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Director, Climate Portfolio, Strategy & Build – GDI Americas

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The Global Development Incubator (GDI) partners with social entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to build startups and collaboratives that can address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges. We play a mix of the strategist and implementer role to spin out new organizations over 24–36 months. Throughout each stage of our process, we bring together the right partners and resources across sectors—including corporations, nonprofits, governments, and foundations—to help game-changing ideas scale their impact and prepare them for long-term success. GDI currently retains a mostly remote workforce with major clusters of staff in New York, Washington, DC, Hong Kong, Nairobi, and Mumbai.


Job Description


Global Development Incubator is seeking a senior hire to lead and build our Climate Portfolio. The successful candidate will take on a set of existing opportunities to further design and launch, while also exploring and shaping other opportunities that they believe could create large-scale impact.

What is a Strategy & Build Director? This role is a unique opportunity to shape and lead a portfolio of initiatives. GDI’s S&B Directors collaborate with social sector leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs to address some of the world’s toughest problems, helping to turn big ideas into effective, value-adding organizations. Sometimes S&B Directors hatch initiatives in-house. In other cases, entrepreneurs or donors come to us with a big idea that needs an incubation partner. In either case, you will act as a strategist, advisor, integrator, implementer, and often board member. You will work closely with a cohort of Strategy & Build managers and associates; you’ll also collaborate with GDI’s three other functional teams: finance and operations; brand, marketing, and communications, and talent. While each GDI’s Director has significant autonomy to lead her/his own portfolio, we also collectively form a global community of practice of social entrepreneurs and system-strategists.

What does our Climate Portfolio look like? The new Climate Director will have the opportunity to pursue existing opportunities and/or shape other opportunities that could create large-scale impact. For background: GDI’s work has spanned climate mitigation and adaptation. We currently have a Director (based in India) leading a climate adaptation portfolio. For example, GDI is supporting Water Aid to incubate the Resilient Water Accelerator which is a new initiative designed to increase the flow of private and public finance into water projects with a goal to help the most climate-vulnerable communities build resilience to climate change. GDI is also engaging with the IKEA Foundation, to explore the feasibility of building a platform (financial and non-financial support) for supporting promising waste enterprises/initiatives across the value chain in both the formal and informal waste sectors. (Additional perspective on our climate portfolio is captured in this blog entry).

We expect a new Climate Director to focus on carbon mitigation and removal, building on previous work in this area. In 2022, GDI successfully completed our incubation support to Emergent, which was launched to create a new marketplace in large-scale transactions of high-integrity carbon credits at the jurisdictional level to reduce deforestation–at a minimum size of the State of Vermont in the US–and has mobilized an initial $1 billion for credits.

We are now exploring and have secured some initial funding for several immediate opportunities including climate-smart agriculture, an off-grid energy financial incentive mechanism, climate-health, green jobs, and a facility to support deployment of electric buses for public transport.


Portfolio Leadership

  • Cultivate prospects and shape new opportunities for GDI incubation.
  • Serve as the strategic advisor, executive coach, and chief operator to GDI’s incubation partners.
  • Develop a roadmap to scale for initiatives; ensure an iterative approach to developing strategy and then building-the-plane-while-flying-it.
  • Deliver end-to-end accountability in managing priority relationships throughout the incubation lifecycle.
  • Oversee budgets for financial sustainability of the initiative and of GDI
  • Integrate services provided by other GDI teams and external consultants and experts and ensure implementation.
  • Support outreach, network-building, and fundraising efforts.
  • Travel as needed.


GDI Leadership

  • Manage an overall portfolio against milestones, budget, and target outcomes; participate in quarterly portfolio reviews with the GDI leadership team.
  • Contribute to overall management of GDI as a member of the Global Leadership Team (GLT), including by proactively contributing to the ongoing development of GDI’s incubation practice and mentoring GDI staff.
  • Support broader thought leadership and knowledge management, including documenting best practices or authoring articles, blogs and other publications.
  • Perform other duties as requested.



Required Qualifications:

  • 12+ years of work experience in social enterprises or other impact organizations, management consulting, and/or responsible investing; a mix of strategic and operating professional experiences is ideal
  • Deep experience and networks in climate mitigation and removal, across innovators, academics, activists, and donors. Knowledge of climate technologies, policies and regulations, operating models, and funding options, including an understanding of just transition across markets. Understanding of developing and implementing climate finance instruments preferred.
  • Successful track record of developing strategy and ensuring a team’s ability to deliver against it, including through periods of growth, adaptation, and ambiguity
  • Demonstrated success developing cross-sectoral partnerships
  • Fluency in the languages of global development and public-private partnerships
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and experiences, in the private, public, and/or social sector
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills; effective influencer of diverse perspectives with a demonstrated ability to facilitate change at the senior level of organizations


Additional attributes we look for in our incubation practice leadership include:

  • Proactive problem-solving skills
  • Collaborative leadership style: team player; excellent listening skills; trust-builder
  • Ability to self-manage work streams and tasks; self-directed and resourceful with high standards for quality output.
  • A curious and creative intellect and a style that includes flexibility, levelness, and a sense of humor and humility.

Note: This role will involve significant external consultation with global stakeholders and will require a work schedule that can periodically accommodate calls slightly earlier or later than usual work hours, despite their time zone.


Additional Information

Compensation and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $180,000–$210,000. GDI offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes employer contributions to health, dental, and vision insurance plans for employees and dependents and 401(k) matching contributions.

Application Process

If you are interested in this position and meet the qualifications above, please submit a single PDF document containing a one-page cover letter and resume. Please note that the cover letter is considered an important aspect of the application and will be evaluated against the qualifications above. Applications that do not include a cover letter will not be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Global Development Incubator is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.