Senior Director, Economic Recovery & Development

International Rescue Committee, New York, United States
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Job Summary

Job Description

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is among the world’s leading humanitarian relief and development organizations. For 80 years, the IRC has been at the forefront of every major humanitarian initiative to assist people uprooted by war, persecution, or civil conflict. IRC staff go to the toughest places, implement both immediate response and long lasting programs, and conduct the type of applied research and advocacy the aid community needs to continually push itself to find better solutions for people. In all its country programs and in the US, IRC teams partner with local governments, community organizations and private sector companies to achieve measurable improvements in people’s economic well-being, safety, health and education.

IRC technical units (TU) are the organization’s hub for sectoral expertise. Working within IRC’s Program Quality Unit (PQU), they provide IRC’s 35 plus country offices and emergency response team with world class technical expertise, capacity building and a cross country view of what works to achieve outcomes in terms of both scientific evidence and practical experience.

Technical unit Senior Directors are IRC’s programmatic leaders in a particular field. They are responsible for setting the programmatic vision for IRC’s field work in a given technical area.  They manage teams of technical specialists, researchers, policy advisors and M&E experts to deliver the highest quality technical support to IRC country offices. They are tasked with positioning IRC as a thought leader in a given sector and leading focused research agendas that close the most critical gaps in the humanitarian evidence base; influencing donor behavior to support interventions and innovations proven cost effective to achieve positive change in people’s lives; and representing IRC in the media and in critical aid fora.

IRC’s economic recovery and development (ERD) programs comprise a growing proportion of its overall program budget and are essential to both IRC emergency response and long term programming worldwide. Across IRC’s seven regions, staff partner with companies, government ministries, community organizations and other NGOs to meet people’s basic needs, improve food security, increase income and assets and Improve women’s access and control of resources. Located in headquarters offices that include New York, London, Washington DC and Berlin, 30 economic recovery and development unit staff support these country programs with expertise in cash and markets, enterprise development, employment development, agriculture and rural livelihoods, and financial inclusion.  IRC’s strategic ambitions around increasing effectiveness, influence and promoting gender equality are translated by specialists in research, measurement, policy and gender who galvanize attention, build resources and design and implement new initiatives across IRC’s economic programs.


The Senior Technical Director is a key member of the Program Quality Unit leadership team and a member of IRC’s larger Senior Leadership Group (SLG). As such, the Senior Technical Director has responsibilities in different arenas: 

 As a member of the SLG, the director partners consistently and effectively with IRC regional and country program leadership in order to drive forwards IRC’s 2020 strategic plan, understanding and adapting the team’s technical assistance to the changing contexts and capacities of IRC’s country programs in the implementation of their Strategic Action Plans.

 As a member of the PQU leadership team, the director partners with peer leaders and the head of the department to assure IRC programmatic models are integrated, outcome driven and evidence based and to partner with communication and advocacy colleagues to encourage policy makers, donors and practitioners to target their resources and efforts to interventions that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

As a leader of the TU, the director provides a clear vision and execution plan that connects the economic recovery and development unit to the IRC’s 2020 strategy. This includes strategic and consistent representation and fund-raising in both private and public sectors; diligent and disciplined financial and grants management oversight; and the management necessary to leverage diverse competencies, identify and promote talent and create the type of culture and incentives needed to sustain a high performing and energized team of professionals.

Major Responsibilities:

  • LEADER: Act as the most senior leader of a talented group of technical leaders, researchers, advocates and operations colleagues, bringing vision, cohesion and authentic intellectual dialogue together to create a strong culture of performance and collaboration. As a senior leader with peers across technical and field based domains, bring collaboration, rigor and solutions to opportunities and challenges IRC faces both in the contexts in which it works, and throughout its operations.  Represent Program Quality Unit and the Senior Leaders Group communities consistently in field travel and across teams throughout IRC.
  • STEWARD: Develop and implement strategic business development efforts to support IRC country programs and enable the ERD team to deliver high quality technical assistance, implement a focused research agenda and stay ahead of relevant global cash, food security, economic development and financial inclusion policy and practice decisions.  Bring discipline and rigor to financial and grants management of ERD unit funds, partnering with colleagues in PQU and Finance departments to harmonize planning, budgeting and reporting.
  • MANAGER: Invest deliberately in the support and development of IRC staff within the TU and in support of related technical colleagues in IRC country programs. Responsible for recruitment, retention and assuring IRC has the human resources to deliver superb technical assistance and thought leadership.
  • ADVOCATE: Act as the most senior advocate in the relevant technical area, regularly communicating the needs and priorities of IRC country programs to donors; participating in high level policy and practice forums; advocating for the adoption of interventions proven to improve people’s economic wellbeing and for resources to enable the IRC and others to meet people’s needs across contexts.  Requires a deep appreciation and support of IRC’s commitment to drive fundamental policy and practice changes that will ensure people receive the wide-ranging support they need in the immediate aftermath of crisis through to when they stabilize livelihoods through post-crisis development.

Job Qualifications:

Education: Masters or PhD in relevant field required.

Work Experience: A minimum of 15 years of relevant experience, with field and programmatic experience in a donor, NGO or comparable international agency required. Experience and familiarity with global cash, food security and livelihoods donors, peer agencies and national contexts required, preferably in humanitarian and transitional, post-crisis contexts. Experience and expertise raising funds from bilateral, multilateral and private donors. Leadership and management experience in complex global organization.     

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies: Demonstrated skills and competencies related to economic programming in low resource/conflict affected environments. Strategic planning. Private and statutory business development/ fundraising. Understanding of the program life cycle and best practice used by aid organizations to design, implement and measure the progress of interventions. Fluency in the relevance and use of empirical evidence to know what works best to achieve meaningful results for people.  An existing and strong professional network in humanitarian and global cash and livelihoods communities. Very strong leadership and management competencies including the ability to bring people along with a stated vision and strategy, and capacity to communicate effectively with IRC field leadership, technical peers, and colleagues in fundraising, communications and advocacy. Excellent public speaking and writing skills are essential.

Language Skills:  Excellent spoken and written English essential. Proficiency in one other IRC relevant language (French, Arabic, German, Swahili, etc.) strongly preferred. 

Working Environment: Travel up to 25% of time. Preferably based in NYC but open to discussing other IRC HQ offices.