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Matt Wallaert
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Managing Director, Global Development



United States · United States · New York, USA · Central Africa · East Africa · Southern Africa · West Africa
Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Work Authorization: Candidates must be authorized to work into their country of hire

Salary Range: $120,000-$188,000

Role and Responsibilities

The Managing Director, Global Development is responsible for developing and executing a strategy to leverage behavioral science to improve outcomes for low-income populations in low- and middle-income countries. The Managing Director will lead a team that works on these issues through partnerships with low- and middle-income country (LMIC) governments, multilateral institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and others that implement programs in areas relevant to the lives and livelihoods of people living in poverty in LMICs, including social protection, education, labor market programs, and agriculture.

The overarching goal of the Global Development portfolio is to use behavioral science to improve the lives of low-income populations in LMICs. ideas42 already has a significant portfolio of past and current work in the field of global development. This includes projects in 10+ countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where we have worked with World Bank teams and country governments to design and test interventions to improve the impact of cash transfer programs; projects focused on labor-market outcomes for low-income youth and others in four countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa; several projects improving outcomes in education ranging from early childhood development in Jordan to primary, secondary, and tertiary education in India, Senegal, and South Africa; and projects in partnership with the FAO, IFAD, and others in the space of agriculture. Besides these, the team has also worked in the broad area of organizational change (with the United Nations), the use of data in governance, and human-rights issues in several countries.

We are now looking for someone to build on this robust body of work and take the impact of our global development work to the next level by expanding existing relationships and building new partnerships with funders, governments, implementing agencies, and multilateral institutions. The Managing Director will be a member of the ideas42 leadership team and will play an important role in helping to manage the organization, shape its culture, and influence its strategic direction.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Constructing, overseeing, and securing funding for a portfolio of projects and partnerships that advance the global development strategy in partnership with Associate Managing Directors and the Senior Advisor for Global Development
  • Refining and improving an impact-driven global development strategy
  • Building an extensive network of relationships in the global development space to fuel strategy-aligned business development and organizational growth
  • Growing internal capacity by managing and mentoring junior and senior staff
  • Providing topical and operational expertise to guide project teams
  • Overseeing grant proposal submissions and contract negotiations
  • Authoring thought leadership to build our brand and further the field of applied behavioral science in global development. This may take many forms, including research papers, reports, white papers, public speaking, and media engagement.


Minimum qualifications

  • Master’s degree and 12 or more years of experience, including at least 7 years focused on global development
  • Deep knowledge of, and passion for, global development, including global education, agriculture, labor markets, and other relevant areas of the field
  • International outlook; comfort with partners and working styles in LMICs
  • At least 8 years directly managing people, with 3 or more years supervising multiple teams of diverse backgrounds and skills, spread across multiple continents and time zones
  • Substantial experience leading complex projects with multiple workstreams
  • Excellent written and oral communication
  • A track record of successful business development/fundraising
  • A record of producing consistently high-quality work
  • Mission-aligned, self-starter, and able to thrive in a fast-paced environment
  • Available and willing to travel internationally (typically 20–25% of the time)

Preferred qualifications

  • Deep networks with multilateral and bilateral development institutions
  • At least two years living and working in the Global South
  • Passion for leveraging the power of a deep understanding of human behavior for development
  • Fluency in language(s) other than English

About ideas42

We’re a non-profit looking for deep insights into human behavior—into why people do what they do—and using that knowledge in ways that help improve lives, build better systems, and drive social change. Working globally, we reinvent the practices of institutions, and create better products and policies that can be scaled for maximum impact.

We also teach others, ultimately striving to generate lasting social impact and create a future where the universal application of behavioral science powers a world with optimal health, equitable wealth, and environments and systems that are sustainable and just for all.

For more than 15 years, we’ve been at the forefront of applying behavioral science in the real world. And as we’ve developed our expertise, we’ve helped to define an entire field. Our efforts have so far extended to 40 countries as we’ve partnered with governments, foundations, NGOs, private enterprises, and a wide array of public institutions.

We value diversity and inclusion and are dedicated to growing our teams with people who have diverse experiences, backgrounds, and skills. We are committed to fair and unbiased hiring practices that support equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, abilities, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Working with Us

We are a culture-first organization where rules or processes do not take precedence – people and their ability to make well-reasoned decisions do. You’ll find that our team members are deeply caring, smart, and both tenacious and rigorous in their work. We are committed to building an inclusive team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, beliefs, and experiences.

Our core values are at the heart of everything at ideas42:

  • We live and breathe what we do. We look at everything through a BEHAVIORAL LENS.
  • We take OWNERSHIP. We don’t just work at ideas42, we take shared responsibility for it.
  • We DO GOOD. We use our expertise to improve millions of lives and create a better world for all.
  • We have fun. We let PLAYFULNESS inform the way we work and our approach to the world, helping to drive our creativity and improve our solutions.
  • We live with a SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY. We approach our colleagues, partners and people whose lives we seek to improve with an attitude of selflessness and cooperation.
  • We are TENACIOUS. We never take the easy route, but push to stretch the limits of what’s possible.
  • We are RIGOROUS in how we think and how we tackle problems.


We hope that you are excited by the opportunity to work with us. We are proud to offer a comprehensive and behaviorally designed benefits package and other perks to support our team and allow us to focus on our work of solving tough social problems.

  • Insurance: We offer fully-covered medical, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage for you and your families.
  • 401(k) Match: We contribute 3%, even if you don’t contribute at all.
  • Generous Vacation and Paid Time Off: We’ve built infrastructure to encourage our team to rest and recharge throughout the year.
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Fitness benefits
  • Dependent Care Accounts
  • Phone benefits including reimbursement towards a new smart phone
  • Professional Development fund
  • Loan Forgiveness: Based on our 501(c)3 status, you are able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Application Process Overview

The ideas42 application process has four stages:
  • Application: Submit your application and resume
  • First Round Interview: Selected candidates will be invited to interview with an ideas42 program team member
  • Final Round Interview & Assignment: Selected candidates will be invited to complete and assignment and present it during their final interview with an ideas42 senior team member. References will also be requested and contacted during this time.