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Mango Tree Vacancy: Executive Director - Kampala, Uganda

Mango Tree Vacancy: Executive Director - Kampala, Uganda

About Mango Tree
Mango Tree’s mission is twofold: to empower African educators with the best tools and methods, and to serve as a socially responsible business model for Uganda. Mango Tree was created in 2000, the brainchild of an American Peace Corps Volunteer who served as a trainer for primary school teachers in eastern Uganda. During his time upcountry, he experienced firsthand the need for quality educational materials – created using local artists and locally available materials – that fit within the national education curriculum. He decided to address this need by creating a business, rather than an NGO. In his own words: “There are many NGOs in Uganda that do a lot of good work. What I believe Uganda desperately needs, however, are socially responsible companies that can serve as role models for other businesses.”

15 years later, Mango Tree is well known among international NGOs for making high quality, impact- oriented educational and communication tools. With its first mission in mind, the company has helped many organizations transform information that is only accessible to those at an academic level into a range of educational materials that are understandable for audiences of varying literacy levels. Every day, Mango Tree supports thousands of professionals to educate millions of the most vulnerable members of emerging economies in Africa on life-changing topics such as health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, safe water, sanitation, hygiene, agriculture, life skills, economic empowerment and good governance. Mango Tree does this by executing tool development projects for over 100 clients every year.

Mango Tree is equally committed to its second mission: serving as a socially responsible business model. This is reflected in a number of different ways. Mango Tree was formed as an employee-owned company, and many members of its largely Ugandan staff are shareholders. Company policies create an environment in which staff members are empowered to develop themselves and take full ownership of the responsibilities they have been entrusted with. Personal and professional growth, evaluation, and promotion are essential elements of Mango Tree’s business model. The company also strongly values financial sustainability and accountability to its shareholders, employees and the government. The board of directors, comprised of eight highly qualified professionals with diverse backgrounds in I-NGOs and business, firmly supports the company’s commitment to social responsibility. These have all been contributing factors in shaping a dedicated team that is heavily invested in the success of the business and cooperates and collaborates within all levels of the company, as well as an organization that is progressive, highly transparent, and results-oriented.

Mango Tree has a strong reputation for maintaining honest client relations and keeping customer satisfaction at the forefront of all activities. This has helped Mango Tree to build long-term relationships with our clients.

One of the core activities Mango Tree implements in fulfilling its mission is a not-for-profit literacy project in the Lango Sub-region of northern Uganda in which Primary 1-3 children are learning to read and write in their mother tongue, as well as in English. Initial results from this project are extremely promising, and Mango Tree is currently carrying out a randomized control trial in 128 schools in the region in partnership with the University of Michigan to validate the effect of the intervention on a larger scale.

Mango Tree has grown significantly in recent years, and to facilitate the further growth and success of the company, Mango Tree is now looking for a new executive director to guide the company into its next phase of development.

About the executive director function

There is a stimulating environment of significant challenge and great reward within the organization. The company has grown significantly over the last several years. The income of the organization increased from approximately USD 200,000 in 2008 to approximately USD 1,000,000 in 2013. During the same period, the company grew from 12 permanent staff and approximately 30 non-permanent staff employed in Kampala to 45 permanent staff and approximately 150 non-permanent staff employed in Kampala, Lira and Juba.

Although rapidly growing, Mango Tree is still a relatively small company with numerous members of staff in junior positions and with very divergent abilities and various professional and cultural backgrounds. Coupled with the wide range and diversity of client projects within Mango Tree, the executive director (ED) position requires a diverse skill set.

The ED position within Mango Tree is an entrepreneurial, inspiring and stimulating job. Operations require attention, but the ED will also need to work at a high strategic level. The ED serves as chairman of the board of directors, and should have good working relationships with staff and shareholders. The new ED is the cornerstone of the financial and administration unit, assuring sound financial management and improved profitability. Above all else, the ED is the custodian of MT’s vision and values.

The ED reports to the board and supervises the members of the management team: the creative director, program director, operations manager, customer relationship manager, country manager South Sudan, HR manager and finance manager.

The ED will guide the company for the next three to five years, growing the business within all levels of the organization and expanding into new markets. A key focus is on maintaining high level relationships with customers and other stakeholders. With many management control systems implemented, the ED can focus on hiring, maintaining and growing competent staff. The ED is expected to always keep the company’s mission at the forefront, ensuring that Mango Tree continues creating the best educational tools possible and makes decisions based on its position as a socially responsible company.

Experience and skills required
Mango Tree is looking for a senior business manager with a strong financial background. The new ED should be able to understand and merge different opinions within the organization. The ED should be comfortable making operational and strategic decisions based on available information, which is sometimes limited. The new ED should have the ability to grow a small African social enterprise to the next level by having:
  • worked in a 40+ staff company at the management team level
  • at least 5 years of working experience in Africa
  • used and implemented management information systems, especially on the HR level
  • a strong understanding of the use of ICT to leverage company performance
  • a deep understanding of financial management
The ED must be passionate about the company and the place it holds in the I-NGO and business sectors in Uganda and East Africa. The ED will participate in discussions about positive change in Uganda on behalf of the company and will have a lead role in those discussions by demonstrating that existing paradigms can be broken. The new ED should have the ability to run a successful communications business in the Ugandan context by having:
  • experience running multiple complex projects with diverse cultural teams – ideally intellectual property-based 
  • social sensitivity and the ability to communicate with staff in all levels of the company
  • an understanding, through experience, of the government, CSOs, NGOs and private sector
  • an intelligent approach to selling services in a modest way by truly understanding customers’ needs and limitations
  • an understanding of what conceptualization of an education or communication tool can do to solve problems in those areas
The ED should have a background that allows them to thrive within the East African cultural context, understand the I-NGO landscape in the region, support projects that have an education or communication component, and run a small but rapidly growing business. In order to do this, the ED needs a master’s level degree or its equivalent. Relevant master’s degrees include:
  • Business Administration
  • Marketing
  • International Development
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Committed to leadership with a coaching mentality, stimulates individual growth 
  • When necessary, does not shy away from making tough decisions – but is a team leader first and foremost
  • Passionate about using the company to demonstrate a different way of improving society and a different way of doing business at the same time
  • Understands what is required to work in Africa with a local business and local employees
  • Willing to commit for three to five years 
  • Has strong persuasion, communication and presentation skills with all possible audiences
  • Grow the company as an entrepreneur, managing its financial sustainability 
  • Act as the primary spokesperson for the company, articulating a clear vision and direction based on the mission and vision
  • Assure that our materials are the best educational/communication tools possible, by hiring, training and motivating the most competent staff and giving them the tools and resources to maximize quality and empower them to do their work the best way possible
  • Assure that Mango Tree makes decisions which are deeply rooted in its commitment to social responsibility
  • Enable innovation and business development by stimulating and maintaining relationships with Mango
  • Tree’s external and internal stakeholders 
  • Help design and lead the implementation of the strategic plan, translate it to an operational level, and assure sufficient resources when needed for proper implementation
  • Oversee proper running of the business in Uganda and South Sudan as well as business in other countries 
  • Manage all elements of the organization
  • Supervise the management team with keen attention to financial administration and management control systems 
  • Control the HR function, giving equal chances to staff irrespective of sex, race or background
  • Maintain relationships with all key stakeholders including customers, government officials, suppliers, high level consultants, external funders and financial institutions
  • Resolve high level problems within projects
  • Drive synergies between the donor-funded Northern Uganda Literacy Program and the for-profit activities of the company
  • Stimulate growth through product innovation and geographical expansion 
  • Seek to continually improve systems and synergies to improve the bottom line re: profit, people and planet
  • Serve as chairman of the board of directors
Mango Tree pays a fair salary for the executive director position given that it is a small, socially responsible business in an emerging economy.

How to apply
  • Please send a letter of interest (maximum 1 page) and your C.V.
  • Please send before 9:00am Ugandan time on Monday, June 30th to:
  • Mango Tree will contact selected candidates on or before Monday, July 21st.
  • Further selection will include a Skype call or face-to-face interview. 
  • An assessment and reference/employment check may form part of the further process.