Consumer Markets and Retail, Human Resources

Director of People & Culture

  • Rhino Foods
  • Burlington, VT

This position has been filled.

About Rhino Foods

Rhino Foods is a successful privately held company delivering delicious ingredients to leading food manufacturers both domestically and internationally. Our company’s purpose is “to impact the manner in which business is done” and we have been recognized locally and nationally for our track record of developing and implementing innovative workplace practices. Rhino is a certified B Corp and is part of a global network of organizations working to use business as a force for good.

Our vision is to be an innovative and agile niche food manufacturer recognized for its workplace practices. We are honest, quality driven and knowledgeable. We strive to have a “can do” attitude and to be proud of everything we do. Our community welcomes all types of Rhinos from different backgrounds – refugees and new Americans building a life in Vermont, formerly incarcerated folks getting a fresh start with competitive wages and benefits, first time job seekers entering the workforce, and people in recovery seeking stability, routine, and a supportive environment. We run three shifts around the clock to keep our ice cream inclusions business at its best and have over 200 employees working in Production, Sanitation, Distribution, Maintenance, and Engineering roles. Our office staff of 45 support the business through critical Quality Assurance, R&D, Finance, IT, Supply Chain, People & Culture, and Sales and Marketing. 

The Director of People & Culture will champion our open hiring practices, built on trust and accountability. We believe anyone who comes through our doors on time, respectful, and ready to learn can thrive here at Rhino. We believe if given the right support and opportunities, every employee can succeed. Onsite, we offer a Resource Coordinator (through partnership with United Way of Northwest Vermont Working Bridges Program), a Recovery Coach, Preventative Body Maintenance, English language classes, and an Income Advance loan program that offers access to $1,000 for emergencies or unplanned needs. We practice open book management, variable pay programs, and emphasize long-term financial health in order to invest in our employees, customers, and community.

A day in the life of the Director of People & Culture is never the same – it is fast paced, it is people centered, and it is full of problem solving. In a day, you may help an employee sign up for benefits, train managers on performance improvement systems, and present to the management team a compensation audit that strategically deploys our base pay and bonuses. You might start the day in a hairnet and rubber boots connecting with the team on the Production floor and end the day presenting on a statewide panel about the benefits of open hiring. With just 250 people, you will get to know the names, the stories, and the relationships that make Rhino what it is today. You will act as a creator, coach, and cheerleader for all things people and purpose, and inspire others to support the employee engagement practices that help us thrive. For more information on Rhino Foods and our innovative workplace practices, please visit our website.

The Opportunity

The Director of People & Culture is a critical role supporting the strategic direction for the company, as well as overseeing and directing workplace practices, organizational development, and human resource functions. This position is a member of the company’s senior management team and plays a key role in overall business strategy, planning and execution. Working closely with the President, Director of Operations, and Chief Finance Officer, they will center employee experience and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in all business decisions.

Social Impact

  • Lead Rhino’s strategy of inclusive hiring to break down barriers to employment through a trust-based accountability model with training and support.
  • Champion organizational attention and action to create equitable policies and programs that proactively support marginalized communities.
  • Incubate, develop, sustain, and share Rhino’s unique approach to employee stability and support through wraparound services with employers, policy makers, and advocates at the local, state, and national level.
  • Lead and inspire an employee focused culture that celebrates the diverse Rhino community and lives into Rhino’s purpose. Advocate for employee interests and nurture creative, people-centered ideas and causes.
  • Represent Rhino internally and externally as an ambassador for our stated Purpose, Principles and Vision. 

Strategic HR Leadership

  • Advise and participate in the creation of overall vision and business strategy to ensure financial success and long-term viability within the purpose and principles of Rhino.
  • Work closely with the President/CEO and key members of the organization to review organizational design and talent management philosophy, systems, and structures.
  • Compile and analyze human capital data in support of strategic planning and continuous improvement initiatives.

Employee Experience

  • Partner with, support, and supervise the Learning & Development Manager to build an organization-wide culture to train, develop and grow all employees. Develop strategies and programs that drive continuous improvement and serve critical business needs.
  • Develop and implement a wide range of ongoing employee relations, communications, recognition, and engagement efforts that shape and reflect company culture and values. Build robust, recurring ways for connection between and across employee groups.
  • Engage broadly with employees across all shifts and departments to build personal relationships that foster an inclusive culture and inform company policies and programs.

People Operations

  • Plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate all HR management functions across the employee lifecycle. Liaise with stakeholders across the organization to ensure consistency, compliance, and effectiveness.
  • Lead core People & Culture team that supports daily needs of employees and critical functions across the employee lifecycle. Lead department functional plan, facilitate team meetings and ensure clear direction and goals.
  • Manage employee relations issues and decisions to support company policies and employees.
  • Manage programs to ensure equitable, competitive compensation for all employees, including application of base pay and bonus systems.
  • Manage relationship with our HRIS vendor (Paylocity) to drive efficiency and effectiveness. Ensure technology-enabled processes and data integrity.
  • Oversee benefits administration, supervise weekly payroll through HRIS, drive integration into company systems and continuous improvement;
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant labor and benefit laws; guide team, partner with vendors, and leverage best practices, including oversight of related federal and state unemployment, workers compensation, and OSHA laws.
  • Supervise all aspects of recruiting and hiring, developing competitive approaches to bring in talent and ensure fair and effective processes. Support hiring managers and structured hiring/onboarding. Develop and work with Managers to retain workers through engagement surveys and other programs.
  • Oversee performance management programs including performance reviews and corrective action processes. Develop engaging and supportive tools to build personal and professional development opportunities.

This role is based primarily in an office environment during regular daytime hours, with much of the time spent on a computer and in meetings. Because Rhino is a three-shift manufacturing environment, off-shift support and presence is required, both at Headquarters in Burlington, VT and in the Distribution Center in Williston, VT. The Director can also expect limited travel in the US for conferences and other business throughout the year.

Candidate Profile

While we are open to considering many different professional backgrounds and recognize that no one individual will possess every qualification outlined, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes to this role:

  • 15+ years of progressively senior management experience with a broad base of technical knowledge and skills related to human capital, people strategy, talent management and employee engagement.
  • Demonstrated experience working with diverse teams, embracing and engaging diverse groups of people, and an understanding of the importance of cultural competency in these interactions.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication (written and verbal) skills with highly developed public speaking, presentation, negotiation, and coaching abilities.
  • Proven ability to influence, develop, manage, support, and empower employees to achieve objectives, facilitate difficult conversations, and resolve conflict, frequently regarding highly sensitive personal, financial, and legal matters.
  • Strong organizational, administrative, and project management skills with exceptional attention to detail. Ability to conceptualize, plan, and manage major complex projects and multiple initiatives simultaneously.
  • Ability to navigate in a changing environment, drive continuous improvement, and committed to innovation.
  • Deep passion for and commitment to the mission and management philosophy of Rhino Foods. Interest in B Corp movement, advocacy for frontline workers and driving systems change.
Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position will be between $160,000-180,000. The compensation package also includes benefits for medical, dental, and vision insurance, 401k match, paid time off, as well as short- and long-term disability, life insurance, flexible spending account, and employee assistance programs.

Rhino Foods is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values a diverse and inclusive workforce. In all matters affecting employees and applicants for employment, Rhino Foods is committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or veteran status. We believe a diverse workforce enables us to be successful and we encourage all to apply.


Cassie Scarano and Ariella Pasackow of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this engagement. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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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