Human Resources, Nonprofit and Social Impact

Director of People & Culture

  • Safe Passage Project
  • New York, NY

This position has been filled.

About Safe Passage Project

Safe Passage Project (SPP) is a highly-focused nonprofit immigration legal services organization which provides free lawyers to immigrant children facing deportation. Founded in 2013, SPP has grown to include 45 employees, two offices, and an annual budget of over $5 million. It manages over 1,200 open cases a year.

To date, SPP has supported more than 3,000 young people in NYC and Long Island. The New York Immigration Courts, some of the busiest immigration courts in the US, have more than 15,000 juveniles on their dockets, many of whom are fleeing trauma in their countries of origin such as gang violence and recruitment, abuse, and sexual assault. Immigrant children are not afforded free legal representation by the government, regardless of their age. As a result, more than half of immigrant children in immigration proceedings must go to court without the aid of a lawyer. Among unaccompanied children with legal representation, immigration court data shows that 73% are allowed to remain in the United States, whereas only 15% of unrepresented children are allowed to stay. This is where Safe Passage Project steps in, both through providing immigrant youth with direct representation by staff attorneys and through a robust network of pro bono attorneys who SPP attorneys train, mentor, and supervise.

For more information on Safe Passage Project, please visit

The Opportunity

The Director of People & Culture will oversee several critical functions that support Safe Passage Project’s continued success as an organization, including talent management, operations, culture, and DEIA initiatives. In addition, they will work in partnership to ensure the success of all operational functions and collaboratively across the entire organization so Safe Passage Project is growing a high-performing culture where staff feel engaged, motivated, and appreciated.

The Director of People & Culture will lead the charge of moving Safe Passage Project forward by implementing HR practices, systems and tools where they currently don’t exist, and improving all structures and practices wherever possible. This role will work closely with the Associate Director of People & Operations as well as team members across the organization who are committed to an inclusive, fair, and safe culture.

The Director of People & Culture responsibilities include:

HR & People Expertise – (60%)

  • Serve as point person for all human resources matters, including policies and procedures, employee relations, manager coaching, and compensation and benefits; develop and executive best in class human resource strategies that align people with organizational goals
  • Lead hiring for the organization and redesign recruitment efforts to proactively evaluate talent gaps and support the growth of a consistent immigration attorney pipeline;
  • Facilitate the employee lifecycle, including onboarding and offboarding processes;
  • Maintain and enhance the organization’s existing performance management and development systems;
  • Comfort and experience with making recommendations on new approaches, policies and processes to effect continual improvements in human resources efficiency and effectiveness;
  • Ensure all employees, across a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, feel valued, welcome, integrated, and included in the SPP workforce. 

Organizational Culture – (30%)

  • Lead the organization’s DEIA best practices, and facilitate the creation & implementation of ongoing strategies that will further build an inclusive and engaged workplace. Facilitate the creation and implementation of ongoing strategies that will further      the organization’s goal of becoming a more anti-racist organization;
  • Lead the organization’s work with ALAA – UAW Local 2325, including overseeing the successful negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement and all future matters;
  • With a focus on retention, support the growth of a high-performing stable culture and community, developing relationships across the organization and implementing engagement and appreciation initiatives;
  • Formalize programs to support current and future people managers at all levels of the organization;
  • Serve as a key advisor to the Executive Director, particularly regarding strategic, culture, and personnel matters;
  • Supervise the growth, development, and performance of the People & Operations

Operational Oversight – (10%)

  • The Director will be a thought partner and provide capacity to the Associate Director of People & Operations, as they independently execute the following day-to- day functions:
    • Upgrade the IT infrastructure to ensure employees can work remotely while maintaining needed security;
    • Liaise with current landlords (New York Law School and Mercer School of Theology) to maintain safe and productive workplaces and lead any future real estate endeavors;
    • Ensure the workplace is properly insured and up to date on all compliance responsibilities;
    • Facilitate all administrative needs, including but not limited to procurement, reimbursements, and in-office processes and procedures;
    • Serve as the primary liaison with and manager for the organization’s external finance and accounting
Candidate Profile

The Director of People & Culture will have a high level of professional and proven experience, an acumen for human resources leadership, and the demonstrated ability to lead and manage this area for a rapidly evolving organization. They will have managed a human resources operation within an organization and deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

The ideal candidate will have most, if not all, of the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • Expertise in human resources, including employee lifecycle management and prior experience with unionized workers and collective bargaining processes. SHRM-SCP certification or additional HR certification is preferred but not required;
  • Expertise in people management, including 5+ years of direct supervisory experience  and 2+ years of developing new managers;
  • Experience overseeing compliance efforts, and developing   administrative processes and procedures;
  • Strong partnership skills, able to establish credibility and rapport with team members;
  • Influential with a demonstrated ability to coach and counsel employees;
  • High degree of emotional intelligence, interpersonal, and negotiation skills;
  • Track record of successfully navigating complex employee relations situations;
  • Excellent written, analytical, oral, organizational, and time management skills;
  • Understanding of current HR trends in compensation, benefits, and performance management;
  • Experience facilitating and implementing DEIA best practices & strategies; and
  • A commitment to the work of Safe Passage Project and readiness to grow and learn with the Safe Passage Project
Compensation & Benefits

Safe Passage Project offers a competitive salary in the range of $100,000 – $130,000. To uphold organizational parity and pay equity, salary will be commensurate and take into consideration the entire breadth of a candidate’s experience, to arrive at their final starting base salary. In addition, SPP offers a flexible work environment, including flexible hours, generous PTO, and 12 weeks paid family leave.


Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email and directly.  All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. If you require reasonable accommodation during your application process, please let the team at Koya know.


Safe Passage Project is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

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

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