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Presidential Innovation Fellow, FEMA - Oakland, CA

Presidential Innovation Fellows is hiring for GS-15 - Presidential Innovation Fellow at the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This page contains information related to the role as well as a link to submit your application. Check out Join TTS Hiring Process to learn more about the application process.

Basic Information

Location: Oakland, CA

Salary: The salary for this position is: GS-15 Step 1 - $156,235

You can find more information about this in the compensation and benefits section on our site.

Who May Apply: All United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) are eligible to apply.

Job announcement number: 21FASC271SBOTR

Opening and closing period for this job application: April 27, 2021 to May 14, 2021, 11:59pm Pacific Time

Job Title: Industry Specialist

Series & Grade: 0301 - 15

Promotion Potential: GS-15

Number of vacancies: 1 (Additional vacancies may be filled from this announcement as needed)

Supervisory status: No

Travel requirement: Occasional travel may be required up to 10% per year

Security clearance: Public trust. Background investigation required. Select positions may require higher levels of clearance.

Work Schedule: Full time

Appointment Type: Excepted Service: Initial appointment 12 months and 1 day and may be extended as needed up to a maximum of 24 months total.

Role Summary:

Presidential Innovation Fellow - GS-15

Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) is a renowned fellowship program that pairs mid-to-senior-level entrepreneurs, executives, and technologists of all kinds with civil servants and change-makers working within the federal government to tackle some of our nation’s biggest challenges. Fellows are embedded within agencies as entrepreneurs-in-residence for 12-24 month engagements working on mission-critical problems, shaping smarter policy and/or advancing equitable technology for public good.

Since the program was launched in 2012 by former U.S. CTO Todd Park, 193 Fellows have worked with over 45 agencies. Our Fellows join us from big tech, startups, academia, and more. Our Fellows come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of skills, but they share compassion, excellence, and dedication. Past fellows’ projects have focused on improving care and access to benefits for our veterans, re-imagining cancer clinical trials to increase awareness and access for patients, advancing digital health platforms and diagnostics to combat COVID-19, ensuring AI tools are not biased against job seekers with disabilities, and creating a central digital location to share and improve outcomes for children within the foster care system.

Applicants can apply online at and Fellows will start this winter.

The characteristics that we look for in Fellows, include:

Entrepreneurship and Technology:

  • Expert in a hard skill such as modern product management, software development, lean startup, strategy consulting, analysis, strategic design, experience design, human centered design, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, etc.
  • Self-starter - either an entrepreneur or intrapreneur with experience starting and building initiatives
  • Ability to break down business problems, understand and design effective solutions and strategies that draw on current and emergent tools, technologies, initiatives and other resources
  • Experience delivering products or services from concept to market

Approach and Methodology:

  • Expertise applying frameworks that emphasize delivery, iteration, quantitative/qualitative learnings and responsiveness
  • Expertise determining user needs, identifying market opportunities and designing and deploying solutions
  • Ability to apply forward thinking design and development principles to product development and project management such as lean start-up, agile and user centered design
  • Ability to describe esoteric and highly technical solutions to non-technical stakeholders

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence:

  • High degree of emotional intelligence. A quick study, who intuitively knows what needs to get done to deliver with integrity.
  • Comfort in ambiguity. Able to build relationships, continually define and scope opportunities independently, and maintain focus and momentum as priorities shift.
  • Experience in client-facing roles, navigating bureaucracy, business development and delivering services with a strong user-facing or consumer-oriented element.
  • Coalition builder with the ability to persuade and convince others to think about solutions in new and creative ways.
  • Ability to work with humility and empathy; bring together diverse co-creators; address power dynamics; and co-define challenges and ideate with community members (i.e. the public).
  • Ability to know when you need to show and when you need to tell.


  • Mid-senior/executive career professional experience working in your area
  • Demonstrated experience leading stakeholders through change where you don’t have explicit authority
  • Ability to be a thought leader and contribute best practices in a variety of technologies and business areas
  • Teamwork - ability to lead teams and work effective with others within a team
  • Interested in building a culture within the Fellowship and taking a genuine interest in other Fellows’ work, including providing feedback and collaborating when appropriate
  • Tenacity to push forward over difficult obstacles

Key Objectives

Objective #1: You will assess the state of digital services provided by the Federal Government, and work to align strategies and practice; conferring with key government/private officials and top experts in the field.

  • You will analyze and scope the technical and policy requirements needed to implement complex digital solutions
  • You will leverage your experience deploying high-quality, user centric platforms and services to lead major initiatives
  • You will apply forward thinking design and development principles to product development and project management such as lean start-up, user centered design and agile

Objective #2: You will conceive/recommend projects/strategies to advance the state of the art in the specialty area.

  • You will consult on systems and policy proposals, and provide technical policy and programmatic guidance to the government
  • You will demonstrate thought leadership, contributing best practices in a variety of technologies and principles
  • You will translate business problems into technology solutions that draw on current and emergent tools and technologies

Objective #3: You will utilize an entrepreneurial mindset, technology acumen, and strong communication skills in order to drive projects from ideation to completion.

  • You have the ability to present sensitive recommendations to higher authority and to articulate positions/policy of vast technical complexity
  • You possess knowledge of and expertise in driving and implementing technology solutions from concept to market that overcome significant challenges resulting from complex bureaucratic environments or technically difficult problems
  • You have a high degree of emotional intelligence, are a quick study, and intuitively know what needs to get done to deliver with integrity, ensuring compliance at all levels

Job Summary

The Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program brings the principles, values, and practices of the innovation economy into government through the most effective agents of change we know: our people. PIF pairs talented, diverse individuals from the innovation community with forward-thinking civil servants to tackle many of our nation’s biggest challenges, and to achieve profound and lasting social impact. Serving as trusted advisors and experts alongside government leaders, these Fellows use approaches across data science, human-centered design, and lean startup methodology to achieve results for the American people in months, not years.

The position requires Fellows perform work of an exceptional degree of difficulty across a wide range of topics at the convergence of technology, policy, and delivery. The Fellow will leverage their experience deploying high-­quality, human-centered platforms and services to lead major initiatives, consult on systems and policy proposals, and provide technical, policy, and programmatic guidance to government agencies. The individual will be expected to deliver innovative solutions that draw upon best practices. These solutions should have the potential to dramatically improve the delivery of government services, and provide value to the public at whom those services are directed.

The incumbent will use their demonstrated experience building and scaling initiatives to grow the effectiveness of the program.

This position is located within the General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Technology Transformation Service (TTS), Office of the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF).

GSA has been repeatedly named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in the federal government. You will have access to many benefits including:

  • Health insurance (choose from a wide range of plans)
  • Life insurance coverage with several options
  • Sick leave and vacation time, including 10 paid holidays per year
  • Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k) plan)
  • Transit and child care subsidies
  • Training and development
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Training and development

Key Requirements

  1. You must be a U.S. Citizen or National (residents of American Samoa and Swains Islands)
  2. You must be matched with an Agency project
  3. Suitable for federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  4. You will be required to serve a trial period
  5. Direct Deposit of salary check to financial organization required
  6. Register with Selective Service, if you are required by
  7. Complete a financial disclosure report to verify that no conflict, or an appearance of conflict, exists between your financial interest and this position


Typical duties for the Presidential Innovation Fellow include, but are not limited to:

Analyzing and scoping the technical and policy requirements needed to implement complex digital solutions; conceiving/recommending projects/studies to advance state-of-the-art work in the specialty area; applying forward ­thinking design and development principles to product development and program management, such as lean startup, human-centered design, equity-centered design, and agile development; assessing the state of digital services provided by the Federal Government, and working to align strategies and practice; conferring with key government/private officials and top experts in the field; representing the agency at technical symposia and/or conferences; developing authoritative papers/reports; developing and leading adoption of government­wide standards for digital services, leading to their adoption across citizen- and business-­facing government services; demonstrating thought leadership and contributing best practices in a variety of technologies and principles; contributing to a talent strategy that includes recruiting innovators and entrepreneurs to participate in solving complex and esoteric challenges.

Agency Placement

FEMA Region 9 is the authorized lead federal agency for supporting people before, during, and after disasters in the Southwestern and Pacific United States. This work entails leading and supporting disaster preparedness, grants management, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts in partnership with California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and more than 150 Tribal Nations for all-hazards, including hurricanes and typhoons, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, acts of terrorism, among other natural and man-made disasters. The Region has processed more than $10 Billion in support of these efforts since 2017. The Region also has an innovation-oriented culture and history, and frequently drives changes in federal emergency management that are implemented nationwide.

Recent experiences with COVID-19 highlight the need to develop a strategic approach for data management and analysis in advance of disasters, especially at the Regional level.

In response, FEMA’s National Preparedness Division is establishing a new branch focused on data management and analytics, which will serve as a shared, cross-divisional, enterprise-wide service hub and center of excellence that supports all Regional programs. The Presidential Innovation Fellow will work closely with Regional leadership to establish the new branch and will help the Region adopt best practices for data management and analytics.

Please note: This job announcement solely applies to the PIF projects at FEMA, and these are the only PIF positions located in Oakland, CA. If you are interested in PIF projects at other agencies, all of which are based in Washington, D.C., please apply at


All applications will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts against a scoring rubric created for this role. In order to properly be able to evaluate your previous experience, we recommend being as detailed as possible in your resume. We also recommend reviewing and following our general resume guidance, which provides helpful examples of the level of detail that is expected.

To qualify for this role, you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-14 or higher in the Federal service. Specialized experience is:

Navigating highly ambiguous or uncertain situations to deliver results. This experience must include ALL of the following:

  • Leading stakeholders through organizational change demonstrated by: Leading a cross-functional team to meet strategic objectives; Garnering support for the team by persuading others to provide approval, funding or resources; or Adjusting strategy based on qualitative or quantitative strategy.
  • Working in a team-oriented environment and collaborating within teams.
  • Working as an entrepreneur (i.e started and scaled companies or organizations) measured in increased revenue, clients or users; OR intrapreneur (i.e. starting and/or leading initiatives within corporate, academic or non-profit institutions) measured by increased revenue, promoted growth, drove business strategy, acquired clients or customers/end users.

Experience leading initiatives that deliver insight through data analytics. This experience must include ALL of the following:

  • Identifying opportunities within an organization to leverage data analytics to aid service improvement and/or decision-making for a project or organization Using quantitative and qualitative methods to collect, validate, analyze, and display data
  • Designing, developing, and working with platforms and tools for data visualization, analysis, and management
  • Utilizing reporting and/or business intelligence tools (e.g. Dash, Tableau, Power BI, MicroStrategy etc.)
  • Developing strategies for querying and relating data across disparate sources via modern approaches such as graph based techniques Working with advanced analytics, predictive modeling, machine learning, and AI approaches, models, and methodologies
  • Developing project management documentation (e.g. scopes of work, project plans, status reports)
  • Briefing executive level stakeholders on project information (e.g. status, technical details, blockers, dependencies)

Experience with geo-spatial intelligence and mapping is beneficial but not required.

Qualification determinations cannot be made when resumes do not include the required information, so failure to provide this information may result in disqualification.

For each job on your resume, provide:

  • the exact dates you held each job (from month/year to month/year or “present”)
  • number of hours per week you worked (if part time)


We will use a method called Category Rating to assess your application.

Here’s how it will work:

You will be scored based on a review of your application materials, measuring your possession of each of the following competencies

  • Analysis and Creative Problem Solving: Determining user needs or identifying market opportunities and designing and deploying solutions
  • Technology Acumen: Translating business problems into technology solutions that draw on current and emergent tools and technologies; and experience describing esoteric and highly technical solutions to non-technical stakeholders
  • Leadership: Ability to effectively lead a cross-functional team to meet product objectives
  • Entrepreneurship and Product Management: Delivering products or services from concept to market
  • Communication: Ability to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences to establish a shared vision and understanding of the project’s objectives and goals.

If found to be eligible and at least minimally qualified for the position, your score will be used to place you in a category (Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified).

Within each category, veterans will receive selection priority over non-veterans if supported by appropriate documentation. All veterans preference documentation to include DD 214, VA disability rating SF-15 must be submitted to prior to May 14, 2021, 11:59pm Pacific Time in order to receive consideration of veterans preference.

Placements are not guaranteed even if determined to be in the Best Qualified category. Qualified candidates must be selected by an Agency in order to receive a tentative job offer.