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Director of Design


Nava is working to improve the lives of millions of people through reimagining their experiences with government services, and we’re looking for a Director of Design to help oversee the creative, operational and managerial facets of our design efforts with government agencies.

You are a skilled practitioner and a deeply empathetic listener with a relentless curiosity and a deep passion for supporting and growing your team. You’ll work with Nava leadership and the Design Team to manage team health, our work and business relationships. Your leadership will ensure the design team is healthy and resilient – from staffing to training and workplace sustainability. You’ll help us better understand the people we aim to serve, the needs of the agencies we work with, and the changes we can focus on to have a large and lasting impact.

You can work remotely, or work from one of Nava’s offices in DC, SF, or NYC.

Opportunities and Challenges 

Nava provides opportunities to do meaningful, impactful, mission-oriented work. As a public benefit corporation, we have a social mission written into our founding charter. The people who work at Nava have a fiduciary duty to our stated mission: to improve access, effectiveness, and simplicity of government services. We see this as an opportunity, but it is also important to highlight the challenges we face in advance.

You will be working within the government ecosystem, which means working dynamically with other government contractors and civil servants. Working with people outside of your company means you’ll likely encounter different working styles, cultural norms and be responsible for maintaining order and focus without authority. At the same time, working as part of a larger team allows us to deliver on projects of larger scale and complexity.

The government contracting ecosystem is a compliance-driven multi-stakeholder environment – particularly when compared to the operating environments for companies of our size in the private sector. Successful members of our team understand how to be innovative within this environment when responding to proposals or delivering software and infrastructure. Finding and recommending ways to improve the way government digital services are procured and  built is one of the highest-leverage ways we help fulfill our mission.

What you’ll do

  • Collaborate with VP of Creative and Design Managers to recruit and hire, establish best processes and practices, grow according to the team vision and represent design for Nava
  • Manage a team of 8-12 direct reports across multiple projects
  • Comfortable doing the double duty of creative leadership and people management with the right balance of compassion and candor
  • Develop and refine equitable practices and cultivate a diverse and effective team, helping them realize their potential and honoring each team member’s unique experiences
  • Act as a sounding board for Designer/Researcher, Designer/Frontend and Content Strategy team members at Nava, coaching them through challenges and helping to review and structure their work
  • Seek support from champions within Nava or amongst project stakeholders, especially in the digital transformation space, where there is anticipated resistance to new practices or decisions
  • Provide air-cover for direct reports on any contract (E.g. scrubbing in to help get a project on track or providing direct support if a member on the Design Team encounters a complex stakeholder management situation)

What we’re looking for

  • A skilled practitioner with deep experience in creative, strategic, technical, managerial and operational aspects of human-centered design at scale
  • A proven leader who has experience managing complexity, developing strategy and conducting long-term planning
  • In-depth experience cultivating strong relationships with external stakeholders and partners
  • 10+ years of experience as a human-centered design practitioner
  • 5+ years of direct people management experience and team leadership
  • Experience with fast-growing companies, with a bonus for experience within government contracting or professional service firms
  • An adaptive, empathetic, collaborative leadership mindset
  • Excellent organizational skills and effective presentation skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication

We’re a small team working to radically improve our government, so everyone that joins us has a direct impact on the direction and success of Nava. We are stewards – we hold a deep responsibility towards the systems that we work with. We are a community – we value collaboration both within our teams and with the many hardworking people within government. We offer generous benefits and equity.

We care deeply about diversity and inclusion at Nava. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Note that we participate in E-Verify and upon hire, will provide the federal government with your Form I-9 information to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S.



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