CAREER CENTER
Director, Next Generation Jobs Initiative
Root Capital Inc
Cambridge United States
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Type of Position Full-time
Education Requirement Master

Director, Next Generation Jobs Initiative

Reports To: Chief Programs Officer
Job Type: Full-time, exempt
Region: Central America & Mexico – East Africa – South America – United States
Location: Remote (open to any country where Root Capital has an office: Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, or the United States)
Start Date: Immediate
Contact: Please apply directly through Root Capital’s career site

Mission & History of Root Capital

Root Capital is a nonprofit whose mission is to grow rural prosperity and build the resilience of farming families around the world. We support the growth of agricultural enterprises so they can transform rural communities. These businesses purchase crops such as coffee, cocoa, or grains from smallholder farmers. With growth, they become engines of impact that can raise incomes, create jobs for the next generation of leaders, level the playing field for women, and take urgent action against climate change.

We supply these businesses with vital credit and capacity building to foster their growth and resilience. We work in hard-to-serve communities where others don’t. To date, we’ve distributed $1.6 billion to improve the lives of over 10 million people in farming families. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Root Capital currently has associated offices in Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, Ghana, and Kenya.

Summary

Root Capital’s Next Generation Jobs (NGJ) initiative is our newest strategic pathway to impact! Over many years of collaboration with agricultural businesses around the world, partnering on long-term business and production planning and training young employees working with these businesses, we have recognized the vital importance of the next generation in the sustainability and success of rural communities. Root Capital helps small and growing agricultural enterprises recognize the power and potential of rural youth to lead agriculture into a new, digital and climate-smart era. We work with partners and clients towards the goal of youth from rural agricultural communities having sufficient income and resources to sustain productive and fulfilling lives. Root Capital connects agricultural businesses with promising young talent via our Talent Partnership program, cultivates the next generation of agricultural leaders through robust training for over a thousand young employees annually, and modernizes business operations through youth-led adoption of digital tools. We define youth as individuals of working age (in accordance with local labor laws) up to and including 35 years old.

The mandate of the Director of the Next Generation Jobs (NGJ) initiative includes both internal systems and processes, programs, and strategy; and external-facing engagement and thought leadership. The Director is responsible for the participatory development and ongoing evolution of an ambitious, pioneering and impactful strategy to advance youth employment in agriculture in the regions where Root Capital works. In partnership with implementing teams, the Director ensures the integration of NGJ across the organization’s strategic priorities and activities. This role informs NGJ innovation priorities and supports the scaling and adaptation of services across regions. The Director owns the NGJ’s field-building agenda, stays abreast of emerging client needs, relevant science and sector context, and represents Root Capital externally with key partners and at events as needed. The Director also provides critical proposal development support for NGJ fundraising.

The Director collaborates closely with Root Capital colleagues across all teams and offices, ranging from members of the Executive Office to advisors and loan officers, with Root Capital board members; and with senior staff of external partners, especially the Chief Programs Officer, the Director of Innovation, global and regional leadership of both Advisory and Lending. This role is also a key contributor to the work of the Development team, and works closely with Impact, M&E, and Communications to ensure continuous alignment on learning and field building objectives and processes. The Director may manage new roles as the NGJ structure evolves.

Responsibilities

Strategic Planning – (40%)

  • Lead and develop Root Capital’s Next Generation Jobs strategic plan, leading research, setting the vision and priorities in coordination with internal and external stakeholders, and managing the creation of strategy documents
  • Ensure NGJ strategy is understood and integrated into regional goals and work plans across all departments, especially Advisory, Impact and Lending; oversee progress toward goals

Programmatic Innovation and Learning – (30%)

  • Scope, provide technical guidance on, actively coordinate and document the development, testing, and scale-up of NGJ innovations, in close partnership with Innovation and regional Advisory and Lending
  • Provide expert input into the development of activities to include and empower youth
  • Review and approve Youth Resilient Grant proposals. Resilience Grants represent catalytic funding that complements our credit + capital model and are offered to our clients who are committed to impact, in this case youth employment.
  • Oversee internal learning efforts. Play internal knowledge-sharing role, ensuring strong feedback loop across Root Capital departments and offices, and between Root Capital and partners and clients. Direct learning research and analysis efforts related to youth inclusion.
  • Advise on and co- design MEL (Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning) activities and metrics, survey questions, and data collection protocols

Field building – (10%)

  • Develop and implement Root Capital’s NGJ field-building agenda (learning dissemination to influence the field and drive impact at scale)
  • Originate and lead/ author thought pieces on youth in agriculture, and other areas related to the NGJ strategy as appropriate.
  • Identify and participate in networks and working groups to inform our strategy and advance our field-building agenda.
  • Ensure field building efforts are documented and measured.

Partnerships and Relationship Management – (20%)

  • Originate and lead NGJ-related relationships with implementing and research partners.
  • Collaborate with the Development team to fundraise for NGJ: Support funder cultivation; provide input and review to grant proposals and reports, collecting information from internal contributors as needed; support relationship management
  • Represent Root Capital in highest-level fora related to the NGJ and youth in agriculture more broadly.
  • Work closely with Communications to develop messaging, talking points for the CEO, and others to present the NGJ externally, and to develop other effective communications tools for the website and publications.

Skills and Experience

  • Minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible and relevant experience in youth employment, youth in agriculture, youth and the digital transformation, or another related field within the context of smallholder agriculture.
  • Proven expertise in the design and scaling of youth inclusion programs, activities and innovations
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of current sector developments in youth employment and youth in agriculture
  • Proven expertise in, and passion for, the position and role of youth in climate change, climate action, and the digital transformation
  • Experience designing and overseeing MEL plans and activities related to youth employment or similar
  • Ability to convey complex, technical content in clear, concise and compelling language, in verbal and written form.
  • Experience collaborating with key internal and external stakeholder groups, including executive leadership.
  • Experience working with multicultural and multilingual teams; sensitivity to the dynamics of global teams (e.g. working across cultures and time zones).
  • Proven ability to effectively collaborate between and across teams (including with coworkers outside of direct reporting lines)
  • High level of comfort working in a matrixed organizational structure; proven horizontal leadership and collaboration skills in a global context.
  • Highly organized and able to handle multiple projects while maintaining focus and flexibility in the face of change and ambiguity.
  • Ability to think creatively, take initiative, and work independently, while also collaboratively.
  • Professional fluency in English; demonstrably strong verbal and written communication skills. Professional competency in Spanish required.
  • Master’s degree in a relevant field or equivalent work experience
  • Willingness to travel internationally, when and if conditions allow. Expected travel: 5% – 20% of time, under normal circumstances.
  • Applicants must be authorized to work in one of the following countries: Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico or Kenya.