Winner | Asian Digital Media Awards 2020

Chief of staff to the CEO

Date Published



Impact Investment Exchange Pte Ltd

More information

Visit the company website

About IIX:

IIX is the pioneer in impact investing and the global leader in sustainability. We have transformed the financial system so that women, the environment and underserved communities are finally given a value and a voice in the global market. Over the past decade, we have built the world’s largest crowdfunding platform for impact investing (Impact Partners), created innovative financial products such as the Women’s Livelihood Bond, operated award-winning enterprise technical assistance programmes such as IIX ACTS, and established an Impact Institute for training and education.

To date, our work has spanned 46 countries, unlocked US$159 million of private sector capital to support 150+ enterprises, avoided over a million tonnes of carbon and impacted over 79 million direct and household lives. The foundation of IIX’s work is its proprietary Impact Assessment which effectively measures the social and environmental impact of the investment and gives value to the voices of the underserved.

IIX has received numerous awards for its work including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the ‘Nobel Prize for Business.’ Our mission is to create an inclusive financial system where women, the environment, and underserved communities are valued and have a voice. We aim to create a billion sustainable livelihoods by 2030.

For more information about IIX, please visit

About a career with IIX:

You will join a highly effective team that provides you with an un-paralleled hands-on exposure to the Impact Investing and Social Finance space.

When you join IIX, you embark on a rewarding career of doing good for the world where we also heavily invest in your professional development as we will build on your strengths and help you gain new skills with training, coaching, encouragement and guiding you in the right direction.

You WANT to instigate change.

As a successful team member, you should be:

  • Mission driven: Commitment to sustainable development and innovative finance as a path to unlock society’s potential to effect social change is essential for a happy and successful tenure at IIX.
  • Results oriented: At IIX, we manage toward impact maximisation and produce measurable returns. These results strengthen the ecosystem and transform existing realities by helping impact enterprises magnify their impact and scale.
  • Resourceful: While IIX is a seasoned stakeholder in the impact enterprise and impact investing space in Asia, we pride ourselves on creating opportunities. Being resourceful and skilled at mobilising human, financial and political resources to achieve IIX’s mission is a key part of the role.

Some of our partners include foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch Foundation, corporations such as Standard Chartered Bank and KKR, international non-profits such as Oxfam and World Vision, multilateral institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, UN Agencies such as UNDP, and government agencies such as USAID (US gov’t) ,Sida (Swedish gov’t), and DFAT (Australian gov’t).

About the role:

The role is to be the Chief of Staff to the CEO. For this role, IIX is seeking a mission-driven, results-oriented and resourceful early-career professional who is driven by the opportunity to work with one of the pioneers in the Impact Investing space. You should be a communicator, a thinker and a doer who naturally builds relationships that lead to results. You will be able to transition seamlessly from thinking strategically about new business relationships (with donors/clients/investors/INGOs) to managing the relationships and executing new pilot initiatives. We have a small and energetic team, and this is a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of role. It’s also helpful to have the ability to think ahead and catch problems before they arise.

Above all else, you must be passionate about your role and the mission of the organization and be a strong partner for the CEO. The role will involve working directly and alongside Durreen Shahnaz, Founder and CEO, on strategic and operational priorities over a 2-year period. If we could boil down the single, most critical factor for success as Chief of Staff, it’s this: earning the trust and respect of the Founder and CEO. You should have the aspiration to be a leader in the Impact Investing space after your 2-year stint in this role.

Role and responsibilities:

No two days are ever the same for a Chief of Staff. One day you are brainstorming long-term strategic goals with executives, the next day you’re planning a series of speaking engagements, and after that, you are the conduit for collaboration between multiple departments who are trying to iron out details of a new program. There’s no one trait or function that defines your role as Chief of Staff, which is why we so often hear it called “a catch-all”. You might manage projects across the entire organization, working with a variety of stakeholders and staff. You often have experience in strategy and project management, and can help the CEO create strategic plans, but you also need to be generalists, with experience in many different areas.

Four key functions:

  1. The Gate-keeper: Any business is going to have issues arise that require the attention of the CEO, but the majority can be handled by an effective Chief of Staff. Having a trusted gatekeeper to triage problems reduces distractions and allows the CEO to focus on what’s most important to the company. Additionally, a good gatekeeper will also bring pertinent issues to their leader’s attention in an organized, succinct manner
  2. The Operator: Every good business needs someone who demands structure, establishes processes, and creates efficiencies within the highest ranks of the organization. Their adherence to timelines, budgets, and the mission keeps big thinkers grounded. A Chief of Staff who is adept at converting abstract ideas into smooth operations means that there are fewer fires for the CEO to extinguish.
  3. The Implementer: A well-crafted strategy is just words on paper until someone takes the reigns and drives it to reality. The implementer translates a strategic vision into action. They strive for innovation and encourage employees to try what’s never been done before. An effective implementer holds teams accountable and moves change forward. They are champions driving business priorities from conception to completion.
  4. The Integrator: Leaders and departments often work in competition with one another instead of in cooperation toward a common goal. Integrators create cohesion among their peers as well as the people they lead. Genuine and thoughtful, integrators hear people’s concerns, find common ground to build a foundation of trust, and inspire engagement in the corporate vision.

To be a successful candidate with IIX, you should have:

  • At least 4+ years of relevant work experience.
    • International development experience: Experience working in management consulting, financial institutions or with an internationally focused foundation, corporate foundation, non-profit, or bilateral or multilateral donor is preferred.
    • Operational experience: Experience working in or with growth-stage enterprises, ideally as an entrepreneur.
  • Bachelors/Masters in any relevant liberal arts subjects, Business Administration or Public Policy.
  • Experience in fund-raising and winning advisory assignments
  • Field level development work experience, preferably in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Positive, proactive and self-motivated attitude with a willingness to learn.
  • Excellent proficiency working in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.
  • Availability for travel.
  • Start date – Immediate

Submission: Please submit a resume, cover letter, your college/university transcripts and a one-page writing sample to Qualified candidates will be considered and contacted by a member of the IIX team for an interview to discuss your skills, interest and experiences. You will also be requested to complete a writing exercise. IIX is an equal opportunity employer. Only candidates who are excellent writers, critical thinkers and energetic team players will be successful at IIX.

Asia Pacific's Hub For Collaboration On Sustainable Development
An Eco-Business initiative
The SDG Co