Senior Director of Programs - Cooperative Development

Job ID 328

Program / Project Management Remote, United States   Little Rock, Arkansas or in Asia (BD, KH, IN or NP)


Heifer International is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran, among other things, or status as a qualified individual with disability.


The Senior Director of Programs – Cooperative Development serves as a thought leader providing strategic, technical, and programmatic support related to cooperative development in Asia. This includes assessing the current situation (governance, management, business, social enterprises/MSMEs), visioning for the cooperatives as movement, developing plans and implemention of cooperative development programs, and monitoring and evaluating them for continuous improvements in Asia. This position helps support the capacity building of the cooperatives principles, values, and business development in collaboration with other stakeholders.

The Senior Director provides support as a thought leader of co-op development during project design, including spporting the project design team to determine the best value chain with a specific focus on addressing constraints and opportunities of smallholder farmers. The Senior Director liaises with various other departments at Heifer Headquarters (HQ) and serves as a core member of the HQ Asia Area Management Team and the Asia Council.

Essential Character Traits:

Highly motivated, good relationship builder, energetic and positive, team builder, strives for shared vision, impact-driven, innovative, well-organized, strong business acumen, pro-active stance, respect for procedures and norms, curious, analytical, socially sensitive, passionate about and personally living with cooperative values and principles, conviction towards holistic sustainable development.

A. Cooperative Development Thought Leadership (50%)   
  • Develop tools and systems for the capacity assessment of cooperatives including governance, human resource management, financial management, member services and business activities, community and stakeholder engagement, business management and values orientation.
  • Support and assist Signature Programs in developing long-term visions for cooperatives.
  • Support Signature Programs in formulating cooperative development plans and ensuring their effective implementation.
  • Develop monitoring and evaluation plans for managing cooperatives for continuous growth and development for financial sustainability.
  • Work closely with Signature Program teams and other stakeholders to develop goals and plans related to cooperative development.
  • Ensure that Asia’s Signature Program activities include strengthening and supporting cooperatives or farmer-owned enterprises for full inclusion in wealth creation.
  • Guide Signature Program teams in providing business development support to small and micro enterprises.
  • Maintain awareness of cooperative landscape, innovation opportunities, and field developments.
  • Provide appropriate and targeted technical advice to program and resource mobilization staff on activities linked to women’s empowerment and farmer-owned agribusinesses (FOABs).
  • Act as a focal point for any research project related to cooperatives.
  • Assist with internal and external communication and discussions related to cooperatives in Heifer.
B. Pro-Poor Wealth Creating Value Chain Development of Agriculture and Livestock (20%)    
  • Guide Signature Program teams in identifying viable pro-poor wealth creating commodity value chains (agriculture and livestock) to bridge the Living Income gap.
  • Provide strategic leadership in the design and planning of signature projects that achieve the goal of contributing to a Living Income through the combination of strengthening social capital/Heifer’s Values-Based Holistic Community Development (VBHCD) model and reinforcing or strengthening inclusive market systems.
  • Support the alignment of cooperative principles and values with Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones and build co-op capacity on co-op values and principles.
  • Guide country teams in undertaking market systems and value chain analyses.
  • Support Signature Programs in the strategic mobilization and reporting of locally leveraged resources from diverse stakeholders including local government institutions (catalytic leverage fund [CALF], blended finance).
  • Facilitate exchanges of information on agricultural and livestock value chains contacts and successful fundraising practices across the area.
C. Signature Program Management Support (20%) 
  • Provide leadership as part of the Asia team regarding the creation, implementation and monitoring of the Area Strategic Plan and manage implementation of the Signature Programs in the field.
  • Lead the Asia team in establishing programmatic priorities and defining work plans in accordance with area strategic thinking.
  • Mentor and support the Asia Signature Programs and support their leadership growth to ensure that they are fully equipped to lead their respective Signature Program teams.
  • Oversee program evaluations and ensure that regular comprehensive program reviews occur at the area level, with feedback and follow up on issues arising.
  • Participate in the ongoing development of the Asia Council, seeking to facilitate learning and promoting area initiatives/activities.
  • Actively represent and be a spokesperson at HQ for Asia Signature Programs and signature project development in the field.
D. May perform other job-related duties as assigned (10%)   

Minimum Requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in agricultural economics or business management plus 10 years of related experience, or a master’s degree in agricultural economics plus 8 years of experience, including on supervisory capacity.
  2. Fluency in English is required.

Preferred Requirements:

  1. Experience in cooperative development in the developing world, especially in Asia. Passionate about the cooperative movement with personal commitment to coop values and principles.

Most Critical Proficiencies

  1. Particular expertise and/or strong capabilities in planning, monitoring, evaluation and impact analysis; strategic planning at various institutional levels; program management and team capacity-builidng
  2. Knowledge of training individuals and teams using participatory methodologies; development of decentralized systems through regionalization
  3. Ability to implement and maintain various capacity assessment tools for quality and accountability assurance of cooperatives and agribusinesses
  4. Working knowledge of sustainable livelihoods, value chain development and market systems development
  5. Knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets, database, and electronic mail software (Microsoft preferred)
  6. Commitment to personal and team excellence in work, with strong organizational skills
  7. Strong, proven team building and change/transition management skills
  8. Exceptional communication skills with the ability to both help groups reach agreements and to represent collective perspectives
  9. Ability to analyze and communicate creative solutions and overall capacity needs to a team
  10. Strong commitment to the shared leadership model

Essential Job Functions and Physical Demands

  1. Ability to negotiate effectively by exploring a range of possibilities
  2. Ability to serve as a thought leader for Heifer’s competence in cooperative development at industry conferences to promote the findings of Heifer’s work.
  3. Ability to prepare and present speeches/presentations, reports, business correspondence, and articles for publication that conform to prescribed style and format with superior attention to detail
  4. Constant face-to-face, telephone, and electronic communication with colleagues and the public
  5. Proven interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to relate to individuals and groups diplomatically and tactfully
  6. Proven team leadership and management skills with the ability to train and work cooperatively with a diverse staff, both centralized and decentralized
  7. Willingness and ability to work outside of normal business hours, including within business hours that are regular in other time zones worldwide
  8. Ability to perform multiple tasks and work with constant interruptions yet deliver results on time
  9. The adequate physical condition necessary to walk to project sites in rural areas if needed
  10. Ability to support Heifer’s mission, Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, and values
  11. Willingness and ability to travel extensively, both domestically and internationally
  12. Ability to work with sensitive information and to maintain confidentiality