10 Jun 2021

Managing Director at Youth Development Labs

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Job Description

Managing Director



YLabs is a leading global design and research organization working to improve health and economic opportunity for young people 10–24 years old. Founded in 2014 at the Harvard Innovation Lab, YLabs partners with young people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Central America to design, test, and advocate for youth-driven solutions that address key challenges to young people’s health and economic opportunity worldwide. YLabs’ focus areas are sexual/reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, mental health, and economic inclusion. Find out more about our projects here: https://www.ylabsglobal.org/work

Our team of physicians, designers, economists, public health professionals, and educators bring a unique mix of human-centered design, adolescent health, evaluation, economic and health outcome evaluation, behavioral science, and implementation know-how to the global problems facing youth.

We have offices in the US and Rwanda, and are currently supporting our teams to work remotely during COVID-19 in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.


We’re looking for a dynamic, established global professional to join YLabs’ leadership team. In this role, the Managing Director will support the development and leadership of our Global Growth team, with a focus on growing YLabs’ portfolio of projects in sub-Saharan Africa. They will work alongside other global Directors and report directly to the Executive Director. This role is to be based in Kigali, Rwanda.
They will lead regional business development, identifying potential partners and opportunities  and develop projects and partnerships that can improve young people’s health and economic opportunity. They’ll build networks and alliances with a variety of stakeholders including YLabs’ government and NGO partners, donor agencies, research institutions, and grassroots organizations across Africa.

The ideal candidate will be excited to work with a creative and passionate interdisciplinary team of designers and public health professionals to support the development of design solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing young people globally. Their ideas and expertise will help shape the strategic direction and growth of an effective and impactful organization. They’ll be a collaborative and charismatic leader, providing leadership to our growing team. The Managing Director will support the recruitment and development of new talent, and work closely with the operations team to support a vibrant, supportive, and equitable working environment for our team. They will work in partnership with YLabs’ operations and finance, programs, and growth teams to ensure the Rwanda studio is effectively managed.


Growth and Partnerships

  • Build YLabs’ network of partners in sub Saharan Africa and foster strong relationships with our existing partners
  • Lead YLabs’ strategy for partnerships and growth in sub Saharan Africa
  • Take ownership of development of new business opportunities in sub Saharan Africa with support from the leadership team and partnerships and growth team
  • Lead communication with project management teams, and work with our technical and design leadership to guide the successful launch of new projects in the region
  • Work with regional design and technical leadership teams to ensure YLabs’ work is high-quality, impactful, and helps us achieve our strategic goals
  • Foster effective, thoughtful engagement and communications with our partners, developing opportunities for continued collaboration and funding
  • Collaborate with YLabs’ impact team to oversee effective tracking of project impact by regional project leads
  • Collaborate with the global and Rwanda-based communications team to align on annual communications priorities across YLabs’ portfolio of work in order to advance new business development in the region

Operations and Finance:

  • Provide oversight and management support to the Kigali location and team
  • Work with the Rwanda-based department leads (Design Lead, Technical Lead, Senior Operations Manager) to develop and operationalize strategic goals for the Kigali office
  • Work with the global finance team to develop and manage the annual budget for the Kigali office
  • Provide input into global initiatives to support effective recruitment and retention of outstanding talent for our work across sub-Saharan Africa
  • Work with the global operations and portfolio leads to identify talent needs and make resourcing decisions that support effective growth


  • Sit on YLabs’ global leadership team, guiding the strategy of the organization and developing and tracking strategic objectives
  • Provide input on mission-critical decisions and take leadership of organizational initiatives
  • Collaborate with the other department leads to ensure the Rwanda office runs smoothly and supports a positive, creative experience for all staff (facilities, technology, wellness)
  • Work with the global and local operations and finance team and YLabs’ counsel to ensure policies and local operations are compliant with local laws and regulations


  • At least fifteen years of professional experience, including a track record of success in a leadership role.
  • Experience in supporting or leading the thoughtful growth of early-stage, fast-growing organizations
  • Proven experience in business development; you have successfully developed and launched large-scale projects and multi-partner initiatives
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong collaboration skills with attention to addressing power differentials, and ensuring equity in our work and in our organization

Desirable skills:

  • Expertise in a relevant field to our work (public health, adolescent health, medicine, research disciplines, economics, international development)
  • Language skills in French, Swahili, or Kinyarwanda


  • Passionate about improving the health and opportunity of young people globally
  • A natural connector, energized by building new working relationships and partnerships
  • Committed to operationalizing equity in our work and decolonizing global health
  • A thoughtful leader who makes decisions with trust and transparency; you are collaborative and consultative in your workstyle.
  • Data-driven with a high degree of integrity, valor, and care in your decision making
  • Entrepreneurial, flexible, and excited to help grow an dynamic, creative organization
  • Enthusiastic about building and supporting a talented multi-disciplinary team to learn, grow, and deliver high-quality, impactful work
  • Committed to building trusting, convivial working relationships that support wellness, creativity, and collective joy
  • Willing to work flexible hours to accommodate evening calls with staff in other timezones
  • Adaptable and optimistic when faced with changing circumstances and challenges


Under normal circumstances, this role would be based out of the YLabs Rwanda office. Given the current circumstances due to COVID-19, it is possible to conduct this role remotely within GMT+0 to GMT+4. There is an expectation that this role will be based in Kigali, Rwanda once normal office life resumes. Relocation benefits are provided for this role.


YLabs adheres to Project Fair’s principles and standards to establish equity in pay with the overriding principle of “equal pay for work of equal value” outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. All salary ranges are based on level within the organization and are competitive to regional and national salary benchmarks, based on the respective office location.

The salary range for this role is gross RF65,000,000 – RF80,000,000 per year, commensurate with experience

Method of Application

To apply, send a resume and cover letter to [email protected] with the subject line “Managing Director”.

This posting will be open from June 10th to July 20th, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; all applications submitted within the posting period will be reviewed by our Hiring Committee. YLabs recognizes the effort that goes into submitting an application; all candidates will be notified of their application status once the hiring process begins.

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines. All YLabs offers of employment are conditional on satisfactory background check and criminal record clearances.

The deadline: 10th July 2021

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