Country Director, Poland

  • Contractor
  • Poland

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is one of the world’s largest international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (INGO), at work in more than 40 countries and more than 25 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. A force for humanity, IRC employees delivers lasting impact by restoring safety, dignity and hope to millions. If you’re a solutions-driven, passionate change-maker, come join us in positively impacting the lives of millions of people world-wide for a better future.

In Ukraine, months of escalating Russian hostility culminated in a concerted invasion of the country and the launch of military attacks across multiple cities in Ukraine. This led to millions of Ukrainians leaving Ukraine, many of whom stayed in Poland. In Poland, the IRC launched a country program through the emergency response team. The IRC currently has a country office in Warsaw and is implementing programs focused on protection, livelihoods and education in Katowice, Gdynia, and Warsaw, both directly and with partners.

This position will be based in Warsaw, with occasional travel to our programs and other locations as necessary. IRC Poland is a legal entity in Poland. The position is employed under a national staff contract.


The Country Director for Poland is responsible for overall leadership and management of IRC operations in the country, including stewardship of resources, staff safety and security, program quality and accountability, and performance management. The Country Director is IRC’s principal representative to the government of Poland, donors, international organizations, other NGOs and the media. The Country Director is expected to respond with effective humanitarian and recovery programs, implemented directly and alongside partner organizations. The Country Director will lead country program staff in pursuing the outcomes identified in the country program strategy, bringing them together to deliver high-quality, cost-effective programming results.

Success in this position requires an individual with exemplary leadership abilities who deploys strong communications and interpersonal skills effectively, both internally and externally. The successful candidate will enjoy developing networks to build partnerships and raise and diversify program resources. Given the operating environment void of IRC’s traditional and humanitarian donors, the Country Director is expected to focus on business development and partner relationship building to promote sustainability of the program. S/he will be directly responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the country program; providing oversight and coaching for directly supervised senior staff; leading country program teams to identify, design and deliver responsive, high-quality programs; ensuring efficient management of public grants and private funds for results, compliance, and focused, timely reporting; and oversight of financial management and compliance systems. The successful candidate will have prior experience in building a funding portfolio and working with partners.

Based in Warsaw, the Country Director oversees all IRC operations in Poland. Reporting to the Senior Director for the Ukraine Crisis, this position receives support from regional and headquarters staff in the areas of program quality, new business development, safety and security management, finance, operations management, and external affairs. The Country Director is additionally expected to actively participate in defining the IRC’s public advocacy positions.


Leadership and Representation

• Lead the country program by maintaining open and professional relations with colleagues, promoting a strong team spirit, and providing guidance, oversight and resources to enable staff to perform successfully.

• Develop and carry out strategies that result in strong representation with: Polish Government authorities at various levels; donors (including institutional, non-institutional and private), European Union; UN and other international organizations; international and local NGOs; and networks such as INGO coordination mechanisms and appropriate working groups.

• Ensure that the IRC becomes a leading agency for quality programming within the response.

• Initiate and sustain strong, mutually beneficial, and authentic partnerships with Polish and Ukrainian-led organizations.

• Seek out and pursue respectful and safe opportunities to raise the profile of the work of the IRC and its partners in Poland, as well as the lives and the needs of the people the IRC seeks to serve.

Strategic Direction, Program Quality and Growth

• Set the strategic vision and direction of the country program, through the development of a Strategy Action Plan, aligned with IRC’s Strategy 100, to serve more people with the most responsive and highest quality programming possible and secure the resources necessary to do so.

• Align programming to the country’s program strategy, sectoral expertise, technical standards and IRC’s added value.

• Develop a deep understanding of the geopolitical landscape and remain current on context analysis and develop responsive strategies to ensure the IRC mission can be carried out.

• Identify opportunities for appropriate expansion and growth of programs, based on a coherent, ambitious and realistic business development plan.

• Champion alignment with IRC’s global Strategy100 and initiatives, including promoting a ‘partner first’ mindset and developing meaningful and equitable partnerships with local organizations.

Safety and Security Management

• Take primary responsibility for overall management of safety and security for the country program.

• Oversee the management of all security issues, including appropriate response to emergency situations as they arise.

• Create and maintain a culture of safety and security throughout the country program, including ensuring a robust staff care minimum standard and system in place that prepare all country program staff for security incident prevention and response in coordination with Regional Safety and Security Advisor and HR focal points.

Staff Performance Management and Development

• Supervise and mentor direct-report staff, including communicating clear expectations, setting performance objectives, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and leading documented semi-annual performance reviews.

• Provide constructive feedback and counsel on appropriate career paths and professional development for IRC Poland staff.

• Oversee the management, coaching and mentoring development of staff to build a cadre of skilled, committed, and motivated personnel.

• Actively pursue a diversified senior management workforce for the Poland program.

• Promote and monitor staff care and well-being. Support appropriate interventions in response to identified staff care needs of staff.

• Offer leadership support for successful adherence by all staff to IRC’s Global HR Operating Policies and Procedures.

• Work with regional HR staff to identify and implement recruitment and retention strategies.

• Undertake regular reviews and keep track of labor and salary markets trends in Poland for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of the IRC’s overall compensation package for national staff.

Stewardship and Operational Management

• Drive operational excellence to achieve optimal efficiency and cost-effectiveness in all functions and operations of the country program.

• Oversee the development, deployment and utilization of financial and operational policies, procedures, and systems to deliver compliance with IRC and donor requirements.

• Ensure responsiveness and appropriate levels of in-person and remote support to all offices, especially in the areas of HR, finance, and supply chain.

• Provide timely and effective oversight of the Poland country program’s financial position.

• Maintain effective and coordinated budget monitoring processes for grant funds and discretionary funds.


• Model and encourage active practice of the principles of the “IRC Way – Global Standards for Professional Conduct” throughout the Poland country program.

• Maintain a healthy and empowering office environment that encourages open, honest, and productive communication among IRC staff and with partner organizations.

• Maintain open communications with regional management staff, regional technical advisors, and HQ departmental staff.

**Supervisory Responsibilities:**Direct reports include the Deputy Director for Programs, Deputy Director for Finance, the operations lead, Safeguarding Coordinator, and other support leadership positions.

Key Working Relationships

Internal: Senior Director for the Ukraine Crisis; Senior Program and Business Development Advisor, Deputy Director – Human Resources and the Country Director Ukraine.

External: Partner organizations, government officials, public and private donor agencies, international and national NGOs, UN agencies


• At least ten years of progressively responsible international work experience, including at least three years in a leadership role at the Country Director level of multi-site, multi-sectoral operations in a complex operating environment

• Demonstrated successful leadership and management experience with a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural setting, including active mentoring and coaching.

• Proven experience delivering appropriate levels oversight of a diverse funding portfolio

• Knowledge of EU and other European donors funding mechanisms.

• Ability to work, live and thrive in a European environment.

• Skilled at building trusting effective relationships with government officials, donor representatives, staff, NGO partners, community leaders and clients.

• Strong budget and fiscal oversight capacities

• Established capacity to deal with ambiguity in stressful situations

• Ability to respond to multiple priorities in a timely manner, producing high-quality outcomes

• Previous experience working in the region and/or with IRC preferred.

• Fluency in English required. Fluency in Ukrainian and/or Polish are an asset

**Standard of Professional Conduct:**The IRC and the IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in the IRC Way – our Code of Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Accountability, and Equality.

Commitment to Gender, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: The IRC is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive, respectful, and safe work environment where all persons are treated fairly, with dignity and respect. The IRC expressly prohibits and will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or bullying of the IRC persons in any work setting. We aim to increase the representation of women, people that are from country and communities we serve, and people who identify as races and ethnicities that are under-represented in global power structures.

How to apply

Deadline: 28-Oct-24