Chief of Staff


Surgo Foundation is an ‘action tank’ focused on bringing the latest innovations around behavior, tech, and data to global development.  With a laser focus on uncovering the ‘why’, we partner with organizations and governments to help unlock some of their biggest challenges. Surgo works on major global issues from maternal health in India to housing in the US. Our multidisciplinary team includes development experts, data scientists, behavioral scientists, and technologists who are skilled in collecting and interpreting data on why people behave the way they do and how complex systems work, and in developing scalable tools. We are a small but diverse team with big plans.  

Surgo Foundation is working on several large-scale development programs in areas such as reproductive health, maternal health, HIV/AIDs, and tuberculosis.  For example, Surgo has a Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (RMNCH) program in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India in partnership with the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Another example is Surgo’s Causal Machine Learning Initiative for Precision Public Health which is testing applicability and feasibility of applying machine learning approaches to analyze large public health data sets.

Role Description:

Our organization is growing and we’re in need of a motivated and adaptable individual to support our Executive Director as Chief of Staff. As a strategist, consultant and implementer, a main function of the role will be to lead special projects, assist in the development of strategies within the organization, and streamline processes. We are looking for a multi-talented professional who can bring strategic thinking, wear many hats and hold multifarious responsibilities.  This role will offer an opportunity to help shape the Foundations strategy in key areas such the application of machine learning to global health and market-entry for Surgo tools. The Chief of Staff will be working closely with the Executive Director and will be exposed to both the operations and the programmatic side of the foundation’s work.  The role provides an avenue for career growth inside a young and dynamic organization and is a fantastic opportunity for someone looking to transition into a career in global development.  

Key duties and responsibilities

Strategy & Special Projects: ~50% of time

  • Coordinate the development and execution of strategic initiatives as directed by the executive director. Examples of this include working with the executive director to develop a strategy around Surgo’s investments in machine learning to global public health and establishing Surgo as a thought leader in the space. 

  • Manage and oversee special projects from conducting desk research to developing recommendations to overseeing implementation. This may include scoping for new investments, analyzing existing research to inform investments, and projects as directed by the board.

  • Lead special events on cutting edge development issues (convenings, small conferences, etc.) including developing concepts, developing attendee lists, and organizing logistics.


Planning & External Communications: ~25% of time

  • Maintain an organized system for tracking, monitoring and prioritizing contacts, tasks, and projects for the Executive Director and overall foundation operations

  • Developing and reviewing internal and external communications: drafting documents and presentations for a variety of stakeholders including the board, conferences, and potential partners  

  • Meeting preparation and follow up: reviewing upcoming meetings for the week to ensure the leader has all the information needed to be as productive as possible and sending out agendas or documents to meeting attendees as necessary

  • Helping their Executive Director prioritize their time and appointments

  • Planning travel and events for the Executive Director


Operational Management: ~25% of time

  • Provide management and coordination support to key organizational processes such as annual planning and board reporting

  • Create & update dashboards for reviewing key performance indicators

  • Manage the programmatic budget including planning, monthly tracking, and reconciliation with inputs from leadership

  • Proactively identify opportunities for streamlining operations and processes and creating the necessary systems and processes

  • Manage the foundations contracting and granting processes

  • Maintains office efficiency by planning and implementing office systems, layouts, and equipment procurement

  • Manage internal knowledge sharing platforms including Surgo shared drive, book lists, and journal lists


Core knowledge and skills:

  • Possess strong strategic thinking skills

  • Exhibit excellent project and time management skills, with the ability to manage numerous requests/deliverables simultaneously

  • Utilize sophisticated problem-solving capabilities and critical thinking to help address management challenges and program development

  • Ability to effectively communicate to a variety of stakeholders; excellent relationship management skills.

  • Work with functional groups, internal stakeholders, and different levels of employees to effectively and professionally achieve results and promote a collaborative and supportive environment

  • High degree of experience with using Excel, Word, PowerPoint and other software as needed; high level of comfort with technology in general and interest in seeking and exploring new business management tools

  • Highly independent

  • Extremely proactive; always trying to improve the effectiveness of Surgo activities

  • Ability to work across multiples time zones given the nature of the work (Seattle, London, New Delhi and other)

  • ‘Can-do’ attitude and active willingness to contribute achievement of organizational goals

  • Proven track record of effectively interacting with senior management

 Other Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree, masters preferred

  • At least 2 years of experience in a consultancy firm

  • At least 3 years of experience preferably in a fast-paced office environment related


Reporting: The CoS reports to the Executive Director, Surgo Foundation.

Location: Washington DC, USA

Travel:  10% (domestic and international travel)

Our hiring philosophy:

We hire for passion and core competencies. We look for problem solvers and lateral thinkers. We love it if you have done different things with your time. If you think you are ideal for this position, write to us even if you don’t have all of the above requirements.

We ask….

Do you have a deep passion for improving the lives of people who live in extreme poverty around the world?

Do you want to work in one of the most entrepreneurial development organizations?

Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and be part of a core team that grows this organization, and grow with it?

Are you a problem solver by nature? Do you seek to find the best possible solution, quickly?

Would people say you are one of the most organized, dependable and hard-working people they know?

If yes…we look forward to hearing from you…


Interested candidates: Please send resume and cover letter to our recruiter, Sherri Rosenberg at


Closing date for applications:  Accepted on a rolling basis

Desired start date: As soon as possible