Director, Higher Education Alliance at XPRIZE

| Culver City
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XPRIZE competitions change the world for the better by accelerating innovation life cycles, catalyzing markets, and energizing stakeholders.  

The XPRIZE Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and incentivizing breakthroughs to the most critical challenges facing humanity. Since its beginning in 1994, the Foundation has been building and continues to build a vision of hope and abundance for humanity’s future by harnessing the power of innovators, technology, and resources.  

Through incentive prize competitions, XPRIZE enables people to create bold and transformative solutions that are scalable and drive real impact. XPRIZE competitions positively impact both the marketplace and humanity by addressing the market failures that have prevented significant breakthroughs across multiple sectors.  


sets an audacious but achievable goal that aims to overcome challenges deemed impossible. It tackles some of humanity's most pressing issues by redefining what is achievable and pushing the boundaries of human potential.  

defines and addresses a clear problem through extensive research, a design sprint, and a competition that catalyzes the development of the next breakthroughs to put humanity on the path toward a preferred future state for all. The desired outcome from an XPRIZE is clear and measurable, and the rules of the competition are transparent and easily understood.  

democratizes innovation by encouraging expert and nonexpert participation and multidisciplinary collaboration.  

catalyzes markets and revitalizes stagnant industries by increasing awareness of market failures and accelerating innovations to address them.  

is highly leveragedwith competing teams attracting and mobilizing investment capital, partner support, and new members in pursuit of the prize. Philanthropic dollars are thus magnified in support of a solution.  

Our first XPRIZE, the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight, spurred an industry and created exponential breakthroughs. Since then we have provided over $140 million in incentives through these competitions. Each prize has created an industry-changing technology that brings us closer to a better, safer, more sustainable world.  

The use of incentive competitions, or prizes, to accelerate innovation goes back over 300 years, to when the British Admiralty launched the Longitude Prize in 1714 to find a better way to navigate our seas. In the years since, several well-known innovations have resulted from incentive competitions, including canning as a form of food preservation (a competition launched by Napoleon in 1795), modern plastics (the Billiard Ball Prize, 1863) and commercial aviation (the Orteig Prize, 1919).  

This is more than a job to us. When you work at XPRIZE, you’re making a positive impact on some of the biggest challenges facing our world. Whether you’re working in prize design or development, marketing and communications, stakeholder relations, business operations or any other department, you’re playing a critical role in turning the impossible into the possible.

Role Summary

XPRIZE’s Higher Education Alliance (HEA) is a global consortium of universities, colleges, and technical institutions that partner with XPRIZE to unite the world around a shared goal of leveraging thoughtful action to address humanity’s grandest challenges. Higher Ed institutions are critical to furthering XPRIZE’s commitment to empowering and inspiring the next generation of solvers. By showing students they can effect massive positive change and encouraging them to use their talents to solve the world’s grandest challenges, XPRIZE and HEA Members can galvanize a diverse and innovative army of changemakers and leaders who will accelerate a brighter future for humanity.

As the HEA Director, you will work closely with the VP, Partnerships and the Partnerships team to build upon the success of partnerships XPRIZE has established with higher education institutions by developing and executing new strategies and initiatives to further engage Members of the Higher Education Alliance, and by building up the membership with an eye towards diversity and impact.

In this role, you will leverage your strong eye for strategy and creativity, combined with deep program management, analytical, and interpersonal capabilities, to build out the HEA and support multiple complex projects simultaneously. You will also leverage your relationship skills to develop mutually beneficial and trusting relationships with partners, and work with cross-functional teams to design and execute on those relationships (e.g., Development, Prizes, Data Collective, Legal, Marketing, Finance).


  • Analyze (1) XPRIZE's impact and HEA performance and (2) industry dynamics, the competitive landscape, and market data to advocate for new areas of energy and direction and inform HEA programs and product design.
  • Support the strategic objectives and interests of XPRIZE’s core business teams, identify opportunities for the HEA to support performance improvement.
  • Work with leadership and decision-makers to explore, frame, and operationalize HEA partnership strategies for XPRIZE.
  • Develop, build, and scale HEA programs and strategic impact-generating initiatives.
  • Develop mutually beneficial and trusting relationships with HEA Members that are key for advancing our mission to make XPRIZE the premier platform to catalyze transformational change in the world.
  • Identify, cultivate, evaluate, structure, negotiate, sign, and manage HEA Members.
  • Evaluate the economic and strategic cost-benefit of HEA Member collaborations to inform structure, negotiation, and signing of bespoke partnerships.
  • Develop and leverage relationships with key executives at schools to understand their goals and grow XPRIZE mindshare across all levels of the partnership.
  • Help transform and grow the HEA Member role in XPRIZE's ecosystem as higher education institutions become increasingly central to Foundation operations and impact.
  • Lead cross-functional teams to execute on the relationships, and ensure that key partner initiatives are realized and are aligned to a partner impact goal
  • Structure and develop custom agreements and new templates for initiatives to formalize new relationships with new and existing partners.
  • Influence partner and organizational behavior in response to gaps or specific impact objectives
  • Hold a quota for HEA Member recruitment and Member success.
  • Develop best practices to foster, manage, and track opportunities.
  • Develop project plans and timelines, and document project budgets
  • Balance multiple assignments and schedule workload to meet established deadlines
  • Seek impact as a result of all behaviors and actions


  • 12+ years overall work experience
  • 5+ years people management experience with a proven track record of talent development
  • Strategic thinker who can anticipate and act thoughtfully and quickly on multiple potential outcomes
  • Experience working with partner programs in their infancy
  • Deep experience working with and navigating higher education institutions
  • Excellent process and operational management skills - ability to drive excellence, scale, consistency, and efficiency through the disciplined use of systems and processes
  • Exceptional written communication and presentation skills, with experience presenting to senior managers and the C-suite
  • Excellent product sensibility, and comfort with considering feasibility of partner collaborations
  • Excellent track record of identifying and understanding partner needs and successfully implementing long-term solutions using a consultative approach
  • Excellent track record of sourcing, developing, negotiating, closing, and maintaining partner relationships
  • Takes a deep, active interest in increasing customer satisfaction and deepening customer relationships
  • Strong track record of navigating complex organizations and demonstrates sound judgment in handling multiple personalities and situations.
  • Executive presence in working with senior leadership within XPRIZE and within partner organizations
  • In-depth experience operating within and leading cross-functional teams (product, sales, legal, finance, marketing, etc.)
  • Fluency in using a CRM to manage opportunities, and organize and analyze vast amounts of data
  • Advanced knowledge of MS Outlook, MS Exchange, and MS Office Suite, especially MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint
  • A passionate entrepreneurial spirit with additional intrinsic characteristics including self-motivated, goal-oriented, independent learner, resourceful, trustworthy
  • Thrives in a fast paced, innovative environment.
  • Collaborative approach; appreciation and enjoyment of working as part of a team.
  • Exceptional organizational abilities; aggressive attention to detail.
  • Ability to work independently, work under pressure and use independent judgment.
  • Rigorous time management skills.
  • Excellent prioritization and ability to manage multiple assignments.
  • Ability to maintain discretion regarding confidential and sensitive information.
  • Fluency in using a CRM to manage opportunities, and organize and analyze vast amounts of data
  • Advanced knowledge of MS Outlook, MS Exchange, and MS Office Suite, especially MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint
  • Bachelor's degree required; Master’s degree preferred
  • Some travel required

Come change the world with us.

XPRIZE Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to having a truly inclusive workforce. We do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation or on the basis of actual or perceived gender as expressed through dress, appearance, or behavior. 

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