Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Social Justice and Advocacy

Managing Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  • Brooklyn Defender Services
  • Brooklyn, NY

This position has been filled.

About Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS)

Brooklyn Defender Services is a public defense office whose mission is to provide outstanding representation and advocacy free of cost to people facing loss of freedom, family separation, and other serious legal harms by the government. We believe in a client-centered approach and work in and out of court to uphold the rights, freedom, and dignity of people threatened by unjust, racist, and harmful legal systems.

BDS staff consists of attorneys, social workers, paralegals, administrative support personnel, investigators, and supportive staff such as finance, HR, IT, and Operations. BDS has about 500 employees who work in five office spaces in downtown Brooklyn/Brooklyn Heights.

BDS’ Mission

We believe that fulfilling our mission requires an actively anti-racist approach in our work with clients and in our advocacy to change systems that target and punish the people we represent. We are committed to a future where our internal structures, policies, and relationships are 100% free from explicit and implicit bias. We strive to create a fully-inclusive, multicultural organization and participate in creating a society that has overcome systemic racism and all forms of oppression.

For more information on Brooklyn Defender Services, please visit

The Opportunity

The Managing Director (MD) of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) serves as an advisor as well as a resource for management and staff in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

The Managing Director of DEIB will report to the Executive Director. The right candidate will partner with the DEIB Committee and the Human Resources Department to create, expand, and improve all aspects of our organizational culture as we move towards becoming an equitable and inclusive legal agency. The MD of DEIB will be a member of both leadership groups within BDS– the Unit Heads group and the Senior Leadership Team.

In addition to being the head of the DEIB Department, the MD will have an opportunity to bring on additional staff to help build out a team over time. The MD will have experience in hiring, interviewing, and executing a vision for how to define the roles of the department with precision. The successful candidate will be an innovative, strategic, and results-oriented manager with a broad vision for the role of equity in achieving organizational excellence. The candidate must be adept at facilitating difficult discussions, shepherding organizational change, creating and strengthening partnerships, and aligning an array of stakeholders.

The candidate should be able to navigate a changing environment as they identify the path the organization will take towards long-term, sustainable DEIB efforts. The right candidate will be able to execute ideas as a systems thinker and in collaboration with staff of all levels. The candidate should be unafraid to challenge themselves and the organization in service of building a more equitable and inclusive culture focused on anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices.

The candidate should be ready, willing, and able to work across the organization, to communicate, educate, and bring everyone along with the vision. An understanding of generational differences in terms of education, communication, and thought is also critical. One of BDS’s goals is to bridge the generation gap in our DEIB efforts and our critical work in changing racist legal systems.


  • To assure equity, there are no educational requirements for this position. However, applicants should have a very clear understanding of the specific dynamics of a legal organization and/or has a willingness to learn.


  • Significant experience advancing a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan/program within an organization that includes many internal and external stakeholders, preferably in a nonprofit or large agency setting.
  • 10 years of experience doing DEIB work, of which a substantial portion was at a high-level management position.


This is a full-time, non-exempt, salaried position. The normal schedule is Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. The position is based at BDS’s offices located in Downtown Brooklyn. Applicants should be prepared to move flexibly between in-person and remote work as policies and needs shift, although there will be in-person requirements for this position. All BDS employees are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be eligible for a religious or health exemption. BDS has taken all precautions in terms of COVID-19 prevention, including eliminating shared offices and seating in hallways or aisles, has an active COVID notification team, and has transparent policies for the office, including mandatory masking at this time in common areas.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following attributes and competencies:

Passion for the Mission

  • Strong connection and passion for the mission of Brooklyn Defender Services.
  • Develop a collaborative process for the creation of a statement centering BDS’ commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture where staff experience a sense of belonging.

Strategic Leadership & Management

  • Analyze, measure, and report on the efficacy of the DEIB Strategic Plan, including regular updates on tangible movement, assessing barriers to achieving goals, and working with management and staff to progress the plan.
  • Provide guidance to BDS in developing and implementing objective performance and other employee evaluations and policies.
  • Create a comprehensive DEIB strategic plan building upon prior work.
  • Strong leadership skills, including experience on a Senior Leadership Team or other decision-making body in an organization. Comfortable speaking up at a meeting to ensure DEIB issues are identified when policies are being discussed.
  • Expert-level facilitation skills of difficult and complex subject matter that supports organizational culture change.
  • Excellent understanding of organizational change as well as how to maximize the current and future efforts of the organization under the MD of DEIB’s leadership and guidance.

Expertise in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  • Assist BDS in moving along the continuum of becoming an anti-racist organization.
  • Design, administer, and analyze climate surveys on a regular basis to both track and guide future iterations of the DEIB work at BDS.
  • Excellent at guiding individuals and groups toward self-awareness and emotional intelligence when participating in DEIB efforts.
  • Deep expertise regarding issues that affect populations that have been historically targeted for oppression in the United States.
  • Possess understanding of, sensitivity to, and respect for diverse racial, socio-economic, ethnic, academic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, as well as various staff identities – gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability, to name a few.
  • Select, plan, and coordinate training for all staff and ensure that training is appropriate and effective on topics of (but not limited to) anti-racism, cultural competency, implicit bias, generational differences, gender differences, inclusive leadership, building a climate of equity and inclusion.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator

  • Lead, guide, and coach the DEIB committee around shared goals and initiatives that grow the organization’s DEIB mission and values alongside the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Collaborate with management and outside consultants to create, implement, and monitor trainings designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of staff, interns, volunteers, and clients.
  • Structure, support, and coach affinity groups on group identity development, standard affinity/employee resource group objectives, and any affinity group policy that emerges from the DEIB department.
  • Expert-level experience with collaborative relationship building and stakeholder engagement.
  • Significant experience coaching both staff and executive teams with sensitivity, discretion, and honesty.
  • Cultivate and develop collaborative working relationships within BDS and with outside consultants to activate the power of the diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism initiatives throughout teams and locations across the organization.
  • Develop a systemic process, in collaboration with Human Resources, to best respond to reported DEIB concerns through an anti-racist and anti-oppressive lens.

Excellent Communication Skills

  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Be the face of BDS’s DEIB work, including presenting at all-staff or other group meetings, email communications, our intranet platform, posting to social media (in collaboration with the Policy and Advocacy team) and attending, speaking at, and planning events for the entire staff from time to time.
  • With the other members of the DEIB team, manage the DEIB website/portal on the BDS intranet and ensure that DEIB communications on internal and external issues are consistent with BDS’s mission and are timely and effective.
  • Work with the Communications department and all units to ensure that external and internal messaging is sensitive to racial justice language and thought.
  • Lead BDS’s efforts to establish shared vocabulary and norms around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
Additional Responsibilities
  • Develop policies and practices centered on equity that will help attract, develop, and retain a diverse workforce in partnership with the Managing Director of Human Resources.
  • Help create an exit interview process and review the data that accompanies it.
  • In partnership with the HR department and DEIB staff, welcome new employees and provide orientation regarding DEIB opportunities and initiatives.
  • Plan celebratory events around specific months or days, including days of religious or cultural significance (working with affinity groups and other informal staff groups).
  • Identify the need for and plan facilitated meetings for groups of employees that are specific to their needs within the organization, such as their role at BDS, their identity, and/or the trauma and moral injury of the work we do. This will include managing and coordination with outside consultants, approving curricula, and approving invoices.
  • Help our Wellness Manager and outside consultants create a special focus on wellness for BIPOC staff, who are deeply impacted by the fact that the clients we represent are almost exclusively members of the BIPOC community.
  • Play an active role on the SLT to ensure equity is prevalent in all areas of the organization.
Compensation & Benefits

The salary for the Managing Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is $150,000-200,000, depending on the range of experience the selected applicant brings to the position. BDS offers comprehensive benefits including health insurance and a 403(b)-retirement plan. In order to support work/life balance and family-friendly policies, BDS has generous vacation, sick, holiday, family, and medical leave policies.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Michelle Bonoan and Christy Farrell of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email Christy directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Brooklyn Defender Services is a proud equal opportunity employer committed to celebrating diversity and maintaining an equitable and inclusive work environment. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, expressions, orientations, disabilities, and experiences to apply. If you require an accommodation due to a disability or another reason, please contact the Director of Human Resources, Christina Wallace, at

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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

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