POSITION: Managing Director, Global Food and Agriculture Program
TEAM: Global Food and Agriculture Program
REPORTS TO: President

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 order, the Council offers Chicago and the world a trusted, balanced voice on foreign policy and America’s engagement in the world. 

The Council is focused on four centers of excellence in carrying out its mission to promote deeper global understanding and active US engagement in the world: Public Programming and Engagement, Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy, Global Food and Agriculture, and Global Cities.  The Managing Director will lead the Council’s work on Global Food and Agriculture.

For more than 10 years, the Council has been developing evidence-based policy innovation to drive US government action in food and nutrition security.  Its 2009 report provided a blueprint for the Obama Administration’s USAID global food security initiative, Feed the Future. Since then, 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 the big solutions, urbanization and a growing youth population as forces changing the demands on the food system, the impact of climate change on food production, the opportunity to improve nutrition and health through food, and the links between food security and global peace and security. This program is supported by and works in partnership with a global network of academic, government, private sector, philanthropic 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. The team has a physical presence in Chicago and Washington DC as well as a broader network of advisors and fellows around the world.


Reporting to the President, the Managing Director for Global Food and Agriculture will lead the development of the strategy as well as the design and oversight of the implementation of all Council projects related to food, agriculture, 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 eight staff and twelve distinguished and nonresident fellows, and works closely with a panel of advisors made up of leading food and agriculture scholars and practitioners.

Specific responsibilities of the Managing Director include:

  • Lead the strategy in maintaining and expanding the Council’s position as a major, highly credible and influential voice on global food and agriculture issues in U.S. and international discourse.
  • Enthusiastically fundraise to support the maintenance and expansion of the program from private sector companies, philanthropic institutions and individuals as part of the Council’s ongoing capital campaign; this is done in collaboration with the Director, Foundation Relations and the Director, Corporate Relations.
  • Identify, conceptualize, resource, manage, and implement all projects in the Global Food and Agriculture portfolio, including the expansion and evolution of the work. 
  • 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 research publications, including in-depth research papers, policy analyses, reports, and weekly news briefs.
  • Ensure the Council’s work is actionable for and visible to the US Administration, US Congress, selected multilateral bodies, business leaders, and other key stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with the Director of Global Development Programs to design the Global Food Security Symposium, an annual conference attended by 500+ people on the state of U.S. action on food security.
  • Oversee the Next Generation program of the Global Food & Agriculture Program, which aims to connect outstanding graduate and advanced undergraduate students pursuing careers in the agriculture and food sector, especially those studying STEM disciplines.
  • 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.


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.

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, the private sector in the food, agriculture, and/or development policy realms including international experience in a developing country; private sector experience a plus.
  • 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 team and maintain collegial working relationships with staff members at all levels.
  • Creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving; thrives in fast-paced and dynamic environment.


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