UNICEF Canada President and CEO Search Skip to main content


UNICEF Canada is an inclusive workplace and is committed to championing diversity, equity and accessibility. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process providing the applicant has met the requirements for the position.


With the recent announcement of the current long-standing CEO’s decision to retire in June 2023, the Board seeks a new leader to build on an incredible legacy. The role represents a particularly unique opportunity to be a passionate voice for the world’s most vulnerable citizens and literally change lives in sustainable ways. Working closely with the Board and senior executive team, the next CEO bring inspiration and focus to cement UNICEF Canada’s leadership in child rights, translate the power of digital and data to optimize impact at home and internationally, and embed DEI and the supporter experience at the core of all strategic and operational decisions. The role will appeal to a leader who is resilient and curious, and who knows how to galvanize and authentically connect with a variety of stakeholders to help those most vulnerable.


UNICEF Canada was founded in 1955, and is one of 33 National Committees of UNICEF, the world’s farthest-reaching humanitarian organization for children. UNICEF is an agency of the United Nations and works across 190 countries and territories, to help children survive, defend their rights, keep them protected, healthy and educated in order to give them a fair chance to fulfil their potential, regardless of race, religion, or politics. UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary support and is not financed by the United Nations.


UNICEF Canada’s purpose is to mobilize and empower Canadians to invest in the positive transformation of every child’s future.

Strategic Vision:

Every child. Every opportunity. No exceptions.


We value VISION. Vision is critical for positive change.
We value RESOLVE. Our mission demands undaunted persistence.
We value RESOURCEFULNESS. We are effective, inspired thinkers who find a way.
We value INCLUSIVENESS. Our work extends to every child and is carried out in a spirit of diversity and respect.

For further background on UNICEF Canada and its strategic plan for 2022-20225, please see here.


Reporting to the Board, the CEO provides transformational leadership to UNICEF Canada in developing and delivering the organization’s vision, mission, strategic objectives, and operational plans to advance the rights of children in line with UNICEF’s.

The CEO will represent UNICEF Canada to the public, the private sector, government, partners, opinion leaders and influencers, the media, and other supporters, rightsholders, stakeholders, with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the community of National Committees for UNICEF.

Key Responsibilities:

Strategic Leadership

  • Brings purpose and values to life in shaping UNICEF Canada’s strategy in collaboration with the Board
  • Takes a long-term approach to strategic development in collaboration with and under the oversight of the Board
  • Collects data to anticipate and react to broad environmental change
  • Manages change intentionally and thoughtfully
  • Communicates the strategy to resonate with different communities and generations, both on an individual and macro level
  • Builds momentum and mobilizes others towards UNICEF Canada’s purpose
  • Works with other UNICEF country leaders globally to promote the organization’s purpose; spokesperson for UNICEF Canada to the UN


  • Supports fundraising strategy, considering opportunities with new supporter sectors and communities to ensure that UNICEF Canada is successful in achieving its objectives in fundraising from individuals, corporations, and foundations
  • Cultivates relationships with existing and new supporters, such as major donors, foundations, and corporate partners
  • Monitors and harnesses opportunities resulting from environmental developments, such as social media, generational transfer of wealth, demographic change, etc.
  • Ensures that UNICEF Canada’s financial contributions to UNICEF programs for children are maximized and in line with agreed targets
  • Represents UNICEF Canada with supporters and demonstrates a focused approach to the cultivation of existing and new relationships


  • Oversees UNICEF Canada’s globally aligned policy and advocacy work to enhance public and private sector understanding and engagement for children’s rights, including promoting children’s rights with the business sector
  • Advocates for global UNICEF policies and programs with government, opinion leaders, influencers, the media, partners, the general public and other key rightsholders and stakeholders in Canada in line with UNICEF’s plans and approach for Canada
  • Cultivates strong government relations to support UNICEF Canada’s mission, goals, and strategies
  • Raises visibility of UNICEF Canada as an authoritative voice on child rights issues in Canada to shape and inform public discourse and outcomes for children in line with global UNICEF messaging and positions
  • Works with key rightsholders, stakeholders, and peer organizations to move forward sector-wide influencing strategies

Brand and Communication

  • Champions the development of UNICEF Canada’s profile and raises brand awareness to support delivering UNICEF Canada’s mission for children
  • Oversees the development and integration of brand messaging through communications, advocacy, and fundraising activities to ensure UNICEF speaks with one voice globally to maximize impact and results for children

People and Culture

  • Fosters, enables, and evolves an inclusive, empowering, high-performing, and values-based team and culture
  • Inspires people by being authentic & dynamic, demonstrating strong leadership and commitment to UNICEF Canada’s vision
  • Engages people at UNICEF Canada through learning and development opportunities, fosters high performance and alignment to UNICEF Canada’s values
  • Champions a supportive, inclusive and diverse culture

Digital Transformation

  • Leads digital transformation to ensure digital capacity of UNICEF Canada on an ongoing basis
  • Enables the harnessing and analysis of data to make insight-driven and fact-based decisions
  • Fosters digital growth and increased efficiency
  • Drives a transition to a digitally enabled strategy and culture

Governance and Operational Leadership

  • Collaborates with the Board to ensure that UNICEF Canada has a clearly defined vision, mission and strategic direction that aligns with the mandate of UNICEF
  • Works with and reports to the Board Chair and the full Board to enable the Board to fulfill its governance responsibilities and facilitate effective communication with the management team, staff and other rightsholders and stakeholders
  • Collaborates with the Board Chair, the full Board and management team to ensure optimal risk management policies and internal control systems
  • Sets budget priorities, financial and operational policies, and procedures to safeguard assets, meet revenue generation and cost objectives
  • Monitors progress toward strategic and operational plans, objectives, and other key performance indicators, provides regular reports to the Board, including on financial and non-financial performance and risks to delivery on objectives
  • Ensures UNICEF Canada’s financial stewardship, including the effective and efficient management of resources with financial and organizational accountability and transparency, to enable the delivery of objectives in a risk-informed manner and guided by ESG considerations 

Relationship with UNICEF

  • Maintains a positive and constructive relationship between UNICEF Canada and UNICEF, in particular with the UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division
  • Participates in global UNICEF and other forums, contributing to UNICEF decision-making and planning processes, representing UNICEF Canada’s input and experience
  • Fosters an engaged and collaborative relationship between Canadian team and UNICEF Global team



  • A proven track record as an inspirational senior executive leader (with experience in strategy formulation, leadership direction and organizational oversight), gained in one or a combination of private, public, and not-for-profit sector environments
  • Sophisticated relationship skills, and ideally has cultivated cross-sector partnerships and collaborations in a global context
  • Has been responsible for raising or securing funds through multiple sources/channels
  • Digitally savvy, and has experience leading digital transformation
  • Demonstrated an interest, understanding of, and passion for international development, child rights or social justice
  • Successfully recruited, developed, and retained top talent and inspired followership and actively fostered a diverse and inclusive organizational culture
  • Is experienced and comfortable with media and has been a public spokesperson
  • Interacted effectively with some combination of service leaders from the government, commercial, philanthropic and NGO sectors
  • Experience reporting to, and/or serving on Boards of Directors (or the equivalent blend of applicable education and experience)

Critical Competencies for success:

  • Strategic vision
  • Collaborates and influences
  • Communication skills
  • Relationship and diplomacy skills
  • Translates ideas to action

Personal Attributes:

  • A values-driven, inspiring leader of people
  • Empathetic and humble, starts by listening
  • Embraces vulnerability with courageous authenticity
  • Champions change 
  • Demonstrates grit, resilience, hope
  • Comfortable with ambiguity, sees opportunity in change and adapts
  • Has courage to make difficult decisions
  • Demonstrates gravitas and firmness rooted in UNICEF Canada’s values
  • Works effectively across cultural contexts
  • Strong intellectual capacity with excellent judgment
  • High standard of excellence
  • Fosters innovation and enables purpose-driven change and development
  • Able and willing to travel within Canada and globally


We will conduct social media, reference, background, and sanction checks on successful candidates as required by UNICEF in accordance with Canadian laws.


For further information regarding this search, please contact Sharon Rudy at sharon@watsoninc.ca or Hayley Findlay at hayley@watsoninc.ca.


This document is intended to provide background information on UNICEF Canada for the purposes of informing potential CEO candidates and does not provide binding legal representations or contractual obligation. The information contained herein may be subject to change.