Vacancy Post

VACANCY: Chief Operating Officer 

START-DATE: As soon as possible   

LOCATION: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with 1/2-time travel across the continent 

HOURS: Full-time  



STEMpower is seeking its first ever Chief Operating Officer to help scale its work. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic posed an existential threat to nonprofits, STEMpower is emerging from it stronger than ever and has expanded its work across Eastern Africa. 

At a time when our work has never been more important, we are ramping up our activities and looking for a Chief Operating Officer to help us take our organization to the next level.

The successful candidate will enter the position with many assets: an organization with a strong reputation within the STEM education ecosystem; a team deeply committed to its work and open to new ways of working; and a compelling mission.

You as a COO will join our small, passionate team working at expanding and developing the STEM education and entrepreneurship Ecosystem across the African continent. 


Our first-ever Chief Operating Officer will take on the day-to-day management of the administrative and operational functions of the organization, freeing up the CEO to focus on new initiatives and bigger-picture, longer-term strategies. 

You will be a thought partner to the CEO, and a key member of the management team. 

You will help structure the organization in such a way as to implement the board’s vision and ensure we can deliver against our strategic objectives. You will also provide leadership on governance, finance, HR, and risk issues, and oversee the 15-person operational support team across our offices in Eastern Africa. 

Your mission will be to set a sustainable pace for an ambitious organization; nurture an organizational culture that is bold and daring, yet serene and fulfilling; and streamline our day-to-day decision-making, workflow, and project management processes for more agile and optimized ways of working. 


We want a leader who can manage a team in an inspirational way; who is dynamic, entrepreneurial, and unafraid to take calculated risks; resourceful enough to succeed without all the support systems of bigger organizations; and who has experience taking initiatives to scale. 

Your management style should allow people to take ownership over their own work; to deliver against expectations; and to work in a healthy, positive and open environment.

We seek someone who is humble and shares our values because our first responsibility is to those children and youth at the heart of our work. 

We especially welcome candidates who reflect the diverse communities our Centers serve and who are excited by the challenge of building a progressive, forward-looking organization that models a new form of STEM education in Africa. 

You should have excellent people management skills and strategic business acumen; and thrive off the dynamism of small start-ups, in which there is much to be figured out. 

Experience in media management, handling contracts and intellectual property matters, and working in international contexts will be considered strong assets. 


  • 7 - 10 years of relevant professional experience, including at least 5 years of experience in a senior management role, running a non-profit organization, company, or large department/team.

  • Experience taking an organization or initiative to scale and successfully managing change within teams. 

  • Strong understanding of business functions such as budgeting, financial management, HR, and compliance 

  • Working knowledge of data analysis and performance/operation metrics

  • Experience working internationally. 


  • Experience in STEM education  

  • Training, education or experience in finance and accounting 

  • Training, education, or experience in intellectual property

  • Familiarity of best practice in non-profit finance and HR 

  • Familiarity with the aid sector 

  • Exposure to different cultures

  • Experience in start-ups 


  • Commitment, Humility, Candor & Transparency, Constructiveness and Diversity. 

  • Building open relationships of trust: A shared vision and trusted relationship with the CEO and the Board will be key to success in this role. 

We recognize that there will be strong candidates who do not meet all the requirements listed here but have other important qualities. Thus, we encourage all interested candidates to apply.


Operational execution and implementation of the strategy: 

  • Translate the Board’s vision into implementation by building the capability of the organization to deliver on its promise under the CEO:

  • create an enabling environment: Identify operational gaps, obstacles, and bottlenecks to execution, and support other members of the Management Team to optimize and streamline operations across the organization.

  • Identify and launch organizational methods that connect the vision with the needs of the people executing it.

  • Coordinate activities across teams and ensure they are aligned to the strategic direction. 

  • Work with the CEO and Management Team to develop the annual work plan for the organization. 

  • Run weekly management meetings and quarterly management reviews; capture decisions taken, document them in policies and ensure follow-up.


  • Track organizational performance against long-term strategy, against key indicators in the metrics dashboard, and against annual objectives by analyzing and interpreting data and metrics.

  • Identify ways to improve measurement, monitoring, and analysis of performance\

  • Take measures as necessary to improve performance and hold the team collectively accountable for deliverables. 

  • Together with the Board and the Management Team, produce reports to the Board of Director on performance. 

  • Build and maintain a reporting and knowledge management system that centralizes and feeds information to relevant parties. 


  • Build organizational agility to respond to needs and opportunities in an entrepreneurial manner.

  • Assess the organizational capacity to implement new initiatives; measure ambitions against the risk of burnout and overload, striking a balance that allows staff to find pleasure and sustainability in their work; make recommendations to the CEO accordingly. 

  • Set principles and define strategies to ensure coherent internal management of the organization, including clear and devolved decision-making, efficient workflow and clarity of goals. 

  • Communicate policies to staff, together with Head of People and Culture 


  • Work closely with Head of Finance, Admin and Compliance to manage and adapt organizational spending; monitor cash flow and budget compliance; anticipate and mitigate financial risk; and ensure sound financial management.

  • In consultation with the CEO and Management Team, determine spending priorities and allocations.


  • Lead the quarterly review of the organizational risk matrix, identifying risks that threaten the organization and ways to mitigate them. 

  • Enforce organizational policies, working with the Head of Admin, Finance and Compliance to ensure the organization abides by rules and regulations, as set by its legal jurisdiction, donors, its own standard operating procedures, and general ethics; 

  • Establish policies that promote company culture and vision.

  • Review contracts signed in the organization’s name. 

  • Oversee decisions on staff salaries and non-budgeted expenditure.

Applicants who fulfill the above qualifications can send a cover letter and your credentials through the email address below.