Jobs: Executive Search

Executive Director, South Africa Partners

Boston, Mass.
Sep / 29 / 2016

About South Africa Partners

South Africa Partners (SA Partners) builds mutually beneficial partnerships between the United States and South Africa in the areas of health and education. Serving as a catalyst of innovative approaches, South Africa Partners links people, strengthens communities, promotes social justice and fosters leadership in both countries.

SA Partners believes that universal access to quality healthcare and education are prerequisites for securing a just democracy and that the shared experiences in South Africa and in the United States offer common ground from which to forge lasting and productive programs.  

Throughout the work SA Partners strives to: 1) Facilitate meaningful partnerships that build the capacity of South African organizations;  2) Nurture strategic collaborations and the sharing of best practices between the United States and South Africa; and 3) Strengthen individual relationships between those living in South Africa and the United States to promote justice and democracy.  

SA Partners is a well-established and trusted partner in South Africa.  With more than 20 years’ experience, SA Partners has worked with a broad range of stakeholders—community-based organizations, academic institutions, government agencies, and the private sector that remain connected to the work.  The organization has offices in Boston, Massachusetts (Headquarters) and Johannesburg (Head In-Country Office), Port Elizabeth, and East London in South Africa. 

SA Partners is governed by a board of directors that includes members who are based in the United States (17), Canada (1) and South Africa (4).

An annual budget of $7.2 million (FY17) supports programming and a staff of 45 who are based mainly in South Africa, with nine staff working from the office in Boston. Together they oversee a range of projects in South Africa, including:

  • LinkCARE is a targeted program of technical assistance and support to the South African government and its partners to further develop and implement HIV/AIDS, TB and other chronic disease care and support services nationwide and to progressively strengthen the sustainability of the work to improve patient outcomes. Work focuses on three key aspects: Design and Implementation of Effective Tools; Building of Human Resources; and Improvement of Management Systems and Processes. LinkCARE is $17.5 million dollar program funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  SA Partners serves as the prime recipient on this cooperative agreement, which has entered year two of a five year agreement.
  • Strengthening Prevention Services (STEPS) is a prevention strategy to stem the spread of HIV and TB in correctional facilities.  Launched in 2012, STEPS is operating in 15 correctional facilities in the Eastern Cape.  It focuses on peer-to-peer education for both offenders and correctional staff in order to reduce stigma, identify and implement prevention strategies, promote testing for HIV and support linkage to care for those who test positively. One of STEPS strategies is Ubuntu Community Theater, performances organized by trained inmates, which deliver HIV prevention messages and create opportunities to have frank discussions about HIV/AIDS and TB.
  • Albertina Sisulu Executive Leadership Programme in Health (ASELPH) is a partnership between the University of Pretoria (UP), the University of Fort Hare (UFH), Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and South Africa Partners, in collaboration with the South African National Department of Health.  ASELPH specifically aims to strengthen three key components of health transformation in South Africa—the immediate need to increase the health system’s capacity to deliver high-quality, cost-efficient services and the longer-term desire to strengthen and elevate executive level training for future generations of health system leaders. This is carried out through an academic program that trains selected public health managers and applied research to support policy development.  A key component of the program is the transfer of Harvard’s case teaching method to the two university partners in South Africa. Entering its fifth year, ASELPH is funded by USAID and ELMA Philanthropies.
  • Sifunda Ngokuthetha (Translated “We Learn by Talking Together”) is funded by The Innovation Edge, a Cape Town based collaborative early learning innovation fund.  The pilot program placed colorful signage in isiXhosa in three sections of a market and in two health care clinics in Duncan Village, East London. Signs prompted adults to talk with children in their care. For example, in the fruit and vegetable sections, a sign will read: “Find a green vegetable. What can you eat with that vegetable?”The impact evaluation demonstrated the proof of concept. Now staff are working to scale up the project in in the Johannesburg area. Two retailers (Pick ‘n Pay and its subsidiary, Boxer Superstores) are considering the partnership.
  • ECD Community Network is a pilot program being implemented by SA Partners and its South African-based partner, Masibumbane Development Organization (MDO).  Together the two organizations have drawn together eight early care sites in close proximity to one another within informal settlement areas of Duncan Village in East London.  Through the facilitation of training, the provision of materials, coaching, mentoring, and the establishment of a community of practice the network of principals and practitioners has made real progress in introducing early education in the centers and is drawing valuable lessons from the ongoing engagement. The goal is to identify low-cost, efficient strategies that will turn these centers into places of learning that produce better child outcomes. SA Partners and MDO strive to scale-up successful strategies to other low-income centers to support early learning for young children in these settings.

Opportunities and Challenges

SA Partners is seeking an entrepreneurial, proven and strategic leader who will direct the organization through an exciting time of transition and growth. Working closely with the board of directors and a talented staff in Boston and South Africa, the Executive Director of South Africa Partners (ED) will lead the development and implementation of a strategy to innovate and scale up programs and create the necessary systems to support this. This is an exciting opportunity for an outstanding leader to join a widely respected organization and lead a passionate and talented staff with the support of a diverse group of committed stakeholders at a critical time in South Africa’s history.

The ED will build upon the exceptional accomplishments of the organization’s founding ED, Mary Tiseo, whose planned departure has prepared the organization to move forward. Working closely with the board of directors and the staff in Boston and South Africa, the new ED will lead the next phase of growth of the organization and create the necessary operational and measurement systems and financial resources to support this growth and ensure that successful health and education models are scaled and sustained.

Position Summary

The ED has overall strategic and operational responsibility for SA Partners programs, expansion, and execution of its mission and will lead a staff of committed individuals based in Boston, Massachusetts and various locations in South Africa (currently Pretoria, East London and Port Elizabeth.)  This position, based in Boston, requires frequent (quarterly) travel to South Africa and the ability to manage people and projects remotely in different time zones.  Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.   Anticipated start date: No later than March 1, 2017.

Qualities and Qualifications

  • Proven entrepreneurial and strategic leader;
  • Action-oriented, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning;
  • Deep knowledge of of South Africa and the connections between South Africa and the United States;
  • Ability to network within South Africa and among South Africans in the United States;
  • Advanced degree and/or at least 10 years of senior management experience;
  • Ability to provide specific examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth;
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation;
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget;
  • Past success working with a board of directors with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships;
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills;
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people;
  • Passion, idealism, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed; and
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with demonstrable evidence of efforts.


Leadership & Management:

  • Assume overall strategic and operational responsibility for SA Partners staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission;
  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent high quality financial and administrative, fundraising, communication, and operational systems;
  • Actively engage and energize board members, event committees, volunteers, partner organizations, and funders;
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong board of directors; serve as ex-officio of each committee, seek and build board involvement with strategic direction for both ongoing U.S. operations as well as for activities undertaken in partnership with Masibumbane Development Organization and others in South Africa;
  • Lead, coach, develop, and retain SA Partners high-performance senior management team; and
  • Ensure effective systems to track progress, and regularly evaluate program components, so as to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.

Fundraising & Communications:

  • Expand local revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations while simultaneously building a reserve fund;
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand; and
  • Use external presence and relationships to garner new opportunities.

Planning & New Business Development:

  • Effectively work with the board program committee to evaluate new program opportunities that are in line with the organization’s mission, advance its strategic plan, and expand the ability to raise funds;
  • Build new partnerships and establish relationships with funders and political and community leaders that further the long term goals and objectives of SA Partners; and
  • Be an external presence that publishes and communicates program results with an emphasis on models for partnership development and international cooperation.

Application Instructions

This search is being conducted in partnership with Third Sector New England and Transition Consultant Patricia Duarte. Interested persons are strongly encouraged to apply immediately. Candidate submissions will be accepted until the position is filled.

Click here to apply.

Please include a resume and a cover letter outlining how your qualifications and experience match SA Partners needs.

All submissions are confidential. Electronic submissions sent via this link will be acknowledged immediately upon receipt.

SA Partners is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.