Director, Emergency Response

January 10, 2020
Silver Spring, Maryland
Post Type
Experience (minimum)
5-10 Years
Education (minimum)
Travel Required?
Base Salary
$110,000 - 120,000


Building on its long history of resettlement, protection, and advocacy support for refugees, HIAS seeks a Director, Emergency Response to build its capacity to engage in emergency responses globally and within the US.  HIAS’ emergency response efforts will focus on displacement crises, providing critical assistance to vulnerable refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), primarily in HIAS’ four Signature Approaches: gender-based violence, community-based mental health and psycho-social support, economic inclusion, and/or legal protection. This position will be responsible for designing and delivering results aimed at ensuring that HIAS becomes a recognized and established actor in the humanitarian sector. S/he will drive forward HIAS’ five-year Emergency Response Strategy and operational plan, monitoring that all benchmarks are achieved as planned. This will entail a comprehensive process of strengthening HIAS’ operational agility, identifying skilled staffing and surge support, reviewing organizational policies and procedures, developing tools for humanitarian programming, and raising HIAS’ profile and fundraising ability for emergencies, among other things. Alongside overseeing the organizational strategy implementation, s/he will also provide leadership and coordination for any new emergency responses undertaken and will support HIAS’ existing humanitarian programs. While reporting to the SVP Programs, this position will act as a critical liaison between all departments (Programs, Executive Office, Operations, and Public Affairs) as well as between country and response teams and headquarters, on all matters relating to emergency response at HIAS.

Essential Functions:

  • Lead the inter-departmental Emergency Response Working Group tasked with ongoing oversight and coordination around emergency response capacity building.
  • Oversee the development, finalization, and implementation of the five-year Emergency Response Strategy, working closely with other HIAS staff and departments.
  • Ensure that all organizational strengthening and capacity building activities are completed as outlined in the Strategy’s five-year implementation plan.
  • Conduct ongoing review of trends in the humanitarian landscape and adapt the Strategy and response plans as needed to ensure they meet organizational objectives and best practices in emergency response, specifically protection interventions for refugees and IDPs.
  • Work closely with HR to develop and manage an emergency response roster and ensure adequate emergency response staffing for timely and quality response.
  • Develop and deliver an internal learning and identity building curriculum aimed at raising organizational awareness and understanding about humanitarian principles and best practices, among other topics.
  • Build staff and roster capacity through ongoing trainings in key topics relevant to emergency response.
  • Provide technical guidance on emergency response to all departments to ensure compliance with policy and adherence to humanitarian standards across each of HIAS’ Signature Approaches (gender-based violence, community-based mental health and psycho-social support, economic inclusion, and/or legal protection).
  • For future responses, lead on devising a response strategy and modalities for specific emergencies, serve as the focal point for all headquarters-level coordination related to the response, and if required, deploy to the field to lead and/or support responses.
  • Initiate and/or support real-time review of responses, in coordination with HIAS’ international and US programs and M&E teams.
  • For existing HIAS humanitarian programs, conduct lessons learned exercises to identify strategic support to be provided to enhance HIAS’ delivery of assistance, and oversee the roll-out of such measures to relevant country office teams.
  • Manage the internal Emergency Response Fund and supporting the creation of future funding mechanisms for emergencies in close cooperation with the Finance Department.
  • Represent HIAS with key humanitarian donors, coordination bodies, and/or policy forums as needed.
  • Provide updates and briefings to a range of internal and external stakeholders of all levels, including but not limited to the Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Graduate degree in a relevant field.
  • A minimum of 6-8 years of experience in humanitarian response, with at least 3 years of direct field experience including senior emergency response positions in complex operating environments; preferably the candidate will also have headquarters experience designing emergency response strategies and overseeing coordination and support for field teams.
  • Experience designing and managing humanitarian projects with key emergency donors, focused on support for refugees and IDPs.
  • Substantial experience in the protection sector (preferably with a focus on gender-based violence, mental health and psycho-social support, and/or legal protection) and economic inclusion.
  • Must be a collaborative team player, with the ability to work with staff from a number of regions and positions, and skilled at thinking creatively, logically, and critically in order to develop and implement joint solutions across multiple departments.
  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills to address high-level, strategic needs while also engaging in routine coordination and administrative duties to implement the Emergency Response Strategy and/or support country office and response teams.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills, including the ability to motivate and support field-based staff as well as effectively communicate key achievements and operational challenges to headquarters.
  • Fluency in English, with Spanish or French language skills highly desired.
  • Must be willing to travel up to 30% of time, as needed.