Browse by Type

Head of Research

As a connector and collaborator, the Head of Research (HR) is responsible for planning and managing the research outputs for Filene Research Institute. Specifically, the HR is responsible for developing Filene’s research agenda in a way that is compelling and useful to credit unions and drives impact for their members.

Job Purpose

The Head of Research's responsibilities include planning and managing ongoing research operations, developing and maintaining Filene’s research agenda, and establishing and managing all aspects of Filene’s six Centers of Excellence. The HR will collaborate with renowned researchers across North America to perform in-depth studies of issues impacting the well-being of financial services consumers.

The HR will also support revenue generation efforts. This will be achieved through the cultivation of relationships with credit union leaders, strategic partners and grant-making foundations.

Role Responsibilities


  • Lead and be accountable for developing research agendas and strategies, coordinating the execution of research priorities and projects by research partners, translating research insights into actionable lessons and outputs, and ensuring the production of timely, relevant, actionable, and high-quality research outputs.
    • Define scope, goals, and deliverables of research projects in collaboration with research team and external stakeholders.
    • Lead the Institute’s Centers of Excellence and day-to-day management of their operations.
    • Develop and support the execution of long-term plans for sunsetting, renewal, scoping, funding, and launching new research Centers of Excellence in partnership with the Chief Product Officer.
    • Lead and manage relationships and projects with external research partners, focusing on the Filene Fellows, a group of leading academics based on universities across the US who lead Filene’s Centers of Excellence.
    • Identify, negotiate, and manage external researcher and research vendor/partner relationships.
    • Engage as a thought partner with researchers on research design and execution.
    • Oversee and ensure the smooth functioning of Filene’s original and applied research pipeline from proposal to publication, including supervising project timelines, progress, and deliverables. Support the research team in managing risks and problem-solving.
    • Help to identify implications of research for credit unions and their members and communities and oversee the conceptualization and creation of ancillary research outputs to translate research insights into actionable strategies that bring value to Filene members and stakeholders.
    • Help to track outcomes and impacts of research and innovation activities and outputs and ensure the balance and relevancy of the research strategy and portfolio.
  • Execute directly on research projects.
    • Support and execute in-house analysis and reporting and independently create research outputs
    • Use research and analytics skills to surface lessons from research projects using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods.
    • Support annual industry-wide research surveys to advance cross-functional team goals (Research, Membership, and Marketing/Communications) to build actionable and personalized research insights, deepen member engagement, and advance the impact of Filene’s research in creating system-wide change.
    • Independently create and contribute ancillary materials (webinars, podcasts, newsletter copy, etc.) in line with Filene’s research agenda and organizational objectives.
    • Distill, summarize, edit, and communicate the findings of Filene’s pipeline of academic and market research. Write clearly and think visually and creatively to convey research findings in compelling and useful ways.
    • Research and analyze issues of interest in consumer finance, banking, and credit unions. Stay up to date on new and emerging trends in financial services and related fields.
  • Lead strategic implementation and provide support for the Think Tank, which represents half of the Filene Research and Incubation Council (RIAC) - an advisory community of CEOs, senior executives, and leading experts from credit unions and system partners and a key pillar of Filene’s voice-of-market and research strategy.
  • Engage as a thought leader representing Filene, Filene’s research outputs, and Filene’s brand to the wider consumer and cooperative finance industry.
  • Manage and be held accountable for the overall research budget to ensure organizational resources are used effectively while maintaining quality standards

Communication & Collaboration

  • Serve as a central point of contact for the research team.
  • Serve a key role in supporting Filene’s research translation, knowledge dissemination, and impact efforts through the creation and delivery of market-facing content through diverse delivery channels (trade press articles, interviews, Filene blogposts, webinars, presentations, podcasts, etc.).
  • Represent Filene to external audiences and immerse in Filene’s entire body of work in order to regularly and consistently convey and engage the market in promoting Filene’s insights, mission, and brand.
  • Support the creation and execution of Filene event agendas and activities.
  • Support Filene’s product team, particularly relating to offerings, business development, program delivery, and cross-functional support.
  • Support Filene’s executive and senior leadership team in growing stakeholder engagement, advancing Filene’s fundraising activities, and developing new funding streams and partnerships for research activities.
  • Contribute to and coordinate with internal stakeholders on voice of market insights to inform the selection and execution of current and future research projects.

Market Engagement

  • Develop, manage, and nurture relationships with Filene members, in particular Inner Circle supporters of the research Centers of Excellence, Research and Incubation Council (RIAC) members, and the wider academic, industry, and non-profit research communities.
  • Lead the Think Tank half of the RIAC.
    • Manage Think Tank activities, communications, recruiting/onboarding, and work to enhance Think Tank engagement.
    • Develop and plan Think Tank meetings, including coordinating topics, leading conversations, and creating content.
    • Lead and develop creative ways to involve the RIAC in Filene’s research strategy, execution, and translation and build community among Think Tank members in particular.
  • Provide exceptional delivery of Filene’s research to a variety of audiences.
    • Immerse in Filene’s entire body of work in order to regularly and consistently convey research insights and engage the market.
    • Represent Filene to external audiences, including industry and media contacts.
    • Conduct presentations on Filene’s research portfolio to executive audiences.
    • Serve as an ambassador for Filene during events as emcee, panel facilitator, presenter, and support event execution in background planning and supporting roles.
    • Field market inquiries relating to Filene research with an eye to conveying research relevance and cultivating new and ongoing engagement with stakeholders.
  • Assist with senior-level account management relationships with Filene stakeholders, including:
    • Leading relationship management and cultivation with Filene Fellows (university- and institute-based researchers) and other research partners;
    • Members of the Research and Incubation Advisory Council (high-level executives in financial services organizations), serving as lead relationship manager for the Think Tank; and
    • Other key contacts inside and outside the credit union system.

Leadership & Administrative

  • Lead, manage, develop, retain, and supervise Research Manager, Associate(s), Interns, and other research team members.
  • Serve as a mentor and coach to direct and indirect reports in support of their performance and professional development goals.
  • Actively support the achievement of Filene's strategic objectives in a manner consistent with Filene’s mission and values, while modeling those values and playing a key role in advancing and maintaining the culture of the organization.
  • Contribute to the development and advancement of Filene’s organizational development goals.
  • Collaborate with Filene team members to enhance the Institute’s overall success.
  • Model Filene Credo and play a key role in maintaining the culture of the organization through personal and cross-functional accountabilities.
  • Actively support the achievement of Filene's strategic objectives, plan, budget, and metrics in a manner consistent with Filene’s mission, values, and brand.
  • Provide extraordinary service to Filene’s staff, members, and stakeholders.
  • Understand and engage in Filene’s complete body of work including research and advisory programs to connect member needs with Filene solutions that can best meet those needs.
  • Prioritize and manage workload to aggressive deadlines.

The statements above are not intended to be all-inclusive and other duties will be assigned as needed.

Job Requirements

  • Advanced graduate degree (i.e., MBA, PhD, MS, etc.) in related field required.
  • 10+ years of research or consulting experience required.
  • 5+ years of experience managing high-performing teams desired.
  • Captivating storyteller with a strong portfolio of written work. Demonstrated ability to translate dense, scientific material into compelling and easy-to-understand outputs for executives and the general public without sacrificing accuracy.
  • Credit union system experience desired, with a deep understanding of challenges and opportunities within the sector. For those without direct credit union experience, interest and excitement to learn the ins-and-outs of a unique and growing industry is a must.
  • Process and Performance Management: High competency in managing resources to achieve goals with attention to detail, commitment to timing, and within scope. Strong process and analytical thinking skills.
  • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication skills. Ability to present ideas clearly and concisely to a variety of audiences. Ability to develop comprehensive written reports and documents.
  • Collaboration: Collaborative decision-making abilities to forge successful partnerships with stakeholders at all levels. Capable of leading initiatives while leveraging and respecting a broad range of constituencies.
  • Project Management: Extensive project management experience, from initiation to completion, including planning, implementation, ongoing management and budget oversight.
  • Leadership & Culture: Strong interpersonal skills that foster an engaging work environment. Ability to communicate a clear vision and translate that vision into a practical, results-focused action plan. Confidence to lead through influence and strength of character. Well-organized and self-directed individual with high ethical standards.
  • Change Management: Serve as a change agent with an open and flexible approach. Appreciation for how to guide culture shifts and enable change to be successful in innovation and incubation.
  • Confidentiality: Ability to handle sensitive and confidential data and situations.
  • Creative Thinking: Ability to generate new ideas and implement them amidst other organizational goals and priorities. Ability to recognize and take advantage of emerging opportunities.
  • Curiosity: Intellectually curious about credit unions and their members. Enjoy working in a “think tank” environment where ideation, continually embracing change, being restless with the status quo and seeking reinvention is part of the culture. A passion for purpose and precision – including the details.
  • Up to 40% travel required, including:
    • Attending various conferences relevant to research, innovation or select projects.
    • Sales of innovation ideas or programs to cooperative finance North American sector.
    • Presenting key findings in presentations and perform advisory services on a wide latitude of research or innovation findings.

EEO Policy Statement

The Filene Research Institute (Filene) provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. Filene complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Filene expressly prohibits any form of unlawful employee harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of Filene employees to perform their expected job duties is absolutely not tolerated.