SDSN Youth

Director of the SDSN Youth Program

Full-Time in New York City, NY

About SDSN

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been operating since 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

About SDSN Youth

The SDSN Youth is an initiative of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). At SDSN Youth, we empower young people to take meaningful action on the Sustainable Development Goals. By joining our global team, you will be working with a diverse and exceptional group of individuals with a variety of cultural, religious, and political backgrounds, committed to sustainable development.

SDSN Youth is a network of 750+ member organizations from more than 85 countries. SDSN Youth has more than 182 team members (staff, volunteers, and interns) working in more than 30 different countries across 22 regional/national networks. In addition to regional/national projects, SDSN Youth leads global initiatives and programs across a number of domain areas: cities & urban communities, innovation & social entrepreneurship, universities & campuses, and education for sustainable development.

The role

The Director of SDSN Youth will serve as a member of the SDSN secretariat in New York City, reporting to the Vice President of SDSN for the Americas (Head of the New York Office), while also working closely with the President of the SDSN.

The position is based in New York and will require international travel. The right to work in the USA is essential. SDSN is committed to diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from a broad range of individuals.


As Director of SDSN Youth, you will:

  • Manage a global team of staff, interns, and volunteers and oversee the management of other teams across all regions of operation.

  • Develop, execute, and monitor SDSN Youth’s development and execution of strategic plans for all major programs.

  • Act as the final reviewer and substantive editor of all outputs being released on behalf of SDSN Youth.

  • Oversee and ensure accountability of all SDSN Youth’s projects and programs, through direct leadership or delegation, in order to achieve organizational and programmatic goals.

  • Oversee the training and human resources management program for all Assembly members, in particular, the Network Coordinators and Project Leaders.

  • Collaborate with SDSN Regional/National Network Managers and Chairs to develop and scale network activities.

  • Set up an effective process to manage, maintain, and oversee important relationships, in particular strategic partners; including the approval of partnerships and the execution of key agreement terms.

  • Oversee the SDSN Youth budget in consultation with the Finance and Admin Teams and ensure that all SDSN protocols for finance and administration are applied throughout all programs and activities.

  • Lead fundraising and donor relations for SDSN Youth, including setting up of efficient fundraising protocols across the network, creating and approving agreements, management of funds, and reporting.

  • Serve on the SDSN Leadership Council as the representative of SDSN Youth (ex-officio) and provide annual reports on the impact and progress of the network, including KPIs in both quantitative and qualitative modes.

  • Provide regular updates to key SDSN Youth stakeholders and effectively communicate the successes and progress of the organization; these include current and former partners, advisors, Member Organizations, Network managers, associates, etc.

  • Represent SDSN Youth in all public spheres, and ensure that the organization’s brand and key messaging is consistent, effective, accurate, clear, and transparent.

  • Fundraise to support the SDSN Youth’s core activities, as well as manage relationships with SDSN Youth’s existing donors.

  • Enhance SDSN Youth’s public presence by being active and visible in the sustainable development community, pursuing regular speaking engagements, and engaging closely with other youth and/or development-focused organizations and partners.

Qualifications and expectations

  • Candidate must have knowledge of sustainable development and be passionate about the mission of the SDSN, including the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

  • Candidate must have a minimum of 3 years of work experience in the field of development, climate change, or related sustainable development fields; this includes running a nonprofit, startup, or department focusing on one of these thematic areas.
  • Candidate must be an excellent campaigner with past experience in leading and managing campaign projects.

  • Candidate must be self-motivated, entrepreneurial, innovative thinking, with a track record of identifying and developing new projects.

  • Candidate must be a proven team player with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate and mobilize others across various regions, cultures, and workstreams behind a global mission.

  • Candidate must be able to lead and manage a large team with multiple divisions, working across various portfolios and regions in a fast-paced environment.
  • Candidate must be able to interact and build relationships with senior leaders and eminent individuals, including heads of major business organizations, UN agencies, universities, governments, and nonprofits.

  • Candidate must have outstanding oral and written communication skills.

  • Candidate must be willing to travel domestically and internationally and work across various time zones.

  • Experience with fundraising and budget management is highly desired, especially from foundations and governments.


  • As an SDSN Association employee you will be eligible for a full-time salary, the full range of SDSN-Association benefits, including full medical coverage, a retirement scheme, and employment insurance.


  • Duration of Position: 12 months, with a 3 month probation period. Renewal of position is subject to approval by the President of the SDSN, Professor Jeffrey Sachs.

  • Job Type: Full-time

  • Start Date: March 2021

  • Training: The candidate is required to complete all SDSN online induction courses, including a number of training calls 3 months before they assume their role.

  • Right to work: Candidate must be able to legally work in the United States, as a citizen, lawful permanent resident, or hold a permit to prove eligibility to work in the U.S. The SDSN does not sponsor work visas. Some exceptions may apply!

  • Office: In ordinary circumstances, the candidate must work directly from the SDSN Secretariat in New York during the length of the employment contract (475 Riverside Drive, Suite 530, New York, NY 10115). However, due to circumstances created by the COVID19 crisis, this position will be remote until further notice.


  • Be at the forefront of a global movement for sustainable development, by equipping young people with the necessary skills and tools to meaningfully contribute to the achievement of SDGs in their communities.
  • Work closely with a range of stakeholders, including some of the world's most influential leaders from business, academics, government, and civil society.
  • Build professional and personal relationships with high-level stakeholders in civil society, business, government, and the United Nations.
  • Work with a diverse and exceptional group of individuals with a variety of cultural, religious and political backgrounds, committed to sustainable development.
  • Attend high level domestic and international meetings and conferences and network with some of the most prominent figures in the SDG space.
  • Progress rapidly in a challenging but flexible, fulfilling and meaningful environment.