Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. The foundation uses a range of approaches to include strategic innovation and catalytic programs to pioneer and implement self-sustaining solutions to some of the globe’s most intractable issues and we need leaders that have the technical expertise and the leadership experience to drive strategic solutions from the drawing board to the point of need. This requires a rare blend of passion, foresight, innovation and team work.
We are seeking a leader with these qualities to lead the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WS&H) initiative. The successful candidate will implement and refine the comprehensive strategy that focuses on sanitation solutions for the poor and that maximizes the impact of the $320M envelope for the four year outlook.
Reporting Relationship, Location, & Travel
This position reports to the President, Global Development Program and is located at the foundation’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington. International travel: 15-30%.
In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Global Development Group Summary
Nearly 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day. For one person in eight, hunger is a constant, potentially deadly, companion. The vast majority of the poor also lack access to the most basic financial and health services and only a tiny minority have access to the Internet. The foundation's Global Development Program is working with motivated partners to create opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty and hunger and bring health solutions to people who need them. Within this program, the WS&H strategy works to find effective, sustainable and scalable ways to assist the billions of people who lack access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and appropriate hygiene practices. Our grants fund both direct solutions, such as user-led sanitation, as well as key elements for sustainable services, such as improvements to sanitation technologies and business models. In all cases, we seek to catalyze action by others and to leverage the foundation’s particular capabilities, such as taking risks to drive innovation and engaging with a wide range of partners to achieve measurable results.
The long-term vision of success for WS&H is sustainable sanitation services that work for the poor. This includes new and innovative sanitation solutions that make it easy, affordable, and dignified for households to contain and manage excreta and community-led sanitation programs to create and sustain open defecation free (ODF) communities. Beyond 10 years, we aim to achieve the universal use of sustainable sanitation services, realizing the “Human right to sanitation.”
Position Summary & Responsibilities
The Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene will provide overall leadership of the WS&H program, with a specific focus on non-piped sanitation. The Director will focus on executing the current strategy and will be responsible for overseeing grant making, grant management, advocacy, people management and reporting on the portfolio. The Director will participate in the Global Development Leadership Team and contribute to the Global Development Program, and the broader foundation, through management and cultural leadership and a willingness to share knowledge as appropriate.
The Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is responsible for leading and managing an experienced team focusing on these key initiatives:
1. Investing in sanitation science and technology-based innovation that covers the whole sanitation value chain; this will use an “Outcome investing” approach.
2. Improve the effectiveness, sustainability and affordability of models that deliver sanitation services at scale;
3. Targeted policy and advocacy in support of non-piped sanitation.
The total grant envelope for WS&H will be over $325 million through 2012, including existing commitments. The Director will measure his or her success by the impact created from grants and advocacy on increasing the scalable and sustainable access and use of sanitation in the developing world.
Specific responsibilities will include:
• Lead the execution of existing strategies, implement grants that support the strategy and oversee strategy reviews and the strategy refresh process.
• Work closely with senior leadership to develop and present a framework for the strategy and top initiative grant making.
• Continue to mentor and develop team members and their collective capabilities to build a high functioning team.
• Direct team members in managing grant proposal development including internal review, monitoring and evaluation, budgeting and reporting.
• Provide strategic leadership and partnership as appropriate in Global Development and the foundation more broadly.
• Manage resources ensuring strong stewardship and maximizing the effectiveness of foundation resources.
• Lead the effort to identify new alliances that will contribute to our strategy and provide a venue for collaborative thinking regarding the complex inequities in the developing world.
• Provide oversight for the WS&H operating budget and forecasts to ensure financial and operational goals and objectives are being met.
• Provide leadership of overall budget development, management, prioritization and re-prioritization decisions, and reporting on progress against strategy and goals.
The successful candidate may have “not-for-profit” experience, or commercial experience, or both. For a mission driven background, the ideal candidate will have experience developing, managing and implementing project and grant-making strategies, including partnering with grantees on the definition of objectives and deliverables, and monitoring and evaluation of results. Ideally they will have accomplished measurable progress. For a commercial driven background, the ideal candidate will have a strong record of success and a strong sense of service.
• A minimum of 15 years progressively responsible experience, with at least 10 years in leadership positions. Ideally some experience in a matrixed and complex environment with significant dotted line relationships.
• Global experience in the field and working with developed and developing world governments and multilateral organizations, private sector or civil society.
• Specific experience in the area of non-piped sanitation is strongly preferred: broader sanitation, water and hygiene experience may be considered.
• Advanced degree relevant to the sector highly preferred.
• Strong people management skills with experience in complex organizations and managing teams focused on a broad range of strategic initiatives and programs.
• Demonstrated success in leadership roles developing and managing policy and advocacy organizations, programs or initiatives requiring a combination of strong analytical, writing and management skills.
• Demonstrated ability to build strong partnerships inside and outside of the organization.
• Demonstrated excellent leadership, intellectual quickness, curiosity, discipline, and resourcefulness. Strong analytical, interpersonal, and written and oral communication skills, in positions requiring communication with a broad and diverse audience.
• Ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort.
• Excellent people management. Strong, directive leadership and management of the WS&H team, including internal communications, goal setting, budgets, results measurement and reporting, professional development, maintaining a productive and motivating culture, developing new leaders.
• Demonstrated effectiveness and interest in mentoring and leading team members.
• History of success in roles requiring logical, systematic thinking while managing multiple priorities in a highly dynamic environment.
• Technology optimist - leavened with the experience that provides the ability to see the larger context in which technologies succeed.
• Demonstrated strong negotiation skills for contracts and grant agreements.
• Intellectual curiosity & honesty, effective listener, and a good sense of humor.
For more information about this role, or to recommend a candidate; please contact Dennis O’Keefe at
or visit us at our website careers.gatesfoundation.org.