Accion International

Senior Director, Gender and Financial Inclusion

Posted Date 1 month ago(3/11/2020 12:18 PM)
Job ID
Washington, DC


The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is an independent think tank housed at Accion that works to better serve, protect and empower clients.  The organization was founded in 2009 and has had many numerous signature programs including hosting the Smart Campaign, the Africa Board Fellows program (now Board Leadership for Impact), the Financial Inclusion Equity Council (FIEC), and the PRFI, among others.


With a new Managing Director in place, CFI is seeking to revitalize its market positioning, building on its strengths in serving clients, but honing its influence model and expanding its influence well beyond the microfinance industry.  CFI is currently undertaking a strategy refresh and is expected to launch its new strategy in the first quarter of 2020.


About the Position


Women make up half the population of developing economies but are excluded or underserved by the financial sector at a much higher rate than men, limiting their work force participation and contribution to global economic growth. Development specialists and governments have invested years of energy and resources into women’s economic empowerment and new avenues to serve women are opening. However, we still lack a full picture of the range of women’s financial lives and an understanding of what measures effectively increase women’s financial inclusion.


CFI seeks a strategic, intellectual and entrepreneurial leader and implementer who can develop and run a research team that will a) conduct groundbreaking research on gender and financial inclusion and b) use that work to engage and influence stakeholders for greater financial inclusion for women.


Thought Leadership

  • Help to define areas of research that need attention and frame discussions within CFI and within the inclusive finance industry that support industry dialogue and learning on gender and financial inclusion.
  • Articulate and design partnerships that support an ambitious learning agenda and influence strategy relating to gender and financial inclusion.
  • Lead research and thought leadership in this area, and the transformation of ideas and knowledge into products that contribute to global learning and stakeholder action.
  • Represent CFI in external fora on issues relating to gender, financial inclusion, and current CFI programs and research.


Program Management

  • Build the research program on gender and financial inclusion by contributing to project design and fundraising efforts, practicing fiscally sound budget planning and management, and overseeing the fulfillment of all contractual / grant obligations.
  • Lead team in the development and implementation of program monitoring and evaluation activities.


Team Management

  • Lead a diverse team of researchers: providing support, coaching, helping to set priorities and goals, and actively promoting professional development.
  • Build a culture that attracts and retains top talent, and ensures a high performing, respectful, and inclusive work culture.


Leadership and culture at CFI

  • Support the overall management of CFI in collaboration with other senior leads at CFI, including making substantial contributions to strategy, budget, talent management, and representation
  • Participate as an active member of CFI’s leadership team and advise the Managing Director and others on the leadership team at CFI on programmatic issues, and actively contributes to corporate management.
  • Build and foster a culture in which all staff: 1) reach their full potential as learners, unorthodox researchers, and thought leaders 2) work effectively with each other by sharing ideas, brainstorming, and co-developing knowledge products and 3) feel accountable for results and impact.


CFI is seeking a candidate with the following profile:

  • Strong academic and professional credentials: Master’s degree (International Relations/Public Affairs, Economics, or other related field) preferred.  A minimum of 12 years of relevant work experience in a research or equivalent combination of education and experience in a research related organization/role.
  • Credibility as a thought leader: Applicants should be considered a person of stature and recognized authority in financial inclusion circles, as well as someone who is deeply respected for his/her intellectual contributions to the field (in the form of publications, events, webinars etc.), independence of thought, and integrity of character. Deep technical knowledge and experience leading research in developing countries in one or more areas of financial inclusion is required, with a strong preference for demonstrated ability in gender.  A minimum of 8 years of experience on issues relating to international development and/or financial inclusion, with a preference for at least 5 years at the nexus of financial inclusion and gender.
  • Strong team management and cross-team collaboration skills: Proven track record (minimum of 5 years) of building, managing and coaching teams, and working with staff at all levels to encourage and develop talent. Proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively across within and across departments and teams, inspire commitment to excellence and teamwork, and to liaise tactfully as a member of a diverse team. 
  • Track record setting goals and achieving results: Experience setting the direction for a team, overseeing results and ensuring goals are met. Ability to define metrics and monitor progress on achieving results, as well as responsibility for managing day-to-day operations. Track record overseeing project implementation and managing against deadlines and budgets.
  • Exceptional writing and representation skills: Ability to communicate effectively, including strong writing skills, and experience publicly representing organizations, whether in speaking engagements or meeting with senior representatives. Track record of transforming knowledge garnered from research into engaging and actionable products for a variety of audiences.
  • Ability to think strategically and prioritize effectively. Proven ability to think strategically and rapidly analyze diverse information from varied sources and an ability to learn, adapt, and to be innovative as needs arise. Ability to manage multiple demands effectively and to prioritize strategically.


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