The Meridian Institute Ruckelshaus Fellowship provides the next generation of public policy leaders with the skills they need to support collaboration on complex and controversial problems. The fellowship is a two-year, full-time position. Selected fellows will begin work in summer 2019 in either Meridian’s Dillon, CO or Washington, DC office.
Meridian Institute is a non-profit organization that helps people solve complex and controversial problems, make informed decisions, and implement solutions that improve lives, the economy, and the environment. Meridian Institute designs, manages, and facilitates collaborative processes that bring people together who understand the issues and have a stake in their resolution.
Our processes regularly involve government officials, business leaders, scientists, foundation executives, and nongovernmental organization representatives. Meridian brings together these stakeholders to solve complex public policy problems, navigate strategic visioning or organizational changes, design partnerships and collaborations, and implement consensus outcomes. In the process, participants will learn from each other, build mutual understanding, and reach agreement. Meridian facilitates processes that range from local, site specific disputes to national policy dialogues to international negotiations. Some of the areas we work on include global and domestic agriculture and food security, climate change, ocean and coastal policy, forest and land use management, and community resilience.
Effective collaborative decision-making requires inclusion of diverse perspectives and involves bringing together participants with a wide range of backgrounds. As an organization, we seek staff that reflects and values that same diversity and has experience working in multicultural settings.
The fellowship will begin summer 2019. The Fellowship is a two-year position, contingent upon performance and needs of the organization. Meridian hires fellows to work as project assistants, located in either Washington, D.C. or Dillon, CO. Project assistants support projects on a variety of substantive topic areas. Past fellows have been involved in work with global and domestic agriculture and food security, climate change, ocean and coastal policy and forestry and land use, among other topics. By working in an active, exciting, and dynamic professional environment, Meridian Fellows can expect to:
- Develop the ability to think critically about complex issues and analyze participant interests and process dynamics;
- Help identify and learn to respond appropriately to concerns and problems that can arise in complex and challenging collaborative processes;
- Actively manage numerous tasks toward the completion of a project; and
- Improve writing, research, and communication skills.
The Meridian Fellowship includes a professional development component that consists of a variety of programmatic opportunities, including:
- Annual fellows retreat;
- Internal mentoring with mid-level Meridian staff;
- Professional development calls with key leaders in the field;
- Meet-Meridian calls with staff members at Meridian Institute;
- Interaction with the Meridian Fellowship Alumni network; and
- Engagement with senior Meridian leaders on fellows’ individual, professional development goals.
Finally, periodic reviews of the fellow’s performance and professional goals ensure opportunities to grow. Fellows are encouraged to explore a variety of post-fellowship career choices, including graduate school and employment with other organizations.
Compensation and Benefits
First-year fellows are offered a salary of $40,000 per year in a non-exempt position. Meridian offers an excellent benefits package including: health, dental and vision insurance; employer contributions to a 401(k) plan; and vacation, sick, and holiday time. In addition, Fellows are provided with a stipend of up to $500 to support relocation expenses and are issued laptops and mobile phones in conjunction with employment. Washington, DC-based Fellows are provided reimbursement of costs incurred by using public transit to commute to work.
Meridian fellows work as project assistants to provide research, writing, and many other types of support for projects focusing on a wide variety of challenging issues. As project assistants, fellows may:
- Assist in the preparation of internal- and external-facing documents
- Actively engage as part of dynamic teams focused on designing and facilitating collaborative dialogues to address public policy issues;
- Engage with participants in Meridian processes (through interviews or other types of interactions), including leaders of the private, non-profit, and government sectors;
- Help plan, attend, provide logistical support, and document domestic and/or international meetings;
- Research and track developments on issues relevant to Meridian’s work;
- Manage data and maintain spreadsheets, including grant tracking spreadsheets and contact databases;
- Provide administrative support for Meridian projects, including but not limited to, maintaining websites and listservs, drafting emails, and taking notes;
- Participate on internal Meridian teams to assist with organizational development; and
- Perform other duties, as assigned.
Characteristics of Meridian Fellows
Required Characteristics—Successful applicants must have:
- Experience and enthusiasm for effectively working as part of a team.
- Ability to handle multiple tasks at once, manage time effectively, and receive and balance direction from multiple project directors.
- Strong attention to detail, copy-editing, and note-taking skills.
- Strong written and oral communication skills, including experience researching, synthesizing, and communicating complex information across an array of audiences.
- Ability to work with people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
- Passion for the issues and work that Meridian is involved in.
- Ability and willingness to learn, and ability to work independently and be self motivated.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote) and other commonly used computer programs and technology, such as social media, as well as the ability to learn and deploy new technology tools.
Desired Characteristics: Preference will be given to candidates with the following
- Interest or experience in collaborative decision-making, facilitation, or mediation.
- Substantive experience in Meridian topic areas.
- Experience in multicultural and/or international settings.
- Basic understanding of the institutional and political context in which public policies are deliberated.
- Experience with drafting meeting summaries, conducting interviews, researching and assembling background materials, and providing meeting and logistical support.
- Proficiency in foreign languages (in particular Spanish and French).
- Advanced technology competencies (e.g. research methods such as survey
development and coding, database management, and template development).
- Skills in graphic design for multiple platforms (web design, infographic creation, etc.), including the ability to create and develop visual responses to communication problems using knowledge of aesthetics and composition to construct meaningful images.
- Online marketing skills including experience with social media, managing website content, and facility with platforms such as Twitter, SharePoint, and MailChimp.
To be considered for the Fellowship applicants must be:
- Fully proficient at a professional level or higher in English;
- Legally able to work in the United States without visa support/sponsorship; and
- Have completed a bachelor’s degree or expect to complete a bachelor’s degree by May of 2019. (We do not accept applicants with degrees beyond a bachelor’s, nor do we accept those who are currently pursuing graduate studies.)
Meridian Institute Colorado or Washington D.C Website
Number of Position Openings: 3
Apply using the Meridian Institute applicant portal. For the best experience, we recommend opening the applicant portal in either Chrome (version 18 and later).
After registering your account and logging into the applicant portal, you will be directed to provide information related to your application, take a 10 – 20-minute writing test, and upload the following materials:
- Cover Letter – 1 page
Drawing from your personal, professional, and academic experiences, please explain how you hope to contribute to Meridian as a Fellow and what you hope to gain from this opportunity.
- Resume – 1 page
Detail relevant education, training, experiences, and accomplishments.
- Essay – 1 page
Briefly describe a critical public policy issue facing society today and suggest how a collaborative process could be effective in helping address that issue. If applicable, include details about which parties should be engaged and what challenges might be faced in trying to bring them together.
Application Deadline: January 20, 2019
Jennifer Brassanini JBrassanini@merid.org