Practice Area Leader, Peace and Stability

Management Systems International
  • Location
    Arlington, Virginia
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Posted
    Oct 12

Position description

The Practice Area Leader (PAL) for Peace and Stability (P&S) will work in MSI’s Democracy, Governance and Conflict sector and report to the Senior Vice President of Programs. The PAL will work collaboratively with the sector’s Practice Area Leaders, Technical Directors, and Technical Managers. The successful candidate will also liaise with MSI’s Operations Division, Business Development Unit (BDU), and other practice areas.

The P&S Practice Area currently includes MSI’s Swift V IDIQ mechanism implementing USAID OTI projects, the PEACE IDIQ overseen by USAID Conflict and Violence Prevention office (formerly CMM), and freestanding analytic and implementation projects related to stabilization, conflict mitigation, peacebuilding and countering violent extremism funded by USAID and others.

The Practice Area Leader (PAL) is responsible for 1) overseeing the technical work of field implementation projects and supporting effective operations; 2) ensuring the practice area is innovative and is associated with technical excellence; and 3) driving market and business development. The PAL also hires and oversees staff who are “home-based” in the Practice Area and supports their assignments, work quality and professional development. The successful candidate should have strong leadership skills, technical knowledge of and work experience in the peace and stability field strong analytical skills, and excellent written and oral communication skills. The PAL should be result oriented and able to work effectively in a team environment. MSI prefers candidates with an ardent desire to learn and explore new implementation approaches and research and learning techniques. As COVID-19 diminishes, the PAL must be able to travel to international locations when needed from 3 to 4 trips per year (most trips average around 2).


The PAL is responsible for ensuring practice area strategic growth, including the tasks below:

Overall work planning and execution:

  • In partnership with the Senior Vice President, Programs, oversee the development and execution of an annual practice area workplan. Coordinate with other relevant practice areas in developing the plan and in implementation of shared objectives and tasks.
  • Coordinate the P&S practice area working group to ensure high staff performance and satisfaction. Hold regular meetings with an agenda and objectives for the practice area members and take the lead in moving the group forward.
  • Keep the Senior Vice President of Programs abreast of progress, problems and other important developments.

Business development:

  • Develop practice area pursuit plans to effectively position and prepare MSI for anticipated solicitations and/or new areas of growth and new clients
  • Serve in leadership positions on bid solicitations including as lead technical writer and or “honcho” (bid coordinator).
  • Ensure effective coordination with MSI’s Business Development unit in the lead up to and during the proposal preparation process.
  • Support field-based reconnaissance, recruitment and research in support of proposal preparation in the subject country, as needed.
  • Provide technical expertise and oversight in the design, development and drafting of proposals.
  • Provide mentorship, management and oversight to technical staff in designated proposal development tasks and assignments.
  • Ensure staffing and resources are adequate and performance is strong by all technical staff on P&S bid teams. Support staff competency development in business development.

Thought leadership:

  • Keep abreast of technical developments in the peace and stability field. Support staff development of new tools and approaches, innovations, etc. and make sure these are produced in usable format and shared.
  • Gather market intelligence and apply it in practice area planning.
  • Support staff in extracting learning from existing projects in the practice area and ensure learning is shared broadly across the PA and its projects.
  • Market capabilities and experience at conferences, seminars, presentations and in publications. Ensure the MSI website is up to date and reflects practice area accomplishments and work underway. Market directly to potential clients.

Client engagement:

  • Form relationships with potential and actual clients, partners, and host country counterparts.
  • Seek and develop new clients for work in the practice area.

Portfolio oversight:

  • Ensure projects are meeting deliverables and performing high quality work. Assist with problem solving on projects as needed.
  • Conduct routine health checks to stay abreast of project progress and performance and conduct client check-ins at designated intervals.

Team management:

  • Support the professional development of staff.
  • Coordinate to share staff resources with other relevant practice areas as needed.
  • Support recruitment and hiring of new staff as needed.
  • Conduct performance assessments at periodic intervals for staff and supply feedback on performance.


  • Minimum of Master’s degree in conflict resolution, international development, peacebuilding, or related area.
  • Minimum of 10 years of progressive work experience supporting donor-funded peace and stability related programming in volatile, conflict-affected and/or fragile contexts.
  • Experience supervising staff.
  • Experience leading donor funded projects within the peace and stability field; experience working with USAID essential and with other clients highly desired.
  • Experience working and living in conflict-affected environments preferred.
  • Experience providing support to the design and implementation of cutting-edge approaches in conflict management and mitigation, peacebuilding, countering violent extremism, and/or stabilization.
  • Demonstrated success in supporting or leading technical writing for project bids within key peace and stability technical areas such as countering violent extremism and stabilization.
  • Ability to work with diverse teams of technical directors, managers, and associates, along with project managers and business development coordinators.
  • Ability to travel when required.
  • Strong writing, analytical, speaking, and communication ability in English.
  • Skills in French, Spanish or another relevant language (e.g., Arabic) highly desirable.

Application instructions

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