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Senior Program Officer


The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is a private grantmaking foundation based in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. We work towards a world in which every person controls their reproduction and all reproductive decisions are treated with dignity and respect. Toward this end, our core mission is to prevent unintended pregnancy and ensure access to safe abortion.


Background | STBF’s Global Programs (GP) strategy invests in sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world. At the core of our strategy is the central tenet that our funding will lead to permanent change: We want our funding to help build the systems, organizations, and institutions that will outlive our grantmaking, so that women and girls will continue to receive services when our funding comes to an end. In order to deliver on this ambitious strategy, the GP team is expanding thoughtfully, adding strategic and grants management capacity in key areas. Compared to the size of its grant-making, the GP team is small in staff size, though growing globally. We aim to identify opportunities for impact by questioning, piloting, reflecting, learning, and putting learned information to effective use. We are not afraid to fail or change our approach in light of new learnings. We regard our investments as partnerships and regard our grantees as our partners.

 

Position Description | The primary role of the Senior Program Officer (SPO) is to contribute to investment strategies that align with both the Foundation’s goals as well as the Global Program team’s strategy, and to manage a portfolio of grants. The SPO will report to the Director of Global Programs and play a critical role in modeling the mind-sets and behaviors of a highly nimble, collaborative and inclusive team culture, helping to lead implementation of GP’s ambitious strategy. They will demonstrate adaptability with regard to managing and addressing the needs of different stakeholders, both internal and external. The SPO will see themselves as a leader who embraces the opportunity to positively contribute to the team — through curiosity, humility, empathy, and humor — our strategy, and our partners in all facets of work.

 

The Ideal Candidate | This position is right for you if you are:

●       A strategic thinker | You are aligned with and have a deep understanding of the GP strategy and can work to connect and align sub-strategies and any program work with it as needed. You are creative and discerning, seeking to understand the evolution of strategy in light of learning and new analysis. You have a constant eye on the big picture — and are OK switching course based on exposure to new information. You are able to break down a complex vision into actionable steps. You balance your bias for action with a need for reflection time to consider how to maximize the opportunity before you.

 

●       Thrive in complexity and ambiguity | You are comfortable in the grey, and can find ways to take meaningful steps forward toward clarity amidst a changing backdrop. You seek clarity and guidance when needed, yet remain solutions-oriented and self-directed. You aim to create clarity, not add to complexity. 

 

●       An effective communicator | You know that individuals give and receive messages differently and, therefore, adjust your communication tactics — regarding content, technique, and tone — to land your ideas effectively in a global and remote team. You are committed to transparency and visibility to ensure alignment with the Director and to support an effective, collaborative team. You remain aware of cultural context and power dynamics, thoughtfully communicating to bring others in and along — even in hard conversations. You take the time to listen actively and understand the value of diverse ideas and opinions. 

 

●       Adaptable with a good sense of humor | You keep sight of the end-goal and are flexible in how that is achieved, ready to pivot as needed. You are able to manage up, down, and sideways with relative ease. You aren’t out for ownership and credit, but to help build and achieve something truly big. You see yourself in service to the mission always, and as part of a team working to realize an ambitious vision.

 

●       A leader | You are self-aware — embracing continuous learning and leveraging your ability to influence. You understand that energy — positive and negative — is contagious and consciously create collaborative, inclusive, and rich working dynamics. You look for opportunities to develop yourself, coach and mentor other team members, and provide thoughtful and appropriate management of grantees.

 

Responsibilities | Primary responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to:

Strategy Development and Management

●     Collaborate on the development, management, analysis, and refinement of strategy

●     Consider and evaluate grantmaking opportunities against the Global Programs team’s evolving strategy

 

Grants Management

●     Collaborate with and provide guidance to grantees throughout proposal development, program implementation, and the reporting process

●     Assess grantee performance, program progress, and strategy alignment through written communications and in-person visits

●     Represent the Foundation thoughtfully to past, present, and potential grantee partners, and in external meetings and events

 

Team Leader

●     Exhibit a growth mindset, bringing positivity, creativity, and a commitment to continuous learning to the team

●     Enthusiasm for collaboration and shared learning, mentoring and cultivating the growth of team members

●     Is an engaged, committed contributor to team initiatives, efforts, and activities

 

Qualifications | Skills and knowledge the candidate must possess:

●     ~10-15 years of relevant professional experience

●     Strong background leading work in global health and development in the public or private sector in low-resource settings, preferably on sexual and reproductive health and rights

●     Excellent relationship manager, with a track record of fostering and maintaining trusting relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including high-level government officials and multilaterals

●     Excellent communicator who is responsive, thoughtful, culturally humble, and able to convey complex content in clear ways to a range of audiences

●     Proven commitment to reproductive justice, as well as power shift within the global health and development field, including in philanthropy

●     Superior organizational, scheduling, and planning skills to balance multiple activities and projects

●     Strong initiative with the ability to work independently and solve problems with limited supervision

●     Attention to detail as well as an ability to take a big-picture perspective

●     Collaborative work style and eagerness to continually learn and grow

●     Patience, flexibility, adaptability, and a sense of humor

●     Ability to travel up minimum of 50% of the time (dependent on COVID-19 pandemic), including to STBF offices as needed.

 

Education and Experience | A range of professional experiences or educational preparation will be considered. A background in SRHR or philanthropy is helpful, but not critical. Rather, transferrable experience working in a dynamic, global setting adapting to competing needs and priorities of a range of stakeholders is more critical. An unapologetic commitment to reproductive justice is non-negotiable.

 

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

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