The Managing Director will have overall responsibility for Human Rights Watch’s global internal operations and administration. S/he will serve as a true partner to the Executive Director, sharing the organization’s vision and championing its efforts to build capacity and increase impact by ensuring internal efficiency and operational excellence, encouraging linkages and consistency across the global organization, and promoting a culture of collaboration at all times. In this way, the Managing Director will be a critical leader ensuring that Human Rights Watch has the capacity and the support to fulfill its mission.
A newly created position, the Managing Director will have direct oversight for the following functions:
Finance & Administration
Real estate, facilities, and security
More than just an effective operational manager, we are looking for an innovative leader able to shine a creative light on the substance, value, and contribution of HRW’s operational functions to the organization’s overall mission. The ideal candidate will foster increased collaboration across functions to prioritize and clearly communicate shared operational priorities and metrics.
In addition, s/he will be someone with a sophisticated and innovative understanding of the strategic applications of data to planning and decision-making. Above all, s/he will understand how to direct and align systems, processes and objectives without stifling individual initiative and creativity.
Establish a true partnership with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors and translate their vision into a clearly articulated operational strategy that is fully aligned with, and supportive of, HRW’s strategic goals.
Focus on outcomes and continuous improvement. Ensure that the management, staffing, and culture of the organization’s operational backbone are suitably aligned with HRW’s mission, evolving goals, and strategic ambitions.
Ensure that HRW’s internal operating model matches its external mission and voice. Work closely with the Executive Director and Senior Management team to ensure a culture of open and direct communication and information sharing and a positive, fair, and accountable working environment.
Institute performance management processes that measure and evaluate progress against operational goals for the organization.
Promote an information management architecture that enables the accurate and timely measurement, evaluation, and communication of performance and impact.
Ensure consistent application of approved policies and practices across all divisions of the organization.
Work with the Finance Director to maintain a modern and agile financial architecture for the organization. Ensure that the organization has put in place all the appropriate policies, practices and systems required to optimize the use of its financial resources.
Work with Human Resources to ensure that the organization recruits, supports, and retains a skilled, diverse, and high-performing workforce that reflects the values of the organization. Work to build cohesion and create opportunities for growth and development throughout the global organization.
Serve as a key internal translator and implementer of the operational vision and goals outlined by the Executive Director and Board of Directors. Act as both advisor and, as appropriate, deputy to the Executive Director, synthesizing and bringing the perspectives of the Executive Director and staff to key operational decisions. Ensure that all parts of the organization are well managed, staffed, and aligned, and operate as effectively as possible.
In collaboration with the other members of the senior leadership team, ensure that HRW has an effective strategic planning and implementation processes, including the setting of annual priorities, and ensure the synchronization of organizational and financial cycles required to achieve HRW’s goals.
The directors of all divisions including program, advocacy, media and development are accountable to the Managing Director for ensuring that there are systems in place for measuring effectiveness across the organization.
Along with the Executive Director and other staff members, represent HRW as appropriate with other stakeholders, partners, and funders.
The Managing Director will work in a closely aligned and collaborative relationship with the Executive Director and will report jointly to him and to the Board of Directors. This role is based in New York City and, given HRW’s broad organizational footprint, involves international travel.
The successful candidate will be an experienced, thoughtful, and inspiring manager with a passion for the mission of Human Rights Watch and a track-record of successful operational leadership within a complex, matrixed, global organization in the business, non-profit, or public sectors. S/he will be a leader of unquestioned integrity with proven experience in guiding and motivating a diverse and high-performing staff to achieve ambitious goals.
We are looking for a seasoned operational professional who manages through influence rather than positional power and has demonstrated their ability to achieve real impact across a complex, global organization; a collaborative leader with the skills and experience to shape HRW’s organizational infrastructure in service of its strategy and mission.
The successful candidate will have a proven ability to develop, position, and align systems, processes, and teams across an organization to enable clear decision-making and accountability. S/he will have keen analytical and problem-solving skills, a track-record of sound decision-making, and evidence of strong enduring professional relationships.
An international mind-set and true interest in, and sensitivity to, working with diverse cultures is essential for this role. Previous experience working in an international organization operating across the developing world is a distinct advantage. Above all, the successful candidate must be able to establish a strong and trusting relationship with the Executive Director and quickly earn the confidence of the Board, staff, and external stakeholders.
In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
Executive level experience in strategic decision-making and operational management, preferably in a dynamic international organization.
An entrepreneurial and creative approach to problem solving that strengthens the organization’s internal operations; builds resilience in its systems and processes; ensures order and predictability where needed; and encourages transparency, team-work, and accountability.
The ability to effectively balance the desire/need for operational and organizational change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling. Creates realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable, measurable, and successful.
The skill and experience to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support the Executive Director and Senior Leadership Team in decision-making and overall strategy.
Executing for Results
Demonstrated ability to set priorities, delegate responsibilities, and allocate resources as appropriate in order to achieve results.
Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. Able to adapt and lead the team confidently through complex, evolving situations.
The ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner always taking into account what is best for the organization.
The ability to attract and recruit top talent; motivate and unite teams; delegate effectively; promote and celebrate diversity; and manage performance in a fair, consistent, and transparent manner.
A thoughtful, empathetic manager with a high degree of integrity. A strong listener able to ask the right questions across a range of topics in order to understand operational gaps and assemble teams to address those gaps.
A manager who is self-reflective and aware of their own limitations. Leads by example and drives performance with an attitude of continuous improvement and openness to feedback.
Relationships and Influence
Excellent interpersonal skills and the capacity to establish and sustain collaborative and productive relationships at multiple levels within the global organization.
Manages through collaboration and influence and can build effective coalitions to move forward an agenda. Seeks the views of others before making key decisions.
Has excellent communication and presentation skills.
Is a visible and present manager. Encourages ideas and opinions and shares information openly with the team.
Has the humility to ask questions and seek help or advice when needed as well as the confidence and the flexibility to modify strong views in the face of new information and compelling logic.
Resilient with a well-tested capacity to operate effectively and responsively under pressure.
Unquestionable personal integrity, sense of fairness, and strong personal and professional judgment
Global mindset; culturally sensitive; welcomes and promotes diversity in all its forms.
To submit an application, please contact Russell Reynolds Associates at the email address below.
All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We do not discriminate in hiring practices and actively seek a diverse applicant pool. We encourage candidates of all abilities, ages, gender identities and expressions, national origins, races and ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and those with criminal records to apply. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.
Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.