SRCD Executive Director Search

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) seeks a collaborative, strategic, proactive, and entrepreneurial leader to become the next Executive Director and to help lead the organization into an exciting and ambitious future.

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), one of the most prestigious and respected authorities in developmental science, seeks a collaborative, strategic, proactive, and entrepreneurial leader to become the next Executive Director and to help lead the organization into an exciting and ambitious future. This future includes driving a bold strategic plan that envisions substantial growth and expanded impact, new initiatives, and an even stronger infrastructure. A strong communicator and influencer, the Executive Director will contribute to the sustainability of the organization, provide advocacy for a wide range of member concerns, represent SRCD in a robust developmental research community, and shepherd the organization through a time of change in the field. The next Executive Director has an extraordinary opportunity to lead this historic transformation and, in so doing, to affect the lives of millions of children worldwide.

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About Society for Research in Child Development

The Society for Research in Child Development promotes interdisciplinary research in developmental science, fosters the exchange of information among scientists and research consumers worldwide, and furthers applications of research-based knowledge.

An independent 501(c)(3) organization, SRCD was founded in 1933 to “stimulate and support research, to encourage cooperation among individuals engaged in the scientific study of child development, and to encourage applications of research findings.” In the ensuing eight decades, SRCD has remained at the forefront of developmental science, providing leadership for the field amid changing scientific and social contexts. As SRCD has grown and evolved to tackle modern society’s emerging challenges and opportunities, the Society continues to maintain its commitment to the developing child as the primary focus of scientific inquiry and to the use of that science to improve child, family, and community well-being. The SRCD engages the developmental science community through the following activities:

  • Research Publications: SRCD produces a number of well-respected, peer-reviewed publications – Child Development, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Child Development Perspectives, and an evidence-based Social Policy Report – that communicate developmental science to the scientific community.
  • Policy Briefs: SRCD produces policy briefs – Child Evidence and Statement of the Evidence – that communicate developmental science and its policy implications to policymakers. 
  • Meetings: SRCD hosts a biennial meeting in the spring of odd numbered years with attendance in excess of 6,500. These internationally attended meetings include individual research reports, symposia, invited lectures, and discussion sessions, among other timely and historical programs.  SRCD also sponsors meetings in the off years that are smaller and more focused than the biennial meetings. These smaller meetings are structured to maximize interactions between attendees and early career scholars. Special awards, which recognize excellence in the field, are also celebrated during these events.
  • Fellowship Programs: SRCD offers two prestigious U.S. Policy Fellowship Programs. The Federal Policy Fellowship places scientists in congressional offices and executive branch agencies in Washington, D.C. The State Policy Fellowship places predoctoral and postdoctoral scientists in state executive branch agencies throughout the U.S. Both fellowships provide exciting opportunities for researchers to learn how to use developmental science to inform public policy, as well as learn about policy development, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Webinars: SRCD, in collaboration with the University-based Child and Family Policy Consortium and other affiliates, produces a number of webinars that are available on the Society’s YouTube channel and cover a range of topics of interest to its members.
  • Professional Development: SRCD maintains an active career center on its website and also publicizes federal funding opportunities relevant to child development and, more broadly, to behavioral and social science research, supporting over 5,500 researchers, instructors, practitioners, and policymakers across more than sixty countries.

Today, SRCD faces a rapidly changing environment and has outlined several strategic directives in the Society’s 2015-2025 Strategic Plan. Technological advances, the growth of interdisciplinary research in developmental science, and increased opportunities for international collaboration open promising new avenues for scientific discovery and application. The incoming Executive Director will support the organization as it adapts to the changing needs of its member network, such as the recently launched SRCD Commons, a new online community platform to support member networking, facilitate discussion on a variety of interdisciplinary topics, share resources, and build an interconnected, international web for developmental scientists. Capitalizing on these opportunities to forge an integrative developmental science and its application will require strengthening bridges across disciplinary silos, scientific workforce sectors, and national borders. It will also require increased diversity in research foci and developmental science teaching. Changes in funding structures, organizational systems (e.g. universities, federal agencies, research firms, and think tanks), and research processes will likewise call for adaptation and innovation if the research is to remain cutting-edge, vibrant, and impactful. SRCD intends to be a leading voice in this new environment, ensuring that changes in policy and practice are in the best interest of children.


The Opportunity

The Society is poised for an exciting future, driving a Strategic Plan that provides an important impetus and framework for growth and expanded impact. The next Executive Director will be expected to support, energize, realize, and strategically invest in the Society’s aspiration of becoming a stronger and more effective advocate for developmental science and child development research; to become the “go to” resource for information on child development amongst policymakers and other key leaders; and to continue to be a valuable resource for the Society’s members. The Executive Director will work with the Governing Council and the leadership team creatively and proactively to identify additional ways the Society can expand its impact. These responsibilities will demand new ideas and action on many fronts – improving and sustaining membership, enhancing membership benefits and services to support its diverse member community, expanding international initiatives, creating new streams of revenue, developing new partnerships, and pursuing new avenues for bridging science, policy, and practice. 

The Executive Director holds responsibility for SRCD in the following areas:


The Executive Director reports to a Governing Council of thirteen individuals, including the Society’s current President-Elect, Dr. Nancy E. Hill, Charles Bigelow professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who will assume the presidency in April 2021, and current President Dr. Kenneth A. Dodge, William McDougall Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Duke University. The Executive Director partners collaboratively and enthusiastically with the Governing Council (GC), President, and Leadership Team to initiate annual planning of priorities, goals, and budget while providing guidance and leadership to SRCD staff, Governing Council, Committees, Caucuses, and members in carrying out programs, policies, events, and activities. As a primary goal, the Executive Director will prioritize and incorporate the SRCD’s values and Strategic Vision across operations, initiatives, and activities.

Organizational Alignment

The next Executive Director will embrace the exciting opportunities and challenges of a rapidly changing future by promoting innovation in all aspects of the Society’s work. They will effectively, proactively, and transparently monitor and update the progress of activities essential to the goals of the Society to the Governing Council, SRCD Senior Leaders and staff, caucus and committee chairs and co-chairs, members, partners, and granting agencies; oversee core programmatic events and initiatives of the Society; and recommend and spearhead new initiatives in line with the SRCD’s mission, strategic direction, and its current capacity.

Strategic Networking and External Communications

As the external face of the Society, the Executive Director will attract, engage, and provide valuable support for current and prospective members by identifying potential audiences and partners, serving as a tireless champion for SRCD, and advocating for the child development field broadly. They will develop and execute an aggressive communication and outreach agenda by building bridges (both internally and externally), pursuing collaboration with new partners, extending global outreach, and increasing use of social media to establish the SRCD as a trusted resource for professionals, policymakers, and journalists who are interested in child development perspectives. Additionally, they will foster a collegial, trustworthy, and open dialogue between internal staff, Governing Council, and a network of current or prospective stakeholders who may become important players in the SRCD’s strategic goals and priorities.

Executive Leadership

The Executive Director leads a talented team of 13 internal staff members (including three direct reports). In strong partnership with the Governing Council and Controller, they steward an organizational annual budget of approximately $6M, allocating resources to the greatest advantage of member initiatives, as well as sustaining the ongoing health and sustainability of the Society. The Executive Director will be charged with creatively addressing the emerging financial challenges that are facing most scholarly membership organizations by adapting a budget model which has been heavily dependent upon publications revenue, membership dues, and annual conference fees to meet the changing needs and expectations of current and future members while setting the Society up for sustainable, short- and long-term growth initiatives.

Diversity and Inclusion

The SRCD’s next leader will champion the SRCD’s long-standing commitment to diversity in all forms by supporting, advocating for, and working collaboratively with the Asian, Black, Latinx, and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression (SOGIE) Caucuses; and the Ethnic and Racial Issues, Equity and Justice, International Affairs, and Interdisciplinary Committees. The Executive Director will drive the Society’s Inclusivity Initiatives to nurture a supportive, inclusive environment that celebrates diversity in all shapes and forms by fostering a collaborative, transparent, ecosystem that encourages professional and personal growth for employees, members, and partners at all levels of the organization.


Candidate Profile

The Executive Director will be a collaborative, self-motivated individual who thrives in a culture of shared governance, intellectual curiosity, and academic rigor. As such, the ideal candidate will have an established reputation in developmental science, an established track record engaging in the scientific enterprise, and a deep understanding of the importance of connecting research to policy and practice. They will be a natural collaborator with a passion for children and child development, have a strategic vision, entrepreneurial drive, and a strong track record in administrative leadership.

The successful candidate will bring many of the following core competencies and personal attributes:

Passion for the Mission and Scientific Vision

  • Nuanced understanding of the ways in which science serves as a conduit for change
  • Substantial experience in at least some of the subject matter areas covered in the Society’s activities and/or research domains covered by developmental science
  • Passion for child development research and its effective application to support children’s development
  • Experience engaging in and/or supporting the scientific enterprise through policy, research, teaching, or other relevant activities
  • Proven ability to represent and champion the field of developmental science to varied audiences, including scientists, leaders of professional societies, policymakers, and more
  • Unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion

Business and Financial Acumen

  • Substantial administrative leadership experience including financial and budget management, human capital, capacity-building, and organizational development, ideally in a nonprofit organization
  • Experience and facility with organizational planning, project assessment, and strategic and effective negotiation skills
  • Solid business judgement and data-driven decision-making skills, with proven experience developing performance metrics and analyzing data to inform strategic planning recommendations
  • Consultative work style and excellent communication skills, particularly in times of change
  • Proven fiscal and project management skills, the ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects and responsibilities

Internal and External Communication Skills

  • Experience in developing and implementing collaborative arrangements in a highly professionalized and/or geographically dispersed environment
  • High level of emotional intelligence with the ability to translate the position of an organization in the larger context of our ever-changing world
  • Superb interpersonal and communication skills - ability to listen to and respect a wide variety of interests and perspectives, to consider diverse viewpoints, find common ground, and bring people together
  • Demonstrated understanding of trends, opportunities, and challenges both within the academy and the broader research community
  • Leverages existing relationships, networks, and partners to promote strategic initiatives and be an established person of influence in the field

Organizational Leadership

  • Inclusive leadership style, with a deep sense of cross-cultural sensitivity and the ability to leverage historical strengths with an eye for innovation
  • Delegates authority and responsibility by empowering others to lead, respects the capabilities and independence of staff members, and holds teams accountable to the highest standards for achieving individual and collective goals
  • Nimble, agile leadership skills with the ability to manage at both the micro and macro levels – can be attentive to details, when needed, but doesn’t get lost in the details, and stays focused on the big picture
  • Leads with humility, celebrates individual and collective wins, and supports others in achieving the organization’s goals

Expertise and Visibility Within a Research Community

  • The professional credibility to earn the trust and confidence of the Governing Council, staff, major donors, program partners, policy officials, and other key constituencies
  • Successful non-profit management experience as an advocate and spokesperson, and leadership experience within a research-focused environment or related setting
  • Leadership experience with consortia, societies, membership organizations, and/or other relevant collaborative ventures
  • Research experience or oversight of research in at least some of the interdisciplinary subject matter areas covered in the Society’s activities either through academia, national research initiatives, policy development, and/or other relevant channels
  • Demonstrated commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to understanding human development
  • Proven ability to represent and champion the field of developmental science to varied audiences

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience in a leadership position in an environment that engages in, supports, or applies research, such as a nonprofit organization, government agency, or academic institution. Advocacy experience at the national level, as well as experience leading effective organizational change would be valued. A Ph.D. or Ed.D. in human development, psychology, sociology, family studies, public health, economics, industrial/organizational psychology, or a related discipline or a related area is welcome, but not required. While all safety precautions will be explored and respected, a willingness to travel to represent the Society externally and pursue new partnerships is required.



Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Managing Director, Molly Brennan, and Consultant, Malissa Brennan, are leading this search. Recommendations or expressions of interest may be submitted here. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Download the Position Description


The Society for Research in Child Development is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

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