Country Director, Timor-Leste
About the organisation
Blue Ventures is a marine conservation organisation that puts people first. We support coastal fishers in remote and rural communities to rebuild fisheries and restore ocean life.
Our work began two decades ago in Madagascar’s remote coastal communities and is growing globally. Across a dozen countries, we’re partnering with traditional fishers and community organisations to design, scale, strengthen and sustain fisheries management and conservation at the community level. We bring partners together in networks to advocate for reform, and share tools and best practices to support fishing communities across the globe.
Blue Ventures is growing rapidly, and we are at an inflection point in our journey, having secured multi-year support for expansion in new geographies.
About the role
The Country Director is responsible for overseeing the safe, effective and efficient delivery of Blue Ventures’ activities in Timor-Leste. Setting the example for our culture and values, they lead a dynamic, multi-disciplinary, community-focused team of around 20 staff. The position leads our efforts in Timor-Leste supporting coastal communities to establish locally managed marine areas to sustain local fisheries and protect critical habitats, as well as strengthening the policy environment for equitable and sustainable marine and fisheries management, through strategic technical partnerships with government.
The Country Director plays a key role in advancing BV’s global conservation strategy, informed and inspired by lessons from BV’s field locations across the world. The Country Director is responsible for marrying this global strategy with the needs and opportunities in Timor-Leste, evolving and implementing the national strategy for Timor-Leste through close community, partner and government engagement.
The Country Director is accountable for ensuring that our activities are well designed, respond intelligently to community needs, and are progressed on time and to budget through careful planning, decision-making and reporting. The role is also responsible for ensuring that BV’s overall commitments and workload are in line with our capacities and capabilities, ensuring that adequate adjustments are made in good time according to need. The UK support office and regional office support in Bali, Indonesia, is at the Country Director’s disposal for these purposes, with an expectation of close collaboration to meet our goals.
The Country Director is the primary in-country representative of Blue Ventures in Timor-Leste and is accountable for ensuring the team’s input to BV’s communications and knowledge management, as well as providing an effective conduit of information from the global network. They are the go-to person for senior government, funder, private sector and civil society engagements, and will be expected to manage these relationships proactively to further BV’s goals. This includes publishing and written thought leadership, as well as public speaking, networking at all levels from local communities to international conferences and facilitating and accompanying field visits where required.
The Country Director leads our team in BV Timor-Leste, comprising:
- field implementation and technical colleagues working with community groups across a range of subject areas from community-based fisheries management, financial and market inclusion, policy and governance and data for decision making, with cross cutting themes on gender and equity
- communications colleagues sharing and amplifying our work and that of our partners to a wide range of fora and through diverse engagement channels
- operations and administration colleagues – who provide health & safety, safeguarding, finance, HR and logistical support across the team.
The role reports to the Regional Director, Asia-Pacific based in the region.
The successful candidate will be closely aligned with Blue Ventures’ core values and mission to support community-based approaches to marine conservation. We are looking for a collegiate leader who sets the example and is relentlessly focused on enabling the BV and YPL teams.
You will be a first-class operator with strong general management experience and an unerring commitment to creating a safe, happy and productive working environment. With a proven track record of getting things done for your team, the successful candidate will be a highly motivated, proactive and well-organised individual, able to marshall resources, continually improve systems and processes, and engage the team’s energies, hearts and minds in service of our mission.
A natural relationship-builder with colleagues and partners alike, you will help build links and foster a collegiate environment across the BV family. You are as comfortable with frontline staff as with our directors and the board, and as happy listening to community members on a beach as building strategic alliances with ministers and officials in a capital city.
We are looking for an individual who is open to new ideas and who embraces innovation, who can balance new opportunities with existing commitments through careful planning and project oversight, robust decision-making, and effective risk management. You thrive in an environment that is dynamic, fast-paced, collegiate and ambitious, bringing demonstrated experience of working both collaboratively and independently to solve complex problems in challenging situations. You will be an excellent communicator, capable of conveying complex messages clearly in presentations, meetings and written form.
Preferred sectoral experience for this role includes the regional small-scale fisheries, natural resource management and marine conservation sectors with multi-country experience in the Asia Pacific region strongly preferred. We would also like to see a track record of working with institutional partners, conservation and development sectors, community-based natural resource management practitioners, and empowering civil society.
Leadership and management
- Providing leadership, vision and organisational structures for the Timor-Leste programme and country operations for 2025 and beyond
- Taking the lead in further developing Timorese staff capacity and continuing to build on the multi-disciplinary and interdependent nature of the team
- Maintaining a positive, creative, supportive and thriving environment for Blue Ventures’ Timor-Leste team, ensuring that Blue Ventures’ values are upheld and a positive and collaborative working culture is maintained
- Leading staff effectively by promoting Blue Ventures Timor-Leste’s shared conservation vision, and ensuring all staff understand their contribution to that vision and Blue Ventures’ overall strategy
- Contributing to global leadership and management decisions on major areas of policy and strategy development through active participation in the Asia-Pacific Management Team
- Taking the lead in identifying strategically aligned opportunities, as well as resolving challenges, overcoming barriers and addressing issues in a proactive and responsive manner
- Providing a thorough understanding of the sector and the context of Timor-Leste, including the implications of any emerging technologies, legislation or business practice on the organisation.
- Leading by example, and developing staff capacity through effective performance management and professional development, whilst promoting a safe, healthy and ethical workplace
Programme leadership, management and development
- Leading, developing and supporting BV’s management team in Timor-Leste effectively, and nurturing talent and resources across the organisation
- Managing direct reports including through regular one-on-one check-ins, performance planning, and appraisals
- Organising periodic meetings of the Timor-Leste team and managers to maintain a strong shared understanding across the team of programme delivery, goals, and challenges
- Monitoring programming commitments, activity levels and team workload, and assessing and adjusting our commitments and resources accordingly, in conjunction with the UK support office
- Maintaining an effective and coherent recruitment and talent development plan for Timor-Leste
- Overseeing in-country project management and donor reporting with the UK team as required
- Identifying, designing and developing new initiatives to advance the country programme, capitalising on new development and partnership opportunities as they arise, and engaging the UK team on donor stewardship and grant management to deliver the same.
Communications, knowledge sharing/management and advocacy
- Cultivating effective proactive internal communication to ensure all staff working with Blue Ventures in Timor-Leste are well informed of our core mission and kept up to date with ongoing activities, as well as new developments, policies and procedures, as and when they arise
- Promoting effective documentation of knowledge, lessons learned and experiences within the Timor-Leste programme both for internal and external purposes
- Promoting and supporting Blue Ventures’ commitment to documenting learning and sharing knowledge, and to incorporating lessons from the wider BV team and beyond
- Maintaining and building Blue Ventures’ reputation for work in Timor-Leste to promote and support the development of effective external communication strategies, high quality outputs and policy advice
- Leading by example in communicating Blue Ventures’ activities to a high standard through appropriate reporting and media
Building working partnerships for conservation
- Building and nurturing effective strategic partnerships with relevant national and regional partners, including governments, universities, businesses, international organisations, donors, other non-governmental organisations, and key stakeholders
- Representing Blue Ventures with relevant public and civil society partners, and ensuring clear and effective communications are maintained with all stakeholders
- Supporting Blue Ventures’ work with new partners worldwide by assisting with hosting visits and learning exchanges
- Overseeing the programme budget, programme funds, and bank account efficiently and accurately
- Supporting the operations team in overseeing all employment matters for overseas and local staff in Timor-Leste, including visa renewals
- Supporting the operations and administration team to ensure safe and secure operations, compliant with Timor-Leste’s laws, policies and guidelines, as well as BV’s operating protocols and policies, and being responsive to evolving needs and situations
- Supporting the development and maintenance of budget, finance, assets, recruitment and project management systems
- Overseeing smooth operations of projects, visits, and events, ensuring managers carry out adequate planning, engage adequate support, and support problem solving when needed
An ideal candidate will bring the following professional experience and personal characteristics:
- Track record of achievements in a previous, similar role
- Clear commitment to Blue Ventures’ human rights-based approach to conservation
- Ability to relocate to our office in Timor-Leste
- Proven field experience in team management, having served in a similar capacity as a Country Director or Regional Director previously; finance and administration; donor relations; and inter/intra-agency communications in progressively senior roles
- A strong interest in the marine environment and commitment to Blue Ventures’ mission, goals and values
- Master’s degree or equivalent in marine environmental management, or equivalent in rural development, political or social science, or another relevant field
- Significant program operations experience including direct “hands-on” skills in program development, strategic planning, program implementation and evaluation
- Demonstrated understanding of the critical development issues in the assigned region and significant experience with the challenges of operating programs in the region
- Exceptional programme and project conceptualisation and design skills
- Successful and proven negotiation, communication, organisation, and prioritisation skills and experience
- Strong preference given to candidates with prior experience in Asia
- Strong written and spoken English, with excellent oral and written communication skills
- Previous human resources, operations support or administrative support experience
- Previous international organisation/NGO experience
- Previous process improvement experience
- Excellent communication skills and ability to work closely with field programme teams
- Demonstrated experience and skill in media relations and public speaking
You will be a great fit if:
You show a commitment to Blue Ventures’ mission and values, evidenced by exhibiting a high level of personal and professional integrity, humility and humanity.
You demonstrate a strong bias for action and comfort with the uncertain; you are motivated to move forward, make decisions, and finalise details quickly once information is available.
You have a proven ability to work collaboratively with others in a complex organisation, demonstrating team building and facilitation skills.
You enjoy collaboration and have a genuine interest in learning from and developing others.
You’ve shown a willingness and ability to challenge the status quo creatively and productively. You have an analytical mindset and orientation toward measurement, outcomes and continuous improvement and learning.
You value in others, and yourself, data-driven and consultative decision-making. You think critically and put a high value on offering and receiving constructive feedback and criticism.
You’re a people person who takes pride and pleasure in developing talent and creating engaging workplace cultures and environments for staff at all levels and from varied backgrounds. You crave building teams, finding talent, nurturing relationships, and tackling challenging people-related issues.
You are a passionate professional who combines strong leadership skills with patience and a humble approach to service.
You have strong communication skills and the ability to connect with people of various seniority levels and cultural backgrounds.
You demonstrate excellent organisational skills, self-motivation, flexibility, and the ability to work and thrive in a fast-paced, energetic, entrepreneurial environment.
Salary and benefits
Competitive based on experience.
How to apply
To find out more and apply please visit the Blue Ventures website