About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network (ON) is an organization that works to fund and generate social impact at scale, addressing some of the most complex problems of our times.  Established in 2004 by Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, ON has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and non-profit entities.

In 2018, ON shifted its strategy to focus on three impact themes:

(a) Reimagining Capitalism to reduce inequity, balance power, and create economic opportunity for all. We strive to define a new economic paradigm, increase worker power, support grassroots organizations to generate positive economic change, and reform corporate governance.

(b) Beneficial Technology to ensure technology retains its promise for improving access, connection, and inclusion, and is governed by checks and guardrails to preserve individual liberty and social cohesion.

(c) Promoting Pluralism to build the conditions and civic space where individuals can thrive and engage in dialogue across lines of difference.

We operate with a hybrid structure of a 501(c)3 and an LLC in service of our goals, including: grants, investments in start-ups that foster competition and innovation, 501c4 contributions, direct engagement with policymakers, legal and regulatory engagement, research, narrative change, and other capabilities.  With our experimental orientation, and pioneering history, we aim to operate at the cutting edge of philanthropy.

To learn more, please visit www.omidyar.com, and follow us on Twitter @omidyarnetwork.

Approach

ON pursues impact through ideas, innovation and influence. We rethink the fundamental assumptions upon which society, technology, and the economy have been built, to address the root causes that frame how a system works – or doesn’t. We publish our points of view to anchor our strategies and work, and to be transparent about the impact we are trying to accomplish (please see here and here for examples).

Our structure allows us to be nimble and shift priorities and tactics underneath our broader goals. We do not run programs in perpetuity, and are willing to pivot and experiment and take strategic risks, with a strong emphasis on learning.

We take the “Network” part of our name seriously. We are one of ten members of the Omidyar Group,. We participate in multiple funder coalitions, and often support investee organizations to work in collaboration to amplify their own impact and reach.

Position Summary

The Head of Programs can be based in either our Redwood City, CA or Washington, DC office.

We are looking for a mature leader with the range, judgment, experience, and empathy to lead in fast-paced conditions of dynamic complexity. We seek a candidate who is curious, flexible, asks phenomenal questions, and lives and enables all core ON values.

The primary responsibility of this position is to steward a program and strategy that generates both learning and social impact at scale. Your most important role, however, will be as a superb people manager and mentor.

The Head of Programs will report directly to the CEO, and work in close partnership with him to set overall impact theme strategies, determine expansions, sunsets, integration, tradeoffs, and shifts in program areas. You will also engage periodically with the ON Board, along with the CEO.

As a member of the executive team, you will work seamlessly with senior leaders from the operations, people ops, strategic communications, learning and impact, strategy, exploration and future sensing teams. 

You will also collaborate with the leaders on the Reimagining Capitalism, Beneficial Technology, and Pluralism teams, who will constitute your own management team. The overall program team includes 25 people (and a number of other advisers) spread across the Bay Area, Washington DC, India, and Kenya.  We are looking to you to both grow and mentor the staff and leaders of this area of the firm.  

You will ensure strategic coherence, flexibility, and integration across and within our impact themes, including points of overlap, resource (re)allocations across budget, staffing, time, new initiative areas, and expiring workstreams. You will keep one eye on the horizon and adapt our approaches accordingly, taking advantage of the full set of tools at our disposal, and guiding your team to explore the frontiers of how to generate social impact.

You will bring your own vision for impact, and balance that vision with the existing strategy and priorities of the firm and the program teams.

How you’ll contribute to our success

We recognize people bring different mixes of strengths and experience, and won’t uniformly meet each category:

Management: Ask the questions that push your teams to think differently, challenge assumptions, and help them make better choices. You hold them accountable for learning and course correcting towards getting better results. You delegate, empower, and challenge your team to lead and grow, and to become better managers themselves.  You look to have your ideas challenged and are skilled in occasionally delivering bad news. You are comfortable admitting to and learning from the occasional failure and modeling it for others.  Expert at reading both people and a constantly evolving landscape, you effectively communicate up and down the organization to ensure all have the sufficient knowledge to effectively carry out their responsibilities.

Experience and Range: Stretch across topics and networks and approaches, such as grants, investments, polling, issue campaigns, research, shareholder activism, and lawsuits. You are familiar with our core economic and technology issues and understand systems and how to move them. Familiarity with emerging markets is a plus but not required.  Understanding across public, non-profit, and private sectors will be valuable.

Encouraging diverse inputs and voices: Build trusted relationships with key actors, including other funders, policy actors, technologists, and investors. You’ll use the diversity of your experiences and networks to frequently bring relevant and diverse (and sometimes contrarian) outside perspectives to our work, and you’ll actively add others to our network of diverse views.

Outlook: Proactive, “all hands-on deck” collaborative demeanor, with a bias for action, an eagerness to support teams, senior colleagues, and our investees and partners. You enjoy developing people, have a deep passion for our mission.  You are excited by philanthropy that actively takes a point of view, and drives social impact.

What you’ll bring to the team

  • Superb management skills growing and developing teams
  • Demonstrated range across subjects and sectors, and passion for learning new ones
  • Proven track record of innovative collaboration with external partners
  • Strategy, program management, and team building experience
  • Dedication to ON’s core values and mission
  • High tolerance for ambiguity and enjoyment of change
  • Humility and high EQ

Qualifications

  • Approximately 15-25 years of experience in progressively senior roles, with substantial experience in managing people and teams, with a proven track record in leading teams, divisions, practice areas, programmatic teams, or organizations
  • Familiarity with operating in the worlds of ideas, innovation, and influence
  • Highly personable and strong ability to build trust-based relationships
  • Deep sense of personal responsibility and integrity
  • Outstanding written and oral communications skills

At Omidyar Network, diversity, equity, and inclusion are directly aligned with our fundamental belief that people are inherently capable, but they often lack opportunity. We know that a diverse workforce allows us to see problems in more nuanced ways, creating the thought leadership needed to have outsized positive returns on the world. We actively recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. Omidyar Network is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes people from all experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply.

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