Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

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Deputy Director of Research & Policy

The Asian American Federation (AAF), founded in 1989, is New York City’s most powerful leadership voice for better policies, services, and funding that lead to more justice and opportunity for Asian New Yorkers. Our mission is to raise the influence and well-being of the pan-Asian American community through research, policy advocacy, public awareness, and nonprofit support.

In collaboration with 70 member and partner community-based organizations, we serve the interests of 1.7 million New Yorkers from 20 ethnic groups—diverse in language, culture, and religion—that make up New York’s Asian community, by providing expert research and unrelenting advocacy; working with lawmakers to change policies; and training Asian nonprofits to better serve their communities.

We fight to keep the pan-Asian American community visible and to ensure our needs are met, our contributions are valued, and our stories are told.


AAF seeks an experienced professional to play a key leadership role within the organization, leading its research and policy efforts with the skills to support AAF’s advocacy role, helping guide the organization and ensuring the successful execution of strategic priorities. They will play a critical role in ensuring that AAF is leveraging its research for maximum impact and influence at the city and state levels, and that it lands in the hands of citizens, changemakers, key stakeholders, and others who can use it to accelerate change in the lives of Asian New Yorkers.

The Deputy Director of Research & Policy will report to the Executive Director, and work with staff; AAF’s Board of Directors; member and partner agencies; and community leaders to execute the following responsibilities:


Research Management

  • Translate complex, nuanced data and research into an advocacy framework for the purpose of policy analysis and recommendations;
  • Work with AAF’s Research team to direct research and the analysis and presentation of information about policy issues impacting Asian American communities;
  • Supervise and direct the Advocacy & Policy, Research, and Economic Empowerment teams to successfully meet goals, manage performance, and guide professional development for direct reports;
  • Using data, lead the development of AAF’s advocacy agenda by determining priorities in consultation with AAF’s leadership team, members and partner agencies, and Board.

Advocacy & Policy Expertise

  • Lead and oversee AAF’s Advocacy & Policy team to drive policy development and analysis in a wide range of city and state issues impacting Asian American communities, as outlined in AAF’s strategic plan;
  • Work with AAF’s Advocacy & Policy team to monitor and assess the impact of policy and budget issues at the city and state levels to assure that AAF’s policy agenda is responsive and relevant;
  • Partner with AAF’s Advocacy & Policy team to identify key priorities, plan campaigns, and ensure their successful execution through advocacy strategies, including active engagement of members/partners and their constituents and other organizations and coalitions; and
  • Oversee the successful convening of the Policy Advisory Committee to measure impact on key policies.

External Engagement

  • Lead and direct efforts to develop and maintain relationships with elected and appointed public officials, other leaders, and media;
  • Help lead, develop, and manage relationships with strategic allies, peer organizations, and key stakeholders;
  • Identify opportunities to bring new allies from diverse sectors into AAF’s work; form and manage strategic alliances; and strengthen participation from member and partner agencies; and
  • Promote understanding and support of AAF’s policy work among funders and donors.

Organizational Leadership

  • Work with the Executive Director and AAF leadership team to identify goals, key priorities, and strategies for the organization; and
  • Provide strategic guidance and direction for AAF, with an overall organizational lens.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have most, if not all, of the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public policy, social work, urban planning, or a related field, or equivalent professional experience; master’s degree desirable;
  • 7-10 years of experience in research and advocacy in a senior position in government or a nonprofit organization;
  • Minimum of 4-5 years of supervisory experience;
  • Familiarity with multiple policy issues;
  • Comfort with the New York City and State policy landscape;
  • Proven track record of fostering collaborations within Asian American communities and with other communities of color;
  • Demonstrated record of initiative, problem-solving, and adaptability;
  • Strong problem-solving, listening, and collaboration skills;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with exceptional attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated commitment to Asian American communities and AAF’s mission and core values.


All new hires must be vaccinated and must stay up to date with vaccines against the COVID-19 virus unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation for religion or disability. If you are offered a position with AAF, this requirement must be met by your date of hire, unless a reasonable accommodation for exemption is received and approved by AAF.

Compensation and Benefits:

This position is based in New York City, with a hybrid work environment. Salary for this position is between $110,000 to $140,000 commensurate with experience. A comprehensive benefits package includes 100% employee health care, dental and vision coverage, disability insurance, commuter benefits, as well as a 403(b) plan and generous paid time off.


Shelby Woods and Trisha Sutrisno of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials by filling out the Talent Profile. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Asian American Federation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email [email protected]. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

About Koya Partners:

Koya Partners, a part 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. For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.