Special Assistant to the President

Job Reference SAP 11/2017

About AGRA 

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

AGRA is rolling out a new 5-year strategy to catalyze and sustain an Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa to increase incomes and improve food security for 30 million farmers. Under this strategy, AGRA will deliver through an approach that simultaneously catalyzes change at farmer level, strengthens input and output market systems and puts government at the center to enable and champion private-sector-led agricultural growth at national level.

To support this transformation, AGRA is seeking to recruit an experienced and exceptional individual to the position of Special Assistant to the President.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Chief of Staff and Strategy, the Special Assistant will provide critical support to the President across their full range of work to help ensure prioritization, increased bandwidth, and effective coordination of all engagements and work output. He/she will serve as liaison between the President and all stakeholders both internal to AGRA and externally, to foster information flow, communication, and coordination. The Special Assistant will act as the President’s proxy in key internal and external meetings and outreach programs. He/she will be responsible for staffing the President where required, and leading special projects and initiatives for the President. The position will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

Office of the President and Executive Committee Support

Work with the Chief of Staff to ensure an efficient and effective Office of the President. Lead on the preparation, execution, and follow up for Executive Committee meetings and retreats and all staff meetings, retreats, and social events with the Executive Officer and Executive Assistants. Lead on the President’s internal/employee communications with the Chief of Staff, HR, and Communications.

Leadership Information Support

Work with the Chief of Staff to develop, manage, and maintain mechanism for information flow to and from the President to support efficient decision-making and communication throughout the institution and with external stakeholders. Develop and maintain process for managing information coming to the President, including triage or delegation, monitoring follow-up, and at time, responding on behalf of the President or Chief of Staff. Manage tracking system for incoming invitations to ensure requests and decisions are managed and tracked for current decision-making and historical record keeping. Understand complex, cross-cutting requests from a variety of stakeholders across AGRA and from external partners. Draft and manage President’s external correspondence that’s non-trip related.

Project and Initiative Management

Manage or engage in initiatives or projects that are top priority to the President or Chief of Staff. For example, lead task forces solving a specific problem or create materials needed for the President’s or Board’s activities. Lead strategic programmatic projects for which the President is taking direct ownership/co-ownership. Manage a small grant/contracts portfolio through the Catalytic Fund or Office of the President budget on behalf of the President, as requested.

President’s Engagement Planning and Implementation

Manage and execute all trips, events, and engagements (external and internal) for the President. Partner with teams to develop recommendations, understand complex, cross-cutting requests, determine strategic alignment and intersections, develop and present recommendations, identify staffing needs, and trade-offs.  Manage all aspects of trips, both internationally and within Kenya, including working closely with internal and external stakeholders to shape the trip. Lead directly on briefs, talking points, and follow up as needed.

Annual Planning

Facilitate process to compile prioritized requests for the President and develop strategic recommendations for internal/external profile and annual plan. Manage and vet new internal/external opportunities arising through the year not included in plans. Includes assessing and analyzing prioritized requests from stakeholders across AGRA and ensuring alignment and consistency with use of time and voice of other AGRA leaders. Partner with the Chief of Staff, Communications, Policy & Advocacy, and Program teams to develop recommendations for the President’s and Vice Presidents’ annual plans.

Profile Building and Media Engagement

Lead the work to develop and build the President’s profile and media engagement in partnership with our Communications team, particularly through the use of social media channels.

Partner Relationship Management

Work with the President and internal relationship management stakeholders to help them build and maintain high quality relationships with top priority grantees and partners in the field, facilitating routine interactions and clear and consistent communications. Project manage and execute VIP delegations, events, and activities sponsored by the President as needed.

Key Qualifications and Experience required

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Strategy, Finance or any other relevant field, with a preference for a Master’s Degree.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ professional experience in a fast paced environment and working in close proximity to institutional leadership.
  • Experience with strategic planning and engagement that leverages the time and voice of an institutional leader.
  • Demonstrated complex project management experience and a successful track record of managing and/or leading multiple projects at any given time and implementing work plans.
  • Demonstrated success in scheduling, logistics, event planning, preparing materials, memorandums, etc.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in positions requiring discourse with a broad and diverse audience including leadership, on a range of complex and technical issues.
  • Ability to work efficiently, effectively and sensitively on a fast-paced, high-demand and high profile portfolio of work across barriers such as language, culture, and distance.
  • International and developing country work experience is preferred.
  • Superlative organizational skills, ability to prioritize and multi-task, ability to coordinate with and motivate others, and to meet tight deadlines.
  • Experience working in environments where strict confidentiality is paramount.
  • Commitment to the overall mission of the institution, its programs, and an approach consistent with AGRA’s guiding principles.
  • Holds oneself to the highest ethical standards.
  • Ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy.
  • French language ability preferred.
  • Ability to travel up to 35% domestically and internationally.

An attractive remuneration package commensurate with the responsibilities of the position will be negotiated with the successful candidate.

If you believe you are the right candidate for this position, kindly submit your application with a detailed CV (including your e-mail address and telephone contacts to recruit@agra.org noting to quote the job reference number. To be considered, applications must be received on or before 30th November, 2017. For more information on AGRA, please visit www.agra.org

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer