Director of People & Culture

Detroit Justice Center

Detroit, MI

Full time

US$135-217k (annually)

Human Resources

May 4

About the job

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The Detroit Justice Center (DJC) seeks an experienced and innovative leader for the newly created Director of People and Culture (DPC) position. The DPC is a remarkable opportunity for a dynamic leader to join DJC during a time of inflection, reflection, and growth. The DPC will report to the Associate Executive Director of Operations and Management. Building on our deep and evolving commitments to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (JEDI-B), the Director of People and Culture will reimagine and reshape the role of the people team (traditionally referred to as human resources) at DJC, and its impact on our organization. This work will require a leader who is invigorated by DJC’s mission, and will bring significant HR and JEDI-B (i.e. DEI) expertise - including system and process design and implementation, alongside creative and strategic visioning - to this growing organization.

The Director of People and Culture will closely collaborate with the senior leadership team to develop and execute a range of people and culture initiatives. This role will focus on building a thriving culture and help steer a growing organization, implement innovative approaches to guide the professional growth of a creative and passionate team, and cultivate engagement, equity, and connection across all teams. This position will provide comprehensive oversight, planning and management of the human resources functions of DJC while pursuing our core values and commitment to attract, retain, advance and support a diverse team that thrives in a respectful, inclusive and equitable workplace culture.

Launched in 2018, DJC works alongside communities to create economic opportunities, transform the justice system, and promote equitable and just cities. DJC is founded on the belief that we cannot build cities that work for everyone without remedying the impacts of mass incarceration. This mission requires innovative ways of community lawyering—rooted in defensive and offensive fights for racial justice and economic equity—that build up our poorest residents through direct services and novel approaches to land use, housing, and employment. We have established a set of values to guide our work, and we seek a DPC who will deeply align with them.

Key Responsibilities

The DPC will be responsible for providing leadership in the following areas:

Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  • Develop the vision, strategy, and goals for JEDI-B at DJC to strengthen the organizational culture and advance DJC’s mission
  • Demonstrate deep knowledge of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging principles and best practices
  • Bring broad experience envisioning, leading, and implementing practices that demonstrably advance JEDI-B within an organization
  • Help create a culture in which everyone on the team can show up as themselves

Human Resources

  • Develop the vision, strategy, and goals for the HR function, with an eye toward serving all members of the organization equitably, transparently, and in a service-oriented way
  • Continue to develop and build out the infrastructure needed to support a robust and effective HR team and function
  • Significant expertise in the fundamentals of HR, and experience leading a comprehensive HR function
  • Assess, navigate, and address structural issues and be willing to build and sustain a new approach, from the overall vision to the “nuts & bolts” of the People & Culture function
  • Lead implementation and adoption of HR systems and processes
  • Lead tough conversations with tact and compassion in a spirit of restoration
  • Create clear channels for staff to raise issues and concerns that may arise about their work environment or broader organizational culture

Talent Management

  • Lead and manage a range of hiring and recruiting efforts to find top talent for DJC, ensuring that hiring processes are equitable and reflective of current best practices in the recruiting field
  • Collaborate with senior leadership to understand the organization’s goals and strategy related to staffing, recruiting, and retention
  • Maintain an effective and engaging onboarding system to ensure the success of all new staff
  • Design and maintain a multi-prong performance management system, including training, mentoring, and supporting managers to create individual growth plans and conduct growth-oriented evaluations
  • Provide ongoing support to staff and managers to address needs, create clear expectations, provide accommodations, and proactively navigate conflicts as they arise (or, even better, before they arise!)
  • Develop and implement strategies for demonstrating employee value and appreciation

Leading Team Culture

  • Lead DJC in creating a thriving team culture that supports organizational growth and reflects DJC’s values
  • Continuously work to create a culture of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging; identify and address gaps; implement initiatives to strengthen organizational culture
  • Cultivate a culture of growth and professional development across all departments
  • Build and maintain employee engagement practices and rhythms; develop and grow connection across the whole team
  • Lead in the development and execution of team activities and events, including in-person retreats and gatherings
  • Design and implement strategies, including ongoing education and training programs, to build the capacity of staff to work effectively, respectfully and equitably across race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender orientation and expression and other social identities
  • Work cross-functionally to implement systems that will break down silos and promote collaboration


  • 5+ years’ of work within people programs, people leadership experience, HR, consulting or related field, ideally gained in a mission-driven nonprofit organization;
  • Exceptional skills in managing people, leading and motivating teams, fostering collaboration, and engaging effectively with staff at all levels of the organization;
  • Expertise in and enthusiasm for driving organizational change and development processes;
  • Ability to effectively balance collaborative and consensus-driven processes with the need for timely decision-making;
  • Exceptional written and interpersonal communication skills;
  • Broad talent management experience with specific experience in culture and organizational effectiveness;
  • Experience leading cross-functional collaboration for people programs, setting and implementing strategy, and building alignment around a vision;
  • Experience identifying gaps and improving processes and programs;
  • Background in justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging, human resources, people/culture management;
  • Integrity, sense of humor, and a commitment to DJC’s core values; and
  • A belief in the mission of the Detroit Justice Center, a passion for social justice, and a desire to work in a fast-paced, progressive legal and advocacy environment.

The target range for this role is $100,000-$115,000. DJC offers an array of robust benefits in addition to its base salary including 100% employer-paid health benefits, 2% retirement match, 11 paid holidays, 20 PTO days, 2 centering days, 5 sick days, and a flexible schedule. The organization also offers a winter hibernation each year. Supporting the work/life balance of employees is a priority for the organization, especially during the pandemic. In addition to the generous benefits listed above this position will be remote, working 4 days/week until the organization returns to the office and will also be able to take advantage of a summer recharge and unlimited time off related to COVID to care for oneself or others. DJC is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment, and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We believe hiring great people from all backgrounds makes our organization stronger. Diversity is our greatest strength. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status. People of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and individuals with past involvement in the justice system or who have loved ones currently or formerly in the justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Instructions

To apply for this role, please click on "Apply for this position" in the upper right hand corner. Please be sure your materials include a resume, cover letter, and three references in one .pdf or .doc (Word) file. Applications will be reviewed as received, and all are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, but no later than Monday, April 29, 2022.

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