Strategic Response Manager - Program Performance and Quality (PaQ)

Country: United States of America
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 6 Sep 2021

Applications will be received until September 6, 2021. This position may be based out of our US offices in either Portland, Or or Washington, DC

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Program / Department Summary

The Program Performance and Quality (PaQ) unit supports effective, efficient and equitable program performance through a culture of quality management, to achieve greater impact for those that matter most -- our program participants. PaQ enables the delivery of high-quality programs by establishing and maintaining standards, championing an evidence-based practice to improve program performance, and supporting portfolio and program services and strategic program change management. The PaQ team oversees several business processes including monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL); program management standards; program data management; community accountability reporting mechanisms; infrastructure, cash, and goods programming quality assurance; country operations support; strategic change management; and facilitating the complex program process.

The Strategic Response Manager is a member of the Strategic Leadership sub-Team (SLT) within the PaQ Unit. The SLT supports Mercy Corps country teams and agency initiatives during times of change to achieve high program performance and quality. The SLT has three focus areas: 1) The SLT takes a holistic approach to leadership continuity by proactively supporting new senior leaders and helping Senior Management Teams to strengthen their cohesion, efficiency, and effectiveness. The SLT is also responsive to leadership transition needs by helping country teams source internal and external leadership support when needed. 2) The SLT provides support to Complex Programs by providing the necessary framework and resources to ensure that these programs are successfully implemented and are set up to achieve significant impact while appropriately managing risks. 3) The team serves as an agency resource to collaboratively lead strategic agency initiatives. Examples include program expansions; opening or closing of a country operation; consolidation of learning and development of strategic knowledge resources; restructuring projects or mergers and acquisitions; and response to unforeseen challenges.

General Position Summary

Often called upon for extended on site support to global programs and portfolios, the Strategic Response Manager is an accomplished senior manager who is equally comfortable leading and managing country or regional teams and portfolios and managing individual programs or change management projects. They are a flexible facilitator and problem-solver with a clear commitment to operational and program excellence and healthy teams. They facilitate beneficial connections between program, country, regional, and global teams and partners to ensure quality programming is supported by effective and integrated systems and the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed. The Strategic Response Manager is a highly adaptable leader responsible for resourcefully managing and guiding teams through strategic change. They provide support to change scenarios, such as support for the start-up of new complex programs or coverage for leadership transitions. They engage remotely with country teams to rapidly assess circumstances and provide recommendations. Job responsibilities will vary depending on emerging organizational priorities, shifting strategies, and the context of specific assignments. The Strategic Response Manager will have variable supervisory responsibility within country teams when deployed on specific assignments. When not deployed, the Strategic Response Manager will provide remote support to country teams to manage challenges - internal and external - and lead initiatives that support agency-wide priorities.

Essential Job Responsibilities


  • Contribute to the development and delivery of a clear Program Performance and Quality vision and strategy.
  • Support country teams to realize agency, regional, and country visions and strategies. Contribute to the development or refinement of country strategies as needed during assignments.
  • Engage in development of strategies and plans to optimize leadership continuity, complex program performance, and other SLT-led processes.
  • Prioritize resources during assignments and in projects to achieve objectives in variable scenarios including urgent change circumstances, crises, and emergencies.
  • Facilitate program planning when on assignment to identify future resources and support needs.


  • Foster an equitable and inclusive work environment where individual and team wellbeing is prioritized.
  • Provide leadership and managerial support to programs and portfolios through effective coordination, supervision and performance monitoring designed to enable achievement of program objectives.
  • Deploy to support urgent change scenarios such as country start-up/close down, staffing transitions, start-up of new programs (e.g. complex programs), and identify and implement solutions to management challenges.
  • Facilitate the finding of coverage for urgent change scenarios when direct assignments by an SRM are not possible or not the preferred option.
  • Lead and/or contribute to the definition and implementation of cross-departmental change management projects to improve the efficiency and accountability of country programs and operations.
  • Contribute to shaping and fulfilling the strategy and purpose of the SLT, while fostering a supportive team culture.


  • Facilitate integrated planning in support of program excellence.
  • On in-country assignments, support full and proper implementation and adoption of policies, procedures, and systems for quality team management, compliance, procurement, hiring, HR, logistics, warehouse, fleet, asset, and administrative functions.
  • Support adoption and accountability of all Mercy Corps policies, including the revised Program Management Policy.
  • Work with agency counterparts to mitigate risk, including fraud, corruption, safeguarding, conflict of interest, security and safety, and legal ramifications of Mercy Corps activities.


  • Maintain productive relationships with all stakeholders.
  • Facilitate or strengthen beneficial connections between program, country, regional, and global teams.
  • 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.

Supervisory Responsibility

Variable when deployed


Reports Directly To: Senior Director of Program Performance; may have an additional

reporting line when deployed

Works Directly With: Global Programs, Country Directors, Complex Program teams,

Humanitarian Leadership & Response, Global Procurement and Logistics, People Team, Strategy & Learning Team, and other technical and cross operational teams.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

Success Factors and Transferable skills: Any skills you have gained through education, volunteer, work, or life experience that are relevant for the position will be considered. Be sure to fully explain transferable skills and success factors and how they apply to this position in your cover letter.

  • BA/BS degree in a relevant field.
  • A minimum of 7 years experience in humanitarian or development programming, including in direct program management and senior leadership roles.
  • Experience in insecure environments, including managing programs or teams in complex emergencies.
  • Knowledge of Mercy Corps processes, systems, and procedures is desirable.
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations governing the compliance/regulatory management of grants from US Government, DFID, EC, and other donors is an advantage.
  • Experience effectively mentoring and training others.
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required; proficiency in French, Arabic and/or Spanish is strongly preferred.

Success Factors

The Strategic Response Manager will skillfully manage transitions for Mercy Corps, representing priorities of the agency while providing effective management to the Mercy Corps team. They are attentive to detail, following procedures, meeting deadlines, and working and problem-solving independently and cooperatively. They proactively translate learning into strategies for improving quality and preventing crises. They have high emotional intelligence, constructive mentoring skills, and proven experience with capacity building. The Strategic Response Manager possesses excellent negotiation and representation skills.They are committed to managing risk and maintaining highly effective and efficient operational processes and teams. The Strategic Response Manager brings positivity and a focus on solutions, along with a commitment to accountability, and a passion for navigating complex change processes. They thrive in evolving and challenging environments, and make effective written and verbal communication a priority. They work effectively with an ethnically diverse team in a sensitive environment; comfortably handle highly ambiguous circumstances; and adapt to changing strategic and operational priorities.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The Strategic Response Manager may be based in an HQ office or a MC country office. Remote work options will be considered. The Strategic Response Manager requires up to 50% of time traveling by air to country offices and local transportation to country offices, often in austere environments.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when visiting or on a short term assignment to a country office 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.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply:

Apply here

Apply to Job

Related Job Vacancies


Operations Director - Syria (Based in Amman)

Country Programme Coordinator – Various Destinations

Responsable Pharmacie - RCA - Bangui

Deputy Chief of Party (Gateway )