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Strategic Initiatives Director, Financial Systems






$99,420 to $124,000

/ Yearly


Nov 19, 2022

Position: Strategic Initiatives Director – Financial Systems

Department: Strategic Initiatives – Financial Systems

FLSA Status: Full-Time, Exempt

Reports to: Chief of Strategy and Impact

Direct Reports: Senior Financial Intelligence Advisor, Senior Manager – Research and Intelligence, Senior Manager – Partnerships 

Date Issued: November 2022

Location: Washington, DC

The Mission

Polaris is leading a data-driven social justice movement to fight sex and labor trafficking at the massive scale of the problem – 25 million people worldwide deprived of the freedom to choose how they live and work.

For more than a decade, Polaris has assisted thousands of victims and survivors through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, helped ensure countless traffickers were held accountable and built the largest known U.S. data set on actual trafficking experiences. With the guidance of survivors, we use that data to improve the way trafficking is identified, how victims and survivors are assisted, and how communities, businesses and governments can prevent human trafficking by transforming the underlying inequities and oppressions that make it possible.


About Opportunity

The Director of Polaris’s Strategic Initiative on Financial Systems (SIFS) leads the Polaris Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a partnership with PayPal, which leverages the reach, expertise, and motivation of the global financial sector to identify trafficking operations through their financial footprints, support criminal cases that mitigate the burden placed on victims to participate, and facilitate the financial restitution process — ultimately decreasing the profitability of trafficking while increasing accountability for the traffickers. To do this, the FIU generates new insights through a combination of in-house research and collaborative efforts with the financial services industry, survivors, law enforcement, and others in the anti-trafficking field. This initiative also works to bolster the financial resiliency of vulnerable populations and trafficking survivors through financial inclusion initiatives and advocates for responsible financing practices to incentivize businesses to implement strong worker protections. 

The SIFS Director partners with the SI Director on labor trafficking, and the SI Director on sex trafficking to oversee high quality program implementation and provide day to day management of program staff. Together, the three SI Directors spearhead efforts to disrupt human trafficking in the United States and Mexico by transforming systems that enable trafficking to occur, close loopholes that are exploited by traffickers, and increase consequences for trafficking behavior.



Program Management:

  • Ensure high quality, on-budget, on time delivery of grant-funded programs focused on disrupting trafficking by leveraging financial systems;
  • With the Chief Program Officer (CPO) and Development team, manage strong relationships with current and prospective donors;
  • In partnership with the CPO and Development team, develop proposals and project strategies in response to funding opportunities; 
  • With support from the Finance team, provide budget oversight of multiple multi-year grant budgets;
  • Work in partnership with the Public Policy and Strategic Advocacy team on advocacy opportunities at the international, federal, state and local level to prevent or address trafficking through financial systems; 
  • Work in partnership with the Learning, Innovation and Data Systems (LIDS) team to monitor and evaluate program impact and analyze key data;
  • Establish and maintain strategic partnerships with relevant key stakeholders within financial institutions, government, law enforcement, civil society, and affected communities including trafficking survivors;
  • Represent Polaris’s positions externally with financial institutions, other nonprofits, public interest groups, coalitions, other organizations, and occasionally, with the media;

Team Supervision: 

  • Lead a team of intelligence analysts and subject matter experts developing high quality actionable intelligence for anti-financial crime professionals at financial institutions and within relevant government agencies, including law enforcement; 
  • Provide direct management, direction, and support to team members and contractors;
  • Cultivate talent through the provision of mentorship and the maintenance of a learning focused, results-driven environment; 
  • Direct the activities and manage the contracts of consultants providing project support, as needed;

Organizational Leadership: 

  • Serve on the Senior Leadership Team 
  • Work with the Chief of Strategy and Impact and other program team directors on the overall strategic direction of Polaris’s programs; 
  • Cultivate and maintain effective relationships across the Program team and Senior Leadership Team to advance Polaris’s program priorities; 
  • Participate in projects, committees, advisory councils and task forces as appropriate; 
  • Commitment to the National Human Trafficking Hotline mission and Polaris values; 
  • Other duties as assigned by the supervisor. 

This job description provides a summary of the major duties and responsibilities performed by individuals in this position. Incumbents may be asked to perform other tasks not specifically written in this job. 



Required Qualifications 

  • Deep passion! Mad skills! Low ego! 
  • Minimum of ten years of professional experience or equivalent combination of education and experience in anti-money laundering, investigations, intelligence analysis, or related field; 
  • Extensive knowledge of anti-money laundering systems, policies, and practices within financial institutions;
  • Familiarity with known financial indicators of human trafficking;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective public-private partnerships related to anti-money laundering, human trafficking, or a related issue; 
  • Ability to develop program strategies that lead to impact in the lives of survivors and other vulnerable communities; 
  • Demonstrated track record as an effective team manager with the capacity to build and supervise a diverse team;
  • Experience creating or implementing data privacy and acceptable data use policies, process, and practices; 
  • Proven motivator and developer of people with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds; 
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills, in particular with broad, diverse audiences;
  • Genuine interest and passion for Polaris’s issues and priorities; 
  • Creative thinker with proven ability to innovate within resource limitations and excellent problem-solving skills; 
  • Team player with superior interpersonal and collaboration skills; 
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment that requires rapid prioritization of a number of projects;
  • Personal resilience and ability to remain positive and work well under pressure, within tight deadlines, on topics that may be personally challenging;
  • Ability to consistently apply professionalism and good judgment in a fast-paced environment;
  • Ability to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality regarding all aspects of work at all times; and 
  • Ability to travel domestically, and on occasion, internationally. 

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) or Certified Financial Crimes Specialist (CFCS) certification;
  • Existing strong relationships within the anti-financial crime community; and,
  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative research and data analysis.


Internal: Ability to communicate effectively with executives, peers, and direct reports; and External: Ability to build trusted relationships with partner organizations, build consensus across a broad range of actors, respond quickly and calmly in a variety of situations. Frequent contact with survivors, donors, partner organizations, advocacy coalitions, law enforcement, business community and the media. 

Working Conditions:  

  • Typical office setting. 

Physical Requirements: 

  • Prolonged sitting, chiefly at a computer terminal; 
  • Occasional bending, stooping and stretching; 
  • Requires eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity sufficient to operate a computer, telephone, calculator, and other office equipment; 
  • Requires normal range of hearing and eyesight to record, prepare, and communicate in writing, in person and by phone.


Organization Background 

VALUES: Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs and strives to model and embody these values in all that it does. 

We work with humility and a spirit of service. We serve a mission that is bigger than ourselves, and we recognize that we cannot do this work alone. We foster a caring community of mutual support, and we actively pursue collaborations and partnerships to expand our reach. 

Victims’ and survivors’ experiences ground our efforts. We honor the dignity, agency, and resilience of victims and survivors of slavery, both past and present. We serve, work alongside, and stand in solidarity with those who have been most affected by modern slavery. 

We strive for inclusion and equity. We engage different perspectives to inform our decisions, actions, and positions. We create opportunities that empower individuals of diverse backgrounds and circumstances. We acknowledge the structural inequities that lead to human trafficking and modern slavery, which drives us to create just and equitable solutions. 

We approach our work with courage. We promote a culture of inquiry, innovation, risk-taking, and continuous learning. We are resilient and evolve when faced with obstacles or failure. We recognize that what is typical or traditional is not always optimal. 

We create positive impact and achieve results. We leverage and cultivate the strengths of our staff, and we work with discipline, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. We embrace a measurement culture to track our progress. We view impact holistically, considering multiple sectors and the effects on individuals’ lives, as we pursue systemic and social change to eradicate modern slavery.


Polaris designs and implements data-driven strategies to prevent and disrupt human trafficking, and restore freedom to survivors. Achieving this ambitious goal requires both trafficking-specific systemic interventions and broader cultural and structural shifts that reduce the inequities that lead to human trafficking. While Polaris alone cannot build a more diverse, just, equitable, and inclusive society, both the success of our work and our organizational values require modeling in the workplace the change we want to see in the world.

This means cultivating a workforce, organizational culture, and priorities that respect and celebrate a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team made up of individuals with different identities, lived experiences, and backgrounds. Within both our team and across every part of our work, we strive to integrate and elevate the full range of survivor voices.

This is a living commitment. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are values to be manifested daily, in the work we do, the decisions we make, and the way that we treat each other and the people we seek to serve. This means creating space where staff can be included, heard, valued, and set up for success, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, best selves to work. We will not check boxes and consider it done. We will push new innovations and different ways of thinking, and treasure the community built and strengthened by each of our contributions.

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Listing Type


Job Function

Project Management

Job Location

District Of Columbia

Job Industry

Health/Human Services

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