Mercy Corps Ventures Advisor / Program Officer
Full-time / Exempt / Portland, Oregon – open to a remote start
Unrestricted authorization to work for any U.S. employer is required
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.
Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV) leverages the global resources and reach of a leading development agency to provide high-impact startups with investment capital, value-added support and catalytic partnerships so they can scale solutions for underserved populations in fragile, frontier markets. We designed our capital and support to help ventures overcome critical barriers, professionalize faster and scale smarter. MCV forges catalytic partnerships between ventures and Mercy Corps' programs and corporate partners to help ventures test out new products and approaches and to gain credibility and trust in communities. We act as an impact anchor, striving to help ventures bake impact into their business model, engage with their customers in meaningful ways, and share those learnings through our Impact and Insights Unit. We are developing a vibrant portfolio of innovative, scalable companies and partnerships that have proven, high-impact solutions.
For more information, please refer to our Ventures Overview, 2019 Annual Impact Report and Medium Blog.
Mercy Corps Ventures is the impact investing division of Mercy Corps. Innovative finance initiatives and catalytic partnerships with high-impact technology companies also reside in Mercy Corps Ventures in the Innovation Department of the Headquarters Program Team. Mercy Corps strives to be the leading INGO in applying technology solutions, innovative business models, and impact investing to optimize the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian aid and development.
General Position Summary
The Mercy Corps Ventures Advisor/Program Officer plays an integral role with the Mercy Corps Ventures, supporting effective investment, best-in-class support delivery, and the development of catalytic partnerships to fuel high-impact ventures from seed to scale. The Ventures Advisor provides high-level support to the Senior Managing Director of Mercy Corps Ventures.
The Advisor will contribute to the expansion of Mercy Corps Ventures to significantly increase the size of its investment portfolio and enhance venture partnership and support offerings. They will provide management, administrative and operational support for MCV initiatives and be responsible for portfolio management, partnership development, impact management, and reporting. They will be a champion of entrepreneurial solutions to the toughest global challenges and be motivated to develop expertise in emerging technologies and business models. Key areas of focus include advancing innovative, responsible distributed ledgers, digital assets, cryptocurrencies and other digital financial solutions that accelerate global financial inclusion, as well as supporting ventures delivering climate adaptation, agritech, logistics, and other livelihood improving solutions.
Essential Job Responsibilities
PROGRAM MANAGEMENT & SUPPORT
- Contribute to developing and implementing an impact investing and venture partnerships strategy.
- Advise on emerging business model and technology innovations to inform MCV's investment thesis and strategy.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of pilot projects, capacity building, impact measurement and management.
- Support program delivery investing in, supporting and piloting with high-impact ventures to demonstrate that pioneering entrepreneurs in partnership with Mercy Corps offer a new, effective pathway to achieve social impact at scale.
- Identify, build and manage collaborative partnerships with tech ventures, impact investors and other actors that support social entrepreneurship.
- Coordinate venture partnerships ensuring the necessary team members are engaged from exploration, to negotiation and development to help achieve program objectives.
- Identify, track and consistently communicate measurable objectives and key results that align performance toward achieving ambitious program goals.
- Ensure program/project implementation is on time, target and budget, using effective M&E systems to reach desired impacts.
- Manage the operational and administrative aspects of MCV initiatives including but not limited to impact and financial reporting, compliance, invoicing, and procurement.
- Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities and partners and consistent with Program Management at Mercy Corps (PM@MC) and other relevant principles, values, quality standards and strategy.
- Serve as point of responsibility for overall monitoring on grants/programs for both external donor requirements as well as Mercy Corps’ internal policies and requirements.
- Provide ongoing monitoring of the status of programs and complete regular check-ins on grant requirements (such as co-financing/match, BVA, data aggregation, etc.).
- Represent Mercy Corps externally at conferences, workshops and other events in impact investing and social entrepreneurship.
PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT, IMPACT MANAGEMENT & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
- Gather, track, and analyze on quarterly and annual financials and impact metrics from portfolio companies and venture partners.
- Provide quarterly and annual reports on aggregate portfolio level and venture-level metrics.
- Analyze trends by sector, business models, technology, etc. and distill lessons learned/insights for use in reporting and communications materials.
- Collaborate with the Venture Growth and Catalytic Partnership units to provide technical assistance and capacity building.
HIGH-LEVEL SUPPORT TO THE SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR
- Support MCV Senior Managing Director in reporting duties including, but not limited to, responding to information requests, supporting the fulfillment of funder requirements, monitoring and reporting on initiative impact and milestones.
• Assist Senior Managing Director with preparation and compilation of briefing materials, presentations, as needed.
• Provide primary administrative support for the Senior Managing Director, including coordination and maintenance of appointment and travel schedule, expense reports, communications, planning, etc.
- Coordinate proposal development throughout the process, from concept development through to submission ensuring effective communication with the relevant parties as appropriate.
• Provide Senior Managing Director with support for other key projects as needed.
• Draft correspondence and program-related materials, attend meetings, write up notes, and carry out other duties as assigned.
COMMUNICATIONS & INSIGHTS
- Support internal and external communications and ensure knowledge management systems are up to date and accurate to support communication with other teams, venture partners, and portfolio companies.
- Contribute to developing communications materials (annual reports, social media, speeches, blogs, press releases, case studies, website content, newsletters, success stories, and any other) and dissemination to internal and external audiences.
- Support working groups and research partners in advancing thought leadership
In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development.
Reports Directly To: Senior Managing Director, Mercy Corps Ventures
Works Directly With: Field leadership and staff, IT staff, partner organizations, Technical Support Units, T4D, consultants and team members
Knowledge and Experience
- BA/BS or equivalent required, Master’s Degree a plus.
- A minimum of 4-5 years of relevant career experience in a startup, technology company, management consulting, investment banking, investing, international development or similar sectors.
- Demonstrated tech and business savvy; particular interest in impact investing and/or social entrepreneurship and developing domain expertise in fintech, crypto and distributed ledger technologies strongly preferred.
- Excellent problem-solving and time management skills; superior communication and interpersonal skills; exceptional ability to get things done.
- Entrepreneurial mindset; able to navigate complexity and ambiguity to develop clear, focused, ambitious plans of action.
- A team-oriented, “low-ego” individual who works collaboratively in a high-performance environment.
- Proven ability to measure effectiveness of approach and adjust/adapt as needed.
- Experience building effective working relationships with multicultural and remote teams.
- Professional French/Spanish is a plus.
The ideal candidate will have a proven ability to problem-solve, manage complexity, and execute. They possess an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy testing out, adjusting, and optimizing approaches just as our portfolio ventures do. They are team-oriented, “low-ego,” and able to work collaboratively in a high-performance, dynamic and mission-driven environment. A superb communicator, this person is adept at synthesizing complex concepts and expressing them in approachable ways, developing compelling written content and digital media, and comfortable with public speaking. They have a demonstrated passion for harnessing business and technology to solve challenges facing the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Living Conditions/Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Portland, OR and it requires up to 33% travel to multiple global locations. This position is expected to travel unaccompanied often, which may include some weekends. Constant communication is important where infrastructure allows.
Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's 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 how we 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 team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct policies and are required to complete mandatory corresponding elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.
Accountability to Participants
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.