Strategy Portfolio Manager

International Rescue Committee, New York, United States

Skill Required:, Project/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
3 to 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
25th 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.

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 its new strategy into action. 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:

One of the Strategy Unit's key functions is collecting, monitoring, and surfacing organization-wide performance data to the IRC's CEO and executive team (known internally as our 'Leadership Board') to drive better visibility and decision-making. This role will be responsible for execution of the IRC's Quarterly Strategy Reviews (QSRs), a quarterly meeting that serves as the Leadership Board's primary way of monitoring the IRC's performance and tackling the most pressing issues facing the organization.

During QSRs, the CEO and Leadership Board review status updates of IRC's major projects and a dashboard of quantitative metrics on the IRC's organizational health and progress against its 2020 strategy. Based on the dashboard, 2-3 "focus topics" that have strategic importance and/or are falling short of expectations are selected for further Leadership Board discussion and decisions during the QSR. Previous focus topics have included topics such as the IRC's approach to Measurement & Evaluation and the IRC's approach to global implementation of its 2020 strategy.

The Portfolio Manager will be responsible for the end-to-end process of preparing for and executing QSRs, which entails heavy exposure to the CEO and Senior Vice Presidents of the organization. This individual will help prepare the QSR dashboard each quarter, work with the CEO to select the 2-3 focus topics, collaborate with Senior Vice Presidents to develop focus topic presentations and solutions, and help facilitate the QSRs. These topics offer an opportunity to think critically about strategic issues essential to the IRC's success, and to drive solution-oriented and data-driven conversations about how best to course-correct moving forward. Given the high visibility and topic breadth of the QSRs, this role will gain a strong holistic understanding of the organization and each function in a short period of time.

This position will also play a role in managing the Strategy Unit Portfolio Analyst, who will be responsible for ensuring that the IRC's projects have rigorous project plans with integrity. Together, these two roles will ensure that the IRC consistently has good visibility into how the organization is tracking against its goals and is able to course correct early and often.

Major Responsibilities:

  • QSR preparation and follow-up
  • Recommend specific projects or metrics as QSR focus topics to the CEO based on an analysis of the dashboard, and participate in the process of selecting focus topics
  • Collaborate closely with Leadership Board members to develop the selected 2-3 focus topics in a fact-based, data-driven manner during the ~4 weeks prior to the QSR
  • Identify, structure, and analyze decisions that are required at the senior level at the QSR during focus topic discussions
  • Carry forward any follow-up work resulting from the QSR to ensure actions are taken to implement the Leadership Board's decisions during the QSR
  • Dashboard design and support
  • Collaborate with departments across the IRC to add, revise, or replace projects/metrics on the QSR dashboard
  • Monitor quarterly and annual targets for each metric and work with metric owners to make revisions as needed
  • Coordinate with contacts for the IRC's five governance boards to update statuses of the IRC's strategic projects on the dashboard
  • Five boards include International Programs Board, Quality, Evidence, and Advocacy Board, US Programs Board, Income & Engagement Board, and Operations & Resources Board
  • Work with departments across the IRC to refresh the metrics on the QSR dashboard (~20-30 metrics across functions such as communications, supply chain, fundraising, etc.) on a quarterly basis
  • Strategic governance responsibilities
  • Help manage the Strategy Unit Portfolio Analyst, who is responsible for helping course correct projects that are not on track and rigor testing the "readiness" of project plans before launching
  • Engage with staff across the IRC responsible for planning and implementing change, and provide direct strategic and problem-solving support to specific initiatives as needed

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Director, Strategy Unit - Advisory

Position Indirectly Supervises: Strategy Unit Portfolio Analyst


  • Strategy Unit leadership (Director of Strategy - Delivery, and SVP Operations & Strategy)
  • Regular engagement with senior IRC stakeholders in leadership positions
  • Strategy Unit team members

External: As needed

Job Requirements:

Minimum Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent, with demonstrated high performance
  • At least 3-4 years of experience in roles requiring strong critical thinking and project management
  • Ability to manage multiple stakeholders with highly varied backgrounds and contexts and to collaborate with them on an ongoing basis
  • Experience in facilitating review processes or executive-level meeting routines, and in interacting and communicating effectively with all levels of an organization
  • Strategic mindset and approach to solving problems and identifying creative solutions
  • Ability to see the "big picture" and prioritize appropriately by focusing on work that will deliver the highest impact to the organization
  • A results-driven approach to work, proven personal initiative, and an ability to work proactively and with a strong sense of urgency
  • A proven ability to rapidly absorb and master new content and terminology
  • Excellent 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
  • Strong attention to detail and accuracy
  • Capability to manage multiple demands and to adapt to new challenges and shifting priorities
  • Understanding of the challenges related to implementing strategic and organizational change
  • 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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