Senior Program Manager

Hiring Organization: 
World Education Services
City and State: 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

WES is looking for a Senior Program Manager to join the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. The Mariam Assefa Fund is a philanthropic initiative launched by WES in mid-2019 and aims at catalyzing economic opportunities and advancement for immigrants and refugees in the U.S. and Canada. The Fund provides provide grants, investments, and other support to interventions that promote more inclusive economies and the economic integration of immigrants and refugees. The Fund launched its efforts in the United States in 2019 and is now preparing to begin work in Canada in 2020. The Senior Program Manager will help design, launch, and build the Fund’s efforts in Canada, working closely alongside the Fund Senior Director, other members of WES Canada’s leadership, and external partners and grantees.

The Senior Program Manager will be responsible for designing and executing key funding, strategic planning, and partnership initiatives within the Fund. The role will entail a mix of project management, strategy, planning, and program management responsibilities, which may evolve as the Fund launches in Canada and its operations expand. They will report to the Fund Senior Director and will have significant exposure to other members of WES’s Senior Leadership Team, WES Canada’s leadership, and members of the WES Board of Directors. This role will provide a unique and exciting opportunity to help shape a new philanthropic initiative from its inception, gain exposure to multiple areas of program strategy and management, and collaborate with leading organizations in the immigration, workforce, and philanthropic fields.

Duties included but not limited to:

1) Strategy and Strategic Planning

  • Manage specific work streams related to the Fund’s Canadian strategy development, such as defining strategic choices, goal-setting, establishing the Fund’s learning agenda, vetting potential interventions with external experts, and identifying and managing strategic risks.
  • Scope and oversee quantitative and quantitative analyses to inform learning and choice-making for the Fund, such as landscaping and market-sizing analyses, options, impact or ROI modeling, and systems-mapping.
  • Manage strategic plans and project management tools to support the Fund in meeting and managing key milestones and goals related to its Canadian portfolio.
  • Develop materials that enable decision-making by the WES Fund Senior Director, WES Executive Director, Managing Director of WES Canada, and/or WES Fund Board Committee.

2) Program Management

  • Serve as the primary day-to-day manager for Canadian initiatives and organizations funded through the Mariam Assefa Fund.
  • Support sourcing of potential grant opportunities, including outreach to potential grantees, tracking grant pipeline in the Fund’s CRM system, development of solicitation materials (e.g., terms of reference, request for proposals, etc.), and management of specific ideas sourcing approaches (e.g., innovation challenges).
  • Lead programmatic due diligence of potential Canadian grants and collaborate with other Fund team members to undertake financial, organizational, and risk diligence.
  • Contribute to the selection of Fund grantees along with the Fund’s leadership, Fund Committee, and - in certain circumstances - external advisors.
  • Coordinate with other Fund colleagues and internal WES teams (e.g., Finance, Marketing, IT) to ensure timely execution of key grants management activities.
  • Prepare program and grants related reports, memos, and presentations.

3) Knowledge Management

  • Design and execute approaches to enable dynamic learning and knowledge sharing among the Fund’s Canadian grantees, the larger Fund portfolio, the broader field, and/or other WES programs and departments.
  • Coordinate with other Fund team members to ensure knowledge sharing and sensemaking across the Fund’s work in the United States and Canada.

4) Ad-Hoc Organizational Support

  • Manage relationships with external consultants and strategic advisors that contribute to the Fund’s funding in Canada.
  • Develop content, such as blogs or social media language, that can be utilized by WES’s Marketing and Communications team to disseminate key learnings from the Fund’s work and raise the visibility of the Fund’s grantees and supported initiatives.
  • Manage undergraduate and/or graduate interns as needed with the potential to manage more junior team members as the Fund team grows.
  • Occasional travel to meet with grantees and other key partners, attend conferences and convenings, or to WES’ New York office.

The Ideal Candidate will:

  • Have a high degree of comfort with rapidly changing, ambiguous contexts and an ability to help craft a clear path forward in these environments.
  • Have a track record of designing and executing new initiatives or programs.
  • Bring both an entrepreneurial mindset to generate new approaches, spot opportunities, and initiate action, and a strategic mindset to spot critical issues, leverage points, and required choices.
  • Have a deep-rooted intellectual curiosity and openness to diverse perspectives.
  • Thrive an environment that values transparency, collaboration, and an orientation for results.
  • Bring a “can-do” attitude and have a willingness to stretch up and down in their role as the Fund’s needs evolve.
  • Build informal working relationships, quickly establish credibility in new areas of work, and mobilize people at all levels towards collaborative goals (including more senior colleagues and external partners).


  • A Bachelor’s degree in public policy, economics, business, international relations, or other relevant degree with 5-7+ years of relevant work experience required.
  • Professional experience in workforce development, immigration, refugee resettlement, economic development, and/or social sector consulting in the Canadian context strongly preferred.
  • Awareness and knowledge of the philanthropic sector; experience working in a grantmaking organization or other funder preferred.
  • Demonstrated analytical skills to break down complex problems into component parts and frame trade-offs in decision-making.
  • Experience collaborating closely with and delivering results through external partners, such as grantees and/or consultants.
  • Track record of delivering high-quality, accurate work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to convey complex information appropriately to stakeholders with different backgrounds and needs.
  • Professional presence and ability to represent the Fund at external events and with key stakeholders.
  • Fluency in English required.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, especially Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
How to Apply: 
Please apply via LinkedIn
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