The National Democratic Institute (NDI) seeks a Senior Program Manager with political and organizational expertise to manage a multi-regional program on democratic resilience to authoritarian influence by China, Russia and the Gulf States that includes efforts to build civil society, citizen and governance capacity to recognize, organize and counter such influence by strengthening democratic norms, processes and institutions. The program will: connect activists, reformers, journalists and academics within and across regions to share experiences; develop a toolkit; pilot activities with local partners; and assess the effectiveness of pilot activities.The program is aimed at engaging global peers in order to exchange and develop good practices for effective on-the-ground interventions – a countering authoritarian influence playbook for democracy champions locally. The Senior Program Manager would be a member of NDI’s Peace, Climate and Democratic Resilience Team, whose mission is to support NDI’s teams in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs to mitigate conflict, strengthen environmental governance and support democratic resilience to authoritarian influence.
To plan, design, implement, and manage one or more large programs, generally of greater complexity and impact than those managed by Program Managers, such as those which are of broader scope, and at higher priority and significance, e.g. region-wide or across multiple regions. The Senior Program Manager will be required to contribute to all aspects of program management and work with program partners across three regions, and multiple NDI country and functional teams to facilitate program activities. Note that this position would require periodic international travel (1-2-week trips on average, between 2-3 times per year), contingent on continued evaluation of funding, health, and security considerations.
- Provide leadership vision and strategy on programs which involve multiple cross-cutting issues, require considerable resources, and need high levels of integration and collaboration across the region and/or multiple regions, and functional teams. Specifically, this position will require consistent interaction and relationship development with NDI country teams and partners.
- Respond to staff inquiries requiring specific programmatic expertise and/or country-specific knowledge. Continually monitor political events in the relevant international landscape, to maintain a current knowledge and ability to adapt programs when needed.
- Serve as a resource for Project Assistants, Program Associates and Program Officers on protocols and other specific requirements associated with proper program management, and serve as a mentor/coach for their development and successful performance. Provide oversight of specific program management activities as required, in collaboration with the Deputy Director.
- Lead the development of detailed work plans for democratic resilience to authoritarian influence activities to ensure achievement of assigned program(s) objective(s) and expected outcomes, including the establishment of actions to be taken, the required resources (time, funding, staffing, etc.), a schedule/timeline for the actions required, and specific measures/metrics for evaluation at completion.
- Conduct all aspects of program management, ensuring the effective and efficient execution of the established program work plans, including established actions, outcomes, and timelines. Monitor progress, identify problems and barriers and make recommendations to management for necessary adjustments to ensure successful, quality outcomes.
- Facilitate collaboration with team leadership, other team members, and as required across other teams at NDI, to identify and coordinate regional programmatic activities and priorities, including the development of program concepts and content for proposals, ensuring alignment with broader institutional strategies and approaches. Identify, document, and share feedback regarding successful processes/programs, as well as areas where improvements can be made for the establishment/execution of future programs.
- Conduct relevant analysis to determine potential impacts of programmatic work related to program-specific initiatives, plans, and/or problems, as well as review of data and metrics associated with program progress. Draw conclusions and present findings in a concise and understandable manner with related recommendations for any proposed actions to be taken.
- Draft, or review/edit drafts prepared by other program staff members, consolidating contents when needed to ensure a comprehensive, integrated deliverable for assigned communications such as board memos, briefing memos, reports (e.g. quarterly) or portions thereof, work plans, proposals, and presentations, ensuring proper and accurate formatting, spelling, and grammar usage as well as inclusion of required content, and finalize for submission.
- Manage and monitor budgets, grants and expenditures for assigned programs, with particular focus on those with greater complexity, e.g. involving multiple grants, teams, and country offices. Maintain budget-related notes/documentation and ensure completion of reconciliations and proper application of allowable costs according to restrictions, structures, and established mechanisms/processes. Work to ensure adherence to budget limitations and anticipate/address overages, implementing solutions to budget variances with input/agreement from higher-level team members as necessary. Provide guidance to lower level staff related to budget preparation, tracking, and reconciliations.
- Establish, foster and maintain relationships with country teams including in-country staff, funding agency representatives, and overseas partners to ensure successful program implementation and execution, and to articulate new funding proposals and concepts. Brief and/or collaborate to provide briefings to specific country political, civic and business leaders, donor organizations and members of the international community about NDI activities and positively influence and gain needed action for programmatic success.
- Serve as the point-of-contact with funding agencies for assigned programs, and interact regularly with relevant field offices to support programmatic work and allow for the monitoring and measurement of progress against plans and timing/preparations for required assessments. Act as a liaison with selected members of NGO, funding and Washington policymaking communities, as required, and negotiate with key program contacts, political leaders, donors and others to obtain relevant funding and establish program parameters and deliverables.
- Provide support for conferences, workshops and meetings, leading the organization of cross-functional workshops as required. Represent NDI at selected external events/meetings to assist with NDI’s public outreach, particularly when higher level staff participation is imperative.
- Conduct onsite field visits to evaluate current projects and facilitate/leverage programmatic work and resolve any problems/issues, as well as to assess the political development landscape and identify new opportunities for programmatic initiatives, developing assistance programs, and implementing and/or delivering training programs.
- Ensure appropriate implementation of country office policies and handbooks and provide guidance on the interpretation and application of policies and requirements.
- Establish and maintain a network of potential international training resources, volunteers, and field representatives and engage/select those appropriate to meet specific needs.
- Adhere to NDI’s organizational values, standards of conduct, policies and processes, and any other established expectations for NDI employees, including those related to performance, i.e. goals and position description accountabilities/responsibilities such as those presented herein.
Peripheral Accountabilities/Responsibilities (Non-essential)
- Support onboarding and training as required for Project Assistants, Program Associates and Program Officers, and also participate in the recruitment process for those positions, reviewing resumes and recommending candidates for consideration/interviews. Participate in interview processes, as needed.
- Act as a back-up for other team members as needed.
- Participate in cross-functional NDI initiatives as needed, in addition to support for other Peace, Climate and Democratic Resilience team programs as available.
- Actively seek and engage in professional development opportunities to enhance knowledge in project/program management, and maintain a general working knowledge of relevant program trends and issues occurring external to NDI.
- Perform other duties as required.
- Incumbent operates under general direction, plans or coordinates work in accordance with established objectives.
- Incumbent serves as a resource and provides guidance to lower-level staff.
- Incumbent regularly interacts with staff at all levels within NDI.
- Incumbent regularly interacts with NDI partners, funders and other stakeholders, including international development organizations, civic organizations, NDI’s network of volunteers, trainers, and experts, political leaders, and other key program contacts.
- Bachelor’s degree, preferably in International Relations, Political Science or a related field, or equivalent experience. Graduate degree in a similar discipline preferred.
- Seven years of relevant work experience in implementing and adapting democracy, development or peacebuilding assistance programs in complex environments, such as violent conflict, increasing political polarization, or authoritarian rise.
- Experience in international-development, democracy support or a similar field, including experience in program strategy and design is also required.
- An advanced degree or work towards one in a relevant discipline may be substituted for required years of experience on a one-for-one basis.
- Prior relevant international field work experience performed in-country is highly desired.
Language- Reading, Written, and Oral/Spoken
- Highly advanced knowledge and competence in one or more of NDI’s international development disciplines, e.g. democratic governance, political parties, elections, community organizing, technology/innovation, etc.
- In-depth knowledge of programmatic budget development/management and accounting processes along with math skills and the ability to perform accurate calculations and understand quantitative information.
- None required.
This position generally is performed in an office environment and may be suitable for partial telework.
Occasional evening and weekend work may be required, as well as attendance at external events.
Some international travel is required in this role, approximately 15% to NDI field locations. These locations often are in remote locations and may require significant time and varying modes of travel. Designated locations also may at times be considered less secure and with greater risk to NDI employees.
The physical demands and work environment that have been described are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. NDI encourages applicants with disabilities to apply.
To comply with tax and legal obligations, all candidates for DC-based positions must reside in Maryland, DC or Virginia. While there may be flexibility for remote/hybrid work environments, candidates must be residents of MD, DC or VA or relocate prior to the start of employment at NDI.
This is a union position to be represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 2.
Candidates must be legally eligible to work in the U.S. NDI does not provide sponsorship.
NDI is an equal opportunity employer (EOE). As such, NDI makes employment decisions and provides equal employment opportunity without regard to an applicant’s or employee’s race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other basis protected by federal, state and local laws. If you need reasonable accommodation in the application or hiring process, please notify NDI’s Human Resources department.
To apply please visit our website at http://www.ndi.org/careers.