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Managing Director of Programs & Projects

Position Summary

Project for Public Spaces is seeking a Managing Director of Programs & Projects to join our leadership team. Reporting to the CEO, this role is responsible for overseeing all placemaking, education, events, and research activities, leading and supporting an interdisciplinary program and project team, building a culture of continuous improvement and innovation, and cultivating relationships with new clients and partners.

The successful candidate will work closely with other members of the leadership team to translate organizational strategy into clear priorities and goals for the program and project teams. They will ensure collaboration and effective communication between program teams and across the organization, and maintain a high standard of quality and efficiency in project and program work.

They will have a proven track record of strong and collaborative staff leadership and management; program and project management experience, ideally in the planning or design of public spaces; a spirit of entrepreneurship; and a passion for organization.

Primary Responsibilities

Leadership of Projects & Programs​

  • Manages processes to streamline and coordinate the staffing, planning, and implementation of all project and program work.
  • Works with leadership team to assess and prioritize projects, programs, and opportunities.
  • Identifies and implements strategies to deliver continuous improvement across all project and program work, leading to a high standard of impact, quality, efficiency, and client satisfaction.
  • Ensures that program and project work contributes to the financial sustainability of the organization through earned income.
  • Builds relationships with potential clients; other design, planning, and community engagement firms;  and likeminded nonprofit organizations nationally and internationally.

Staff Leadership & Management

  • Leads and oversees all program and project staff, managing at least two direct reports.
  • Helps the program and project team meet their full potential through smart recruiting, coaching, and professional development.
  • Takes a leadership role in ensuring a strong, positive, and collaborative office culture across Project for Public Spaces.
  • Oversees decision-making about the allocation of staff resources, working with two senior project directors.

Organizational Leadership & Management

  • In coordination with other senior leaders, ensures that program and project work contributes revenue to the organization.
  • Works with others on the senior management team to achive the Project for Public Spaces vision, mission, core values, and organizational objectives through strategic planning and implementation.
  • Participates in positioning the organization to take advantage of opportunities for growth and market expansion.

Qualifications & Skills


  • 10 or more years of professional experience at a planning or design firm, with responsibility for supervising others.
  • A proven track record of leading small to mid-sized teams, including cultivating a positive culture and staff development, and implementing new systems, practices, and standards.
  • Understanding of project and program budgeting and financial management.
  • Thrives in a dynamic work environment, and provides leadership amidst change.
  • A skill set  that balances creativity with strong organizational skills, and a reliable, proactive personality.
  • A work style that thrives in a collaborative, tight-knit, dynamic office setting, with a proven track record of working across departments to achieve organizational goals.


  • A Masters degree in Urban Planning, Urban Design, or equivalent experience.
  • Passion for the placemaking, public space, community engagement—or a strong sense of curiosity.

About Us

Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build strong communities. We are the central hub of the global placemaking movement, connecting people to ideas, resources, expertise, and partners who see place as the key to addressing our greatest challenges.

Project for Public Spaces is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, or veteran status. We believe in creating a workplace based on equal opportunity, and in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, we:

  • Hire staff that reflects full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic identities in the United States;
  • Create a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged;
  • Ensure that all members of the Project for Public Spaces community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and
  • Commit to supporting low-income communities and communities of color that are particularly affected by social inequities.

Salary & Benefits

This is a full-time, salaried position with a benefits package that includes full health coverage, employee contributed 403(b), and generous vacation and paid holidays. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Application Instructions

To apply, please send a cover letter and résumé to info@pps.org with the subject “Managing Director." Position is open until filled.

Please email your application in a single PDF labeled "FirstName LastName - Position."