Strategic Response Manager (Open to other Mercy Corps locations)

Programming Washington, District of Columbia


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

The Program Operations team supports and enables the delivery of high-quality programs by establishing and maintaining standards, championing an evidence-based practice to improve program performance, and supporting strategic program change management. The Program Operations team oversees several business processes including monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL); program management standards; program data management; infrastructure quality assurance; field operations support; strategic change management; and facilitating the complex program process.

The Strategic Response Manager is a member of the Strategic Leadership sub-Team (SLT) within Program Operations. The SLT provides strategic leadership when our countries need it most: from internal crises to global humanitarian emergencies.  

General Position Summary

Often called upon for extended support to field programs, the Strategic Response Manager is an accomplished manager who is equally comfortable leading and managing teams in programs and in procurement, logistics and supply chain. S/he is flexible with a clear commitment to operational excellence. S/he ensures quality programming through effective and integrated systems and support that ensures local teams are equipped with necessary knowledge and skills as well as clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The Strategic Response Manager is a highly adaptable leader responsible for resourcefully managing and guiding field teams through strategic changes, including emergency responses, at the program and country levels. S/He will provide field leadership with regular deployments to support urgent change scenarios, such as operations support for the start-up of new complex programs, covering country operations leadership transitions, engaging remotely with field operations teams to rapidly assess circumstances and provide recommendations, and leading projects that support agency priorities when not deployed.  

Job responsibilities will vary depending on emerging organizational priorities, shifting strategies and the context of specific assignments. The Strategic Response Manager will have variable supervisory responsibility within country teams when deployed on specific assignments. When not deployed, the Strategic Response Manager will provide remote support to country teams to manage challenges - internal and external - and focus on other initiatives that support agency-wide priorities.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Planning Strategy & Vision
  • Contribute to the development and delivery of a clear Program Operations vision and strategy.
  • Prioritize resources to achieve objectives in variable scenarios including urgent change circumstances, crises, and emergencies.
  • Facilitate program planning to identify future resources and support needs.
Leadership, Program and Change Management
  • Provide managerial support to programs through effective coordination, supervision and performance monitoring designed to enable achievement of program objectives.
  • Deploy to support urgent change scenarios such as country start-up/close down, start-up of new programs (e.g. complex programs), and identify and implement solutions to management challenges.
  • Lead and/or contribute to the definition and implementation of cross-departmental change management projects to improve the efficiency and accountability of field programs and operations.
Supply Chain and Operations Management
  • Act as Country Operations Manager or Director in the field when required: responsible for full and proper implementation and adoption of policies, procedures, and systems to ensure management, compliance, and control of procurement, logistics, warehouse, fleet, asset, and administrative functions.
  • Ensure that Mercy Corps’ Program Management Minimum Standards, including PM@MC, gender, goods distribution, and cash transfer program minimum standards are being met.
  • Liaise with the HQ People team to ensure country-level HR systems are implemented and ensure all HR policies comply with local law, when necessary on a deployment.
  • Coordinate with and support supply chain management for the Humanitarian Leadership & Response (HLR) team during acute humanitarian crises and emergency responses.
  • Work with agency counterparts to mitigate fraud, conflict of interest and legal ramifications of Mercy Corps activities.
Influence and Representation
  • Maintain productive relationships with all stakeholders.
  • Connect country teams to other cross-agency technical expertise, resources and teams to identify and implement prompt action and leverage creative solutions to manage operational risk and improve effectiveness.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
Organizational Learning
  • As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.
Accountability to Beneficiaries
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility: Variable when deployed.


Reports Directly To:  Managing Director of the Strategic Leadership Team; may have an additional reporting line when deployed

Works Directly With: Global Field Programming, Country Directors, Complex Program teams, Humanitarian Leadership & Response, Global Procurement and Logistics, Program Operations, and other technical and cross operational teams.

Knowledge and Experience

  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field.
  • A minimum of 5-7 years field experience setting up and managing program and supply chain management processes and teams with humanitarian INGOs with supervisory responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses with experience in developing contexts and insecure environments.  
  • Demonstrated attention to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively.
  • Knowledge of Mercy Corps operations processes, systems, and procedures desirable.
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations governing the compliance/regulatory management of grants from US Government, DFID, EC, and other donors is an advantage.
  • Excellent negotiation and representation skills.
  • Experience effectively mentoring and training others.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, organizational, prioritization and Microsoft Office applications.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in French, Arabic or Spanish is strongly preferred.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Proven ability to comfortably handle highly ambiguous circumstances and adapt to changing strategic and operational priorities.

Success Factors

The successful Strategic Response Manager will skillfully manage transitions for Mercy Corps, representing priorities of the agency while providing effective management to the Mercy Corps team. S/he will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building and will be committed to managing risk and maintaining highly effective and efficient operational processes. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, passion for navigating complex change processes, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Strategic Response Manager is based in HQ office or MC country office. The Strategic Response Manager requires up to 50% of time of travel by air to country offices and local transportation to field offices, often in austere environments.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting, visiting, or on a Short Term Assignment (STA) to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and Mercy Corps' policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Fostering a diverse and open workplace is an important part of Mercy Corps’ vision.  Mercy Corps is an Equal Opportunity Employer regardless of background. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment.