Accion International

Vice President of Research and Programs, Center for Financial Inclusion

Posted Date 5 days ago(1/14/2022 10:33 AM)
Job ID
Accion Washington, DC


About Accion:


Accion is a global nonprofit committed to creating a financially inclusive world, with a pioneering legacy in microfinance and fintech impact investing. We catalyze financial service providers to deliver high-quality, affordable solutions at scale for the three billion people who are left out of — or poorly served by — the financial sector. For nearly 60 years, Accion has helped tens of millions of people through our work with more than 160 partners in 55 countries. More at


 About Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI):


Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) works to advance inclusive financial services for the billions of people who currently lack the financial tools needed to improve their lives and prosper. We leverage partnerships to conduct rigorous research and test promising solutions, and then advocate for evidence-based change. CFI was founded by Accion in 2008 to serve as an independent think tank on inclusive finance.


As part of our strategy, CFI focuses on four thematic priorities: climate resilience and adaptation, women’s financial inclusion, consumer data opportunities and risks, and consumer protection. In addition, in light of COVID-19 and its enormous effects on the communities we serve, CFI has also added a dedicated workstream focusing on COVID-19 and the impacts on low-income people.


CFI’s role in the inclusive finance space is to identify learning gaps that could advance financial health of low-income people and undertake research and pilot testing to advance our collective understanding of what would drive progress.  In areas where there is clear evidence of what works, CFI collaborates with partners to advocate and embed learning into implementation and practices of partners.  CFI partners with all types of stakeholders – donors, investors, policymakers and providers – both in its research and pilot testing work as well as during its advocacy phase. 


Position Summary 


The Vice President—Research and Programs is a new role that will provide management oversight of CFI’s thematic research agenda, overseeing and providing support to research leads covering one or more of CFI’s priority areas including women’s financial inclusion, climate, consumer protection and data risks & opportunities.  The position will also play a strong role in CFI’s influence strategy and resource development.


Driving CFI’s research and programmatic agenda

  • Drive the implementation of CFI’s strategy covering four thematic priorities including women’s financial inclusion, climate, consumer protection and data risks & opportunities. This will entail editorial, and managerial oversight of teams currently implementing these workstreams.
  • Ensure research and publications are best-in-class with support to teams on research methods, knowledge products, and influence strategies. Coordination with CFI’s communications team, and successful implementation of stakeholder campaigns and events.
  • Support the identification and capture of relevant funding opportunities to support a robust and impactful pipeline of programs.

 Providing organizational leadership

  • Co-lead—with the Managing Director and other senior staff members—CFI in terms of strategy, fundraising, internal knowledge sharing and cross-collaboration, budgeting and planning, and representation. This includes advising the Managing Director and others on the CFI leadership team on a wide range of organizational and programmatic issues, as well as participating as an active leader on Accion’s senior team.
  • Build, lead, and uphold a culture at CFI that attracts and retains top talent, and ensures a high performing, respectful, and inclusive work culture; 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 3) feel accountable for results and impact and 4) strive and achieve excellence.


  • Proven track record in inclusive finance and financial sector development, particularly on digital financial services.
  • Strong research and advocacy experience, preferably in a think tank environment, including at least 6 years of prior experience leading and supporting research teams.
  • At least 10 years of prior management experience at senior levels with proven ability to motivate and inspire high-quality performance. Experiencing managing senior and junior level professionals.
  • Strong ability to establish and manage key strategic relationships and influence internal and external stakeholders, including an aptitude for crafting concrete stakeholder outreach strategies, a persuasive presence as an internal and external presenter and communicator, and established relationships and credibility on financial inclusion topics with relevant stakeholder groups.
  • Strong presence, maturity, and judgment; proven leader of teams and/or functions that have high performing, respectful, and inclusive work cultures.
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field; advanced degree in appropriate technical or functional field preferred.
  • Interested in our mission and working globally.
  • Willingness to embody our values of excellence, respect and passion for social change.
    • Excellence: Accion staff should always put forth their best effort in all activities, strive for high quality of collective and individual performance; and demonstrate honesty and integrity at all times while in the workplace and while working on behalf of the organization.
    • Respect: Accion staff should value one another’s roles and responsibilities as much as their own, be encouraging, and value the diverse and unique perspectives of colleagues. They should honor obligations and commitments to each other and to external partners.
    • Passion for Social Change: Accion staff should be committed to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, value the greater good of the organization over personal gain, and promote a productive workplace by acknowledging the accomplishments of others. 

Travel Requirements


  • This job may require travel on a regular basis (<25%).


Direct reports

  • Senior Director (2 or more)
  • Director (2 or more)


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