Regional Director - Asia (Open to locations in Asia)

Programming Bangkok, Bangkok


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

Mercy Corps runs a growing multi-million dollar portfolio across Asia with programs currently serving populations in 13 countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste and Uzbekistan). Though the region is characterized by multiple systemic challenges and dramatic shifts in context, Asia remains one of the world’s strongest and most dynamic regional economies, benefiting from a booming private sector and growing urban centers. However, inequality has worsened and is projected to increase over the next decade, leading to a growing current of political and social unrest. With some 67% of people in the world suffering from food insecurity, 486 million live in Asia alone. By 2030, the region will house more than ½ the world’s population, and continue to realize a vastly higher proportion of young people than all other continents. Eight of the ten countries in the world that are most vulnerable to climate change are in Asia, and hundreds of millions still lack access to basic services and live in environmentally damaging and dangerous conditions.

Against this backdrop, Mercy Corps works to harness economic, scientific and technological advancements for the benefit of Asia’s marginalized populations, amplify their voices for more accountable, equitable and effective governance, and to build greater social cohesion. Mercy Corps efforts in Asia  are enabling systemic improvements in health, nutrition and economic opportunities for the disadvantaged, strengthening markets and unlocking strategic investments in businesses and entrepreneurs. Mercy Corps is experienced at helping communities adapt to climate change, protect their ecosystems and limit environmental degradation, while building the capacity to prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises and disasters. As a key partner with the region’s donors, government authorities, businesses and civil society actors, Mercy Corps and our teams contribute to the process of positive change in Asia.

General Position Summary

The Asia Regional Director (RD) is the lead regional strategist, skilled at contextual analysis and bringing together the highest quality ideas, expertise, and evidence to shape the humanitarian and development agenda. The RD has a deep understanding of complex crises and is able to operate in both the world’s most fragile contexts and most dynamic environments, while driving the region’s momentum forward and creating opportunities for transformational change.  An astute team builder, s/he excels at partnership identification and development, ensuring  agency-level strategy reflects field realities and is in turn executed through regional and local action. The RD helps country teams transform obstacles into opportunities to realize their goals for greater impact. The RD ensures we execute our programs on scope, on budget and on time, while continually adapting, leveraging new approaches and opportunities. S/he is excellent at business development and stakeholder representation, including with donors, governments, private sector and peer agency partners. A member of Mercy Corps’ senior leadership team, the RD is placed to connect the dots: from issues, to people, to resources. The RD champions the Mercy Corps Cornerstones of Leadership, and inspires country leaders to lift their heads above the day-to-day all-consuming issues. S/he enables and empowers teams and partners to focus on the critical, underlying issues that drive poverty and create programs that achieve groundbreaking results. The RD grows a team and program platform that is known for impact, influence and innovation, and positions Mercy Corps as the leader of change in the region and beyond. 

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Articulate a compelling vision for a unified Asia-wide strategy, and engage country / regional leaders in its development and metrics of success.
  • Oversee and support the execution of country-level planning and strategies, ensuring excellence in program implementation and results.
  • Contribute to the development of the agency’s annual strategic compass and budget process.
  • Position Mercy Corps in the region and prioritize resources to aggressively pursue new donors and opportunities. Analyze, position and drive funding for expansion in new geographies.
  • Explore, evaluate and position for innovative opportunities that support the objectives for the region as a whole, including catalyzing big ideas and leveraging regional and multi-country initiatives for greater scale and impact.
  • Identify and develop partnerships with key regional influencers in the public and private sectors to help shape Mercy Corps’ strategy and vision for this dynamic region.
  • Develop and nurture culturally sensitive internal and external relationships.
  • Represent the region and Mercy Corps in strategic forums and conferences, as well as national and international media as appropriate.
  • Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive creative solutions for greater and more sustainable impact.
  • Promote thought leadership by ensuring that program innovations and impact are analyzed, documented and effectively communicated externally and internally.
  • Build strong constituencies including Mercy Corps’ headquarters (HQ) and regional office teams, civil society leaders, government officials, donors, private sector, diplomatic and others.
  • Build an elevated profile of Mercy Corps Asia with donors to influence strategies and funding priorities for areas Mercy Corps deems critical for transformational change in the region.
  • Develop field leaders and encourage highly effective, diverse teams while remaining attentive to individual career paths and
  • Participate in the recruitment, selection and onboarding of regional and country leadership.
  • Collaborate with the People team to ensure sound performance management and field access to quality learning opportunities, with an emphasis on national team development.
  • Support the development of systems to ensure that HQ and field staff are trained in Mercy Corps’ policies, systems, and procedures.
  • Mentor and manage Country Directors, Deputy Regional Directors and other regional teams, and ensure effective Senior Management Team structures in each country.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and ability to maintain positive relationships and composure.
  • Maintain high ethical standards and treat people with respect and dignity.
  • Strengthen culture of integrity, care, participation and innovation.
  • Enable on-time, on-budget, on-scope implementation of initiatives, provide troubleshooting and guidance on management issues per Mercy Corps standards.
  • Mobilize and oversee effective human, material, financial and operational field support systems in the region, in cooperation with the appropriate HQ team.
  • In the event of a major disaster or crisis, work with Humanitarian Leadership and Response team for appropriate response.
  • Support country and regional leadership in developing and implementing program, financial and operations policies and procedures according to Mercy Corps and donor policies.
  • Enable Deputy Regional Directors and HQ teams to manage regional budgets and initiatives.
  • Reinforce the agency’s commitment to learning and sharing and the application of best practices across the region, agency and broader international community.
  • Ensure country leadership is planning for and prioritizing the security/safety needs of teams.
  • Liaise with the Senior VP of Programs, Senior Director of Global Security, and VP of Humanitarian Leadership & Response on crucial events, high-risk periods, incident reporting and security policy changes.
  • 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.
  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our community partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our programs.

Supervisory Responsibility

Country Directors, Deputy Regional Directors and regional team members.


Reports Directly To: Senior Vice President, Programs

Works Directly With: Executive Team (CEO, CFO, etc), Senior Director of Programs, Technical Support Unit, other Regional Directors 

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S or equivalent in international development, political or social science management or other relevant field.
  • 8 to 10 years of field experience in senior management, i.e. Country and/or Regional Director, including team management experience, finance and administration; donor relations; and inter/intra-agency communications.
  • Fluency in English
  • Significant program operations experience including direct “hands-on” skills in program development, strategic planning, program implementation and evaluation.
  • Extensive experience in managing emergency and development programs, experience in fragile and insecure contexts required.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the critical development issues in Asia and significant experience with the challenges of operating programs in the region
  • Demonstrated proficiency and experience with US, EC, DFID, UN and other public and private donors, government grants and financial management requirements.
  • Exceptional program and project conceptualization and design skills.
  • Successful and proven negotiation, communication, organization, prioritization and presentation skills and experience.

Success Factors

They are a visionary tactician, able to see the big picture and establish broad strategy while being attentive to sub-region and country portfolio needs / constraints. The Regional Director understands the geo-political dynamics of the region and the drivers of fragility. They continuously look for opportunities to expand Mercy Corps’s footprint in the region based on needs and our value add, and inspires donors to fund such expansion. Able to inspire grace under fire, they are an optimist, a skilled communicator, able to develop and leverage strong relationships with teams, partners and donors to inspire action. They must be resolute in achieving regional agency goals while maintaining an ability to plan for, adapt and respond to new emergencies and security incidents that arise. They will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills and proven experience with capacity building, and will be committed to sustainability and the delivery of high-impact activities. Successful Mercy Corps team members have a strong commitment to teamwork and accountability, thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Regional Director will be based in a strategic city in Asia with good transportation connections throughout the region. The location is accompanied and will reside in individual housing. The Regional Director will be expected to travel at least 40% to all countries within Asia as well as to HQ offices and international fora, which may include operating in insecure environments. Mercy Corps’ team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/Short Term Assignment 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.