Vice President, Global Programs

About Oxfam

Oxfam believes in a world that provides opportunity for all. Fundamentally, they recognize the power of people to overcome poverty. All of us—those of us living in poverty and those who do not—have a role to play.

Oxfam’s mission is to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. They uphold human rights and help people engage directly in the crucial decisions that affect their lives. An end to poverty is more than wishful thinking: the proportion of the world’s people who are living in extreme poverty has been halved in just 15 years.

About the Role

Reports to:

The Vice President of Programs will be responsible for providing overall strategic and operational leadership of Oxfam America’s Global Program division, providing world-class program expertise with a rights-based lens in a networked, global confederation. This important leadership role calls for a strategic, energetic and entrepreneurial professional who is driven by social change and righting the wrongs of poverty and social justice in the world, and is excited to represent Oxfam America’s role in that effort.

Working closely with country leadership across the 70 countries where Oxfam works, and in partnership and coordination with the other 19 Oxfam affiliates and the OI Program director, s/he will be responsible for cutting-edge and impact-driven programs that influence public and private sector actors for pro-poor policies and outcomes.  This includes mobilizing funds for and assuring program quality and impact through on-the-ground program excellence to influence regional and global policy for impact at scale and to provide leadership in ensuring a broad implementation of Oxfam’s rights-based global program, policy and advocacy work on Gender Justice and Women’s Rights across all Oxfam’s initiatives.

The Vice President Programs will lead the strategic direction and focus on Oxfam America’s major thematic areas including cross-cutting Gender Justice strategies in all program areas, oversee technical support, shared learning, and development of innovative programs and approaches to achieve measurable impact at scale. The VP of Programs will lead a team of senior program and operational professionals responsible for design, effective management and stewardship, research, monitoring, evaluation and learning of all Oxfam America programs and for developing strong current and new funding partners to support those programs.

The new VP of Programs will bring a deep and broad understanding of international development, the interconnections of poverty, policy and power, gender justice, proven large scale program management skills, proven expertise in collaborative delivery and management working closely with partner organizations, and a passion for human rights and the alleviation and eradication of global poverty.

As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, the VP of Programs will share leadership responsibility for Oxfam America’s strategic direction and decision making. S/he will collaborate with peers in the Oxfam confederation and represent Oxfam America in multiple Oxfam International initiatives.  S/he will hold responsibility for a growing $40M program budget and will oversee a total division staff of approximately 200 with direct reports leading the following areas:  Inclusive and Resilient Food Systems, Humanitarian Response, Accountable Development Finance, Extractive Industries, a program-wide fully integrated Gender Justice agenda, International Programs, Learning, Evaluation and Accountability, ICT4D,among others.  The VP will periodically review the division’s mandate in the context of OUS’s programmatic contribution to One Oxfam, and make strategic adjustments to the set-up of the division to deliver impact through local-to-global programs.

The responsibilities of the Vice President, include the following:

Excellence in Local-to-Global Programming.

  • Develop short and long-term program priorities that will position the organization as both an idea leader and savvy activist championing innovative solutions to poverty.
  • Ability to lead all program and thematic areas in implementing leading edge theories of change that will impact pro-poor policy during the next decade and beyond.
  • Ensure that Gender Justice is at the forefront of all thematic and program reform agendas that cuts through all Oxfam’s programmatic, policy, and advocacy initiatives.
  • Build impact and learning throughout the organization – within Oxfam America, with Oxfam International, and with all the global affiliates.
  • Ensure innovation in both impact and program coherence by leveraging high influence in all areas of fundraising, advocacy, program quality and execution, thematic thought leadership, among others.
  • A keen understanding of how US based policy and advocacy impacts and strengthens the global distributed cooperative advocacy of the Confederation.
  • Enable development, campaigning and humanitarian approaches to be strategically aligned and appropriately balanced to maximize impact and influence and respond effectively in crises.
  • Maintain an active role in capturing knowledge, sharing learning with others and drawing on learning from across Oxfam and externally and utilizing the results to inform program decisions, enhance institutional knowledge and drive greater impact.
  • Anticipate and manage program risks that could threaten the organizations reputation, operational viability and security. Take responsibility for leading crisis management and security management within programming countries as appropriate in line with Oxfam Policy.

Represent Oxfam for thought-leadership, fundraising and external positioning in the media.

  • Represent Oxfam in the United States and globally. Work with external partners at the most senior levels and influence and inform decision makers at the highest levels.
  • Support growth in Restricted and Unrestricted Funds for Programs through an aggressive external fundraising outreach initiative that positions Oxfam America as a highly preferred innovative collaborator with all donor sectors by cultivating both current and new relationships.
  • Serve as a spokesperson with the media and other external constituents and represent Oxfam in external fora.
  • Build alliances and networks within the sector, civil society and other critical constituencies.

Lead within a networked confederation.

  • Ensure a close working relationship with OI Program Director and Oxfam affiliates to ensure that productive working relationships are maintained across Programs in countries and regions and globally to develop and deliver effective high quality Country and Regional Programs.
  • Exhibits mastery of soft-power influencing skills as recognized in 21st development impact models for global poverty reduction and elimination by creating a legacy of innovation.
  • Motivate, manage and develop high performing, high energy senior directors.
  • Serve as a leader in driving a process that allows the appropriate staff to engage in defining priorities; ensures roles and responsibilities are clarified; decision-making is timely; and communication is effective.
  • In partnership with the Senior Leadership Team (which includes the President and Vice-Presidents), provide broad oversight and strategic thinking to increase the agency’s influence, resources, and impact.
  • Contribute to the overall leadership of Oxfam to ensure that the voice of poor people and affected communities, partners and program staff is influential within Oxfam, in the United States and globally.

Candidate Profile – Qualifications

As Oxfam has made intentional changes in how it works as a global confederation, examining its role, relevance and impact in the 21st century.  The organization has undergone a multi-year change process, including changes to the operating and business model of the Oxfam confederation and the role of individual affiliates.  Recent changes have included restructure and realignment of teams and staff in an effort to reflect their fast-changing world.  Oxfam America are looking for a candidate who is comfortable with leading through change, working in a highly networked and matrixed confederation and relevant ways of working; – a clear and passionate communicator about poverty, power and policy, an effective decision maker and creative problem solver. S/he will be able to inspire and lead effectively from being a member of a team as well as leading a team. S/he will provide leadership in Oxfam America and the confederation to advance, continuously enhance and embrace the strategic and organizational vision, offer continuity balanced with adaptation in response to learning and agility to respond to opportunities for change in our volatile uncertain world. They are seeking an enthusiastic, experienced program leader who is inspired to respond to exciting and challenging times externally and internally and tirelessly curious about finding solutions to address underlying causes of poverty and social injustice and changing the policies and practices that keep people poor. Experienced in programs, fundraising, advocacy and all aspects of grants management, you will enable them to manage, deliver and develop the Oxfam America program portfolio, support countries and regions as a Partner affiliate and manage key areas of risk.

Interpersonal Acumen:

  • A genuine affinity for the mission of Oxfam America displayed by empathy for people living in poverty around the world and outrage and impatience with violations of human rights that represents.
  • A deep and compelling desire to have impact and change to the world, and willing to make the personal commitments and sacrifices to go beyond talk and drive actionable results.
  • Unquestioned personal and professional integrity.
  • Humility, optimism and sense of humor, creativity.

Strategic Aptitude:

  • Demonstrated experience in strategic decision-making, leadership, and operational and thought leadership at a senior level in a complex organizational setting.
  • Develops innovative strategies to address future scenarios.
  • Understands and embraces the 21st century Global NGO models of influence, impact, innovation, and learning.

Executing for Results:

  • Translate the mission of the organization into actionable, quantifiable plans.
  • Entrepreneurial drive and ability to navigate through ambiguity to achieve results.
  • Demonstrated capacity to innovate, problem solve, and be decisive.

Leading Teams:

  • Excellent interpersonal and team-building skills to build an environment where the team is highly motivated to accomplish goals.
  • Significant proven senior leadership experience of managing and motivating multi-disciplinary, multicultural, and matrix managed teams, working with multidisciplinary peers and influencing colleagues across a global network.
  • A high degree of self-awareness and an understanding of how to drive and support excellent team performance and individual development. Act as a role model and demonstrate exceptional leadership in line with Oxfam’s values.

Building Relationships and Using Influence:

  • Highly credible and respected within the field.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and an ability to represent the organization with high level contacts.
  • Appreciation of and experience in developing the links between policy and practice in the field of development. Excels at the alignment of field-base programming with top flight lobbying and campaigning efforts engaging government, corporations and others.
  • Significant senior experience of building and managing trusting relationships with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders across a variety of disciplines, cultures and geographies.

Strategic Analysis:

  • Ability to oversee the development of, and contribute to, high level analysis of factors driving poverty, inequality and vulnerability, including the ability to ‘think politically’ by understanding motivations, pressures and challenges faced by public and private sector actors, colleagues, partners, donors and other actors.
  • Proven analytical skills, able to take and manage calculated risks based on evidence based assumptions.
  • Ability to think strategically, to maximize adaptability and agility, forward thinking, curious in learning what works, creative in sharing and fostering an environment of learning, focused on outcomes and accountability.
  • Ability to make tough strategic choices to determine the best use of resources across a range of programmatic themes and geography.

Fundraising, donor relations and resource mobilization:

  • Track record of mobilizing resources and investing in donor relationships – the VP program role has enormous opportunity and potential to strategically engage with current donors and is responsible for maintaining and strengthening existing relationships and establishing new ones.
  • A desire and track record for growing the program portfolio to increase the scale and scope of impact
  • Substantial experience of developing and delivering high value institutional funding income with efficient cost recovery and effective contract management.

Financial management:

  • Competent financial manager. Able to manage complex budgets, mitigating and controlling financial risks – including donor fundraising and funding relationships, across a large number of countries and thematic program areas.

Risk Management and Judgement:

  • Ability to take calculated risks based on evidence-based assumptions and to continually access and analyze the external context of the organization enabling the development of realistic strategies to maximize adaptability and agility, encourage future thinking, innovation, new ideas and learning from experience, as well as sound judgement on when to stop as well as start new initiatives.
  • Proven track record of making sound judgements in uncertain and pressurized situations. Including experience of leading crisis management, while faced with multiple possibilities but inadequate resources.

Representation and Communication:

  • A proven known track record of being an effective champion for gender justice, equity and diversity.
  • Excellent written and verbal representation and communication skills – able to inspire, bring people along, debate, and excite people to test new ways of working while measuring and building an evidence base of approaches that work.
  • Demonstrated ability to convey complex messages in an engaging manner to broad and diverse audiences via multiple channels.
  • Proven track record of representation to the highest level including understanding of and experience with media and an ability to represent the organization externally at various forums and in social media.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills to motivate, influence, and negotiate with sensitivity to diversity, including decision makers in government, with donors, media and pivotal figures in society.
  • Able to build and maintain relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders at all levels.
  • Keen to engage with private and public donors, including corporate, foundation and major individual as well as institutional donors.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English. Ideally the ability to also work in at least one other language – ideally French, Spanish, or Arabic


  • Ability to travel away from home, often to remote programmatic sites as well as other affiliate HQs, for up to 10 weeks per year.

How to Apply

To apply for this role, kindly send through a Microsoft Word version of your CV and a cover letter detailing why you are suited to this role. Please mark it for the attention of Tim Wingrove, email address: Please subject your email with the following reference: OUS-VP-GP.

Please note that the interview dates for this role will be confirmed with you should your application be successful.

In line with our workforce diversity policy in terms of gender, culture, and nationality, all persons from indigenous groups, minority, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The salary is competitive with the market rate and commensurate with the seniority of the appointment.