Institute of Human Virology (IHV)

Strategic Initiatives Lead (Research & Innovation)

Institute of Human Virology (IHV)

Job Description

This position can be fully remote in all US IRC locations.

Airbel Impact Lab – the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC’s) research and innovation team – designs, tests, and scales life-changing, cost-effective solutions for people affected by conflict and disaster. By applying the deep technical expertise and field experience with a range of skills from the behavioral sciences, human-centered Design, research, and multi-disciplinary problem-solving in humanitarian contexts, we work to develop breakthrough solutions that combine creativity and precision, flexibility and expertise, and a desire to think afresh with the experience of a large-scale implementing organization.

We are looking for a strategic implementer with strong interpersonal skills and an acute attention to detail to develop, manage, and lead the execution of large-scale projects and departmental change initiatives. The Strategic Initiatives Lead will build and continually optimize lean, transparent, and strategic departmental decision-making (governance) processes. This role will lead the revamping and maintenance of our departmental knowledge Management Systems for our distributed workforce. The Strategic Initiatives Lead will play a central role in supporting a positive team culture and learning environment, and communicating about our work internally. They will also serve as a strategic thought partner to Airbel leadership, leading the Coordination and communication of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work, and other agile strategic initiatives.

Governance and Knowledge Management

Build and improve lean and efficient governance systems to facilitate streamlined and strategic decision-making, risk mitigation, and implementation of quality projects; ensure transparency around decision-making; centralize and organize departmental information:

  • Manage, continually optimize, and streamline agile team governance systems (identifying who makes which decisions, and how these decisions are made) and quality assurance processes.
  • Develop Data Collection processes, indicators for tracking departmental progress towards goals, and reporting mechanisms.
  • Foster strong knowledge flows within the department by streamlining information collection, capture, and sharing.
  • Revamp and maintain our knowledge management systems (how we gather, store, organize, and distribute information), recommending and overseeing the transition to a new system that gets the right information to the right people across our distributed team at the right time.

Team culture and learning

Co-lead creation, implementation, and evolution of Airbel’s strategy to support a positive team culture and foster learning:

  • Support a diverse and distributed team to ensure a shared sense of mission and community, and to uphold quality standards.
  • Build distributed/remote team working norms and infrastructure.
  • Strengthen opportunities for remote team building.
  • Lead structure and content for events/moments, including team retreats and learning sessions; help colleagues connect to one another.
  • Create efficient systems for soliciting team feedback and monitoring engagement.

Internal Communications

Support internal communications to ensureteam members have clear and coherent mental models about how initiatives fit together and enhance Airbel’s profile across the IRC:

  • Create team communications materials such as FAQs, talking points, decks, and email drafts to align leadership messaging and ensure effective team communication.
  • Develop IRC communications content to clarify links with IRC’s Strategy100, enhance Airbel’s profile, and share key lessons learned and foster knowledge sharing.
  • Engage strategically in opportunities for knowledge sharing with the broader IRC.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Lead coordination and communication of Airbel’s work to enhance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI):
    • Cultivate an environment of sharing lessons learned, active feedback loops, and commitment to continually improving.
    • Oversee implementation and monitoring of Airbel’s DEI action plan.
    • Convene and facilitate Airbel leadership integrating DEI commitments into their regular business processes.
    • Work with relevant stakeholders to generate communications and knowledge management standards that facilitate DEI.
    • Co-lead select DEI workstreams with Airbel leadership and other team members.

Strategic initiatives / Change Management

  • Support change management for ad hoc strategic projects at the direction of the Director of Policy & Planning and Chief Research and Innovation Officer:
    • Develop and lead the execution of roadmaps for change management.
    • Work with senior management at the outset of change programs to pressure test, challenge proposed requests for change to ensure minimum team burden and maximum positive impact for Airbel’s clients.
    • Create lean change management plans for Airbel leadership and work with them to implement in their dispersed teams.
    • Set metrics and analyze progress to better understand the success of efforts, and make shifts to overall change management strategies, as needed.


  • 6-8 years of progressive experience in change / project management, governance, and/or strategy

  • Exceptional oral and written communication, facilitation, and strategic thinking skills to engage with leadership is a must.

  • Experience managing organizational change initiatives, and large-scale, cross-functional projects.

  • Experience addressing complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value; experience with agile management.

  • Ability to convey technical information (both visually and in writing) in compelling and easily digestible formats for broader audiences.

  • Takes proactive initiative to drive projects to successful completion with minimal oversight.

  • Outstanding attention to detail is required.

  • Consistently meets deadlines amidst competing priorities, works well under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.

  • Dedication to and knowledge of best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and ability to build relationships remotely and effectively liaise with and motivate people in a multi-cultural environment and across various time zones.

  • Experience capturing and sharing knowledge with a diverse and distributed workforce.

  • High level of proficiency with Google suite and MS Office (Word, Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint), Document Management solutions, and project management tools.

  • Fluency in English is required.

  • Experience working in an international organization with a dispersed workforce an advantage.

  • Experience in humanitarian setting or development contexts a plus.

  • Quantitative data Analysis skills a plus.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.


Posted pay ranges apply to US-based candidates. Ranges are based on various factors including the labor market, job type, internal equity, and budget. Exact offers are calibrated by work location, individual candidate experience and skills relative to the defined job requirements.

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement:

In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires new hires to furnish proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be considered for any in-office or hybrid positions. All IRC US offices require full vaccination to attend any in-office functions (e.g., meetings, trainings).

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity:

IRC is committed to building a diverse organization and a climate of inclusivity. We strongly encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate that they can contribute to this goal.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

US Benefits:

We offer a comprehensive and highly competitive set of benefits. In the US, these include: 10 sick days, 10 US holidays, 20-25 paid time off days (depending on role and tenure), medical insurance starting at $145 per month, dental starting at $7 per month, and vision starting at $5 per month, FSA for healthcare, childcare, and commuter costs, a 403b retirement savings plans with up to 4.5% immediately vested matching contribution, plus a 3-7% base IRC contribution (3 year vesting), disability & life insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program which is available to our staff and their families to support counseling and care in times of crisis and mental health struggles.

How to apply

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