Imagine being six years old and finding out that you are going to live with strangers. Imagine being twelve and starting at a new school with no parents waiting at home to hear about your first day. Imagine being sixteen and walking into the courtroom where a judge will decide if you can return home.When children are in foster care, the biggest decisions in their lives are often made for them, without their input. At Lawyers For Children, our mission is to give children in foster care a voice in the decisions that will change their lives. Since LFC’s founding by Karen J. Freedman in 1984, our attorneys and social workers have been listening to their clients, protecting their legal rights, and empowering them with the tools and resources they need to grow and thrive.Each year, our staff of seventy professionals represents over 3,000 individual children in more than 6,000 court proceedings. Our advocacy helps children find safe and loving homes more quickly and helps minimize the trauma of foster care placement. We also help youth aging out of foster care access the education, housing, and employment they need to transition to independence.We are continuously evolving our practice with special projects that focus on the most vulnerable among our clients, including LGBTQ youth, children with special educational needs, youth who have experienced sexual abuse and exploitation, and young people with immigration issues. Our public policy project tracks recurring challenges for young people across all of our individual cases and uses this data to promote comprehensive reform of the foster care system through both legislative advocacy and class action litigation.In addition to our work to achieve systemic change on behalf of all children in foster care, Lawyers For Children utilizes a pioneering interdisciplinary staffing model, wherein a lawyer and social worker, both with extensive experience and training, work together on every case. In addition, LFC is the only children’s law office in the country to employ two full-time Youth Advocates (young adults who have successfully aged out of foster care) to provide additional support for older clients. Each LFC team is thus comprised of individuals with expertise in both the law and the full range of existing services available to ensure a successful future for every one of our young clients.Since 1984, we have represented almost 30,000 children in New York City court proceedings involving: voluntary foster care placement, abuse, neglect, termination of parental rights, adoption, guardianship, paternity, custody and visitation.We listen carefully to our clients, help them understand their options and vigorously protect their right to a safe, secure and supportive place to call home. For some clients, this means returning to live safely with their families. For others, it means speeding up the adoption process. For many of our clients who are over 18, the goal is to set out on their own with the knowledge and support necessary to establish stable housing, obtain jobs and embark on successful careers of their own.Lawyers For Children is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or veteran status.For more information about the organization, please visit www.lawyersforchildren.org.
The Director, People & Culture will work closely with the Administrative Director and Executive Team on workforce planning and analysis and creating an office culture of equity, inclusion, and diversity that effectively attracts, supports, develops, and retains talent. This role is responsible for the overall administration, coordination, and evaluation of benefits, compensation, recruitment, performance management, employee relations and employment policy development. This person will exemplify Lawyers For Children’s mission, vision and values and help foster a productive and collaborative work environment.Responsibilities for this role include, but are not limited to:Strategic Advisor
- Create a talent and HR strategy that is aligned with, and supportive of, Lawyers For Children’s overall goals; ensure buy-in to the HR strategy across the organization.
- Advise the leadership and staff and act as a sounding board for talent and HR-related topics.
- Provide advice on issues relating to employment, compensation, benefits, and employee morale and development.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- In partnership with leadership, provide vision, leadership, coordination and strategic oversight regarding equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- Develop, implement and conduct an ongoing organization-wide training program for diversity, equity, inclusion and EEO compliance.
Organizational Development and Training
- Drive effective leadership and employee development by implementing a development infrastructure that includes, but is not limited to, training programs that support Lawyers For Children’s culture and contribute to critical skill development.
- Shape the organizational culture to focus on collaboration and drive clarity on the role to be played by all in facilitating that improvement.
- Create effective career planning and succession planning processes to support retention as well as long-term staffing needs.
- Build the organization’s skill set in leading people through change, and ensure the availability of adequate support for staff in growing their capabilities to facilitate a constructive work environment.
- Lead the diagnosis of obstacles to employee performance and provide the organization with the means to drive performance improvement
- Lead the design and implementation of an effective employee evaluation process.
- Ensure the attraction and timely employment of talented individuals who will be successful at Lawyers for Children and meet the needs of the organization.
- Work to make Lawyers For Children an “employer of choice” in a competitive labor market.
- Develop and coordinate employee communication programs that contribute to employee morale and understanding of Lawyers For Children’s philosophy, policies and practices.
- Ensure alignment of practices with applicable federal, state, and local regulations.
- Ensure success of programs such as employee orientation, service awards, and employee activities.
- Handle complex employee discipline and personal improvement programs as they arise.
Benefits, Administration and Compliance
- Ensure that Lawyers For Children provides equitable and competitive compensation and benefits programs to attract, retain and motivate qualified individuals.
- Ensure compensation and benefit programs are effectively designed, cost-efficient, market-driven, and legally compliant.
- Ensure the communication of services to contribute to smooth operation, including timely implementation and distribution of approved personnel policies and practices.
- Serve as the lead on compliance through appropriate processes and procedures and ability to work effectively with the legal department on compliance matters.
The successful candidate will have a proven track record of growth and achievement in the talent and human resources function, ideally focused on building and supporting diverse, inclusive, equitable and collaborative cultures. With a minimum of 8-10 years of increasing levels of responsibility, the Director, People & Culture will bring experience serving as a strategic talent partner to the leadership team in corporate and/or not-for-profit environmentsIn terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:
- Ability to Think Strategically and Act Tactically: The successful candidate operates effectively in both strategic and tactical worlds. The ideal candidate will be strategically oriented to drive the overarching goals of the HR function, yet tactically focused to ensure that the function runs smoothly. This individual builds strategies based on a nuanced understanding of the organizational culture and also has a bias for action and “rolling up the sleeves” while delivering exceptional results.
- Influencing and Relationship-Building Skills: The successful candidate is capable of building and sustaining excellent relationships at multiple levels in the workplace. They use relationships not only to gain a better understanding of the organization’s needs but also to accomplish goals. The ideal candidate will have well-honed influencing skills that will enable them to persuade others, gain buy-in, and implement important initiatives across the organization.
- Leader/Collaborator/Team Builder: The successful candidate is a highly collaborative, true team player, coach and mentor more focused on the success of others than him/herself. They are a leader who has an eye for talent, sets high standards of performance and inspires others to perform to those levels, and ensures effective performance management. The successful candidate is a good listener who is straightforward, articulate and open in communication with others. They possess communications skills that build trust, create open channels of communication, create impact without direct authority, and achieve collective buy-in.
The candidate must possess a Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate discipline. An MBA or Masters in Human Resources or Industrial Relations is desirable.
Contact:Lawyers For Children has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume, addressed to Karen J. Freedman, here.About Koya Leadership Partners:Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit www.koyapartners.com.