Vice President - Program Performance & Quality (Open to any HQ Location)

Operations & Logistics Washington, District of Columbia Portland, Oregon


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 Performance and Quality (PaQ) department supports and enables quality program implementation by establishing and maintaining standards for excellence, championing an evidence-based practice to strengthen program performance, and leading multi-departmental processes to improve program management and quality across the agency . The PaQ VP oversees departments responsible for developing program management standards and quality assurance processes; monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL); program data management; strategic leadership and capacity building; and special initiatives requiring cross-departmental coordination and change processes. The VP and their team work closely with departments in charge of program design; field implementation; technical quality; research and learning; human resources; and finance, compliance and administration.

General Position Summary

The Vice President of Performance and Quality is a visionary, highly adaptable and innovative leader charged with ensuring Mercy Corps’ excellence in processes, systems and capacities that provide the structure and framework for quality program implementation. They have the skill, experience and passion to drive consistent, high quality programming at scale, and to develop and roll out systems and lead processes in a creative and seamless fashion to address risks to quality implementation. They are expert and experienced at leading change management processes that engage multiple stakeholders and represent diverse perspectives. They directly supervise multiple teams, as well as coordinate and integrate PaQ efforts with multiple agency departments and locations. They continuously look for opportunities to improve our operations in all aspects of their role. The VP champions Mercy Corps’ Cornerstones of Leadership to ensure all teams are enabled to drive transformational impact, influence and innovation, using evidence-based strategies to build lasting positive change in the countries where we work. The VP promotes quality programming both at strategic and operational levels. When deployed to the field in support of our field operations, the VP is accountable to program participants and donors, and will report to the Senior Vice President of Programs. They facilitate innovative solutions, including appropriate use of technology, to address implementation challenges on the ground, and build creative partnerships in the most complex of environments. The VP closely tracks international humanitarian and development trends, approaches, tools and technologies, and builds networks with peers, academics, donors and the private sector to gain and share insight into trends and best practices.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Lead PaQ vision and strategy. Execute cohesive plan for strengthened program quality globally, with a focus on operational aspects that strengthen program management, including standards & training; support & service; and measurement & evidence.
  • Contribute to global agency strategy, with a mandate to evaluate current cross-operational program management processes for efficiency, effectiveness and quality. Lead strategic initiatives to improve support systems and structures to meet agency strategic objectives.
  • prioritizing resources and work to foster a healthy global portfolio comprising both quality and growth.
  • Connect teams to ideas, opportunities, partners, technologies and resources to build integrated solutions for greater quality and impact. Understand the role of technology and its appropriate application.
  • Establish and foster collaborative relationships with and between country and regional teams and cross-functional leaders of other HQ teams that will translate into collaborative working relationships on regional and field levels, ensuring that the PaQ work is prioritized and integrated on all levels of the agency.
  • Coordinate with and support countries and the Humanitarian Leadership & Response (HLR) team during acute humanitarian crises and longer-term leadership challenges.
  • Coordinate with the Technical Support Unit to develop and leverage the connection between quality implementation and technical quality.
  • Develop and oversee PaQ budget, advocating for and bringing together additional resources to capitalize on strategic opportunities.
  • Communicate actively and effectively across the organization, especially around the need, progress, and priorities for evidence-based decision-making, program management, community accountability, and gender integration.
  • Track the performance and quality of the global portfolio of programs to improve quality program implementation leading to reduced risk, optimized results, and maximized impact to drive agency strategy.
  • Design, promote, and verify accountability to integrated standards to ensure quality program implementation.
  • Champion evidence-based decision making to drive continuous improvement to program implementation, including leading the processes to manage global program data and evidence.
  • Lead change management initiatives that will strengthen and address the primary risks to quality program implementation.
  • Ensure all PaQ teams adhere to Mercy Corps’ Gender Policy, Do No Harm principles, and Program Management at Mercy Corps (PM@MC) Standards.
  • Champion lessons-learned processes from on-going or past programs / initiatives to learn from and share successes and failures.
  • Track international humanitarian and development trends, approaches and tools, and build networks with peers, academics, donors and the private sector to gain and share insight into trends and best practices.
  • Lead an experienced, cross-trained team of collaborators that can mobilize to facilitate solutions to program implementation opportunities & challenges.
  • Actively support the PaQ department’s teams and the development and implementation of unit strategies, including Standards & Training; Evidence; Quality Assurance; Infrastructure; and Strategic Leadership.
  • Provide leadership and support to team members with information, tools, and resources to improve performance and reach short, medium, and long-term professional objectives.
  • 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.
  • Hire, orient, and lead team members, with strong emphasis on a culture of care and accountability.
  • Support a high-functioning and collaborative PaQ team through strategic capacity development of the PaQ team members, open team communication, and encouraging work-life balance.
  • Lead continuous improvement processes for PaQ and identify gaps within the cross-departmental teams followed by recommendations and appropriate action.
  • 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 participants and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging participant communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility

Supervises and responsible for all work led by Program Performance and Quality Group. Directly supervises Senior Director of Strategic Leadership; Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning; Director of Infrastructure; Program Data & Systems Manager, Business Process & Strategy Manager; and Director of Standards & Training.


  • Reports Directly To: SVP of Programs
  • Works Directly With: Executive Team; Global Field Programming; Regional Directors and other field leaders; VP of Humanitarian Leadership & Response; VP of Technical Support Unit; Sr. Advisor for Gender, Diversity & Inclusion; and cross operational teams.

Knowledge and Experience

  • MA/S, MBA or equivalent in international development, business, political or social science management or other relevant field.
  • More than 12 years of experience in senior management in field and HQ. Experience leading teams and operations in insecure environments.
  • Ability to lead diverse teams, handle negotiations and facilitate planning processes, including delicate transitions.
  • Exceptional analytical and conceptualization skills.
  • Strong verbal and written communications skills.
  • Evidence of experience and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Proven ability to comfortably handle highly ambiguous circumstances and adapt to changing strategic and operational priorities.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the critical development issues especially in fragile environments.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently to Mercy Corps project sites and field locations, including traveling to insecure environments, is required.
  • Ability to work effectively under tight deadlines and in sparse working environments.
  • Strong representation and relationship-building skills with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification.
  • Proven skills in financial and grants management; prior experience with multiple donors and foundations.
  • Ability to work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in Arabic, French or Spanish is a plus.

Success Factors

The VP PaQ comes with exceptional leadership skills. They have a deep understanding of grants-based international relief and development organization operations and a proven passion for quality program implementation and evidence-based decision-making. The VP has an entrepreneurial spirit that is creative, flexible, and collaborative while also detail-minded, data-oriented, and with strong values for accountability.  The successful VP will have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills, and proven experience with capacity building. They are committed to long-term program sustainability and the delivery of high-quality and high-impact programs. The VP will be a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), ensuring that the principles of DEI are firmly embedded in all aspects of PaQ business and is a strong influence for DEI to be prioritized by the entire agency.  The VP PaQ demonstrates commitment to teamwork and accountability and a passion for facilitating strategic change management. They thrive in evolving and challenging environments and prioritizes effective written, verbal, and visual communication.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position can be based in London, UK, or Portland, OR, or Washington, DC, and it requires up to 30% travel to Mercy Corps field locations and offices.  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.