The Breakthrough Institute is an energy and environmental research center based in Oakland, California. Our work is premised on the belief that humans can protect nature by using technology to limit the negative impacts on the environment. Basically, we envision a world that is good for both people and nature. We achieve this goal through our three focus areas: energy, conservation, and food and farming. We’re a great team to join. Here’s why.

1. Do a lot. You will get the chance to play an integral role in fundraising and event planning. You will gain first-hand experience working on everything from logistics to content creation to event production on a mix of events with diverse topics. Plus, you’ll get to support the development efforts that make them possible.

2. Learn from the best in the business. You may not have heard of us, but we guarantee you have heard of the ideas that have originated from our research. We convene a powerful network of social scientists, journalists, scholars, academics, innovators, and entrepreneurs. As a part of the team, you will get to learn from the thought leaders and influencers in energy and the environment.

3. Brilliant coworkers who love what they do. We are in this for the same reason – to make a positive impact on the world around us – so we build each other up, support each other, and put our mission above our egos. We’re a friendly and collaborative group. That means you will be able to learn and work with a wide variety of people and skills.

Operations Director

We are looking for an Operations Director to join our team. The Operations Director leads and coordinates the day-to-day operations of Breakthrough and oversees finances, HR, and payroll, and manages the office.

This position reports to the Executive Director and collaborates with staff. This person should be organized, flexible, and enjoy the challenge of supporting an office that is evolving in culture and structure.

Role & Responsibilities

Finances & Bookkeeping:

  • Lead senior team in budgetary decision making and review monthly financials
  • Manage the annual audit process with CPA firm
  • Work with management to prepare annual budget
  • Pay bills semi-monthly. Assure that all invoices are properly documented, approved and coded prior to payment.
  • Deposit incoming checks and record in Quickbooks.
  • Process bi-weekly payroll with outside payroll service and ensure compliance with state & federal employment regulations
  • Work with outside CPA Firm who prepares monthly financial statements.
  • Organize office procedures for invoice processing and expense reporting

HR & Legal:

  • Manage the hiring of new employees and exit of employees including setting up payroll, orientation, benefits enrollment, and VISA applications
  • Facilitate staff enrollment in medical, life insurance, retirement, state disability and leave, and commuter benefits
  • Implement office policies according to organizational handbook and update handbook as needed
  • Manage contract negotiations with office vendors, service providers, consultants, fellows, and office lease

Org Development:

  • Plan and lead monthly staff meetings and weekly senior staff meetings
  • Develop a professional development program for staff to ensure their ongoing growth within the organization
  • Coordinate annual staff retreat and meetings for the Breakthrough team to implement the strategic plan and internal organizational development goals

Office Management:

  • Renew insurance coverage and oversee fundraising registration compliance and renewals
  • Maintain office equipment, software and email systems, computers, and phones
  • Organize and schedule staff meetings
  • Serve as the point person for all office maintenance issues.

Events Management

  • Supervise the Events Director and provide operational oversight for executing all BTI events


  • Provide operational oversight for all BTI donor relationships and grant applications

Qualities you should possess:

  • Openness to implementing unconventional and innovative ideas.
  • Have demonstrated experience with organizational budgeting and financial management, including navigating an audit process.
  • Have demonstrated ability to inspire and lead the development of effective and dynamic small teams;
  • Have the ability to manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
  • Have strong attention to detail.
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Have a willingness to learn.
  • Be skilled at managing, supporting, and developing staff.
  • Be a team player.
  • Be self-starting, resourceful, and organized.
  • Be a proactive problem solver.

Preferred experience:

  • Bachelor's degree with 10+ years of related work experience
  • Comfort with Google applications (Gmail, Google docs, calendar, etc).
  • Comfort with Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Familiarity with CRMs.


Salary commensurate with experience. Excellent health insurance, paid leave, cell phone reimbursement, and commuter benefits. We are located in downtown Oakland, right above the 12th Street Oakland BART station.

Does this sound like you? If so, apply here.

Send your resume, short answers to the three questions below, and three references (name, affiliation, email, and phone number) to Grace Choi at jobs[at]thebreakthrough[dot]org. Use the subject line “Name - Operations Director.” No phone calls please, and incomplete applications will not be considered.

  • Why are you applying for this opportunity, and how does this role fit into your career to date?
  • What are 1-3 approaches or strategies that are important to you when leading organizational operations and budgeting?
  • Please share an example where you helped lead an organizational change process (could be a new practice, policy, or system).

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The Breakthrough Institute is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation & gender identity.

Nuclear Senior Analyst


  • Execute existing nuclear research agenda
  • Attend meetings as Breakthrough’s nuclear expert, speak on panels, and give interviews on subject knowledge
  • Contribute ideas for Breakthrough Dialogues and other events
  • Propose collaboration with Senior Fellows and keep Senior Fellows informed of relevant Breakthrough nuclear work
  • Contribute nuclear projects to funding proposals and engage with funders as needed
  • Undertake qualitative and quantitative research for internal and external use, including memos, reports, working papers, and peer-reviewed publications
  • Write articles for the Breakthrough website and external publications
  • Contribute to research and funding proposals as needed
  • Engage with key audiences on social media such as Twitter
  • Follow the discourse on nuclear energy issues and propose new areas of research
  • Continuously develop quantitative and qualitative research methods and skills
  • Scope out nuclear-related projects for our Breakthrough Generation Fellowship program and supervise Generation fellows


  • Reports to Director of Climate and Energy
  • Work with Content Director to publish writings on Breakthrough’s website

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum of 3-5 years of experience or academic background in energy, nuclear, or environmental policy
  • Demonstrated experience writing for non-technical audiences
  • Experience critically reviewing and synthesizing academic literature

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s or PhD degree
  • Motivation to learn new skills, propose ideas, and take ownership of projects
  • Experience with data analysis in Python, R, or similar programs
  • Social media presence or desire to develop thought leadership profile in area of expertise

Job Conditions

  • Normal. Additional hours may be required to meet deadlines. Some travel and evening time may be required depending on events, invitations, presentations, meetings, and other job related work outside of the office.


  • Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Health insurance, vision, dental, and vacation.

Application Instructions

  • Please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Your cover letter should reflect on Breakthrough’s work and how you could contribute. We encourage you to submit materials as soon as possible, as we will interview and hire on a near-term rolling basis.