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Braven, Inc

Director, New Product Discovery

– Chicago, Illinois
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Manager/Supervisor

Ideal start date is mid-January, 2019 and Chicago (IL), San Jose (CA), Newark (NJ), or New York (NY) are preferred.

Braven’s mission:

In America, we’ve promised that hard work and ambition will be met with equality of opportunity. The reality is that we have a quiet crisis on our hands. Despite 1.2 million low-income or first-generation students enrolling in college each year, only one in four will attain a strong first job or enroll in graduate school upon graduating. In partnership with universities and employers, we believe Braven is a solution and we are on a mission to scale it, equalizing access to the American Dream.

We are looking for people passionate about ensuring all young people can put their education to work at this unique moment in time for our organization:

  • In 5 short years, we have grown from 14 students in a pilot on one campus to a community of 1,200 strong across three sites.

  • To date, 69% of Braven’s Fellows have landed a strong job or quality outcome within 6 months of graduation, as compared with the average of 54% for all students nationally.  Braven Fellows outpace their peers in internship attainment, non-cognitive skill growth, and college persistence.

  • Over the next 3 years, Braven will serve a total of 6,000 new Fellows across our existing three sites, innovate on our core model, and expand to new sites across the country.

The Role

The core “product” at Braven includes a credit-bearing course and post-course supports- what we call the Braven experience. The Product Team is ready to give capacity to exploring new product lines (e.g., that scale soft skill and social capital development) and business opportunities in service of outcomes, scale, and sustainability. The Director, New Product Discovery will field, prioritize, manage, and cultivate new business opportunities that will generate impact and, based on these prioritized opportunities, develop, build, and test emerging products. This role has the opportunity to advance Braven’s leadership and impact to new heights and expand how we think about what we do.  The Director, New Product Discovery will manage a small but mighty team to build and test potential product lines. This role requires organizational leadership, management experience, disciplined creativity and problem-solving, strategic focus, and the ability to create something from nothing. You’ll need both external-facing skills and a proven record of improving business, cost efficiency, and org impact through new product generation. To be successful at Braven, on the Product Team, and in this role, you must demonstrate Braven’s core values and thrive in ambiguity, constant evolution, and continuous feedback and learning. Basically, this role is for you if you’re really smart, creative, nimble, authentic, and have the experience. The Product Team’s motto is #justtryit and as the leader of the Product Discovery team, you’ll need a sense of possibility that is curious and experimental and also grounded in our mission.


  • Quickly learn organizational and programmatic context to inform product development

  • Develop and manage 2019 product development and test plan(s)

  • Successfully break through into new business markets

  • Rapidly prototype and test pilots and monitor with metrics of success

  • Assess and manage pilot data and feedback and report out on results and learnings

  • Manage relationships with external organizations and partners to scope out opportunities

  • Disseminate learnings from pilots both internally and externally

  • Recommend pilots that consider both internal priorities and external opportunities  

  • Manage Product Discovery team operations and two team members (with the possibility of growing your team over time)

  • Moderate travel (about 20%)


  • 8-10+ years work experience required; for-profit experience required

  • Product development and project management experience required

  • Experience managing 2+ people required

  • Comfort with technology and ability to manage tech roles required

  • Experience with online and mobile learning required

  • Strong instincts for new business opportunities required

  • Experience scaling products preferred

  • Experience creating products for soft skill development and/or train the trainer preferred

  • BA or equivalent degree required


  • Highly motivated, self-directed, results-oriented, data-driven, and curious

  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously with strong attention to detail and deadlines

  • Strong cultural competence and experience working with diverse populations

  • Exceptional writing skills and design instincts

  • Strong presentation and facilitation skills

  • Understands what it takes to develop soft skills and/or train the trainer

  • Welcomes feedback and seeks to continuously improve; Can handle ongoing volumes of feedback

  • Entrepreneurial with lean start-up mindset and excels in a fast-paced, team-oriented, start-up environment

More about Braven:

The Braven Accelerator empowers promising young people on their path to college graduation, meaningful careers, and lives of impact. Alongside educational institutions, Braven provides a scalable model to discover, develop, and connect extraordinary, diverse, and driven young people to high-quality skill building, opportunities, and networks. From the Accelerator will come a generation of leaders as diverse as our future demands.

Braven currently operates in Newark, New Jersey, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area. We aim to become the nation’s leading accelerator of diverse talent, putting 100,000 emerging leaders on the pathway to college completion and economic mobility. Our work is highly data and outcomes driven: college graduation; workforce readiness skills-based proficiency; employment in a high impact role within six months of graduation.

We as an organization value the longevity of our employees and offer a comprehensive and competitive benefits plan. The salary for this position is also competitive and depends on your prior work experience. Please be advised, you will have an opportunity to discuss salary in more detail after you begin the application process.

Braven is an equal opportunity employer and considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, veteran status, or any other protected factor.  We encourage talented individuals of all backgrounds to apply.


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