Executive Director

  • Executive-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 19 November 2018

Job Description

The Role:


The SEEP Network head office is in Washington, DC but this leader could potentially be based anywhere within a 2-hour flight, with frequent travel to Washington, DC.

Reports to:

SEEP Board of Directors


SEEP is in the first year of implementing a new strategic plan approved by the Board for the period 2018-2020. The current Executive Director, Sharon D’Onofrio, has served in the position for 7.5 years. She has provided the Board with a six-month notice to prepare for her departure, recruit her replacement, and complete a handover.

SEEP is seeking an Executive Director who is a well-rounded, innovative leader with the ability to inspire others to leadership.

The ideal candidate is passionate, charismatic and entrepreneurial with the gravitas and ability to articulate big ideas, inspire staff to achieve, strengthen membership, and increase and diversify funding. The successful candidate can guide strategic proposals, has a strong professional network, and is savvy with public relations.

Position Summary:

The Executive Director is responsible for driving the success of SEEP’s mission by leading and delivering on the current strategic objectives and setting those for the future. S/he will:

Ø Build on and develop the tremendous reputation of SEEP and lead the organization to increase its influence, strengthen membership, broaden the base of financial support, multiply alliances, and enhance its impact.

Ø Represent SEEP at the highest levels of dialog with members, funders and other global stakeholders.

Ø Inspire and develop Board members, staff, funders and partners toward exceptional commitment, teamwork, contributions and performance.

The top priorities for the Executive Director are:

Ø Pursue SEEP’s Mission.

Ø Develop and strengthen value-add relationships with members and other strategic partners.

Ø Expand and diversify funding partnerships and revenue streams.

Ø Support SEEP staff to ensure strong performance and engagement.

Ø Ensure SEEP’s financial integrity, including good fiscal discipline and planning.

Key Responsibilities:

Vision and Leadership

§ Promote a common vision that enhances SEEP’s impact.

§ Communicate the SEEP vision and strategy to external and internal constituencies to maintain a clear identity for SEEP and continuous alignment with the mission.

§ Guide SEEP’s evolution in the face of an ever-changing development landscape.


§ Lead fundraising for SEEP including identifying potential donors, supporting or leading program design and proposal process, and ensuring productive donor relationships.

§ Manage relationships with existing and potential donors and explore new creative partnerships to expand the funding base.

§ Explore effective methods of resource mobilization, including developing staff capacity and hiring consultants.

Stakeholder Engagement

§ Lead engagement with member organizations and ensure that member needs and demands are understood and utilized to improve services.

§ Ensure alignment between member interest and SEEP thematic areas and overall strategy.

§ Represent SEEP externally to stakeholders, including peer networks, policymakers, research institutions, think tanks, donors and other prospective partners.


§ Take ownership of the SEEP strategy and establish credibility and trust with the staff and the Board.

§ Maintain a healthy and stable organization with an effective management structure, facilitating an environment in which staff work as a true team.

§ Guide staff recruitment and development, ensuring staff professional capacities are nurtured and strengthened and staff are motivated to deliver excellent results.

§ Ensure financial health by overseeing the development and implementation of budgets, funding proposals and earned income strategies and fulfillment of reporting and other donor requirements.

§ Provide leadership on programmatic initiatives in SEEP’s priority thematic areas as well as the SEEP annual conference and other SEEP events.

§ Ensure SEEP is effectively communicating the organization’s focus and insights in order to elevate SEEP’s influence and impact.

§ Hold accountability for performance measurement and tracking results against board-approved targets.

Board Relations

§ Advise the Board of Directors of the organization’s activities, opportunities and challenges.

§ Collaborate with the Board of Directors on matters of governance and ensure the Board-approved policies and budgets are implemented.

§ Prepare institutional and other reports for the Board of Directors to enable them to carry out their duties.

The Person:

Qualifications and Experience:

§ Relevant experience in international development, including knowledge of practice, trends, and actors in inclusive market development. Expertise in at least one of the following technical tracks is pivotal financial inclusion, women’s economic empowerment, economic recovery, resilience, or food security.

§ Deep awareness of and commitment to market system development and the role of facilitation in driving systemic change.

§ Experience living and working in a developing country for 5+ years is preferred.

§ Proven success in operating in a member-based organization that values members’ learning and practitioners’ perspectives and delivering results that are relevant to SEEP’s mission preferred.

§ Experience working with a geographically dispersed and culturally diverse group of international members.

§ A superb networker/fundraiser with the vision, passion, creativity and intellect to drive the engagement of major funders.

§ Ability to leverage new trends and amplify the SEEP message in a changing development and funding environment.

§ Savvy communicator with natural networking abilities, strategic messaging and a confident public speaker.

§ Strategic and entrepreneurial leadership, proven experience in business model development, planning and analysis.

§ Proven experience in recruiting, building and leading a lean team of highly motivated professionals and inspiring team members to adopt and achieve ambitious objectives.

Leadership and Management Behavioral Competencies:

Visionary Leadership:

§ Creates and communicates a clear and compelling view for the future of the organization.

§ Develops and applies creative solutions to organizational problems, anticipating situations and needs, and responding to emerging situations.

Analytical Thinking:

§ Demonstrates the ability to focus the organization around a clear set of viable and strategic options.

§ Possesses the ability to analyze costs and revenue to consider improving current business model.

Relationship Building:

§ Forms networks of positive relationships that enhance the organization’s success.

Team Leadership and People Development:

§ Demonstrates exceptional team leadership and team management capabilities, with a focus on inclusiveness and valuing all members of a diverse staff.

§ Facilitates conflict resolution.

§ Recognizes development needs and coaches to improve performance; creates opportunities and provides support for career advancement.

§ Establishes priorities with clear goals and responsibilities to get results from people and exceed expectations.

Driving Results:

§ Defines ambitious objectives and establishes priorities with clear responsibilities to ensure results.

§ Drive innovative and value-add content development into the network and make relevant to the membership.

Self-Confidence and Determination:

§ Possesses strong, realistic confidence in oneself in challenging situations and maintains a calm focus on results over time.


§ An advanced degree relevant to international development (e.g., business administration, law, sociology, anthropology, economics, international studies, etc.)


§ Fluency in English; proficiency in another language highly desired.

§ Willingness and ability to travel domestically and internationally, including to challenging locations.

§ If based in Washington, DC 10-15% travel; if based outside Washington, DC 20-25% travel.

§ Legally authorized to work in the U.S.

About the Organization

The Organization:


To empower our members to be effective agents of change and to enhance their collective ability to accelerate impact at scale.


SEEP catalyzes innovation by working across organizations and sectors to develop and ground truth solutions to shared challenges and support the adoption, replication, and expansion of more effective strategies for poverty alleviation. With representation in 160+ countries, SEEP’s members and their broad base of partners represent a powerful platform for affecting large-scale change.

A learning network with a 30-year track record, SEEP’s strategy is based on market systems principles, specifically the role that learning and collaboration can play in influencing behaviors of individuals and organizations.

The network brings people together to better understand emerging issues, mobilize knowledge and experience, expand the availability of evidence and influence changemakers.


In 1985, a group of U.S. based NGOs pioneered new strategies for enterprise development and microcredit, seeking to promote economic opportunities for the world’s poor. With support from USAID’s Office of Private and Voluntary Cooperation, they formed the “Small Enterprise Evaluation Project” (SEEP) to champion the importance of impact assessments and develop evaluation methods that would inform practice.

The experience resulted in the publication of a highly influential guide, Monitoring and Evaluating Small Business Projects: A Step by Step Guide for Private Development Organizations, and a model for cross-organizational learning and collaboration that remains the foundation of our work today.

After the project came to term, SEEP was rebranded as the “The Small Enterprise and Education Promotion Network" or The SEEP Network. With members active in 160+ countries worldwide, the once small group of NGOs is now a global network of diverse organizational types and geographies. Today, The SEEP Network's vision is to promote markets that create opportunities for all people to engage and prosper.

Operating Model:

As a member-based institution, SEEP’s operating model relies on revenue from a range of sources including grants, conferences, consultancies, contracts and member fees.

Every year, the SEEP Annual Conference convenes hundreds of inclusive development leaders from around the world to inquire, debate, and learn.

In addition to the annual conference and other learning events, member organizations gain access to exclusive benefits (industry recognition and visibility, industry leadership and influence, peer-to-peer collaboration, quality learning products and industry research) and a wealth of opportunities essential for large-scale transformation.

In 2017, nearly 4,000 participants attended SEEP events. They have more than 15,000 active subscribers to SEEP newsletters and our web sites attract nearly 175,000 visits a year.

The organization employs 15 full-time staff, primarily based in Washington, DC but several based remotely.

More information

SEEP Network - Executive Director - Position Description.pdf

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