Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Interim Senior Program Officer (Foundation Strategy Office)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Job Description

  Interim Senior Program Officer, Foundation Strategy Office Group summary The fundamental role of the Foundation Strategy Office is to enable and accelerate the foundation’s impact. It acts in service of the rest of the organization, enabling highest and best use of our scarce resources (co-chair time, reputation, people, dollars). Role summary The Senior Program Officer (SPO), Foundation Strategy Office, will serve as a strategic Advisor on Melinda’s strategy team – ensuring Melinda has the information needed to drive programmatic impact in her role as co-chair, supporting and advising her across program areas, and partnering with teams on their engagements with Melinda. Core Responsibilities
  • Track and advise Melinda on key programmatic and strategy developments.

  • Advise and support Melinda on select program strategies

  • Track content and provide analytical support to help equip her for effective internal and external engagement on those topics

  • Synthesize and distill sophisticated information at the right level for review

  • Maintain relationships with assigned PSTs and key internal/external staff.

  • Establish and maintain relationships with internal partners (Directors, PST program staff, select Chiefs of Staff, Melinda’s advocacy/comms team) as well as external partners from Pivotal Ventures

  • Seek out new relationships with staff as needed to deepen understanding of programmatic issues

  • Serve as a partner and resource to program teams on Melinda’s engagement and strategic issues.
    • Provide support and advice to program teams on their engagement with Melinda on programmatic and strategy topics, representing her priorities and goals

    • Act as thought partner to represent Melinda’s -Chair interests on key strategic exercises as needed (e.g., refresh working groups, workshops, etc.)


  • Shape learning topics on assigned strategies; provide input into Melinda’s overall learning agenda.
    • Advise assigned program teams and on how to engage Melinda for learning sessions, helping define agendas, recommend content and provide feedback on draft proposals

    • Provide input into the overall learning agenda and external (or virtual) learning objectives


  • Participate as member the Foundation Strategy Office
    • Help drive culture of high performance and embodiment of foundation values, proactively share cross-cutting strategic insights with the FSO


Core Knowledge and Skills
  • Strong understanding (or ability to learn) about the foundation’s US programs, regional offices and Global Growth and Opportunity strategies. Ability to flex and apply critical thinking skills to other topics vital as well (e.g., Nutrition).

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with strong ability to effectively synthesize information. Able to communicate clearly with diverse partners and quickly establish trust and credibility with Melinda and other senior-level audiences (Directors, ELT members). Prior experience briefing senior-level executives or staff a plus.

  • Strategic problem solver with demonstrated ability to use quantitative and qualitative data to present options for decision making, highlight tradeoffs, and propose recommendations.

  • Outstanding communication skills and a demonstrated ability to build and sustain collaborative relationships, and to influence a wide range of individuals from different backgrounds and at different levels.

  • Positive relationships with a range of colleagues across the foundation (various teams/levels), and proven ability to build effective trust-based partnerships with internal and external partners.

  • Experience in a fast-paced environment with demonstrated ability to balance multiple and competing demands and prioritize, while providing continual attention to detail.

  • Calm under pressure with ability to navigate ambiguity or change.

  • Ability to handle highly confidential issues and information, exercising appropriate discretion.

Education and Experience
  • Advanced degree preferred with 6+ years of experience or equivalent.

The employee transfer policy applies to internal backfill positions. An employee may apply for an open position after at least 12 months in their current position. If you meet this requirement and wish to pursue a backfill opportunity, you are required to have a conversation with your manager to confirm their support before you apply. In rare cases, the requirement of a minimum of 12 months in a position may be waived if a transfer is critical to the foundation’s goals and is approved by the current manager and their HR Consultant (HR Business Partner or Generalist). All backfill positions are posted as LTE roles. With current manager support, if selected for the role, FTEs will retain their FTE status during the backfill assignment. Managers will have the option of backfilling for the individual moving to the interim position for a similar duration via the same hiring channels and options as this position. However, current managers may be unwilling or unable to hold headcount for the duration of an interim assignment and may deny the employee’s request. In such cases, the employee may apply for the open LTE position, but if selected, would effectively be resigning as an FTE and would be hired as an LTE for the duration of the interim assignment. As an LTE, employment with the foundation is expected to end at the end of the assignment, and the employee would not be eligible for severance.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.
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