Director, Federal Government Relations

Advocacy · Washington, District of Columbia
Department Advocacy
Employment Type Full time
Minimum Experience Senior Manager/Supervisor


Position Title:                  Director, Federal Government Relations

Location:                           Washington, D.C.

Reports to:                       Senior Director or Vice President

Hours:                              Full-time

FLSA Status:                    Exempt

Travel:                              Approximately 10-15%

About California Life Sciences

California Life Sciences (CLS) is the state’s most influential and impactful life sciences membership organization, advocating for the sector and its diverse innovation pipeline. For more than 30 years, CLS has served the community by supporting companies of all sizes, from early-stage innovators and startups to established industry leaders in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology. As integral components of a healthy and collaborative ecosystem, CLS also works closely with universities, academic and research institutions, the investment community, and other critical partners that promote this vibrant sector. With offices in South San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, CLS works to shape public policy, improve access to breakthrough technologies, educate lawmakers, and advance equity within our ecosystem by championing innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our times. In doing so, CLS fulfills its mission to protect and nurture California’s life sciences industry, empowering discoveries that lead to healthier lives around the world. #WeAreCaliforniaLifeSciences

CLS currently offers a full suite of team member benefits including medical, dental, and vision insurance, LTD, STD and Group Life insurance, 401(k) plans with matching, FSA and HSA options and a generous paid time off and paid holiday schedule.

CLS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business needs.

Summary of Responsibilities:

The Director, Federal Government Relations is a full-time, DC-based position. The position will support and engage in direct legislative and  policy education and advocacy activities with members of the California delegation and their staff, as well as other legislative and committee offices and federal departments, offices and agencies. This includes assisting in the design and execution of comprehensive advocacy strategies to deliver on CLS priorities across a range of policies impacting the organization and our membership’s ability to conduct and grow their businesses. The Director will identify legislative and regulatory opportunities, analyze their impact and develop strategies to advocate for and achieve results.

Primary responsibilities of the Director, Federal Government Relations include:

  • Support and provide recommendations on the expansion and implementation of outreach/education and legislative advocacy
  • Build and maintain alliances with CLS member companies and organizations, partner associations and other affiliate
  • Proactively evaluate legislative and regulatory environment for potential impacts on California’s life sciences ecosystem, while staying apprised of high-level business goals to assess impacts to member companies from federal legislative, executive and regulatory activities.
  • Provide recommendations on legislative, executive, and regulatory activities important to CLS while developing and successfully implementing strategies in consultation with relevant internal and external staff, and when appropriate, in cooperation with outside coalitions and trade associations.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with Members of Congress and their staff, the Administration and White House important to CLS’s goals and objectives.
  • Assist with increasing management and business unit understanding of and participation in the federal policymaking and political process. Collaborate with business units on critical issues, utilizing executives and internal experts to advance CLS’s positions. Gain appropriate cross-functional and business input to federal policy and legislative advocacy positions when appropriate.
  • Provide rapid legislative and regulatory analysis and policy briefing papers, backgrounders and other communications to CLS Membership and California Delegation on topics affecting the state’s biomedical and life sciences

Job Details:

Federal Legislative/Policy Duties

  • Track, monitor and report on policy, regulatory and legislative-related issues and updates relevant to CLS’s federal policy agenda and membership
  • Manage policy portfolio and participate in related calls, meetings and events held by partner associations, other outside stakeholders and others as
  • Develop and manage communications to CLS membership and California Delegation and other offices, departments and agencies regarding CLS positions on federal legislation and policies, including “Breaking News” alerts, and preparing materials for individual company or organization use when engaging with local Members of Congress and/or S. Senators.

Outreach/Education Programs

  • Develop and implement collaborative CLS member- and alliance stakeholder-supported programs illustrating the importance of biomedical research and innovation to improvements in healthcare, economic growth and job creation, in collaboration with other CLS advocacy team members.
  • Direct the organization of Capitol Hill briefings, roundtables and facility tours with congressional offices, in collaboration with other CLS advocacy team members.
  • Assist with development of targeted web and social media education and advocacy opportunities (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and CLS blog postings; provide necessary legislative information for press releases; post live updates during Hill briefings ).


  • Support membership relations and business development
  • Solicit sponsorships to support CLS events and programs hosted in Washington, DC (including but not limited to Annual Spring Reception and Visionary Awards/Welcome Dinner, End of Year Reception, New Delegation Member Life Sciences Roundtable, etc.) in collaboration with other CLS advocacy team members.
  • May oversee the work product of other CLS advocacy staff as appropriate and be called upon to act as a mentor for less experienced colleagues where appropriate.


  • Uses broad experience to resolve complex issues in creative and effective
  • Exercises independent judgment in selecting methods, techniques and evaluation criteria for obtaining
  • Makes independent decisions on a daily
  • Demonstrates leadership with project teams within function, across functions and with external
  • Utilizes rapid policy analysis to respond effectively to the needs of CLS members and the
  • Reports to a Senior Advocacy team member who may provide input on selection of personal goals and strategic
  • May supervise day-to-day tasks and work of other professional-level
  • Acts as a professional representative of the organization with external
  • Must register as a federal
  • Models CLS’s values including: a disciplined focus, integrity, teamwork, respect, quality of work and ownership.

Background and Experience:

  • Direct experience on Capitol Hill strongly preferred, working for a member of Congress or committee of jurisdiction with a strong preference for a member of the California delegation.
  • Political or issue campaign experience preferred.
  • Strong network of relationships in Congress, with at least five (5) years of experience in the federal legislative arena required.
  • Substantive experience with the federal legislative process for healthcare policy and interplay with executive branch policymaking; strong understanding of the political context in which the biopharmaceutical/Life Sciences industry operates; working understanding of policies fundamental to ensuring patients have access to the medicines of today and tomorrow.
  • Must possess the ability to master complex policy and legislative issues and to shape and improve legislation to incorporate CLS’s views and enhance CLSA’s reputation with key policymakers.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; degree in related major
  • Innovative, energetic, entrepreneurial, and resourceful; diplomatic, intuitive, inquisitive and mature; willing to offer opinions, suggestions and judgments that are supported by sound logic.
  • Must demonstrate subject matter expertise in functional
  • Excellent verbal, written and digital communication
  • Utilizes initiative to problem solve and succeed in evolving environments; strong collaboration and negotiating skills
  • Demonstrated record of sound political judgment and
  • Strong teamwork, project management and analytical/problem solving
  • Availability to support and attend frequent early morning and late evening events (with advance notice).

Physical Demands:


  • Must be able to stand, sit, talk, listen and respond for an extended period of time
  • Must be able to use hands and fingers to operate a computer, telephone and keyboard
  • Close vision is required due to computer work
  • Ability to sit at a computer for an extended period of time
  • Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination (or provide appropriate medical or religious exemption documentation)

Disclaimer: This job is currently to be performed remotely but will return to an office setting as state and local COVID-19-rerestrictions are lifted. This job description reflects the requirements of the position in a normal environment and while certain responsibilities may be adjusted to provide for a safe working environment during COVID-19, CLS plans to follow state and local guidelines for reinstating normal business activities when appropriate. At such time, the responsibilities outlined herein will be required by the successful candidate.

This job description is intended to indicate the kinds of tasks and levels of work that are required of positions that fit in this classification and shall not be construed as declaring what the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position shall be. It is not intended to limit or in any way modify the right of any manager to assign, direct and control the work of employees under his or her supervision.

Thank You

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  • Location
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Department
  • Employment Type
    Full time
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Manager/Supervisor