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Internal Application: Managing Director, South Africa

International Social Impact | Hybrid in City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng, South Africa | Full Time | From R2 000 000,00 to R2 300 000,00 per year

Job Description

Sesame Workshop (SW) is looking for a dynamic and visionary leader to serve as Managing Director for our office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This individual will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the staff, programs, and execution of SW’s mission in South Africa. The selected candidate will lead the organization into its growth phase, building on the successful launch of the South Africa office five-years ago and leverage the strength of the locally produced Takalani Sesame show launched in 2000.

We are seeking an experienced and entrepreneurial Managing Director to continue broadening SW’s mandate within South Africa, with the potential to support a regional, long-term vision across the continent to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder.

Sesame Workshop seeks a leader who will:

  • Ensure reach, impact and financial sustainability of the Sesame Workshop South Africa office (SWSA), SW’s local operations based in Johannesburg
  • Build a strategy to scale impact and expand revenue-generating and fundraising activities to support program expansion and sustainable operations
  • Oversee, mentor and manage a motivated team across education, distribution, production, program management, education, finance, and marketing
  • Leverage the Takalani Sesame brand to increase engagement, reach and impact with audiences through social impact programs, broadcast, and digital media


Strategic and Operational Excellence

  • Drive SW’s overall purpose and vision in South Africa
  • Assess and manage the team, build people and organizational capability
  • Ensure local operational excellence and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems
  • Assume responsibility for all aspects of business ensuring optimal legal, financial, human resources and governance oversight
  • Prepare and administer the office’s annual operating budget and assume full P&L responsibility
  • Lead in the development, implementation and periodic review of the South Africa strategy, ensuring it is aligned to organization-wide strategic direction and priority thematic areas
  • Explore the potential for an expanded Sub-Saharan Africa regional strategy, together with NY HQ

Fundraising and Partnerships

  • Expand philanthropic revenue through new institutional, corporate and individual donors, cultivating strategic partnerships locally and internationally that will lead to business plan outcomes, revenue generation, and new initiatives, in close collaboration with NY HQ
  • Actively engage and energize current philanthropic, commercial, and broadcast distribution partners
  • Analyze funding trends within the region to guide fundraising initiatives and donor profiling
  • Working closely with the headquarters-based Senior Vice President and Sr. Director for International Social Impact, present updates and presentations for the executive team and deliver a business plan for long-term sustainability and strategic growth

Program Development and Management

  • Continue to scale long term impact and sustainability throughout South Africa. Develop new programs tailored for communities and their specific needs across the region
  • Envision and guide social impact program growth in a way that maximizes benefits to children and their families, harnesses the full potential of the Sesame brand and offerings, and capitalizes on digital possibilities
  • Nurture and build key partner and stakeholder relations for programs and activities – working toward a clearly defined impact vision
  • Oversee localization and production of original media assets for broadcast and programmatic partners
  • Ensure programs are delivered and managed effectively, donor reports and budgets prepared and reviewed on a timely basis and submitted according to expectations

Communications and Representation

  • Represent Sesame Workshop as MD at public events, media interviews, and high-level meetings. Engender a broad base of support for SW throughout the region
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications – from web and social media presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand
  • Establish relevant media and communication networks and increase visibility and positive profiling of SW

Alignment with SW HQ and Country Offices

  • Work closely with SVP and Sr. Director ISI in SW HQ on all aspects of operational management across philanthropic and commercial operations
  • Engage and leverage global subject experts within HQ (Brand Marketing, Education, Production, Program Management, Research, Impact, Philanthropic Development, Licensing, Distribution, etc.) to inform the overall strategy and ensure alignment with SW’s global goals and priorities
  • Collaborate with SW peers globally to create synergies, best practices, and efficiencies for SW’s global programs and activities


  • Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) or a social development field or equivalent experience, strongly preferred
  • 15-20 years overall experience in the media business, non-profit, or socially oriented for-profit entity; 10+ at the leadership level
  • Proven track record developing a comprehensive business plan for delivering long-term growth and sustainability while generating new revenue streams; securing resources and leading staff to achieve high-impact results, with an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Experience in overall business management including legal, finance, human resources, compliance, etc.
  • Ability to deliver results following strict deadlines
  • Demonstrated expertise in launching new initiatives across expanded markets/geographies
  • Proven coalition-building skills with an ability to balance, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
  • Proven experience working in a highly-matrixed international business environment
  • Experience in the children’s media space is desired but not essential
  • Strong interpersonal and relationship management skills
  • Persuasive, credible, and polished communicator with strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Must have international impact experience

Equal Opportunity Employer/Minorities/Females/Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity