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Internal Application: Senior Director of Project Planning, Refugee Programs

International Social Impact | New York, NY | Full Time

Job Description

Sesame Workshop is seeking an experienced Senior Director of Project Planning to manage the implementation of Sesame Seeds - an early childhood development (ECD) initiative serving the needs of Syrian children displaced by conflict in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.   This joint, five-year project with the International Rescue Committee is funded by the first MacArthur Foundation 100&Change, $100 million grant, the largest ECD intervention in the history of humanitarian response. More information on the program is available at The position is based in New York City.

The Senior Director of Project Planning will be part of a dynamic and evolving collaboration across two highly specialized organizations and will need to be an innovative, hands-on team-player. S/he will continually exercise independent judgment while leading project planning and execution and working closely with experienced colleagues from a diverse set of professional and technical expertise. The right candidate should be a passionate and collaborative individual who will support other senior managers on the program.

The Senior Director of Project Planner will be responsible for coordinating a multi-faceted planning processes throughout the implementation of this large initiative, including integrating workplans and other collaboration across components of the program. The position will directly supervise a Project Coordinator, who will support all planning tasks, and will supervise in coordination with their department supervisors, a Finance Manager and Grant Manager. Candidates for the position should have extensive experience in project planning and project management with a proven track record of successfully building and managing large multi-sector projects across several organizations.  


  • Full project life-cycle management: manage execution of all grant requirements, grant reporting, project deliverables, track and dependencies, and project work plans
  • Support Managing Director and other senior project managers to develop, coordinate and track project plans and execution
  • Supervise 3 staff functions: Project Coordinator, Finance Manager, Grants Manager
  • Create project plans, policies, and administrative processes (e.g. change management, staffing, and communications plans)
  • Update and maintain risk assessments and mitigation plans
  • In coordination with the Finance Manager, track project budget, supporting budget holders in budgeting and tracking expenses
  • Create, adapt and coordinate communications protocols and across a large, distributed team
  • Establish processes for maintaining project scope and changes
  • Provide ongoing quality control and issue resolution
  • The position is based in New York, though occasional international travel may be necessary


  • Passion for Sesame Workshop’s mission
  • PMP/PgMP certification or equivalent desired (indicate in resume or cover letter)
  • 10+ years of experience in complex project management, grant writing, international development, education, mass media, and/or refugee response
  • 5+ years of experience managing management level positions, functions
  • Demonstrated ability to work in highly matrixed project team with a sense of urgency
  • Excellent communication and relationship management skills
  • Demonstrated experience in developing countries; Middle East experience and knowledge of Arabic a plus
  • Advanced degree in relevant discipline a plus

Department Overview: 

The Sesame Seeds program as a part of the International Social Impact is a division of the Social Impact and Philanthropy department that is responsible for growing Sesame Workshop’s global presence and initiating, implementing and strategically sustaining local brand adaptations to drive reach and impact. The team collaborates with a variety of international partners, stakeholders, and service providers to deliver educationally targeted, high-quality content through coalitions of local and global media, education, government, corporate, donor and civil society partners. International Impact must strategically connect and synchronize Sesame’s global networks at the regional and country level and align content development with global development goals and global themes.