Careers Vacancy

Managing Director, FSC Indigenous Foundation

About FSC IF

In 2019, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) established the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC- IF) as the operational office of the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee (PIPC). The FSC IF is a private interest foundation in accordance with Law No. 25 of June 12, 1995, of the Republic of Panama. The mission of FSC IF is to enable an enabling environment to guarantee the rights of Indigenous Peoples and promote sustainable forest-based solutions within 300 million hectares of indigenous forests on the planet. The vision is that Indigenous Peoples’ global values, rights, livelihoods, ecosystem services, natural capital and communities are incorporated into forest governance, climate change governance and market systems.

FSC-IF Mission:

The organization works to elevate Indigenous Peoples in their contribution to the protection of Mother Earth and recognize them as providers of solutions to global challenges.

FSC-IF Vision:

The organization envisions a future where Indigenous-based solutions and Indigenous-led actions generated within one quarter of the Planet safeguard everyone’s future and Mother Earth.

FSC-IF Governing Principles

  • Respect and Recognition: The organization’s actions respect and recognize the cultural, spiritual, traditional, identity, and landscape diversities and customary rights for self-determined development of indigenous peoples and communities
  • Trust: The organization drives their actions and partnerships by commitment to trust-building and adopting long-term reciprocal, transparent, accountable, and shared values guided by ancestors and traditions
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The organization promotes diversity and inclusion in all interactions and across all aspects of the organization. They use Indigenous cosmovision and practices to prevent any type of racism, discrimination, violence, or oppression
  • Equity: The organization promotes and values actions and efforts to produce more equitable, diverse, and inclusive results and collective benefit-sharing with equal balance and respect to cultural, gender, ecological, and traditional diversities

FSC-IF is committed to work driven by their mission of being guided by and supporting Indigenous Peoples’ values of:

  • Respect for Mother Earth – Managing lands, water, and ecosystems with great respect to nature and care by recognizing that one only borrows them from future generations
  • Respect for ancestral knowledge – Keeping the promises made to their ancestors to manage nature and the resources provided by Mother Earth in a sustainable and respectful way

Main Responsibilities

The Managing Director assumes the overall responsibility for developing, overseeing, and executing the Foundation’s vision as outlined in its Global Strategy 2023-2027. The Managing Director will lead the executive decision-making for the organization, in coordination with the FSC IF Council Chairperson and members. The Managing Director is supported directly by a Manager of Indigenous Engagement. Driven by and accountable to the FSC-IF Indigenous mission, vision, principles, values, and governance, the Managing Director will lead and manage a diverse, global, qualified, and experienced team to ensure FSC IF best fulfills its mission, goals, objectives, and deliverables as approved by the Council as well as agreed with its founding partner, the Forest Stewardship Council, and Indigenous partners worldwide.

The Managing Director leads the senior management team in FSC-IF, consisting of the Director of Finance & Administration, the future Director of Development & Partnerships, and the future Deputy Managing Director. The Managing Director is accountable for planning, developing, deploying, and monitoring the operational, financial, and human resources of the organization within a strong Indigenous framework of governance and risk management. Any risks identified should be communicated to and addressed with the FSC IF Council as soon as possible.

The Managing Director provides:

  1. strategic and political guidance and clear goals for the technical work of the organization (standard-setting and updates, assessing programs and projects, ongoing oversight, and enforcement), and
  2. interaction and engagement with external stakeholders, providing an Indigenous vision and setting a roadmap for responsible growth of the FSC IF with clear plans, key performance indicators, milestones, and revenue models to consolidate and scale up Indigenous-led actions by, for, and with Indigenous Peoples worldwide.

Driven by the FSC-IF Global Strategy 2023-2027, the Managing Director will lead, in coordination with the FSC-IF Council, and work closely with the Director of Finance & Administration, the future Director of Development & Partnerships and the future Deputy Managing Director, a new phase of consolidation and growth of the organization as a global Indigenous-led entity by expanding strategic partnerships with funding partners, the private sector, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the United Nations organizations, and other stakeholders.

Dimensions of the Role

Reporting to: FSC Indigenous Foundation Council through the Council Chairperson

Location: Panama

Travel: Regular travel

Start date: as soon as possible

The Managing Director’s specific responsibilities are defined in these key areas:

  • Indigenous Leadership
  • Strategic Leadership
  • External Stakeholders Management
  • External Communication
  • Effective governance, legal and risk management
  • Financial Management oversight
  • Fundraising

These key responsibilities are detailed below:

Indigenous Leadership

  • Give strategic and political guidance to FSC IF and Program Directors and ensure that the FSC IF curates and continually improves and strengthens Indigenous values, principles, knowledge, vision, and management into programs and projects, including through targeted multi-stakeholder work programs as spelled out in the FSC IF Global Strategy 2023-2027.
  • Ensure collaborative, Indigenous goal oriented and seamless support and management of the FSC IF multi-stakeholder partners, FSC IF governing bodies, and FSC IF Indigenous partners.

Strategic Leadership

Lead the development and growth phases of the FSC IF as follows:

  • In coordination with the FSC IF Council, develop, execute, and monitor a long-term plan for the FSC IF by ensuring strategic direction and scalable finance and partnerships for future activities of the organization, with clear goals, key performance indicators, and milestones linked to the FSC IF Global Strategy and additional plans.
  • Develop and oversee the FSC IF’s long-term self-sustaining business model that creates more financial resilience and sustainability, enabling the organization to move beyond its current reliance on a small number of funding partners.
  • Define a roadmap for the responsible growth of the FSC IF in line with existing and future trends, challenges, opportunities, and priorities related to Indigenous Peoples and FSC IF’s mission and long-term goals and objectives.

External Stakeholders Management

  • In close coordination with the FSC IF Director of Finance & Administration and the Director of Development & Partnerships, act as an ambassador for the FSC IF with a wide range of key multisectoral stakeholders, especially Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, to consolidate, scale, and operationalize the FSC IF’s mission, strategies, and objectives in line with the Council’s decisions and guidance
  • Working closely with the FSC-IF Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) Program Director to maintain, consolidate, and expand collaboration with strategic and funding partners and to diversify the investments of FSC IF based on its global commitment and objectives of serving as an Indigenous strategic and operating hub for Indigenous Peoples worldwide
  • Lead, facilitate, build, and maintain long-term collaboration and dialogues with representatives of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations at global, regional, national, subnational, and community levels ensuring accountability, transparency, and Indigenous values, principles, vision, knowledge, and traditions.
  • Work in close collaboration with FSC International and relevant FSC regional and national offices, as the Founder and a partner organization, for the achievement of FSC IF’s strategic objectives
  • In close collaboration and coordination with the FSC IF Council Chairperson and members, as well as FSC IF senior staff, oversee the FSC IF communications and outreach to the media and other organizations to promote the FSC IF brand and the Indigenous business model of FSC IF as a global and innovative Indigenous-led entity.
  • Develop and maintain strategic relationships beyond Indigenous Peoples Organizations and include NGOs, INGOs, Governments, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders. It will be key to develop diverse and strategic relationships for the organization.

External Communications

  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the FSC IF, ensuring the promotion of the organization’s brand and model
  • Working with the team, oversee the development of a comprehensive communications strategy that encompasses a range of messaging and outreach initiatives for diverse audiences.

Financial Management

  • Ensure overall financial health in conjunction with the Council and oversee the development of annual budgets and financial management within those budgets
  • Full and accurate reporting including monthly, quarterly and annual reports on finances as required
  • Ensure conformity to partner/donor financial reporting requirements
  • Ensure establishment and implementation of overall financial policies and procedures including consistent inventory and cost accounting policies
  • In close collaboration with the Director of Finance and Administration, identify potential risks and oversee the development of mitigation plans for FSC IF operations and investments.

Effective Governance, Legal, and Risk Management

  • In close collaboration with the Council Chairperson, provide thoughtful, strategic, and visionary leadership for the FSC-IF Council
  • Shape the Council’s agenda to cover the FSC IF’s strategic and political goals and relevant operating issues.
  • Assist the FSC IF Council Chairperson to facilitate effective and efficient Council decision-making based on best governance and reporting practices, with a focus on Indigenous governance models.
  • Oversee, monitor, follow up, and report on Council decisions and actions.
  • Undergo an annual performance review assessed against the goals spelled out in the FSC IF’s Global Strategy 2023-2027 to be carried out by the FSC IF Council
  • Assist the Chairperson to engage and manage the Council’s relationships with other governing bodies and committees.
  • Manage relationships with other Indigenous bodies and collaborate with other organizations and strategic partners to develop a shared narrative.
  • Identify key organizational risks and implement risk management strategies
  • Ensure the organization has the right management systems and structures in place to carry out its work effectively considering Indigenous knowledge
  • Ensure the organization is fulfilling statutory and legal obligations
  • Working with the Deputy Managing Director in planning, organization, and direction of the organization’s operations in consultation with the Council


  • Oversee the development of a fundraising strategy that will ensure setting and achievement of annual goals
  • Develop and maintain relationships with funders and ensure development of proposals for major bids and contracts

How to Apply

To apply for this role, please ensure that you have the following skills and experience:

  • Must be a member of an Indigenous People as per UN Declaration of Rights.
  • Previous senior or executive level experience leading similar Indigenous-led organizations or with deep knowledge of Indigenous Peoples working with key organizations in areas related to FSC IF’s mission, objectives, and programmatic areas
  • Existing network and connection with Indigenous Peoples Organizations or initiatives involving Indigenous Peoples
  • Experience in working collaboratively and effectively with multiple sectors and stakeholders including funding partners, companies, governments, United Nations bodies, and others
  • At least 15 years experience at senior and executive levels, in areas related to Indigenous Peoples including but not limited to Indigenous rights and development, Indigenous forests, climate, finance, business, education, or natural resource management
  • Experience working with programs related to natural resource/forest management and governance
  • A proactive leader with a strong drive and the capacity to exert influence on the global stage.
  • Strong multisectoral engagement capability to design, execute, and scale up partnerships and finance with evidence of the ability to support organizational growth
  • Experience and success in motivating, recruiting, developing, retaining, and mentoring high performance, mission-driven, and results-oriented teams
  • Excellent written, oral, and public speaking skills being a persuasive and passionate communicator with strong interpersonal and multidisciplinary skills
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity to the diversity of values, views, and approaches to issues relevant to the FSC-IF and its partners and donors.
  • Demonstrated cultural awareness and sensitivity to the diversity of values, views, and approaches to issues relevant to Indigenous People

Don’t meet every single requirement? Studies have shown that underrepresented groups are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet every single qualification. At Millar Cameron, we are dedicated to supporting our Clients in building and supporting diverse and inclusive workplaces and cultures, so if you’re excited about this role but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may be just the right candidate for this or other roles.

FSC IF have appointed Millar Cameron to manage this search. Please send your CV and contact details to Rose Mwende and Giorgia Sculco at who will contact you to discuss your application in more detail.

Application deadline: May 3, 2024