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Human Resources, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Social Justice and Advocacy

Senior Director, Human Resources

  • ACLU
  • New York, NY

This position has been filled.

About ACLU

The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference, treats everyone equitably, and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

People are at the center of our mission and our work. And we are dedicated to cultivating the careers and well-being of a growing employee base of 550+ people who are the heart of our institution.

For more information on the ACLU, please visit the organization’s website.

The Opportunity

The ACLU seeks a Senior Director, Human Resources (“Senior Director”). A vital member of the senior leadership team of the Human Resources department, the Senior Director will be a strategic lead for all the ACLU’s talent management systems, processes, programs, and initiatives as well as employee relations across this diverse, high performing, and committed team.

Reporting to the Chief People Officer and working in close collaboration with the Senior Director overseeing HR policy and administration and the Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer, the Senior Director will lead, develop, and manage a team of 5-6 and work closely with leaders and teams across the organization, ensuring that the ACLU maintains and strengthens its reputation as an employer of choice and that its talent programs and employee relations are leading-edge and well-administrated.

The Senior Director will join an HR team that invests in the welfare and development of our employees by creating a place where people love to work, grow their careers, and contribute to the success of the organization. The Human Resources department oversees the entire employee lifecycle and strives to create a best-in-class employee experience through its outreach efforts, total rewards, onboarding, learning and development initiatives, and ongoing employee engagement. The Human Resources department is responsible for creating, strengthening, and sustaining the programs, processes, and policies that empower people, support and advance the institution, and enable the ACLU to deliver on its mission.

Two labor unions represent sizeable portions of the ACLU’s employee base. United Auto Workers (UAW), Local 2110 represents the ACLU’s administrative staff, and Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU) (“ACLU Staff United”) represents all other non-managerial, non-supervisory, and non-confidential employees. This represents 67% of the total ACLU employee base and requires a high degree of engagement on matters of labor and employee relations, contract negotiations, and ongoing labor-management engagement. The Senior Director will be a key conduit to both unions and be responsible for maintaining strong labor-management relations.

The Senior Director is responsible for overseeing the functional areas of Talent and Employee Engagement, including all aspects of the ACLU’s talent-related priorities, from recruiting and onboarding to learning and professional development, to employee relations. In all these capacities, the Senior Director will coordinate closely with the Chief People Officer, Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer, and others to ensure that all talent-related practices are grounded in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Specific areas of responsibility include:

Talent Acquisition and Development

The Senior Director will develop and implement effective programs and initiatives related to talent acquisition, including recruitment and outreach, working with search firms, ensuring consistent hiring and onboarding practices, and providing training and support around talent acquisition practices across the organization and with ACLU state affiliates. They will also have responsibility for the effective management of talent development programs including existing internship and fellowship programs as well as engagement with ACLU alumni. 

Learning and Professional Development

With the goal of ensuring that ACLU team members at all levels are engaged in continual learning and have access to professional development opportunities, the Senior Director will oversee the effective implementation of professional development plans, coaching practices, and performance review systems. They will ensure that these programs are innovative, progressive, and leading edge with an eye toward individual and organizational growth and employee retention. In addition, the Senior Director will assure that all managers are effectively trained to implement these initiatives at the team level. 

Employee Wellness and Engagement

Driven by the belief that employee wellness is a critical element for an engaged workforce, the Senior Director will provide leadership and oversight for community building programs, including “Lunch and Learns” and speaker series, wellness initiatives, and retention strategies, such as Entry/Exit/Stay interviews and recognition programs.

Labor and Employee Relations

In close collaboration with the Chief People Officer, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, the Senior Director will manage the range of labor relations matters with the ACLU’s bargaining units, including contract negotiations, collective bargaining agreement implementation, grievance and performance management issues, and the development and maintenance of labor-management relationships. They will participate in appropriate meetings with units and representatives and update and advise department heads and ACLU leadership on issues, laws, regulations, and policy interpretation. Overall, the Senior Director will ensure consistent and fair applications of all the ACLU policies and procedures across the organization, strengthening organizational values of transparency and equity.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate is a creative, seasoned people and culture thought partner, a strategic problem-solver, a change-agent and collaborator, an approachable, trusted, responsive, and optimistic leader, and an excellent coach and facilitator who approaches their work with a lens for diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are passionate about talent development and believe deeply that well-supported employees with opportunities for learning and growth can truly change the world.

While it is understood that no one candidate will bring every desired skill, characteristic, and experience, the following offers a reflection of the ideal candidate profile.

  • Significant track record of success in senior leadership roles in complex organizations
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with HR best practices, particularly in the functional areas of talent acquisition and retention, labor/employee relations, training, professional development, and performance management
  • Demonstrated record of success in driving organizational change and results, building and managing teams of people, facilitating innovation “design thinking,” which will include developing, managing and implementing complex projects and programs
  • Track record of developing, implementing, and leading forward-thinking talent initiatives that result in organizational reputation as an employer of choice and high rates of engagement and retention
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communications skills, with the ability to build and strengthen trust and connections across a diverse range of stakeholders
  • Strong organizational skills, self-motivation, and ability to work both independently and in teams to set priorities and manage multiple projects and deadlines
  • Judgment, tact, and diplomacy required to resolve employee-related issues and problems, lead negotiations, manage conflict, and counsel managers and associates through challenging situations
  • Creativity and a willingness to challenge conventional thinking coupled with the ability to collaborate, listen well, and to take the lead in problem-solving and consensus-building
  • Strong facilitation and training skills, with the ability to conduct training sessions that resonate with a diverse range of participants
  • Experience directly supervising teams and managing people with an emphasis on coaching and development
  • Values-driven, high integrity, and a reputation for a balanced, diplomatic, and consultative approach

Additional preferred experiences and qualifications:

  • Substantial, progressive experience as a Human Resources professional with specific experience in talent and employee relations/engagement
  • PHR, SPHR certification and/or other relevant professional certifications
  • Experience in a supervisory role with a diverse, multi-generational, geographically spread workforce strongly preferred; experience working in an advocacy environment desirable
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, HRIS databases, and HCM systems
Expressing Interest

Molly Brennan, Managing Director, and Chartise Clark, Managing Associate, of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email benefits.hrdept@aclu.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

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