Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Are you ready to use your leadership, program management, business development, and operational skills to correct the vision of millions of low-income customers across Bangladesh so they can work, learn, stay safe, and care for their families?
The social enterprise, VisionSpring, seeks a dynamic and experienced country director to grow VisionSpring’s pioneering portfolio of Vision Access Programs and eyeglasses sales which advances the income earning potential and livelihoods of people living on less than $4 per day. The country director joins with an exciting mandate to scale up evidence-based programs, grow sales channels, identify and introduce innovative approaches that further advance the mission, catalyze collective action within the vision sector and with allied parties, and influence systems change globally.
According to the 2022 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare report on preventable blindness in Bangladesh, just 19% of low-income people who need eyeglasses have them. VisionSpring has worked to solve this problem in Bangladesh since 2006. Exclusively focused on the base-of-the-pyramid customer, VisionSpring is the largest provider of eyeglasses in the country.
VisionSpring first began working in Bangladesh with BRAC, establishing the world’s first program to introduce presbyopia screening and reading glasses sales into the bundle of goods and services provided by community health workers. Today, the Reading Glasses for Improved Livelihoods Program is implemented in all 64 districts of Bangladesh (and in Uganda and Zambia) and will achieve the milestone of correcting the vision of two million low-income customers this year. VisionSpring has parlayed the know-how from this innovative program into the country’s first pharmacy-based sales of reading glasses, and developed the Clear Vision Workplace Program which leads the field in correcting the vision of garment factory workers. Additionally, VisionSpring sells affordable eyeglasses to mission-aligned hospitals, vision centers, and NGOs to help them sustain and expand their optical services.
The country director will lead a growing team of 27 people, and is responsible for business development; program expansion and implementation; sales operations; and the execution of shared services with the support of global functional leaders for monitoring and evaluation, human resources, supply chain, finance, and marketing. The country director will cultivate high levels of mission alignment, team engagement, customer satisfaction, and the development of associated processes and culture.
This position is based in our Dhaka office and reports to the chief executive officer, located in VisionSpring’s New York support office. The country director is a member of VisionSpring’s global leadership team and will collaborate with colleagues in India, sub-Saharan Africa, Vietnam, and the U.S. to achieve successful outcomes. VisionSpring is registered as a private limited company in Bangladesh that is wholly owned by the U.S.-based nonprofit VisionSpring Inc., which is a registered 501(c)(3).
- You are passionate about building a purpose-first business that creates positive, lasting change in the lives of low-income consumers. You are energized by the constructive tension of growing sales and programs, and blending business and nonprofit practices.
- You are resourceful and decisive in a fast-growing organization. You seek answers, create structure, and devise solutions when obstacles appear.
- You look for opportunities to develop team members’ competencies and strengths. You facilitate personal development and team learning. Former colleagues still call you for advice because you help them thrive.
- You are innately rigorous in all that you do, from strategy and organizational design to process development and impact assessment. You monitor progress against goals and make timely, data-driven decisions.
- You are an effective communicator. You inspire teams, partners, and clients with a vision of the future and what can be accomplished together. You solicit input and give and receive candid, respectful feedback.
- VisionSpring is creating access to affordable eyewear, everywhere. Clear vision creates opportunities for increased learning, work, safety, civic participation, and quality of life.
- As a social enterprise, social change motivates us first. Our focus on sales and revenue targets serves and advances our mission objective—to increase functioning, productivity, and income earning potential for our low-income consumers by correcting refractive error with eyeglasses. Every $1 of philanthropy invested in VisionSpring yields an unprecedented $43 in increased earning potential at the household level.
- We are working to transform the systemic dysfunction of an optical market that has failed to deliver eyeglasses—a 700-year-old technology—to nearly 1 billion consumers in need of vision correction, most of whom live on less than $4 a day.
- We serve low-income consumers, not as beneficiaries but as customers. Our customers expect a high-quality and affordable product, and they will spend limited discretionary income for the immediate and tangible benefits of vision correction.
- We run our business on both sales metrics and social impact measures. We use a range of organizational forms and practices to get the job done.
- We believe in scaling our impact, not our organization. We are a lean team of doers.
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Leadership & Strategic Direction (20% of time)
As a member of the global leadership team:
- Model VisionSpring’s core values and sustain an inclusive team culture built upon them: 1) Help others to do well; 2) Advance equity; 3) Constantly adapt, relentlessly improve; 4) Default to transparency, reveal hard truths; and 5) Learn together.
- Through an inclusive process, and aligned to enterprise-wide goals, develop a five-year Bangladesh strategy for scaling up Vision Access Programs and institutional sales to serve more target customers and maintain eyeglasses coverage rates.
- Develop and oversee the implementation of annual plans and budgets. Support managers with work plans to meet milestones and targets and adapt in the face of challenges and risks.
- Ensure team capacity and organizational structures are fit for purpose and designed to deliver on strategic goals.
- Foster cross-organizational learning. Share best practices from Bangladesh and absorb lessons from other markets into Bangladesh.
- Identify and harness opportunities for innovation to accelerate customer acquisition, expand revenues, create efficiencies, and improve product and service delivery quality.
- Nurture strategic partnerships and alliances with government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations to facilitate scaling and systems-level change.
- Advocate for and support government agencies in incorporating refractive error services into universal health coverage and primary care services.
Resource Mobilization (20% of time)
Partner with the global resource mobilization and global program offices to effectively build relationships and secure terms of service contracts and raise philanthropic funds from corporations, foundations, and governments.
- Track funding trends in Bangladesh and pursue funding opportunities to advance VisionSpring’s strategic priorities.
- Develop and lead the Bangladesh business development strategy for the Clear Vision Workplace Program to solve the problem of uncorrected refractive error, particularly in the garment sector. Build a growing portfolio of factories, brands, and other employers that contract and retain VisionSpring to screen and correct the vision of their workers. Foster lasting relationships and clients’ collective purpose as members of the Clear Vision Workplace Alliance.
- Develop proposals and reports that accurately convey context, progress against objectives, lessons learned, and detailed budgets and utilization.
- Proactively and transparently communicated with donors and stakeholders.
- Create a strong and visible profile for VisionSpring as a leading actor in eradicating uncorrected refractive error to improve livelihoods, safety, learning, and well-being.
- Represent VisionSpring in strategic and high-level forums to share what we are learning, build external relationships, and advocate for our mission.
Program Planning and Management (20% of time)
In collaboration with the global program office to:
- Lead the expansion and achievement of outcomes for Vision Access Programs, particularly the Reading Glasses for Improved Livelihoods and Clear Vision Workplace programs.
- Play a leadership role in the Clear Vision Collective (CVC), a partnership of 10 NGOs, corporations, hospitals, and government agencies. Guide the CVC coordinator (a VisionSpring team member) to advance the objectives of the collective.
- Ensure programs are achieving targets on time and budget. Guide managers in making data-backed decisions and problem solving.
- Lead continuous improvement. Establish routines to gather and act upon customer and frontline team member feedback. Oversee the introduction of new technologies, products, and approaches to improve quality, efficacy, and efficiency of service delivery.
- Guide the execution of monitoring and evaluation activities, including evaluations, operational research, A/B testing, and support for randomized controlled trials.
- Ensure implementing partners have information and steady support to achieve goals.
Product Sales and Institutional Partnerships (20% of time)
- Support the sales team in developing market penetration plans, achieving eyeglasses sales targets, and implementing sell-through support strategies.
- For institutional partners, guide key account management, negotiations, price setting, and resolution of customer complaints.
- Guide the development of a scalable pharmacy sales channel to establish durable points of sale of reading glasses. Leverage the demand generation work of programs.
- Ensure all sales activities are tracked in Salesforce, VisionSpring’s CRM system.
- Ensure sales performance is recorded by the Bangladesh finance department.
- Ensure marketing campaigns are implemented across all channels.
- Work with sales teams to conduct market analyses and identify growth opportunities for new and repeat customers.
- Create synergies across programs and relationships with channel partners to promote the development of the eyeglasses market, sustain increased rates of eyeglasses coverage, and maximize the value for eyeglasses wearers and institutional partners (including through referrals).
Shared Services: People, Supply Chain, and Financial Management (20% of time)
- Work with human resources to strengthen team members’ abilities to deliver results and assume greater responsibilities, manage performance, and address concerns.
- Maintain a culture and working environment that fosters high levels of mission alignment, diversity, cohesion, and motivation.
- Anticipate needed roles, responsibilities, and skills. Plan and guide promotions and recruitment accordingly, including the timely release of job requisitions.
- Guide procurement and supply chain activities, sourcing from local and international suppliers.
- Identify opportunities to a) develop a more reliable, affordable supply of quality eyeglasses, b) streamline and improve processes, c) introduce new products, and d) manage costs and margins.
- Manage the country budget in accordance with the profit and loss statement. Ensure optimal use of financial resources, demonstrating value for money.
- Support the global finance team to deliver accurate and timely financial reporting and annual audits.
- Manage resources with transparency and proactively respond to suspicions of fraud, violations of the VisionSpring Code of Conduct, and other complaints.
- Salary range is 4,500,000 – 5,400,000 BDT per year, based on breadth and depth of relevant experience.
- Annual performance-based bonus.
- Benefits include group life insurance, hospitalization benefit (IPD), general benefit (OPD), and seven weeks of paid time off.
- We wish to know more than just what you have done. We want to know who you are. What are the passions and talents that draw you to this role?
- Please update your CV/résumé to include a phrase or sentence describing the business of each organization where you have worked. Applications without this information are disadvantaged in the process.
- Please submit a complete application, including a thoughtful cover letter and CV/résumé.
- Please note, only candidates invited to interview will be contacted.
At VisionSpring, diversity, equity, and inclusion are directly aligned with our core value to advance equity. Our mission is predicated on removing a fundamental barrier to full economic and social participation—uncorrected blurry vision. The values that underpin our mission energize our commitment to a diverse and inclusive team. A diverse team also allows VisionSpring to approach problems with nuance and develop unique insights that drive an outsized positive impact in the world. We actively recruit, develop, and retain talented people from diverse backgrounds and support everyone in being exactly who they are. VisionSpring is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes people from all experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply.
- Minimum of 20 years of professional experience in global health, international development, fast-moving consumer goods, pharmacy/medical sales, or other relevant business.
- Prior responsibility for teams of at least 30 people and budgets of $2 million or more.
- Experience in growth-stage, target-driven operations for sales and/or program objectives.
- Business development or fundraising experience resulting in more than $1M in revenues.
- Experience managing network of partners and/or multi-stakeholder collaborations.
- Timely decision making, follow through, and a strong personal sense of accountability.
- Commitment to respectful collaboration with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.
- Must meet the highest standards of ethics, with a demonstrated capacity for discretion and for handling sensitive information with care.
- University degree.
- Fluency in English and Bengali, written and spoken.
- Preferred experience: (1) Prior experience as a country director; (2) Project Management Professional (PMP) certification; (3) Consultative sales experience; (4) Graduate education in a relevant field; and/or (5) Familiarity with Salesforce, SAP, or similar systems.