they don’t meet every qualification. We believe that you ARE enough, and that it’s okay not to meet every requirement. We’re building a culture that’s authentic, inclusive, and diverse. If you’re excited to work with us but not sure you check every box, apply anyway! You may be just right for this or another role.

About Us
We use creativity to get results for clients and the communities they serve.

We’ve honed a modern, agile, user-centered approach that elevates human needs through thoughtfully-designed systems and products.

From connecting families in crisis at the US border to improving the way governments consume COVID-19 mobility data through a more accessible and user-friendly tool, we’re dedicated to improving people’s lives through thoughtful technology products and services. Together. Our cross-functional team works closely with each other and with our government, nonprofit, and commercial partners to research, design, and build better products and services.

Coforma employs over 90 talented creators. Our leadership has decades of experience in improving government digital services from a civic service mindset, and a strong record of developing innovative technology solutions for government, enterprise, and nonprofits.

We thoughtfully integrate design into product development. We are experts in leading the design and development of products to meet business goals, build alignment, and deliver value through technically feasible and iterative design activities.

Business objectives and human beings are at the center of our work. We work very closely and collaboratively with our partners, from solicitation through to delivery, to ensure that the solution provides a high level of value to the business. Accessibility is never overlooked in our work, and our iterative approach validates the utility and delight of the final product.

Equal Opportunity & Inclusive Workplace
Coforma is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, pregnancy, disability, work-related injury, covered veteran status, political ideology, marital status, or any other factor that the law protects from employment discrimination. As a federal government contractor, all employees of Coforma are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022. Background checks and other security clearances may be required for some roles as it relates to the nature of our client work.

Our team and our office aims to be an accessible and hospitable place to work. We welcome applicants, contractors, and employees who are committed to improving our culture and practices.

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