POSITION: Managing Director, Global Food and Agriculture Program
TEAM: Global Food and Agriculture Program
LOCATION: Chicago, IL preferred, but location negotiable

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (“the Council”) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization that provides information, fosters dialogue, and builds understanding about what is happening in the world and why it matters to people in Chicago, the United States, and around the globe. At a time when large-scale political, cultural, and technological changes and disruptions are driving momentous and historical shifts in the global affairs, the Council offers Chicago and the world a trusted, balanced voice on foreign policy and America’s engagement in the world. 

For more than 10 years, the Council has been developing evidence-based policy innovation to drive US government action in food and nutrition security with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other sources. The Council has created a global network of academic, government, private, and public institutions committed to accelerating an end to poverty and food insecurity. The consultative policy development approach the Council takes in this work results in smart, creative ideas that have the power to accelerate an end to global food and nutrition insecurity, which is in the best economic and national security interest of the United States. This work has taken on new urgency with global challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council has convened business, policy, scientific, and civil society leaders for task forces examining the factors contributing to food and nutrition insecurity in the 20th century and their solutions. Its research has influenced US and global policy for food security and have consistently provided guidance for how stakeholders from the public, private, and NGO sectors can work together to implement innovative solutions to global food security challenges.


The Council is looking for an experienced professional to design and oversee the implementation of all Council projects related to food, agriculture, nutrition and other targeted themes of international global development. Specifically, the Managing Director works to advance the Council as the premiere think tank working on food and agriculture issues by convening leading stakeholders and offering groundbreaking analysis and insights.  The Managing Director manages a staff of 5+ and a significant group of distinguished and non-resident fellows.

Specific responsibilities of the Managing Director include:

  • Maintain and expand the Council’s position as a major, highly credible, and influential voice on global food and agriculture issues in U.S. and international discourse.
  • Identify, conceptualize, resource, manage, and implement all projects in the Global Food and Agriculture portfolio, including the expansion and evolution of the work.
  • Manage and diversify fundraising for a multimillion-dollar portfolio annually of innovative projects with support from the Director, Foundation Relations and the Director, Corporate Relations.
  • Identify and recruit well-respected thought leaders to inform, lend credibility, and enhance the visibility of the Council’s research.
  • Design and oversee the conceptual development, research, and publication processes of several publications annually, including in-depth research papers, policy analyses, reports, and weekly news brief.
  • Ensure the Council’s work is actionable for and visible to the U.S. Administration, U.S. Congress, selected multilateral bodies, business leaders, and other key stakeholders.
  • Manage and help develop the Program’s youth continuum projects, including supporting the youth programming of the World Food Prize, the internal Next Generation program, and a new agricultural entrepreneur program.
  • Supervise the social media and virtual seminars and interviews of the Global Food and Agriculture team.
  • Serve as a collaborative and energetic member of the senior management team that oversees the overall direction of the Council, carries out strategic initiatives, and ensures that all Council activities are integrated and communicated effectively at local, national, and international levels.
  • Supervise special projects with select resident fellows with relevant expertise as required.
  • Lead and manage the Global Food and Agricultural team. 


The Managing Director will be strategic, highly organized, and a results-oriented leader. The ideal candidate will be skilled at actively and strategically expanding and enhancing the visibility and reach of the Council’s food and agriculture work.  S/he will have experience and credibility designing policy research projects garnering media and policy attention in accordance with the Council’s independence and nonpartisanship. S/he will be a confident public speaker as well as a strong and dynamic communicator who can represent the Council effectively to all constituents across global communities. The Managing Director will bring a strong command of fundraising best practices understanding that successful fundraising and developing partnerships are fundamental keys to success. S/he must be experienced in managing and supervising teams of people.

The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • 10+ years’ experience in research-based and/or policy arena working with government, nonprofits, think tanks or academia in the food, agriculture, and/or nutrition policy realms.  International experience in a developing country is preferable.
  • Master’s degree in agricultural economics, public policy, international development, or related field.
  • Experience developing and expanding multi-faceted research programs, including a demonstrated ability to develop strategy for, resource, and manage complex projects with multiple activity streams being realized under tight deadlines.
  • Substantial and demonstrable familiarity with key US and international foreign policy institutions and processes—public and private.
  • Proven track record of fundraising, including securing six and seven figure contributions, and ability to initiate and steward investments from philanthropic leaders, foundations, and corporate sources.
  • Experience managing staff, budgets, and fundraising plans/timelines
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate complex concepts and topics clearly, thoroughly, and succinctly.
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a management team, lead a team of dedicated individuals, and maintain collegial working relationships with staff members at all levels.
  • Creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving; thrives in fast-paced and dynamic environment.
  • Knowledge of creative uses of social media and virtual programs.
  • Experience in developing networks of diverse stakeholders.


Please email a cover letter and résumé as Word documents to hr@thechicagocouncil.org. Other career opportunities can be found on the Council’s website at www.thechicagocouncil.org. EOE