Senior Manager of Data Science

Washington, DC (remote until Polaris resumes in person business operations)

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Polaris Project
Polaris is leading a data-driven social justice movement to fight sex and labor trafficking at the massive scale of the problem - 25 million people worldwide deprived of the freedom to choose how they live and work.
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Position: Senior Manager of Data Science

Department: Learning, Innovation and Data Systems 

FLSA Status: Full-Time, Exempt

Reports to: Learning, Innovation and Data Systems Director

Direct Reports: Data Systems Manager

Date Issued: July 14, 2021

Date Revised: N/A 

Location: Washington, DC (remote until Polaris resumes in person business operations)


The Mission

Polaris is leading a data-driven social justice movement to fight sex and labor trafficking at the massive scale of the problem – 25 million people worldwide deprived of the freedom to choose how they live and work. 

For more than a decade, Polaris has assisted thousands of victims and survivors through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, helped ensure countless traffickers were held accountable and built the largest known U.S. data set on actual trafficking experiences. With the guidance of survivors, we use that data to improve the way trafficking is identified, how victims and survivors are assisted, and how communities, businesses and governments can prevent human trafficking by transforming the underlying inequities and oppression that make it possible.

About Opportunity

The Senior Manager of Data Science leads Polaris’s efforts to collect and share data about human trafficking.  The Senior Manager of Data Science serves as a subject matter expert on Polaris’s direct data collection efforts and will work closely with internal and external partners to ensure that this information is responsibly and safely used to inform anti-trafficking strategies. This individual will manage a team of part-time and full-time staff of data professionals focused on data quality and sharing. This individual must excel in a fast-paced and evolving environment, be a proficient writer able to distil complex and technical information for diverse audiences, and experienced at project management. The Associate Director of Data Systems must have excellent attention to detail, have a proven aptitude at using databases and other data related technologies, have exceptional communication skills, and be able to appropriately handle highly sensitive, confidential information. 

The  Senior Manager of Data Science is responsible for the application of a wide set of statistical, programming and/or engineering disciplines for planning, design, analysis, and specification development for systems and databases to support Polaris’s efforts to collect and share data about human trafficking. The candidate will work with project managers, consultants, programmers, data scientists, analysts, and customers to determine data requirements and see those requirements through to completion. The candidate must have expertise in the manipulation of unstructured data in a data analytics environment, and the use of open-source tools, cloud computing, machine learning and data visualization. Must have ability to use/code in a language applicable to the project including; Python, and advanced knowledge of machine learning.


Data Collection and Processing Systems 

  • Leverage best practices in data science and data engineering  to improve efficiency and quality of data collection and processing workflows
  • Partner with the Technology team to manage and grow a scalable data architecture and infrastructure for data collection, and analysis; 
  • Guide the work of data systems manager to monitor data processing team efficiency and efficacy and design and implement solutions to iterate on or improve  processes; 
  • Serve as a subject matter expert on Polaris’s data and its structure/ontology internally and externally;


Data Analysis and Reporting Systems 

  • In collaboration with social science researchers on the LIDS team, use statistical and predictive modeling approaches, computational text analytics, and machine learning to analyze a variety of big data including those from the National Human Trafficking Hotline
  • Collaborate closely with the Technology team to design, and optimize platforms for analyzing data as well as for safely and responsibly sharing aggregate and dis-aggregate data with internal Polaris teams as well as with the anti-trafficking field 
  • Work with key program staff to create visually attractive and stimulating dashboards, reports and presentations.


Data Justice/Data Privacy 

  • Develop and manage standards for information sharing and data storage (including data labeling conventions, retention efforts, data access provisioning, etc.)
  • Provide consultation and support in thinking about data use, storage, interpretation, etc. from the perspective of victim centeredness and promoting justice


External Data Relationships Management

  • Advise entities seeking Polaris data on interpreting and using the data in line with Polaris’s values and  mission;
  • Develop partnerships with research institutions and data collaboratives to ensure Polaris data is used to  inform counter-trafficking initiatives; 
  • Work with Director to develop externally facing documentation and communications regarding Polaris’s  data processes and standards and manage documentation resources
  • Consult with various stakeholders in the field on human trafficking data collection, structure, standards,  and sharing; 


Project Management and Leadership 

  • Guide and supervise the work of the Data Science Manager and that of other  technical staff members working on data analysis or reporting
  • Participate in the development and implementation of LIDS vision and strategy
  • Apply best practices in project management to all LIDS projects
  • Drive a data science culture that inspires and motivates the team to succeed
  • Provides consultation, and capacity development to Polaris teams  for data collection projects as well as interpretation and use of data collected by Polaris and; 
  • Commitment to the National Human Trafficking Hotline mission and Polaris values; 
  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor. 


This job description provides a summary of the major duties and responsibilities performed by individuals in this position.  Incumbents may be asked to perform other tasks not specifically written in this job.



Required Qualifications

  • Deep passion! Mad skills! Low ego!
  • Bachelor’s degree in a quantitative or analytical field such as Data Science, Statistics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Economics, Engineering, Physics, or Computational Social Science 
  • Minimum seven years of relevant work experience in data science field,  including experience performing research in Data Analytics with demonstrated ability to synthesize large volumes of material; 
  • Experience working with a hybrid team of analyst, engineers, and developers to conduct research, and build and deploy complex, but easy-to-use analytical platforms
  • Experience working with tools such as R, Python, SPSS or SAS. 
  • Experience working with relational database;  
  • Knowledge of data ethics, confidentiality, and privacy matters related to collection, analysis, and sharing  of data pertaining to vulnerable populations; 
  • Highly developed written and verbal communication skills with a strong focus on being able to explain  complex technical information to a non-technical audience;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and experience working with multiple organizational stakeholders, including  peers, directors, and executive level staff  with demonstrated ability to act as a liaison between technical and non-technical audiences;  
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to juggle competing priorities;  
  • Emotional maturity and demonstrated discretion in handling sensitive and confidential information and;
  • A natural self-starter with the ability to meet tight deadlines and deliver results quickly.  


Preferred Qualifications

  • Extensive knowledge of human trafficking data collection methodology, standards, and sharing  considerations; 
  • Direct-supervision experience
  • Salesforce administration and reporting
  • Familiarity with statistical de identification techniques for sensitive datasets  
  • Experience or knowledge creating data visualizations for external audiences


Communication (“External” Changes based upon position)

  • Internal: Ability to communicate with supervisors, peers and direct reports;
  • External:  Ability to communicate complex technical information to a non-technical audiences. 


Working Conditions

  • Typical office setting


Physical Requirements (can change with position)

  • Prolonged sitting, chiefly at a computer terminal;
  • Occasional bending, stooping and stretching;
  • Requires eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity sufficient to operate a computer, telephone, calculator, and other office equipment;
  • Requires normal range of hearing and eyesight to record, prepare, and communicate in writing, in person and by phone;


Organization Background 


VALUES: Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs and strives to model and embody these values in all that it does. 


We work with humility and a spirit of service. We serve a mission that is bigger than ourselves, and we recognize that we cannot do this work alone. We foster a caring community of mutual support, and we actively pursue collaborations and partnerships to expand our reach. 

Victims’ and survivors’ experiences ground our efforts. We honor the dignity, agency, and resilience of victims and survivors of slavery, both past and present. We serve, work alongside, and stand in solidarity with those who have been most affected by modern slavery. 

We strive for inclusion and equity. We engage different perspectives to inform our decisions, actions, and positions. We create opportunities that empower individuals of diverse backgrounds and circumstances. We acknowledge the structural inequities that lead to human trafficking and modern slavery, which drives us to create just and equitable solutions. 

We approach our work with courage. We promote a culture of inquiry, innovation, risk-taking, and continuous learning. We are resilient and evolve when faced with obstacles or failure. We recognize that what is typical or traditional is not always optimal. 

We create positive impact and achieve results. We leverage and cultivate the strengths of our staff, and we work with discipline, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. We embrace a measurement culture to track our progress. We view impact holistically, considering multiple sectors and the effects on individuals’ lives, as we pursue systemic and social change to eradicate modern slavery



Polaris designs and implements data-driven strategies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking, and restore freedom to survivors.  Achieving this ambitious goal requires both trafficking-specific systemic interventions and broader cultural and structural shifts that reduce the inequities that lead to human trafficking. While Polaris alone cannot build a more diverse, just, equitable, and inclusive society, both the success of our work and our organizational values require modeling in the workplace the change we want to see in the world.

This means cultivating a workforce, organizational culture, and priorities that respect and celebrate a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team made up of individuals with different identities, lived experiences, and backgrounds. Within both our team and across every part of our work, we strive to integrate and elevate the full range of survivor voices.

This is a living commitment.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion are values to be manifested daily, in the work we do, the decisions we make, and the way that we treat each other and the people we seek to serve.  This means creating space where staff can be included, heard, valued, and set up for success, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, best selves to work. We will not check boxes and consider it done. We will push new innovations and different ways of thinking, and treasure the community built and strengthened by each of our contributions.


Job region(s): North America
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