Reduce pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet.

Program Director

Pure Earth is seeking a Program Director to hold overall responsibility for the leadership and management of a group (typically 5-6) of Pure Earth’s country programs, leading delivery of organizational strategy and driving country programs toward responsive, high-impact and high-quality environment programming and significant, measurable results. S/he guides and oversees country-level strategic planning, successful program delivery, and performance management. The Program Director is able to see the big picture and establish broad strategy while being attentive to individual country program needs and constraints.

Pure Earth is a leading international not-for-profit organization dedicated to solving pollution problems that affect public health ( The organization focuses on reducing exposures to toxic chemical pollutants resulting from industrial, commercial, or informal/artisanal activities. Pure Earth identifies and cleans up severely polluted places, advises governments and development agencies on related issues, and conducts groundbreaking research on pollution and its devastating impacts on public health and economic development. Since 1999, Pure Earth has completed 110 environmental remediation/risk-reduction projects in 27 countries, impacting 5 million lives. In addition to our field work, Pure Earth recently spearheaded two landmark reports that have advanced the global dialogue around pollution: a joint report with UNICEF on children’s exposures to lead titled The Toxic Truth: Children’s Exposure to Lead Pollution Undermines a Generation of Future Potential; and the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health – one of the most cited works from the world-renowned medical journal, The Lancet.


Reporting to the Vice President Global Programs, the Program Director is a member of Pure Earth’s Program Leadership Team and collaborates with its other members to support the Country Directors, inspiring country program colleagues and partners to bring innovative ideas and approaches to fruition and create meaningful impact. Equally, the Program Director represents field priorities to HQ departments. The Program Director develops and maintains productive relationships with external constituents such as donors, local governments, partner organizations, corporations and universities. With the VP International Operations, the Program Director identifies and takes steps to mitigate organizational risk, including security management.


Strategy, Program Quality and Growth
• Lead, supervise and support Country Directors on programmatic, partnership and project management matters. Provide guidance and troubleshooting on management issues.

• Drive the development of country-level strategies.

• Position Pure Earth as a partner of choice for major donors in the environment/pollution space. Contribute to Pure Earth’s business development and fundraising efforts by cultivating a strong network of donor contacts, engaging with the Development and Communications teams, and ensuring that country program teams build and maintain strong donor relationships locally.

• Engage with donors to shape and influence their strategies and funding priorities.

• Drive organizational growth consistent with Pure Earth’s strategic plan so that our programs reach more people with greater impact.

• Support country programs to recruit and retain the staffing and expertise required to implement projects successfully.

• Assist country program teams to develop plans to improve local partner capacity to implement responsive, impactful programs.

• Work closely with country program staff to increase accountability to program quality standards.

• Drive the roll-out and implementation of Pure Earth’s M&E strategy in country programs.

• Build capacity to ensure grant portfolios are implemented on time and on budget, and can flexibly respond to growth or contraction.

• Oversee timely reporting on all projects so that relevant colleagues have key information for decision-making and communicating to staff, the Board, and external stakeholders.

• Directly support at-risk projects, including donor communications on compliance issues, as needed.

• Monitor and analyze political trends in assigned countries so that Pure Earth is positioned to adapt to changing contexts. Ensure that our global footprint is consistent with our mission and strategy through timely and well-managed program expansion and closure as appropriate.

Team Leadership & Development
• Manage, mentor, give feedback to and coach Country Directors, inspiring and modeling healthy, collaborative working relationships.

• Participate in the recruitment, selection, onboarding and training of country teams.

• Cultivate a safe working environment for all staff.

• Connect teams to ideas, partners and resources to drive innovative solutions for greater impact.

• Support the development of systems to ensure that country program staff are trained and properly oriented in Pure Earth’s policies, systems, procedures and protocols.

• Ensure team members are well positioned to be effective business partners and recognized by colleagues, management and Board as trusted, reliable and active partners in achieving strategic goals and organizational objectives.

• Execute consistent performance management, providing specific actionable feedback about job task proficiency, responsibilities and professional behaviors; identify performance that doesn’t meet standards and support performance improvement; support professional development of team members.

Financial, Operational & Risk Management
• Ensure that country-level operations are appropriately resourced and managed in accordance with Pure Earth and donor policies and standards.

• Exercise oversight of country program budgets and the financial health of individual grants. Identify and communicate gaps or concerns in a timely manner, and proactively seek out viable solutions.

• Model and drive good stewardship of Pure Earth and donor resources, and compliance with applicable laws, policies and requirements.

• Foster a balanced and diligent approach to risk management across all country programs: ensure that Pure Earth fully meets our obligations, including compliance, to donors and governments. Identify and monitor the various risks in countries where PE operates, ensure HQ is regularly informed, and implement mitigating actions as appropriate.

• Collaborate with VP International Operations on security incident management and reporting.

Representation, Influence and Partnership
• Develop and nurture external relationships and networks to ensure optimum communication and program success.

• Ensure strong representation of Pure Earth to local, regional and global stakeholders including governments, donors and civil society partners.

• Promote thought leadership by ensuring that program innovations and successes are tested, analyzed, documented and effectively communicated externally and internally.

• Participate in drafting peer-reviewed papers and articles.

• Raise Pure Earth’s profile through engagement with diverse forms of media, working closely with the Communications team.


• Minimum of 10-12 years of experience in relevant management positions in organizations that operate internationally, with a mixture of field and HQ experience.

• An advanced university degree in a relevant discipline is required.

• Country program management experience, including direct “hands-on” skills in new business development, strategic planning, project implementation and grants management.

• Proven leader of teams working in multiple locations.

• Prior experience working within organizational structures in transition.

• Strong change management skills to promote collaboration and productivity, particularly during times of change.

• Demonstrated success in adapting global strategy to local contexts.

• Significant achievements in seeking and securing new donors; superior ability to build personal networks at a senior level, resulting in securing new opportunities and strategic growth for the organization.

• Exceptional program conceptualization and design skills.

• Background and experience in the technical and/or public health aspects of environmental impacts (e.g., lead, mercury, artisanal gold mining, site investigation and remediation, health monitoring and interventions, awareness raising, etc.) are strongly preferred.

• Proven strong financial and operational analysis and management skills, including project management.

• A record of delivering appropriate levels of oversight of portfolios consisting of a variety of complex, donor-funded projects.

• Evidence of understanding the challenges of donor and grant/contract management and the implications for program management.

• High degree of proficiency in managing relationships with key constituencies, including staff, government representatives, NGOs, funders, corporate sponsors, not-for-profit and for-profit entities, and civil society organizations.

• Ability to represent program context, constraints and successes to media, government, civil society and boards in a compelling manner.

• Demonstrated proficiency overseeing compliance with requirements of funding from US, EU, UN, and other public and private donors.

• A keen understanding of the political dynamics and complexities in assigned countries.

• Effective in developing high-potential staff to achieve career growth and maximum contribution.

• Commitment to diversity, inclusion and the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

• Receptive and collaborative leadership approach that contributes to positive team environment, builds and maintains strong relationships with people from all backgrounds, genders, cultures and viewpoints.

• Ability and willingness to travel internationally.

• Ability to work flexible hours or across time zones, as needed.

• Multi-lingual capabilities a plus.

• Salary commensurate with experience.

Candidates must possess authorization to work in the U.S.


It is the policy of Pure Earth to provide equal opportunity for all qualified persons and not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, gender or gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation or any other protected status.


This is a full-time position. Work is performed at a desk in an office environment, with the exception of travel. Pure Earth’s office is located at 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 860, New York City. Applicants must live in, or within commuting distance of the New York City office, or be willing to relocate at her or his own expense.


Please email a resume, cover letter, and writing sample as a single attachment to  [email protected]. Do not apply through an online job aggregator, as such applications will not be reviewed. Please indicate “Program Director” in the subject line.

The start date is flexible based on the selected candidate’s availability. Applications will be reviewed and considered as received. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls will be accepted.