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DSHS Assistant Secretary of Developmental Disabilities Administration

Company : DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration
Location : Lacey, WA

State of Washington

DSHS Assistant Secretary of Developmental Disabilities Administration

$135,107.00 - $180,143.00 Annually

Thurston County – Lacey, WA

Full Time - Permanent


Dept. of Social and Health Services



10/8/2023 11:59 PM Pacific


The Opportunity

To join a future-focused agency comprised of people-serving people. We are caring, anti-racist, person-centered, and innovative, dedicated to creating positive change and fostering inclusivity in every aspect of our work.

The Assistant Secretary of the Developmental Disabilities Administration is a valued member of the Secretary's executive cabinet, responsible for leading an administration that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this role, you will report directly to the Department of Social and Health Services Secretary, and your primary responsibilities will include leading innovative initiatives, ensuring effective communication, and promoting teamwork within and outside the organization. Your strategic vision and forward-thinking approach will be crucial in enhancing the delivery of social services for the residents of Washington. You will work under the direct supervision of the DSHS Secretary to achieve these objectives.

About Us:

DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration provides case management, residential, employment, day services, and other support to clients with developmental and intellectual disabilities. DDA employs over 4,000 people, has a biennial budget of $5.3 billion, and provides critical services to approximately 50,000 clients in Washington state.

Essential Attributes Needed to be Successful: 

Are you a candidate with:

  • A deep commitment to social justice. 
  • A commitment to the rights of people with disabilities.
  • A commitment to ensuring that when life decisions are made, due consideration is given to the will and preferences of people with disabilities.
  • Proven experience in client advocacy, with a track record of championing people with disabilities. 
  • Strong policy development skills, with the ability to formulate and execute effective strategies.
  • A demonstrated ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with local and state government officials.
  • Experience in labor management, budgeting, and financial oversight.
  • Proficiency in strategic, progressive planning with a results-oriented approach.
  • Legislative experience, with a comprehensive understanding of policy-making processes.
  • A great appreciation for the importance of establishing positive government-to-government relationships with sovereign tribes in Washington state.
  • An aptitude for stakeholder engagement and skilled in building and maintaining strong relationships.
  • A thorough understanding of regulatory compliance and its importance in service delivery.

Competencies needed to be successful: 

Gaining other people’s trust by demonstrating openness and honesty, behaving consistently and acting in accordance with moral, ethical, professional and organizational guidelines.

Leading Change
Driving organizational and cultural changes needed to achieve strategic objectives; catalyzing new approaches to improve results by transforming organizational culture, systems, or products/services and helping others overcome resistance to change.

Strategic Influence
Creating and executing influence strategies that gain commitment to one's ideas and persuade key stakeholders to take action that will advance shared interests and business goals.

Optimizing Diversity
Establishing and supporting organizational systems, policies and practices that reduce barriers and leverage the capabilities and insights of individuals with diverse backgrounds, cultures, styles, abilities and motivation.

Energizing the Organization
Motivating increased employee effort by communicating a compelling view of the organization's purpose and its future state in a way that helps others understand the importance of their contributions and feel how outcomes will be different when they achieve progress.

Building Client Relationships
Ensure satisfaction by building productive relationships and resolving complaints, using appropriate interpersonal techniques to prevent and resolve escalated complaints and regain customer and client confidence.

Client Focus
Ensuring internal and external customers’ and clients’ perspectives drive strategic priorities, business decisions, organizational processes and individual activities while promoting and ensuring valuable customer service

Cultivating Networks and Partnerships
Initiating and maintaining strategic relationships with stakeholders and potential partners inside and outside the organization (e.g., clients, caregivers, family members, peers, state and community partners, external advocates, alliance partners) who are willing and able to provide the information, ideas, expertise and/or influence needed to advance understanding of business issues and achieve business goals.

Emotional Intelligence 
Establish and maintain trusting relationships by understanding and correctly interpreting your emotions and the emotions and actions of those around you.

Compelling Communication
Clearly and succinctly conveying of information and ideas to a diverse range of individuals and groups, including members of the Legislature, advocacy groups, and stakeholders.

Primary priorities:

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive long-term strategy that aligns with DDA's vision to provide personalized services and support for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families.
  • Cultivate a deep commitment to fundamental strategic and cultural change within DDA in harmony with DSHS's vision of promoting healthy, safe, and supported communities while safeguarding clients’ rights. 
  • Ensure the highest quality of services for Washingtonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities, continually advancing best practices in the administration.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, and guidelines while responsibly operating within the administration's legislatively authorized budget. 
  • Create an inclusive environment that places client and stakeholder needs and satisfaction at the heart of all business activities, considering diverse perspectives, including facility and community-based structures.
  • Drive the formulation and implementation of public policies that foster self-worth, respect and dignity for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ensuring they are recognized as valuable members of their communities.
  • Lead and nurture a diverse, well-trained and qualified workforce, fostering engagement and cohesion within the team.
  • Participate as a subject matter expert regarding DDA and the broader DSHS enterprise in the Secretary's Executive Cabinet.

Education and Experience:

  • A bachelor's degree in social work, business administration, public administration, health care administration, finance, clinical psychology, or a related field.
  • Master's degree or terminal degree preferred 
  •  Executive-level experience working in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a local, state, or federal government capacity.
  • Executive-level experience with policy development, strategic planning, labor relations, legislative engagement, and social justice initiatives.
  • Policy development, strategic planning, labor relations, legislative engagement and social justice initiatives. 
  • Knowledge of and experience in authorizing government and legislative processes, navigating this environment to achieve agency goals and objectives. 
  • Effective team management, results-driven leadership, quality assurance, bargaining, excellent communication and problem-solving ability.
  •  Public policy issues that impact social services for people with disabilities.
  • Demonstrated success in collaborative work with labor union partners and with individuals and groups who advocate for people with disabilities.

Our Future Leader

The successful candidate will be a passionate, collaborative leader who values transparency and drives business innovation and change while addressing social inequities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities.  The expectation is to reimagine the programs and services offered to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as to their families and the employees and contractors who serve them.

Application and Process:

Application Deadline: We encourage all interested applicants to submit their application materials by Oct. 8, 2023. Applications received by this date will receive guaranteed consideration.

  1. Application Materials: To be considered for the Assistant Secretary position, we request that you submit the following documents:
    • Resume: Please submit a resume or CV highlighting your relevant professional experience, qualifications, and accomplishments.
    • Cover Letter: A cover letter addressing your interest and how your skills and abilities align with the requirements mentioned in the job profile.
  2. Essay of Commitment to EDAI and Belonging: In addition to your resume and cover letter, please provide a 500-word essay outlining how you would move DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration toward a more just and equitable organization as it relates to supporting those with IDD and their families who live in poverty, in underserved communities, and/or are marginalized based on race.
  3. Selection Process: After the application deadline on Oct. 8 our hiring team will review all submitted materials. Applicants with the most relevant demonstrated experience will be contacted for further interview and selection.
  4. Offer of Employment: Our goal is to extend an offer of employment to our selected candidate by Nov. 30, 2023. The start date is negotiable.

Our Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) mission to Transform Lives requires that we come together with a sense of belonging, common purpose, shared values and meaningful work. It is crucial to our agency’s mission that you bring an equity, anti-racism and social justice commitment to your work with DSHS. We strive to create greater access and affirming representation of the communities we serve, including Black, Indigenous and People of Color, people with physical, behavioral health, and intellectual disabilities, elders, LGBTQIA+ individuals, immigrants and refugees, and families building financial security.
For additional information or questions, contact Tracie Kidd at or 360-628-7870. #2023-09478. 
To learn more about the Assistant Secretary opportunity, DSHS and DDA  (Download PDF reader)click here to view the executive brochure

Supplemental Information

Prior to a new hire, a background check including criminal record history may be conducted. Information from the background check will not necessarily preclude employment but will be considered in determining the applicant's suitability and competence to perform in the job. This announcement may be used to fill multiple vacancies. Employees driving on state business must have a valid driver's license. Employees driving a privately owned vehicle on state business must have liability insurance on the privately owned vehicle.
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in any area of employment, its programs or services on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, marital status, race, creed, color, national origin, religion or beliefs, political affiliation, military status, honorably discharged veteran, Vietnam Era, recently separated or other protect­ed veteran status, the presence of any sensory, mental, physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, equal pay or genetic information. Persons requiring accommodation in the application process or this job announcement in an alternative format may contact the Recruiter at (360) 725-5810. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call through Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6384.
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