Program Director - Gaza Sky Geeks / Jerusalem, Jerusalem (BB-CFB04)
Found in: Neuvoo IL
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 has maintained a presence in Palestine for more than 30 years, implementing humanitarian and development programs.
About Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG)
GSG began as Gaza’s first startup accelerator, launched by Mercy Corps and Google.org in 2011 and based on the premise that Gaza’s high-speed fiber internet could allow its people to compete in the global digital economy. Since then, GSG has grown and diversified into Palestine’s leading provider of co-working and tech community spaces, pre-seed tech startup acceleration, coding education, and other digital skills training. Today, GSG runs three coworking and tech education spaces across Gaza and the West Bank with over 10,000 community members who participate in training or events annually, of whom nearly 50% are women. Our alumni have earned or raised millions of dollars in revenue and investment thanks to GSG’s support, helping thousands of families survive and thrive. GSG is a vibrant, inspiring community of Palestinians eager to share their skills with each other and the world. This inclusive, peer-led education community is one of GSG’s most valuable assets.
GSG is now at a critical inflection point, poised for significant scale, higher impact, and increased sustainability over the next five years. It also will reassess its status as a program within Mercy Corps and explore opportunities to create new entities and spin-offs to enable commercial viability.
As the Gaza Sky Geeks Director, you will be the equivalent of a startup chief executive but in one of the most complex emerging markets in the world and within the global Mercy Corps family. You will run coworking spaces and educational programming in our physical hubs, as well as virtually, to launch startups, train software developers and freelancers, and lead a nascent yet collaborative tech sector across all of Palestine that creates well-paying, stable jobs. You will be setting precedents and shining a light on untapped possibilities for tech to level the economic playing field in frontier markets.
You will set long-term strategy for social and commercial objectives, raise capital and generate revenue to support those objectives, and cultivate/recruit top talent to help you do so. You will inherit and continue to build an amazing network of tech and policy leaders who will support you in those objectives. Likewise, you will be the leading voice, ambassador, and role model for an entire national tech ecosystem, influencing policy through inspiring speeches and commentary in global media.
You will lead a team of 50+ young and passionate team members for whom GSG is their home, not just a job-- one of the greatest privileges of this role will be coaching this team to maximize their potential and propel GSG to be the best-- and most diverse-- tech and startup education provider in the Middle East. GSG is proud to be one of the most gender inclusive tech communities globally and you will champion diversity in all forms as GSG grows.
You will also lead GSG’s strategic development, including leveraging some of the region’s best educational and startup acceleration content, products and services for new opportunities, exploring geographic expansion within and beyond Palestine, and shifting to a more commercial model for some GSG activities.
● BA/S or equivalent required. Master’s degree in management or leadership fields strongly preferred.
● 5+ years of experience in management/leadership roles-- ideally with experience managing a team of 20 or more and particularly in the education sector, technology sector, startup support or coding education organizations, or other hands on management experience in frontier markets or resource constrained environments. Experience in entrepreneurial or startup leadership positions preferred. A coding/engineering background is not necessary, but should be comfortable/knowledgable communicating with technical audiences about technology trends/skills.
● History of successful fundraising or business development (philanthropic fundraising, investment fundraising, or sales positions are all relevant experience).
● Excellent written communication skills (as in excellent even for a native English writer/reader) and English oral presentation skills that can cater to a wide range of management, donor, commercial, and public audiences.
● Experience setting policies, procedures, knowledge management practices, and communication guidelines in fast growing organizations.
● Superb attention to detail, ability to prioritize against competing priorities, and effective delegation skills.
● Experience coaching and holding team members accountable to deliver against against ambitious goals on tight deadlines.
● Experience living and working in challenging environments and managing diverse teams across language and culture barriers.
● Arabic language comprehension/speaking proficiency is a plus, but not required.
This is no ordinary leadership role. It is energizing, demands creativity, and filled with unique economic, cultural, and political challenges. Leading GSG is not just a job, but a personal multi-year commitment to creating major economic and educational changes in Palestine that can support the basis of a strong Palestinian future. The ideal candidate understands that the stakes of this work can and should be high. That said, you also know your limits, are mindful of others’ limits, and know that taking time for yourself to recharge makes you a stronger team leader and role model.
You need to set multi-quarter priorities, but also always be opportunistic-- when borders open or a new company shows interest in hiring from GSG’s talent pool, you may have to act even if it does not align with your plans. You have to also be patient and resilient— politics are always a challenge, security may suddenly deteriorate and stop your biggest hackathon of the year, or your startups may be trapped at a checkpoint on the way to a pitch competition and you need to think creatively how to make the most of what you can and cannot control. In an environment where uncertainty is the norm, you are able to quickly analyze a situation, provide clarity, decisiveness, and a plan to your team (and a plan b, plan c, and plan d...).
You are an active and curious listener. Maybe you are an introvert, but love socializing and laughing with your team (or know how important it is to do so). You tend to speak last after taking in as much input as you can. But then you are bold, decisive, and inspire confidence loudly, even if you aren’t sure yourself if your decision is right or your plan will work.
You care deeply about justice and fairness in the world and in Palestine, but know there are different ways to approach challenges and achieve real progress for real people. Tact, diplomacy, humility, and knowing when strategically to be quiet or shout from the rooftops are critical to remaining thriving and surviving in leadership here.
6-8 direct reports on the GSG management team, flowing down to all 50+ GSG team members (management structure to be determined by the incoming Director)
Reports Directly To: Mercy Corps Palestine Country Director
Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Palestine Finance, Procurement, HR, Program Quality, and Logistics teams; Mercy Corps RegionalMercy Corps HQ-based fundraising, technical support, innovations, and social ventures teams
Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions
The position is based in Jerusalem but requires weekly multi-night visits to Gaza and day trips around the West Bank. With COVID19 travel restrictions regularly changing between Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, more remote management of a large team in Gaza may be required initially. In a non-COVID world, quarterly travel to regional capitals (Cairo, Istanbul, Amman, Dubai, etc.) and the US, UK, or EU is required to represent GSG at industry conferences/events or Mercy Corps meetings.
In Jerusalem and the West Bank, Mercy Corps covers individual accommodation with full freedom of movement and excellent amenities. In Gaza, there is shared accommodation in staff guesthouses with limited solo freedom of movement, depending on the security situation.
Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders
Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
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
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and 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 is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.
calendar_today6 hours ago
work Mercy Corps