Senior Program Officer — Humanitarian Programs – GLobal Programs

  • Full Time
  • Midwest
  • Applications have closed

Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation

Position Description |The primary role of the Senior Program Officer (SPO), Humanitarian is to contribute to the GP humanitarian strategy in alignment with both the Foundation’s goals as well as the overall GP strategy and to manage the Foundation’s humanitarian portfolio. The SPO will report to the Director of Global Programs and play a critical role in role modeling the mind-sets and behaviors of a collaborative and inclusive team culture, helping to lead implementation of GP’s ambitious strategy. They will demonstrate adaptability with regard to managing and delivering to the needs of different stakeholders, internal and external. The SPO will see themselves as a leader in sexual reproductive health and rights, particularly in the humanitarian field, who embraces the opportunity to positively influence — through curiosity, empathy, humor and assistance — their colleagues in the development and vetting of proposals and the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of programs.

The Ideal Candidate 
A leader in the humanitarian field: You have deep knowledge and experience in the humanitarian field. You have a clear understanding of the unique sexual and reproductive health needs, including safe abortion, of women, girls, and other vulnerable groups affected by conflict and crisis and you are committed to ensuring that these needs are met with dignity and respect. You are committed to the transition of power dynamics in the humanitarian field from INGOs to local organizations and governments.

A strategic thinker: You are aligned with and have a deep understanding of the Foundation’s GP and Humanitarian strategies and can work to connect and align with other sub-strategies and scopes of work as needed. You have a constant eye on the big picture — and are OK switching course based on exposure to new information. You are able to break down a complex vision into actionable steps. You balance your bias for action with a need for reflection to consider how to maximize the opportunity before you.

Thrive in complexity and ambiguity: You are comfortable in the grey and can find ways to take meaningful steps forward toward clarity amidst a changing backdrop. You seek clarity and guidance when needed, yet remain solutions-oriented and self-directed. You aim to create clarity, not add to complexity.

An effective communicator: You know that individuals give and receive messages differently and, therefore, adjust your communication tactics — regarding content, technique, and tone — to land your ideas effectively in a global and remote team. You are committed to transparency and visibility to ensure alignment with the Director and to support an effective, collaborative team. You remain aware of cultural context and power dynamics, thoughtfully communicating to bring others in and along — even in hard conversations. You take the time to listen actively and understand the value of diverse ideas and opinions.

Adaptable with a good sense of humor: You are able to manage up, down, and sideways with relative ease. You keep sight of the end-goal and are flexible in how that is achieved, ready to pivot as needed. You aren’t out for ownership and credit, but to facilitate a smooth and results-driven workflow to serve the mission. You see yourself in service to the mission, and as part of a team working to realize an ambitious vision.  

You are self-aware — embracing continuous learning and leveraging your ability to influence. You understand that energy — positive and negative — is contagious and consciously create collaborative, inclusive, and rich working dynamics. You look for opportunities to develop yourself, coach and mentor other team members, and provide thoughtful and appropriate management of grantees.

Primary responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to:

Humanitarian Strategy Management -Lead roll-out and implementation of the Foundation’s humanitarian strategy, adapting and updating as is contextually required.

Serve as primary point of contact with the Foundation’s humanitarian partners, providing technical inputs and guidance as they transition to locally driven programming.

Collaborate with other SPOs to ensure integration and complementarity with country-level strategies, government engagement and localization priorities, as well as with other cross-cutting program areas (supply chain, capacity building, etc).

Identify new partners, particularly among civil society organizations in the Global South.

Global Programs Strategy Development and Management

Collaborate on the development, management, analysis, and refinement of strategy

Consider and evaluate grantmaking opportunities against the Global Programs team’s evolving strategy

Grants Management

Monitor humanitarian programs and provide regular support and feedback to partners.

Collaborate with and provide guidance to grantees throughout proposal development, program implementation, and the reporting process.

Assess grantee performance, program progress, and strategy alignment through written communications and in-person visits.

Represent the Foundation thoughtfully to past, present, and potential grantee partners, in external meetings and events.

Represent the Foundation in humanitarian fora – including with implementing partners, local and national-level stakeholders, UN agencies, and other donors – ensuring that the Foundation’s priorities are represented

Team Leader

Exhibits a leadership mind-set; is always leading self, a project, or peers

Supports, mentors, and cultivates the growth of junior staff

Is an engaged, committed contributor to team initiatives, efforts, and activities


Skills and knowledge the candidate must possess:

Technical background (public health, legal, research, or clinical) in sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian contexts and a strong track record of leading work in the field, especially in a global or regional context

Strong passion to positively influence global sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls

Proven track record designing and leading humanitarian programs, particularly SRHR and GBV programs, to improve outcomes for women and girls

The ability to create positive relationships with stakeholders through the appropriate management of their expectations and agreed objectives

Excellent written and interpersonal communications skills with diverse audiences

Superior organizational and planning skills to balance multiple activities and projects

Strong ability to work independently and solve problems with limited supervision

Attention to detail as well as an ability to take a big-picture perspective

Collaborative work style and eagerness to continually learn and grow

Patience, flexibility, situational adaptability, and a sense of humor

Ability to travel internationally; expect to travel a minimum of 50% of the time to Omaha when not in the field

Education and Experience

A range of professional experiences or educational preparation will be considered. Technical expertise in humanitarian SRHR programming is more important than philanthropic experience, but grantmaking familiarity is certainly a plus.

Benefits and Compensation

The annual salary range for this position is competitive and will be commensurate with experience. The Foundation offers a full and generous benefits package, including medical/dental insurance and a retirement program.

Application Process

Send cover letter and resume or CV to with subject line <em>Senior Program Officer – Global Programs.

References, writing samples and other information may be requested. Position finalists may be invited to interview in-person at the Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska, United States.

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.