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Internal Application: Managing Director, Humanitarian Programs

International Social Impact | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is seeking a Managing Director, Humanitarian Programs. His/her work will focus on Sesame Workshop’s humanitarian initiatives reaching children and caregivers in Bangladesh and, to a lesser extent, in the Middle East (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria). The Managing Director will be responsible for overseeing the execution of a large-scale early childhood development project that delivers high-quality content through multimedia and direct services platforms to achieve measurable outcomes for children and caregivers in humanitarian settings. 

The right candidate will have a proven track record managing large, complex projects and budgets, as well as significant experience developing a unified and high performing team across multiple countries, organizational partners, and areas of expertise. 

The Managing Director reports to the Senior Vice President of International Social Impact. The position is based in New York, NY, with frequent travel to the focus regions.

The Managing Director is responsible for three key objectives:

  1. Delivering an exceptional, large-scale early childhood development project that achieves measureable outcomes for children and caregivers
  2. Building and leading a unified, high-performing team of technical experts, creative producers, managers, and other stakeholders from multiple organizations (Sesame Workshop, implementing partners, and research partners) and across focus geographies
  3. Providing strategic guidance for the design, delivery, and expansion of Sesame Workshop’s humanitarian programs

Responsibilities Include:

Project Leadership and Management

  • Ensure the project maximizes quality, reach, and impact, actively pursuing opportunities to improve project delivery though innovative service models and distribution platforms
  • Build and lead a high-performing team across multiple countries, organizational partners, and areas of expertise
  • Oversee project operations and day-to-day leadership of Sesame Workshop’s project team, including providing management guidance, developing strategies for growth and operational assistance, building and leading strategic partnerships, and tapping into technical expertise to support achievement of the project vision, goals, and outcomes
  • Identify and manage project risks, and implement course corrections as needed for success
  • Ensure effective budget planning, oversight and management, including through setting annual work planning priorities and leading participatory reviews of progress with partners
  • Establish and monitor key performance indicators, in coordination with project team members, implementation partners, research partners, the primary funder, and other key stakeholders; leverage project data to optimize performance

Strategic Planning

  • Establish and lead regular reviews of, and adjustments to, high-level project strategy
  • Establish, set roles and responsibilities for, and guide reflective strategic discussions with the project’s Partner Consortium and Technical Advisory
  • Identify, analyze, and present programmatic opportunities

External Engagement

  • Oversee the development of a multi-tiered advocacy strategy centered on the importance of ECD in humanitarian settings
  • Establish purposeful global partnerships to highlight the role of ECD in the humanitarian sector and to strengthen the impact and reach of Sesame programs



  • 15+ years of professional experience in a general management role, including management of large-scale humanitarian programs, working internationally and across cultures
  • Graduate degree in Management, Development, Education, or related field
  • Proven track record of dynamic and inspiring leadership of a large team
  • Deep understanding of early childhood development, education, and/or child protection
  • Experience managing and overseeing highly complex, large-scale projects
  • Ability to organize effectively, delegate, solve problems quickly, and communicate clearly
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills (persuasive, credible, and polished communicator with excellent interpersonal skills)
  • Coalition-building skills to balance, negotiate, and work with a variety of internal and external stakeholders
  • Experience in overseeing the creation and implementation of robust advocacy strategies
  • Willingness to travel frequently, as needed, and work across multiple time zones


  • Experience working in the Rohingya or Syrian response regions
  • Experience in broadcasting and/or media production

Program Information

Sesame Workshop has been awarded a $100 million grant from the LEGO Foundation to support a new early childhood development initiative for millions of children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises. The 5-year program will leverage the power of learning through play, providing communities affected by refugee crises access to vital early learning opportunities. Together with BRAC and the IRC, we will reach displaced and host community children and their caregivers in Bangladesh and the Syrian response region through direct services and mass media programming. The program will also include robust research and advocacy components aimed at identifying best practices for play-based learning in humanitarian response and encouraging sustainable investment in early childhood development.