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MTV Staying Alive Foundation

Executive Director

About MTV Staying Alive Foundation

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) is a USA, UK, and South African-registered charity working to save lives through storytelling. They develop innovative mass media and resources which weave life-saving health messages into entertaining, youth-relevant formats. They then distribute the content via global TV broadcasters, radio, print, and digital platforms, while training and supporting a network of organisations to use the content in high-risk communities. They transform young people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards their health and well-being through relevant, entertaining and immersive content.

MTV Shuga is SAF’s flagship campaign across sub-Saharan Africa (and MTV Nishedh in India and other brands as developed). It is a multi-award-winning TV drama series accompanied by radio, digital, social media, and mobile elements, which integrates health messaging into storylines that reflect the lives and experiences of youth audiences. The content attracts substantial youth audiences through relevant storylines, relatable characters, high-quality production, and the MTV brand. It immerses them in educational content and changes their attitudes and feelings, driving behaviour change.

About the Role

The Executive Director is responsible for developing and leading a strategy consistent with SAF’s vision, mission and charitable objectives. The Executive Director is responsible for the organisation’s overall management and strategic development across its three operations (UK, US and South Africa). The Executive Director is also responsible for raising funds for the organisation and setting the strategy to bring in funding from institutions, foundations and High-Net-Worth-Individuals.

The Executive Director should have a clear understanding and knowledge of all issues relating to the health and wellness of young people (linked to SDG3), including HIV and AIDS, sexual reproductive health and rights, sexuality, mental health, TB and Global Health, to ensure the Foundation strategy is relevant and effective. The Executive Director should have knowledge of media and how it can best be used to create ongoing social impact.

In addition, the Executive Director will:

  • Inform and advise the Board on the formulation and implementation of its strategies and policies
  • Direct the organisation’s operations, managing its resources and compliance with legal requirements
  • Responsible for setting the strategy to secure programmatic funding from institutions, foundations, HNWIs.
  • Be responsible for the organisation’s administration and financial management
  • Develop and deliver business plans which ensure the ongoing sustainability, growth and success of SAF 
  • Be responsible for correctly using and protecting the ‘MTV’ brand and holding the relationship with Paramount Global at the highest levels

This role reports to the co-Chairs of MTV SAF and the Board Members. 

Duties and Responsibilities:

Leadership and Management:

  • Lead and develop the Senior Management Team, allowing their voices to be heard internally and externally
  • Ensure that the recruitment of SAF staff is carried out effectively and efficiently following good people practice, ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion is integrated into SAF’s recruitment procedures 
  • Develop a culture of continuous improvement throughout all aspects of SAF’s work and a high-performance culture which motivates the team
  • Inspire innovation and excellence within the organisation
  • Lead and develop key strategic projects, including those bringing significant change for SAF, ensuring that risks and threats are robustly managed; 
  • Undertake continuing professional development, maintaining knowledge and skills necessary for the post and managing own development; 
  • Describe and articulate what ‘success’ looks like for SAF


  • Responsible for raising programme costs and operating costs of the Foundation, allowing for healthy reserves. Identify and develop new relationships and sources of funding from a balanced range of funders from different sectors, to ensure a diverse and healthy list of funders.
  • Develop, lead and manage the execution of the Fundraising strategy

Strategic Planning:  

  • Implement the existing vision and strategy for SAF and design a longer-term strategy, ensuring buy-in & ongoing support from the Board and funding partners.
  • Close consultation with the SAF leadership team, and Board Members, to develop strategic plans, including financial planning as well as organisational and campaign development
  • Keep the Board informed about the progress of key strategies and ensure the monitoring and evaluation of those strategies
  • Oversee the development of financial strategies for the organisation to support its development as per Charity legislation and regularly report to the Board Finance Committee, ensuring oversight and integration on all MTV SAF strategic and operational activities


  • Inform and advise the Board on the formulation of the organisation’s strategies and policies and their implementation
  • Regularly report to the Board Governance Committee and the Board, ensuring that all aspects of charitable governance are adhered to
  • Ensure a regularly reviewed and updated risk register, approved by Board Governance Committee
  • Provide the Board with all relevant agendas, minutes and papers as required and report to the Board and relevant Committees/board members on progress as required
  • Ensure that internal policies are reviewed and updated regularly as appropriate 
  • Ensure all the Foundation’s activities comply with laws and contracts that are in place with external partners


  • Oversee effective management and use of financial resources
  • Ensure that the Board and Board Finance Committee receive regular, clear and understandable financial reports
  • Ensure that the appropriate returns are made within the deadlines to the Charity Commission, HMRC and other relevant bodies for the US & SA organisations
  • Advise the Board on financial risk assessment, reserve policy and investment policy for the organisation, taking professional advice when necessary
  • Ensure that appropriate financial controls are in place and procedures are complied with
  • Ensure successful and timely audits of all three organisations (UK, US and SA)

External relationships: 

  • Represent the Foundation with external constituency groups, including community, governmental and private organisations, and high-level representation at conferences, meetings and with the press  
  • Negotiate highly sensitive cultural issues
  • Externally advocate and lobby the interests of the Foundation 

Campaign Production:  

  • Executive Produce and oversee the creation, development, and production of all campaign content, including all content for MTV Shuga, MTV Nishedh and other campaigns for tv, radio, digital, mobile phones, print, and on-the-ground, to ensure they have an impact with the target audience. 

Skills and Experience:

  • Significant senior experience in one or more of the following settings: private sector, not-for-profit or charity, ideally in C-Suite and other senior leadership positions 
  • Visionary leadership with high-level strategic experience
  • Experience in fundraising from institutional funders, UN and Government agencies and philanthropists
  • Experience in media, marketing or communications at a senior level, with a clear understanding of all elements of mass media (tv, radio, digital, mobile, print, on-the-ground) and the ever-developing distribution platforms (linear, digital, streaming)
  • Strong management and leadership skills, including global teams 
  • Experience working with Committees or Boards 
  • Experience working in youth empowerment, sexual and reproductive health, mental health and wellness preferred 
  • Track record in developing and successfully delivering impact and demand-generation campaigns
  • Experience setting and delivering the organisational vision, mission and goals
  • Understanding and experience in financial management 
  • Understanding and experience in risk strategy and management in a charity, not-for-profit or private sector 
  • Experience representing an organisation at a senior level with key stakeholders, including government and high-profile funders
  • Excellent internal and external communication skills at all levels; ability to network with global donors, UN, Government agencies and the global health world
  • Ability to conceive and develop large-scale campaigns and partnership activities with global organisations and local partners.
  • Ability to understand the evaluation and impact research; and an understanding of how to strengthen campaigns based on independent review and results


  • Creative Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Passion & Optimism
  • Teamwork 
  • Innovation
  • Accountability