Strategy Portfolio Analyst

International Rescue Committee, New York, United States

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
1 to 3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
27th October, 2017

Job Description

Background/IRC Summary:

The International Rescue Committee is at a critical juncture. A leading global humanitarian organization since its inception at the request of Albert Einstein in 1933, the IRC is modernizing, with a new strategic mission and vision, and a Strategy Unit that is leading the charge in turning that vision into reality.

The IRC is currently halfway through an ambitious 5-year strategy - IRC2020 - that commits the IRC to focusing even more on evidence-based, cost-efficient, and wide-reaching interventions. As a core member of the Strategy Unit, you will enable this organization of more than 12,000 staff to overcome the largest hurdles it faces in putting IRC2020 into action. Whether it is supporting the development and execution of a strategy for how the IRC seeks to influence policy, or helping the organization to measure and improve its performance, your work will spread far and wide within the organization and ultimately impact the lives of those who interact with the IRC - 18 million people worldwide in places affected by war and disaster.

You will be expected to find solutions. You will persuade and influence, create and innovate, and use structured thinking and evidence to solve problems where there is no pre-defined methodology. Focusing on the highest priority initiatives of the organization and the CEO, you will build relationships across the IRC and deliver high quality results at a pace a leading private sector organization would be proud of.

This is a demanding role - you will be expected to work hard and to learn and grow quickly. Ultimately the measure of your success will be your impact - the lasting benefit you bring to the organization through your contributions.

Job Overview/Summary:

The IRC is currently executing a wide range of critical projects, from a new approach to Measurement and Evaluation to increasing IRC's commitment to cash aid, that support the organization in executing against the IRC2020 Strategy. This role will assist with the delivery of these critical projects to ensure that the IRC achieves its long-term ambition in two ways:

Conduct "health checks" on projects that are not on track - With the number, complexity, and ambition of IRC's projects, it is inevitable that some of them will sometimes fall short of planned expectations and progress. Through an existing governance structure, some projects will be surfaced as "at risk" or "off-track," and this role will be responsible for conducting health checks of these projects; health checks are a mechanism to identify the challenges facing major projects and to find solutions that will get the project back on track.

Ensure the readiness/integrity of projects before they are implemented - To be successful, every project needs elements such as clear objectives, a high level plan, detailed and realistic interim milestones, etc. This role would be responsible for working with project owners across the IRC to test whether their proposed plans meet rigorous standards before their initiatives are launched. Proper rigor testing early on greatly improves management visibility into projects, increases the likelihood of success, and reduces the resource requirement needed for ongoing monitoring.

These two functions are critical to the IRC's success, and this role is being created due to multiple requests from senior stakeholders for someone to help them perform these responsibilities. This role will gain exposure to a wide range of departments and stakeholders at the IRC, work closely with project owners, and become familiar with the slate of ongoing projects at the organization.

Major Responsibilities:

For the health check function:

  • Provide direct strategic and problem-solving support to specific initiatives when challenges arise
  • Engage a wide range of team members of specific off-track projects to accurately diagnose the underlying causes of challenges, and escalate issues and decisions as appropriate
  • Bring independent thinking to an assessment and evaluation of a project's strengths and weaknesses
  • Recommend potential solutions or mitigation strategies and work with project owners to create plans to implement agreed-upon solutions

For the rigor-testing function:

  • Provide direct strategic and problem-solving support to specific initiatives at the inception or initial planning stage
  • Evaluate the integrity of project plans using rigorous and consistent standards
  • Ensure that proposed project implementation plans (objectives, milestones, timings, etc.) are coherent and complete, and take both a short-term and long-term view
  • Partner closely with project owners to workshop implementation plans after identifying areas for improvement
  • Assist project owners with refreshing their implementation plans on a regular basis (e.g. annually) as necessary
  • Analyze dependencies and risks across initiatives and projects to identify cumulative challenges
  • Work with project owners to help determine their project statuses as part of IRC's routine governance processes
  • Build the organization's skills in rigorous project management by partnering closely with stakeholders and holding both formal and informal trainings

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Director, Strategy Unit - Advisory


  • Strategy Unit leadership (Director of Strategy - Delivery, and SVP Operations & Strategy)
  • Initiative leads across the organization (VP levels and below)
  • Portfolio managers of each IRC governance board

Strategy Unit team members

External: As needed

Job Requirements:

Minimum Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent, with demonstrated high performance
  • At least 2-3 years of experience in project management or equivalent roles
  • Experience in project planning and management, particularly for longer, cross-functional, multi-year projects
  • Familiarity with project planning methodologies, templates, tools, and processes
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to manage multiple stakeholders with highly varied backgrounds and contexts
  • Independent thinking and an ability to use standards to objectively evaluate the quality and rigor of project plans
  • Understanding of the challenges related to implementing strategic and organizational change
  • Ability to develop insight and well-supported opinions based on varying feedback from wide range of stakeholders and independent research
  • Experience in facilitating governance processes, and in interacting and communicating effectively with all levels of an organization
  • A proven ability to rapidly absorb and master new content and terminology
  • Good verbal and written communication skills (i.e. day-to-day discussions, team meetings, presentations, written status updates, etc.), as well as an overall ability to be clear and concise in all communications
  • A strong focus on personal growth and development, and a willingness to regularly receive and act on performance feedback in pursuit of continuous professional growth

Working Environment: Standard office work environment


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