Design Director

Through creative, caring, and empowering leadership that supports the mission and values of the Service Design Studio at the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, the Design Director will shape a service design practice that continues to strengthen the ways in which the City of New York designs public services and programs focused on decreasing poverty and increasing opportunity for New Yorkers.

The Design Director desires to proactively address issues of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion within the context of service design and is someone who advocates and applies strategic approaches for centering the voices of New Yorkers - our residents, community-based service providers, frontline staff and other stakeholders - through our processes, tools, communications, and outputs. The Director serves as a thought leader and is passionate about growing a diverse and multi-disciplinary community of designers by uplifting the expertise and experience of residents, front line direct service staff and city agency staff.


The Design Director will work with a transdisciplinary team of experts across the larger office versed in data science and data interoperability strategies, digital development and product design, program design, evaluation, behavioral sciences, and research around poverty and equity to develop and implement cross-team strategies. The Design Director is influential in steering a larger vision to create the infrastructure and culture for NYC to responsibly advocate for lived experience and community-centered design as a form of evidence to drive systems change, equitable resource allocation and participatory decision-making.

Responsibilities include:

  • Identify and shape service design projects strategic to the Administration, NYC Opportunity’s priorities, and the Service Design Studio vision.
  • Manage, care for, and advise an interdisciplinary service design team of four to seven staff and fellows, supporting their professional development and creating a space to foster shared dialogue and leadership development.
  • Promote the Studio and its practice through public speaking, presentations, and writing, continuously advocating for centering communities in the design and development of programs and services.
  • Foster creativity and create space to test and demonstrate methods for utilizing the design practice within the context of government.
  • Promote and build evidence for the use of participatory methods to center community voice and share decision making power in determining improvements and new solutions for public service offerings.
  • Foster relationships with city agencies, offices, community-based organizations, philanthropy, and NYC community members.
  • Support procurement, contracting, and budgeting needs. Managing vendor relationships.
  • Support internal and external visual brand and communications strategy for NYC Opportunity and, evolving it with purpose.
  • Advocate and promote community-centered design by upskilling city agency and provider staff to utilize design justice methods and tools in their work.
  • Continue to improve and generate service design Tools + Tactics and other service offerings that support public servants knowledge and application of service design.
  • Step in to support as a project lead or project support when additional capacity is needed to assist with research, facilitation, co-design sessions, stakeholder meetings, brainstorming and prototyping sessions, presentation prep, designing artifacts like journey maps or personas, and supporting in the writing of research reports, recommendation decks or the packaging of other materials.
  • Contributing to city-wide design standards and relevant initiatives.
  • Performing duties assigned by the Executive and Deputy Executive Director.

  Skills We're Seeking

We understand that candidates may not have all of the skills we are seeking below. We encourage those interested to apply even if they do not meet all of them. We are looking for talented individuals to join our team.

Commitment to the mission of advancing greater equality and opportunity.

Experience working closely with communities who are engaging with public services and programs and/or has lived-experience engaging with public services and programs.

Experience in policy, government or non-profit, in particular with low-income and vulnerable youth and families is a plus.

Experience managing strategy and communication across multidisciplinary teams, particularly in bureaucratic environments.

Project management experience with multiple stakeholders, including developing scope of work documents, writing design briefs, managing timelines and coordinating schedules, building strategic plans, etc.

Design thought leader (former leader of a design studio or comparable) with facilitation experience, including preparing facilitation guides, preparing agendas, and facilitating workshops.

Understands ethical research and design justice principles and has employed participatory research and community-centered design and engagement practices.

Experience building and strengthening partnerships amongst stakeholders of all skill levels.

Experience seeking, writing and managing grants and grant partnerships.

Strong analytical skills and ability to understand and synthesize risk and impact within complex systems.

Experience collecting data and developing metrics that demonstrate impact.

Experience using Microsoft office and Google Busimess tools, Figma, MIRO, Airtable, Asana, and Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

Observes, develops, and fosters relationships with team members and partners: Self-reflective and empathetic.

Ability to self-direct work: Can self-manage their tasks, meet deadlines and ask for resources and support when needed.

All hands on deck attitude: Comfortable working in a fast-paced bureaucratic environment, can pivot their work and respond to rapid requests willingly.

  Education and Experience

A master's degree from an accredited college in social design, anthropology, public administration, public policy, economics, information technology, data science, finance, sociology, political science, urban studies or a closely related field, and two years of satisfactory full-time professional experience in government, or non-profit or social impact sector.


A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college and four years of professional experience in the areas described above.

  Benefits and Compensation

This is a permanent, full-time position offering competitive salary and benefits. The salary range for this position is $100,000 - $132,000 commensurate with experience and qualifications.

To learn more about the New York City's Employee benefits, visit the NYC Office of Labor Relations.

Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States. We are unable to provide sponsorship to prospective employees.

  How to Apply

Please fill out the application form. The form will prompt you to upload a resume and cover letter.

In addition to the application form, candidates will have to complete a separate application on the NYC job portal (Job ID: 553743).

Due to the volume of applications received we may not be able to respond to every application.



This position will require work from our office in Downtown Brooklyn. Please note that as of September 13, 2021, NYC government employees are no longer working remotely.

All new staff are required by the City of New York to be vaccinated against Covid-19.