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Programs Manager, Impact Fellowships

Watson Institute

Watson Institute

Boulder, CO, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2023

Overview of Watson Institute

Watson Institute is a place where next generation entrepreneurs and leaders can find their community, discover their calling, and accelerate their careers.

Watson Institute powers Career and Venture Accelerator programs for partners including Ford, Western Union, Truist, Bank of the West/BNP Paribas, and several private foundations that are impacting over 1,800 entrepreneurial leaders this year. The Fellowship programs include award-winning training, seed funding, committed mentorship, and a vast network of resources.

97% of Watson Institute alums are employed (including by Amazon, Tesla, Microsoft, fortune 500 companies, and innovative startups), continuing their education, or building a venture. Even leading business schools are at 93% for the same metric.

Alumni of Watson Institute’s Venture Accelerators have raised over $175 million, created over 1,500 part or full-time jobs, and impacted 5 million people around the world through initiatives they help lead. Watson Institute’s Alumni have been selected to Y Combinator, the Echoing Green Fellowship and six have been named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists. Alums continue their education at Harvard University, New York University, and Princeton University, among others.

Programs Manager – Mission Statement

The primary mission of the Programs Manager is to manage and lead all elements of Watson Institute’s Fellowship programs. The goal is for each Fellowship to receive a 9.0/10 or above on the Fellow reviews, meet the key milestones and overall north star goals of each Fellowship.

The Fellowship consists of 4 major programmatic elements:

  • Delivering high quality weekly programming for the Fellows, both virtually and in-person (when applicable).
  • Leading all Fellowship communications to both the Fellows, community and team.
  • Delivering and overseeing all external events as the main project lead to ensure all events are held at the highest level of quality possible from the pre-planning, communication and implementation phase.
  • Delivering and tracking all of our surveys to ensure we are conducting ongoing measurement and evaluation of each program.

The Programs Manager will lead the implementation of Watson Institute’s Fellowships with a singular focus on delivering a high quality program for our Fellows and partners. Some of the key elements of this role include: Planning & Implementing all Programmatic Components of the Fellowship (50% of their time), Leading all Fellowship related Communications (20% of their time), Leading Community Outreach and Engagement Initiatives (20% of their time), Curriculum Oversight (5% of their time) and Preceptor Facilitation for Pitch Block & Pitch Coaching (5% of their time).

Detailed Position Breakdown:

Planning & Implementing all Programmatic Components of the Fellowship (50%)

Program Pre-Planning:

  • All Programs Managers are responsible for the pre-planning, implementation and leading the 16-week Fellowship. Program Managers will be responsible for leading two Fellowship programs per year.
  • They will build out a Fellowship Success Tracker provided to them by the Design team as a guide for the structure of each Fellowship.
  • They are responsible for leading a multi-day Immersive experience, either in person or virtually depending on the Fellowship with the support of the Program Operations Team.
  • In order to successfully lead a Fellowship, the Program Manager will work closely with the Development team, Operations team as well as the Programs Team and act as the primary liaison between the Fellows and other departments in the organization.
  • During the planning months, Programs Managers are responsible for scheduling the core programmatic elements of each Fellowship, in a way that directly corresponds to the “theme” of that Fellowship and the profiles of the Fellows admitted.
  • The Programs Managers will work with the Programs Coordinator to ensure the Success Tracker of each Fellowship is reflected on the calendar for Fellows, partners and the team to engage with.
  • Programs Managers are responsible for a successful Fellow Onboarding experience. This means they will need to engage with the Search Manager the month prior to the start of the program to coordinate an engaging onboarding experience for Fellows (Meet the Cohort, Intake Form, Getting to know the Fellows).

Program Implementation:

  • As the gatekeeper of the community, the Programs Managers should lead each Fellowship with empathy, perception, and remain committed to the growth of each Fellow by leading 1- on-1’s with the Fellows throughout the duration of the program. In addition they will need to plan Community Building sessions.
  • Programs Managers are responsible to connect Fellows to additional Mentors in the Watson Institute Mentor network when particular expertise is observed to be helpful to the Fellow’s growth.
  • They are accountable for the successful execution of the Program Operations, Basecamps, Curriculum and Summit.

Leading all Communications (20%): The Programs Manager will be responsible for all Fellow communications beginning as soon as the Fellows have been admitted to the program. They will be responsible for hosting consultation calls, conducting on-going communications leading up to the official start of the Fellowship and being the main point of contact throughout the Fellowship until the Fellows have officially completed the program, received their certificate and completed their Basecamps (if applicable).

Leading Community Outreach and Engagement Initiatives (20%): The Programs Manager role is responsible for engaging the local community (when applicable) and engaging our global community in order to meet the Programmatic theme and needs of the partner / Fellow. This includes:

  • Developing and sustaining a trusting relationship with entrepreneurial leaders and community stakeholders, specifically with location-based Fellowships.
  • Ensuring Fellows are connected to Watson Institute’s Mentor network, when applicable and if appropriate, to meet the venture-specific needs of each Fellow.
  • Invite community members involved in each Fellowship to Summit, Watson Institute’s culminating event.

Curriculum Oversight (5%): The Programs Manager will be asked to audit courses to ensure the facilitators are consistently delivering quality content in each session and reporting high level feedback to the Director of Design. They will also be asked to support Preceptors (if needed) with technology, prep and the facilitation of the course. This request will be made in advance.

Pitch Block & Pitch Coaching (5%): Each Programs Manager will be asked to teach one “Block” per Fellowship, which consists of a series of modules related to the specific hardskill. The Programs Manager will specifically lead the Pitch content in preparation for Summit, the culminating pitch event of the Fellowship. The Pitch content consists of four modules, Storytelling, Storytelling to Pitch and two Pitch Labs. All Programs Managers will be presented with content and coaching to ensure that they are set up for success in delivering this critical content.

*New responsibilities may develop as the Programs Manager position evolves.

Culture Add

In order to thrive as the Programs Manager at Watson Institute, a candidate must:

  • Eager to join a team with high standards for quality and excellence.
  • An exceptional eye for detail. You enjoy spending time with words, style, and formatting in order to make the most compelling product possible.
  • Detail Oriented: You are meticulous and have excellent organizational skills. You are especially attuned to spotting mistakes or inconsistencies in writing and external communications. You take pride in completing your work accurately and on schedule. You have a knack for project management and a love for work plans and checklists. You cringe at missed steps and you are the first to identify a typo or formatting error.
  • Intentional: Your working style is about creating order and planning ahead. You think systematically and excel at establishing elegant processes.
  • Results-Driven: You bring an eagerness to grow and to roll up your sleeves and contribute. You have a go-getter attitude and a drive to solve all sorts of problems, no matter the size or shape. When something is your responsibility, you find a way to see it through to the end.
  • High Integrity: You will be asked to make sensitive and critical judgment calls, and as such, you are known for your integrity and you take that reputation seriously. You always choose to make the right decision versus the easy decision. You know what information is sensitive, and you will protect it accordingly. You are comfortable escalating issues and holding your ground when you think it’s the right thing to do for the organization and mission.
  • Systems-minded: Demonstrated experience in building and implementing systems. You are comfortable designing, testing, improving, and smoothly running systems and processes. This could be any system that involved inputs from or served multiple people and required consistent and accurate functioning.
  • Communication Style: Based on a story from Watson Institute’s early days, ‘Come to the Window’ represents the principles of our communication including:
    • Obligation to Dissent: If someone on our team disagrees with a decision or our direction as an organization, our team encourages disagreement and brings attention to challenges because true leaders believe dissent is an obligation.
    • Disagree and Commit: To complement Obligation to Dissent, there are times when we need to Disagree and Commit. Once all concerns and criticisms are shared, the course of action must be committed to by all involved.
    • No Drama: We prioritize purpose and don’t involve ourselves in the drama created by backroom chatter, hearsay, and unnecessary focus on issues that do not place impact first.
    • Go to the Source: Our culture is defined by direct, honest, and frequent communication. We expect team members to ‘go to the source’ of concerns by speaking up, communicating frequently, and taking issues directly to the individuals involved.

Candidate Profile

Top candidates should demonstrate: :

  • A deep-seated passion for building community and Watson Institute’s mission to develop innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs to solve the toughest challenges facing the world.
  • A natural inclination to build relationships and partnerships in the local community in order to strengthen Watson Institute’s presence.
  • Facilitation skills, with the ability to inspire and draw out the best in a room during each of the workshops and events being facilitated.
  • Experience as an entrepreneurial leader throughout their lives. The Programs Manager work will be in close tandem with the Watson Institute Fellows, each of whom are entrepreneurs, therefore they need to understand the Fellows trajectories and challenges.
  • Dedication to leading quality programming.
  • 1-4 years of program delivery related experience.


  • Competitive base salary according to experience: $55,000.00-$75,000.00.
  • Annual Happiness Fund that increases with time and seniority.
  • Unlimited vacations (3 weeks required vacation time per year).
  • Monthly health insurance stipend.
  • Automatic 3% contribution to your retirement account.

The Vitals

  • The Programs Manager is a full-time commitment and reports to the Associate VP of Programs.
  • The Programs Manager position can work remotely, but should be based in the Boulder/Denver, CO, South Florida, Atlanta, GA, or Pennsylvania areas.
  • The start date for this position is January 2, 2024.