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Director of People and Operations

Posted by
Umoja Student Development Corporation | Chicago, IL

Umoja Student Development Corporation

Published 13 days ago

Salary is commensurate with experience.

Organization Overview

UMOJA builds deep social-emotional learning (SEL) skills in educators to transform the ways young people experience school and the ways schools exist to serve society. For over 20 years, we have been a premiere on-the-ground partner for high schools, districts, and organizations who are focused on ensuring that all students graduate from high school equipped for college, career and life success. We believe deeply in whole-school SEL capacity-building through professional learning and adult accountability, our accredited Seminar curriculum, restorative justice structures and practices, and self-awareness and contextual thinking. By investing in sustainable adult learning practices and mindsets, we equip a community of educators to expand the impact of our work, rooted in Chicago, to learning spaces across the nation. For more information, please visit

Position Summary

Reporting to the CEO, the Director of People + Operations will be responsible for the planning, development and implementation of the organization’s human resources and operations work streams, that will include, employment, compensation/benefits, employee relations, finance, legal compliance, staff development, IT, office environment, work culture, and health and safety programs. The ideal candidate will utilize their exceptional attention to detail, project management skills, communication abilities, and relationship-building approach to ensure the organization’s ability to effectively fulfill its mission.

Status and Location

This is an exempt, full-time employee position. The Umoja Main Office will serve as the Director, People + Operations’ primary work location, Monday through Friday and on some evenings and weekends as necessary. Occasional travel may be required to partner sites throughout the Chicago Metro Area and nationally as the work expands.

Essential duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Workplace Culture

  • Develop, recommend, and implement people and operations plans, policies, and procedures necessary to establish a positive workplace environment and promote a high level of employee engagement. This may include performance engagement, benefit offerings, compensation structures, staffing/diversity recruitment, organizational culture, IT, etc
  • Represent Umoja’s broad organizational perspective internally (and externally as requested) to drive a holistic understanding of the organization’s work and forward collective progress
  • Drive cross-functional communication and teaming opportunities, such as Umoja’s Affinity Groups, to promote engagement and a positive workplace environment
  • Measure workplace culture, employee engagement, as well as, HR and operations performance, analyze and report data, and utilize data to inform strategic management decisions


  • Build trusting relationships with Umoja’s team members. Serve as the point of contact for employment relations, providing support to employees and leaders as needed to achieve resolution
  • Ensure consistent application of human resources and operations policies and procedures throughout the organization
  • Oversee the implementation of effective employee onboarding and offboarding processes
  • Oversee the hiring process and ensure that it supports a diverse, equitable, and inclusive staff, reflective of the communities and schools Umoja serves
  • Oversee recruitment efforts, including reviewing and approving all job descriptions and interview formats, participating in final interviews, conducting senior-level reference checks, advising hiring managers about job offers, and negotiating salaries
  • Refine and maintain an externally competitive, internally consistent compensation and benefits structure; oversee annual salary reviews and adjustments; prepare the organization for salary zone transparency and lead the sharing process
  • In partnership with the Leadership Team, oversee the planning of all-staff activities such as retreats


  • Provide the vision and oversight for an office environment that enables and encourages collaboration, innovation, efficiency, and engagement; oversee all HR and operations initiatives, systems, and tactics;
  • Plan and strategize for organizational growth; lead ongoing refinement of the HR and operations infrastructure
  • Maintain updated department records/reports, an employee handbook, and organizational charts
  • Collaborate with Leadership to develop, analyze, and manage the organization’s people and general operations budget
  • Maintain updated knowledge and employment practices to ensure the organization’s overall compliance with applicable contractual, ethical, and legal responsibilities; monitor adherence to internal policies and legal standards; anticipate and resolve litigation risks
  • Support the organization’s financial management processes and systems to ensure the organization’s fiscal health and compliance with all regulations and best practices; support annual audit preparation; facilitate timely completion of annual budget, 990 Reporting, and long-term strategic financial planning; liaise with any external financial consultant service providers
  • Ensure the technology in use is effective and in-sync with current and future needs; support the Operations Manager in managing the partnership with the IT services provider
  • Lead health/welfare benefits and workers comp insurance reviews, open enrollment periods, and communications with service providers concerning program administration
  • Maintain physical office space that equips the organization to do its best work; review and approve equipment purchases, space assignments, and office upkeep plans; negotiate and facilitate contract execution for office space rentals and major equipment purchases
  • Ensure timely completion of legally required staff training, including mandated reporting, CPR & first aid, workplace safety, and emergency drills

Organization Leadership

  • Center equity and inclusion in all work and in interactions with others
  • Actively work to engage, support, and develop a diverse and dynamic team
  • Guide and support the work of HR and operations personnel, providing coaching and assistance as needed
  • Uphold and model Umoja’s shared agreements and participate as an active member of the Umoja community
  • Work closely with Umoja’s Leadership Team to develop and implement a new 3 year strategic plan
  • With the Leadership Team, plan and implement organizational gatherings including Round Tables, All Hands, All Staff Retreat Days, and optional learning sessions
  • Plan and implement organization-wide training to enhance team members’ professional development
  • Help identify and address organizational issues that challenge and support health and effectiveness


  • Protect organization by keeping proprietary information confidential
  • Update job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities, reading professional publications, and participating in professional organizations
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Direct Reports

  • Operations Manager
  • Transformation Fellow

Qualifications: Required

  • Bachelor’s degree in human resources, nonprofit management, education, or a related field and 10+ years of work experience in a nonprofit management role
  • Generalist experience in employee relations, employment law, employee benefits, compensation, financial management, full cycle recruitment, IT management, and operations
  • Recognizes the dignity of each individual, and demonstrates commitment to social justice
  • Displays passion, humility, integrity, and a growth mindset
  • A proven ability to lead and partner effectively with a diversity of individuals at all levels of an organization and to maintain constructive communications
  • Strong analytical and flexible problem-solving skills, including proven effectiveness in dispute resolution
  • Demonstrated consistency of ethical decision-making and strategic thinking
  • High level of interpersonal skills to handle sensitive and confidential situations and documentation
  • Strong attention to detail and accuracy, the ability to prioritize and organize multiple projects, meet deadlines, problem-solve and multi-task
  • Ability to point to specific examples of having led transformation projects and program development
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent written and public speaking skills
  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, flexible, and takes an innovative approach to projects
  • Unwavering commitment to quality work and data-driven processes
  • Excellent computer skills, specifically MS Office products (Excel, Word and PowerPoint), Google Drive, and web-based database platforms

Qualifications: Preferred

  • Master’s degree in human resources, organizational development, nonprofit management, or another related field
  • HR Certification
  • Familiarity with cloud-based payroll and accounting platforms, including AccountingSeed and Paylocity

Organization Overview

UMOJA builds deep social-emotional learning (SEL) skills in educators to transform the ways young people experience school and the ways schools exist to serve society. For over 20 years, we have been a premiere…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • 4-Year Degree Required


Benefits of working at Umoja include:

  • Being part of a team and organization that is results-driven, mission focused, and committed to work life balance.
  • Opportunities for growth, leadership, and professional learning.
  • Health, vision and dental insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • 401K
  • Generous paid and sick time off package
  • Parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child

For more benefits information, please visit:

Salary is commensurate with experience.

Umoja Student Development Corporation is an equal opportunity employer and believes in fostering a diverse and inclusive staff. To do this, we not only recognize each individual’s diverse identity but also actively create and maintain a culture of inclusion where all Umoja employees feel involved, respected, and supported for their diverse identities. Candidates from communities that traditionally experience discrimination are encouraged to apply. Please let us know if there are any accommodations you require.

Benefits of working at Umoja include:

  • Being part of a team and organization that is results-driven, mission focused, and committed to work life balance.
  • Opportunities for growth…

How to Apply

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to Attachments must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format only. Please include the job title in the email subject line.


How to Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to Attachments must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format only. Please include the job title in the email…


Chicago, IL

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