Regional Director, Africa

Location: London, United Kingdom

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Executive

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION

100 Resilient Cities, Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) is a new organization dedicated to helping cities be better prepared for and quickly rebound from 21st century shocks and stresses. Selected from an international competition, 100 Resilient Cities will work with 100 member cities for whom it plans to provide four kinds of value: 1) Financial and other support for cities to appoint and empower a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO); 2) Support for development of a robust resilience strategy; 3) Management of a peer-to-peer network of member cities who are pioneering a field of resilience practice in local government; and 4) Connections to solutions, service providers, and other partners who can help cities implement their resilience strategies. 100RC seeks to increase awareness of the importance of resilience thinking, to catalyze a new community of urban resilience professionals, and to spur the growth of a robust ecosystem of resilience-focused solutions and solution providers.

ABOUT THE POSITION

The Regional Director, Africa will play a key role in deepening the impact of 100 Resilient Cities by helping enliven, deepen and maximize the organization’s efforts, particularly with member cities and partners across the African continent. Within this geography, the Regional Director (RD) will help set the strategic vision for the portfolio; will provide guidance and technical assistance to member cities particularly in regard to the urban planning challenges they face; lead, enable, and develop a team responsible for delivering and implementing program offerings; and facilitate strong communication, collaboration and transparent information sharing across 100RC teams. S/he must understand the resilience needs and opportunities of the region and provide guidance on how cities can be better planned in regards to health & wellbeing; economy & society; infrastructure & environment; and leadership & strategy. The RD will be active in influencing cities to develop and implement a resilience agenda and through his/her staff of Associate Directors and Chief Resilience Officers, will generate productive and results-oriented relationships with senior city officials, relevant leaders, and a coalition of partners resulting in better planned and more resilient cities in the region. To do this, s/he will provide expert technical assistance on urban planning, policy and development issues to senior government officials; will help develop and deliver a major urban resilience and planning skills development program to a cohort of Chief Resilience Officers; and will be responsible to train and develop a team on urban practices and approaches.

S/he will be an active member of the organization’s leadership team and will serve as a central liaison between the region and the major departments at 100RC including City & Practice Management, City Solutions, Operations, Communications, and Knowledge. Additionally, the RD will work in a cohort of regional directors that represent four other regions – Europe & the Middle East, North America, Latin America & the Caribbean, Asia Pacific & Oceania.  Duties include, but are not limited to:

Improving the Resilience and Planning Capacity of African Cities

  • Generates a strategy and vision for promoting and accelerating resilience-based urban planning within the African continent; understands cultural nuances and helps the organization navigate local contexts to achieve organizational goals
  • Inspires, motivates and educates city leaders including CROs, Mayors, and other officials to actively participate in resilience building and deepen their urban planning capacity
  • Conveys the benefits of the 100RC partnership at the highest levels
  • Strategizes, develops, and builds senior-level relationships within the region—in concert with Associate Directors the 100RC executive team—helping to establish long-term, meaningful partnerships with cities
  • Oversees the progress and performance of a culturally, economically and developmentally diverse portfolio of over ten African cities in North, East, and Southern Africa
  • Navigates challenges and resolves conflicts with officials with diplomacy, sensitivity and transparency
  • Creates opportunities for resilience partnerships for the region and can leverage value from various public, private, and individual interests to improve urban resilience and planning

Team Leadership, Management and Program Delivery

  • Provides expert counsel on resilience, particularly urban planning, city systems, municipal government, and related topics, to CROs to assist them in developing and implementing their city’s resilience strategy
  • Leads a team of Associate Directors and Program Managers by empowering, coaching, and mentoring them to navigate complex cultural, political, urban planning and policy environments in cities throughout Africa
  • Inspires, counsels, and develops skills among mid-level professionals to excel in complex, rapid-paced and uncertain environments
  • Manages portfolio performance including regular analysis and status updates, monitoring of progress and city satisfaction, team and individual problem-solving, and elevating risks or issues to 100RC executive team
  • Connects resilience needs within the portfolio with solutions offered by 100RC partners. Helps Associate Director team and cities understand technical aspects of resilience tools and services, and ensures they are appropriately matched, delivered, and monitored for long term success.
  • Promotes team learning, distribution and sharing of information, best practices, and collaboration techniques both within Africa and across all 100RC operations
  • Helps Associate Directors discover emerging opportunities for impact in their cities. Has strong ability to evaluate and consult on urban comparative planning and policy analysis. Can translate local innovations into scalable solutions for the entire organization.
  • Collaborates closely with and actively contributes to supporting CRO network development within the region; maximizes opportunity for CRO peer learning and leadership training, develops regional events, and facilitates information and ideas sharing across member cities. 

Interdepartmental Collaboration and Organizational Management

  • Serves as a central liaison across the organization, representing interests of the region and RM team to the broader executive team. Fosters collaboration and synergy between departments, helping to improve and adapt systems in an enterprising and rapidly changing environment.
  • Collaborates with City Solutions Team to stimulate meaningful and worthwhile offerings for cities, analyzing urban development trends, urban planning patterns and resilience demand from the region; identifying prospective partners to cultivate, and evaluating performance on partner delivery within the portfolio.
  • Works closely with the Communications Team to elaborate marketing, messaging, media, branding, and thought leadership opportunities. Guides regional customization for cultural and political appropriateness. Promotes and elevates city accomplishments in tandem with 100RC media strategies.
  • Coordinates closely with the Operations Team on oversight of grant agreements, budgets, consultants and performance contracts, monitoring and evaluation, and other programmatic oversight.

Basic Qualifications

  • Authentic connection to urban resilience and planning in Sub-Saharan Africa, and passion for 100RC's work
  • Minimum of 12 years related professional experience; significant experience working within cities or local governments in Africa and relating them to a global network required
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Required English with proficiency in a second language of French, Arabic, Amharic, Kinyarwanda, or Swahili
  • Master’s degree or above required
  • Must be authorized to work in the UK
  • Ability to travel extensively within the region and internationally

Preferred Qualifications

  • Sophisticated and practical understanding of urban planning, particularly city government functions, structures, and processes
  • Experience in urban and/or resilience issues such as urban planning, public health, disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, vulnerable populations, mobility, etc., particularly in the African continent
  • Expertise in comparative analysis of urban planning and policy at a regional and global level
  • Experience managing and supporting high performing teams to reach ambitious goals
  • Strong ability to drive progress, have vision, promote innovation, and display ownership under ambiguous and dynamic conditions
  • Experience engaging with actors and organizations across sectors (public, private, nonprofit); strong political acumen and influencing skills for working with senior government officials including mayors and ministers
  • Strong professional representation of 100RC, interpersonal relationship abilities, intercultural knowledge and appreciation, and strategic partnership building skills
  • Experience developing networks and building communities
  • Experience working both in a developed economy context, as well as developing market
  • Strong process and project execution skills

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

This position will be based in London, England. Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

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