Senior Director, Financial Inclusion (Open to London)

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

Mercy Corps’ Technical Support Unit (TSU) is a key part of the Program Department. TSU subject matter experts help set agency strategy and provide consultation – from assessment and design through project implementation and results measurement – to field offices worldwide, in some of the world’s toughest places. TSU team members provide critical technical leadership, share guidance on emerging trends and best practices, foster organizational learning, contribute to research, represent Mercy Corps to external audiences, and develop robust partnerships. The TSU is also integral to global business development and revenue.

Globally, over 2.5 billion people are excluded or underserved by the financial system. Without access to formal and informal financial services, poor and marginalized populations cannot fully participate in the economy and therefore cannot ensure their own security, growth, and resilience. Mercy Corps emphasizes the need for full financial inclusion, not just provision of financial services, and takes a wide-range of approaches to achieve our vision of increased access to, and usage of, formal and informal financial services for these diverse groups, individuals and businesses. The majority of Mercy Corps’ financial inclusion portfolio is integrated into multi-sectoral programming and implemented in fragile and crisis-affected contexts.  

General Position Summary

The Senior Director of Financial Inclusion leads and supervises the financial inclusion technical unit, as well as serves on the Technical Support Unit’s Management Team. The Sr. Director’s technical responsibilities include leadership of all of Mercy Corps’ global financial inclusion activities. S/he must keep current on trends in financial services and financial inclusion, including microfinance, microinsurance, rural finance and savings groups, financial education, payments and remittance services, pay for performance/social impact bonds, and other activities that bridge the for profit and social sectors.  S/he must be able to design, articulate and build momentum for Mercy Corps’ global financial inclusion strategy, as well as adapt it to stay agile and innovative as we learn what works. S/he will shape Mercy Corps’ external financial inclusion sphere of influence, in collaboration with agency stakeholders, through research products, key industry presentations, and targeted publications. Another critical area of work is to advance strategic partnerships with colleague agencies, academic partners, local networks, or others groups to support program goals and strengthen program quality. Within Mercy Corps, the Sr. Director is responsible for setting high standards for quality program design and implementation, facilitating and leading conversations with field teams on building  excellence in program and practices, providing leadership on the measurement of team and program results, setting agency technical strategy using collaborative processes, and ensuring executive team support to scale impact and influence. S/he is responsible for supporting for the unit’s professional growth and the development of a cutting-edge technical team that delivers excellent field support and enables greater impact on the ground.

The Sr. Director must be able to successfully navigate a matrix structure in support of agency priorities, design and implement integrated approaches, simplify complex strategies to gain buy-in, identify new funding and partnership opportunities, and meet strategic team and agency objectives. The Sr. Director of Financial Inclusion sits on the Technical Management Team with other TSU Sr. Directors. S/he will collaborate closely with other technical and programmatic areas of expertise, and work across the agency to identify regional and global trends, new areas of partnership, and keep innovative, adaptive, and field-tested practices flowing across the agency. S/he reports directly to the Vice President of Technical Leadership.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Strategy & Vision
  • Set, communicate and apply a clear strategic vision and success metrics for the Financial Inclusion unit, which is integrated, communicated and supported throughout the agency.
  • Ensure the strategy for Financial Inclusion is agile, and reflects trends in the field, learning, and emerging capacities.
  • Contribute to the agency’s overall Strategic Compass by engaging in technical, agency and leadership discussions to offer learning, insights, and new ideas.
  • Contribute to Technical Support Unit overall strategies and metrics of success.


Program Development and Support
  • Produce and share strong, influential analyses and derive new insights from program results, field assessments and industry learning and trends.
  • Provide technical leadership and support to build agency and field capacity to incorporate those results, best practices into new and innovative program designs and on-going implementation.
  • Promote innovative financial services and financial inclusion approaches (e.g.FinTech, energy financing, rural finance, sharia compliant products, financial identity, social impact bonds and other social investment, etc.) into new program designs, including unsolicited proposals that supports financial inclusion.
  • Coordinate support and mentor field and regional teams in improving the quality of programming, as it relates to financial inclusion and financial services.
  • Build a vision and support for strategic, integrated program design and implementation with other key sector experts.
  • Build strong networks of partners and strategic donors, and a long-range vision, to field-test new ideas and programming through an iterative design process closely aligned with field stakeholders.


Team Management
  • Develop the expert capacity of the team, and deepen relationships with agency colleagues.
  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance and reach short, medium and long-term professional objectives. Create an environment of respect where team members strive for excellence, and promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally.
  • Work with the team to maintain a strong roster of consulting or flexible resources to fill technical needs.


Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Measurement
  • Develop and further refine theories of change and related indicators; work with field teams in order to test theories, measure results and ensure indicators are relevant.
  • Lead and support activities to assess and document the impact of our technical interventions, including those integrated with other key sectors.
  • Cooperate closely with the Research and Learning team to support learning objectives and produce rigorous evaluations of our financial inclusion work.
  • Work with field teams on adaptive programming that harnesses and scales successes for impact, increases regional/national influence and identifies emerging sector innovations.


Influence and Partnership Development
  • Direct and contribute to approaches, program results and research for overall agency technical leadership and influence. Inform the industry on the critical role of financial inclusion and financial services in alleviating poverty.
  • Lead and coordinate the technical team to represent Mercy Corps in relevant practitioner and learning networks, and build our reputation through external engagement.
  • Develop and maintain strategic program partnerships with implementing partners, academic partners, think tanks, local networks, private sector partners, or other entities to enhance impact.
  • Maintain strong communication and nurture relationships with donors, agencies, policy makers and influencers.
  • Interact with members of TSU, other program teams and departments, Executive Team and Board members to deliver against agency influence and partnership objectives.

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 and Clients

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
    to our beneficiaries and financial services clients 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

The position has supervisory responsibility over all other members of the Financial Services team and supervises short-term staff and consultants on a regular basis. 


Reports Directly To: Vice President of Technical Leadership

Works Directly With: TSU sectors, HQ and field teams, Executive Level Leadership Team


Knowledge and Experience


  • Masters in Finance, Economics, International Development or equivalent; MBA or Masters degree in finance or related area desired
  • 10+ years of experience in the microfinance, banking, insurance or related industry, that includes:
  • 3-5 years working overseas and managing field-based projects.
  • Proposal development and donor cultivation.
  • Presenting strategy and results to donors, government, and other official stakeholders.
  • Understanding external global trends in a broad range of financial services areas.
  • Understanding of and experience with developing and/or adapting credit innovations for unique market segments in conflict or post-conflict contexts.
  • 5 years of management and supervisory experience that includes:
  • Management of individual staff and professional growth of expert teams;
  • Proven leadership, self-motivation, and interpersonal skills;
  • Working on and leading matrixed teams and in non-hierarchical settings; and
  • Working with teams of diverse backgrounds.
  • Exceptionally strong verbal and written communications skills and organizational skills are required.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Familiarity with major donors such as USAID, DFID, the EC and relevant foundations and corporations.
  • Fluency in English is required; fluency in a foreign language preferred.
  • Building solid working relationships with private sector investors and donors.
  • Understanding of insurance for development, social lending and investing platforms, energy financing, financial identity and other related development programming will be helpful in implementation strategies
  • Producing policy and donor relevant research and presenting at key industry events and conferences.


Success Factors

The successful Sr. Director must be a self-starter who demonstrates leadership in communications, strategic vision and plan development, partnership development, and team management. S/he must show exceptional ability in leading organizational initiatives and operationalizing Mercy Corps’ highest-level strategic plans and objectives. S/he must exhibit an expert ability to interact with Executive Team members, Board of Directors members, and high profile donors and partners. The Sr. Director manages their team to have an impact on revenue, program quality, overall strategy, and thought leadership. The Sr. Director leads and nurtures individual team member development and works effectively with different workstyles, empowering and growing future agency leaders. Proven ability to manage competing priorities, following procedures, and meeting deadlines is required. The Sr. Director must communicate and work with a variety of external groups including private sector investors and partners, peer agencies, academic institutions, and donors. S/he is flexible and creative in planning and problem solving, and has a proven ability to learn quickly, take initiative, and be accountable for results. The Sr. Director has the vision and drive to lead initiatives in the agency that are more than program development, that demonstrate understanding for the larger picture while remaining focused on and able to handle the details. S/he must have high proficiency for working in varied cultural, political, and religious environments, and must be able to travel and work successfully in austere environments and maintain poise in stressful situations.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

This position is located in one of Mercy Corps’ headquarter offices. The position requires travel at least 30% time to the field where living conditions may be exceptionally rugged or be in volatile environments where security protocols will need to be followed. Team members must be ready to deploy to field environments on short notice in response to any emergency or crisis. When in the field the team member must able to work in remote settings and over weekends and/or evening as required by the schedule.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.