Senior Director - WES Mariam Assefa Fund

Full Time

About World Education Services 

World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. For more than 45 years, WES has helped people learn, work, and thrive in new places and helped society recognize the value of people’s education and experience. The WES Social Impact team includes the WES Mariam Assefa Fund and WES Global Talent Bridge, which collectively advance economic and workforce inclusion for immigrants and refugees through philanthropy, programs, policy advocacy, and partnerships. For more details about WES and our work, please visit our website.

About The WES Mariam Assefa Fund

The WES Mariam Assefa Fund aims to advance economic and social inclusion with and for immigrants and refugees in the U.S. and Canada. Utilizing grants, impact investments, partnerships, communications, and other tools, the Fund works alongside its partners to build more inclusive economies and ensure immigrant workers and communities can thrive.  

The Fund was launched in 2019, and over the last three years, the team has awarded over $18 million in grants, impact investments, and donations to more than 100 organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Our work supports four key impact areas: opportunity; wealth; power; and justice. 

As a funder, we also seek to shift power to proximate leaders, organizations, and communities and ensure that they have the flexible resources and support they need to succeed. As we work to address the power imbalances inherent in philanthropy, the team is focused on exploring and institutionalizing a range of inclusive philanthropic practices, including participatory grantmaking and impact investing initiatives that shift decision-making power directly to communities.

For more details about the Fund, our work, and our partners, please visit our website.

About the Opportunity

Reporting to World Education Services’ Managing Director for Social Impact, this is a unique opportunity for a collaborative, justice-driven, change agent and leader to honor and carry forward the Fund’s trust-based philanthropy by setting the vision and direction that will strategically scale its growth to the next level of impact. The Senior Director will lead the Fund team and shape its priorities – ensuring that they are grounded in the needs of immigrant communities, our partners, and the fields in which the Fund works, as well as aligned with the other WES Social Impact teams. 

Areas of Leadership

Mission & Values Alignment. Translate your interest and experience in WES’s mission and the Fund’s impact goals to support leaders and organizations working to build inclusive economies and to ensure that all immigrants and refugees can achieve their goals and thrive. Thrive in an environment that values transparency, collaboration, curiosity, and a constant learning orientation.

Key Qualifications. Experience in Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (JEDI) and antiracist frameworks within the philanthropic and social impact sectors. Lived experience with or a demonstrated commitment to authentically represent immigrant and refugee communities. 

Executive & Organizational Leadership. Serve as a key member of the WES Senior Leadership Team, providing strategic guidance, planning, and reporting to the Managing Director while also partnering closely with the WES CEO and Executive Leadership Team, other SLT colleagues, WES Board of Directors, other colleagues on the Social Impact team, and the Fund team . Design and execute the Fund’s strategic, financial, and organizational plans, establishing priorities and assessing operational and impact outcomes. Develop, execute, and continually improve the Fund’s strategy to align with and progress toward WES’s mission and the Fund’s impact goals. 

Key Qualifications. Executive-level experience in philanthropy and/or social enterprise leadership. Knowledge/networks in workforce development, economic mobility, immigrant inclusion, refugee resettlement, social justice, and other relevant sectors in the U.S. and/or Canada strongly preferred. Ability to: set and lead department-level vision and direction, bringing conceptualization to fruition through clear, goal-oriented execution that scales and increases impact; innovate and execute non-traditional approaches to philanthropy. Track record, as an executive-level leader, of integrating and aligning departmental work within an organization's broader mission and impact. 

Team & People Leadership. Lead Fund-wide workforce planning, developing its current team of more than 10, ensuring consistency in hiring, training, and performance management. Provide strategic direction and mentoring to Fund staff, including direct reports (currently six), as they develop programmatic strategies and trust-based grantmaking, impact investment, and partnership models that expand the impact of the Fund and its partners. Intentionally build trusting and collaborative relationships throughout WES, across departments and programs, in order to establish and sustain the structure, systems, and processes that create a thriving and people-centered team and integrated culture. 

Key Qualifications. Ability to: simultaneously manage and develop a dispersed team of professionals at various levels of career, while prioritizing their individual and collective growth and development, making space for their leadership within the team and organization; drive strategy, including managing teams through growth, strategic pivots, and changes, and the introduction of interdependent systems and processes. 

Philanthropic & Financial Management. Steward the Fund’s capitalization by setting, directing, and managing its annual grantmaking and impact investing budget of more than $7 million (USD) and its operating expenses of approximately $1.5 million (USD). Ensure clear, consistent, and effective operational processes, policies, and systems that meet the needs of funding applicants, grantee and investee partners, financial reporting, and legal compliance. Ensure inclusive, equitable, and effective decision-making and approvals of grants, impact investments, and donations by WES’s leadership, within the Fund team, and through external advisors. Review and execute select agreements and contracts, in collaboration with Grants Management, Finance, legal counsel, and other relevant departments. 

Key Qualifications. Ability to set, grow, and direct multi-million dollar budgets and funding portfolios. Demonstrated financial management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, and decision-making. Track record of partnering with grantees and investees, funders and partners to achieve just and equitable impact. Familiarity with both the U.S. and Canadian nonprofit, philanthropy, and legal contexts a plus.

Relationship Building & Collaboration. Collaboratively engage all stakeholders, including but not limited to the Fund’s current and future grantee and investee partners, as well as other key stakeholders in our ecosystem. Secure partnerships with other philanthropies and impact investors that leverage additional external resources towards the Fund’s goals. Build WES and the Fund’s brand in similar and new sectors, advancing key influence objectives. Represent the Fund’s vision, values, learnings, and work on a range of external platforms, including authoring articles and blogs, speaking at meetings, engagements, and on social media.

Key Qualifications. Ability to: build and deepen relationships across all philanthropic community members - from grantees, to teammates, to other funders and external partners; build relationships, rapport, and knowledge in unfamiliar/less-experienced spaces and among divergent viewpoints and with people of varying experiences, backgrounds and opinions. Experience and comfort with being the public face/voice of a mission-driven organization.

The Benefits

The annual starting salary range for this role is $146,000 - $190,000, depending upon experience and market (i.e., USD or CAD). Compensation also includes: tuition reimbursement and professional and management development programs; medical, dental, and vision insurance; retirement plans with company matching employer-contributed pension plans; generous paid time off (PTO); parental leave; stipend for work-from-home costs; and annual pay increases and bonuses.

The Fund team is distributed with staff located in both the U.S. and Canada; some colleagues are fully remote, while others are hybrid. We prefer the Senior Director to be located in the greater New York City or Toronto areas, but are open to candidates based in other locations in either country. All candidates should have the ability to travel within the U.S. and Canada approximately 3-5 times per quarter for meetings with colleagues, external events, and other organizational needs.


World Education Services provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, World Education Services complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.  



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