Director of People and Culture

· Chicago, Illinois
Employment Type Full-Time

Job Title: Director of People and Culture

Location: Chicago (IL), New York (NY), Newark (NJ) or Atlanta (GA)

Employment Type: Full time

Start Date: ASAP

To Apply: Submit your application here. Send any questions to (applications submitted via email will not be accepted).

Hiring Manager: Chief of Staff

Manages: Manager of Talent and Culture, Manager of People and Operations 


The Challenge

In America, we’ve promised that hard work and ambition will be met with equality of opportunity. The reality is that we have a quiet crisis on our hands. Before COVID-19, an African American with a BA was twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterpart, and a Bachelor’s degree holder from a low-income background started their career earning only two-thirds as much as those from higher-income backgrounds. While education has the potential to be the great equalizer, only 25% of our country’s 1.2 million first-generation or low-income college enrollees are predicted to land a strong job after graduation and be on a path to the American Dream. And with the COVID-19 crisis upon us, now more than ever, college students from humble beginnings need to be prepared to compete for strong jobs.

Our Vision

We believe that our country’s next generation of leaders will emerge from everywhere, but they need a talent strategy that matches them in strength and diversity. We envision an American Dream Team—100,000 diverse leaders-in-the-making—prepared to access and thrive in strong first jobs after college graduation.

Theory of Action

Braven supports untapped students from college to career by partnering with universities, employers, and college success organizations to offer a two-part experience that begins with a credit-bearing college course followed by a post-course experience that lasts through graduation. Fellows emerge from Braven with the skills, experiences and networks they need to land a strong first job and get on a path to economic freedom. Braven has worked with more than 2,300 students at four campuses at Rutgers University-Newark, San José State, Lehman College, and National Louis University to date.


Braven Fellows across the country are persisting in college and achieving exciting levels of internship and job attainment. 

  • 95% of our Fellows are persisting in or have graduated from college. 
  • 73% of Braven college graduates have at least one internship during college, compared with 49% of first-generation seniors at large state universities, and Braven Fellows outpace the national average for strong job attainment. 
  • Within six months of graduation, 71% of Fellows secured quality full-time jobs worthy of their Bachelor’s degree or enrolled in graduate school, compared to 56% of all students and 49% of students from similar backgrounds.

We believe Braven is a solution and we are on a mission to scale it, equalizing access to the American Dream.

The person:

You believe - and your work demonstrates a belief - that every young person deserves the opportunity to put their education to work and realize a life of impact and economic mobility.  You have managed teams, know how to motivate and inspire people around a vision, and can pick out the strengths and areas for growth of candidates and current staff alike to ensure Braven can scale its impact over time.  You are passionate about Braven’s mission, are rooted in our core values, and are excited to rally current and future staff around the urgent mission and ambitious goals through an inclusive, relationship-centric, sustainable team culture.  You have gone after and hit big goals, have your own point of view on talent philosophy and management, and you are expert at building strong working relationships through which you realize your goals. You are ready to work in a nimble, fast-paced start-up environment where the work evolves quickly and no day is the same as the day before.

The role:

This position reports to the Chief of Staff and is responsible for managing all internally-focused aspects of people and culture. As the lead of People and Culture at Braven, you will set vision and direction for the entire talent life cycle of a teammate at Braven.  Since managers are such a critical lever for the impact, learning and development and psychological safety of all Braven teammates, you will define what excellence looks like for all people managers and build supports and ongoing training for this group. 

You will serve as a thought partner to our People Operations Specialist and General Counsel to ensure that our compliance with all labor laws is carried out in a way conducive with the culture we are aspiring to.  You will partner with the Manager of People and Culture and a forthcoming Director of Learning and Development to ensure that we can attract, onboard, retain, and grow the talent we need over time. Overall, you will serve as a primary culture carrier at Braven and will be responsible for ensuring Braven becomes a “top talent development” workplace as we scale a team that is diverse by design, along many dimensions.

What You’ll Do:

Set Team Vision and Direction for Braven’s Overarching Talent Strategy and Leadership (20%)

  • Set team vision, strategy, goals, and People and Culture Team operating norms that create clarity about priorities, reinforce shared communication norms, and support best practices around setting and protecting each team members’ professional boundaries
  • Work with the CEO and Braven’s executive team to set a strategic vision and priorities for all talent work, ensuring the organization has an eye on what it will need in the coming 3-5 years, leveraging an explicit equity lens throughout the work
  • Participate and offer guidance in conversations with executives around decisions about strategic priorities and planning, ensuring talent management is fully integrated

Foster Learning and Development (20%) 

  • The approach to talent that the Director of People and Culture sets will be translated into a Learning and Development (L&D) vision and roadmap, designed and executed by a forthcoming Director of L&D in FY23, whose charge will be to foster learning and growth at Braven in line with our talent philosophy and growth strategy.  This role will report to the Director of People and Culture. For the remainder FY22 (through June ‘22) the Director of People and Culture will serve as a strong thought partner on all aspects of Braven’s approach to L&D, partnering with contractors to deliver this workstream.

Develop and Retain Talent: (25%)

  • Set the bar for excellence in managing and coaching people, designing trainings for teammates or deliver hands-on coaching for managers as needed
  • Facilitate our annual performance review activities and offer trainings to managers and coaching as necessary
  • Design and coach managers on the creation of learning development plans for their team members, created for their direct reports
  • Serve as thought partner in bi-annual performance and compensation analysis and calibration practices
  • Ensure Braven’s people policies are: in line with best practices, sustainable, in line with our growth strategy, and clear to all of our teammates
  • Ensure the organization is in compliance with labor laws by serving as a thought partner and coach to Braven’s People Operations Specialist and General Counsel
  • Oversee annual equity analysis with regards to compensation, performance, retention, and promotion

 Engage Team Members and Build Team Culture: (20%)

  • In partnership with the Chief of Staff and other team leads, design and oversee all weekly team calls, rituals, and other team engagement strategies that are aimed at creating a great workplace as measured by our bi-annual team survey, including demographic breakdown of results
  • Oversee execution and analysis of bi-annual Gallup survey to measure impact of organizational processes, decisions, and communication to leverage strengths and constantly improve
  • Alongside Braven’s leadership teams, set an agenda for the organization's commitment to ever advancing an equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplace, project managing cross-functional efforts aligned to this priority

Attract and Onboard Great Talent (15%)

  • Maintain and improve the newly revamped hiring process at Braven that is aligned to the overall talent management, team engagement, and culture vision  
  • Actively promote the organization as a great place to work, building our “employer brand” with potential hires
  • Support the team with crafting job descriptions, hiring processes, performance tasks and recruitment strategies that yield an inclusive process that minimizes implicit bias, accurate assessment of fit, and a positive experience for candidates
  • Design manager and individual trainings around hiring and onboarding processes and best practices; oversee delivery of trainings independently over time
  • Manage, coach and support the People and Culture Team  to build, improve and optimize inclusive, compliant and sustainable processes to achieve strategic goals.

Experience & Skills:

The ideal candidate is a proven, low-ego leader with the drive, motivation, commitment and proven track record of successfully leading within a growing, complex and innovative organization.

  • Organizational steward and core values leader eager to exemplify Braven’s core values
  • Track record of building and leading at least one extraordinary, diverse team against a unifying vision and ambitious goals over time
  • Deep management experience, including experience hiring and coaching a team to results over time
  • Experience building and improving team/organizational culture and values
  • Strong business/organizational insight and analytical skills, comfortable using metrics to inform and influence decisions
  • Operates with an uncanny ability to be objective (even when their own professional information is a part of the discussion/equation) 
  • Entrepreneurial and curious about what makes people great at their jobs and what will make Braven an even greater place to work
  • Has the professional maturity and interpersonal finesse to handle confidential information with the utmost discretion and strong judgment

Education & Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • 5-8 years management experience, demonstrated readiness to manage a growing team
  • Demonstrated track record of hitting ambitious goals through team management and strong culture building; ideally on the business side of the organization 
  • Demonstrated commitment to fostering an inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplace and an understanding of how to operationalize this commitment through policy and practice

Compensation and Benefits

The salary for this position, which depends on prior work experience and our assessment of your fit for the role, will likely be between $91,300-$114,100 (Chicago, IL, the band will vary for other locations). Braven offers competitive base salaries based on the midpoint of the market among not-for-profit organizations of similar size, with opportunities for salary growth over time. We believe in compensating staff members fairly in relation to each other, their qualifications, and their impact on behalf of the organization, and take internal equity seriously. Given our commitment to equity and the inequities that can emerge from salary negotiations, Braven does not negotiate salary offers; instead each salary offer is determined carefully upfront using benchmarking. You will have an opportunity to discuss salary in more detail after you begin the application process.

Braven also provides competitive, comprehensive benefits, recognition, and career development. While Braven reserves the right to change benefits at any time, current benefits include: 

  • Unlimited vacation time in addition to org-wide shut downs in July and the end of the calendar year
  • Up to 5% match of your 401K contribution starting your first full month
  • Coverage of 85% of health insurance premium 
  • A one month paid sabbatical after 4 years on staff


When social distancing is not in place, we gather in the office four days a week. Therefore, we require teammates to live within commuting distance of Chicago, IL (New York, Newark, or Atlanta.) Each teammate can use one flex day of their choosing per week to work remotely. We believe in the magic, connection, and collaboration that happens when people work together face-to-face and we believe in giving people flexibility to focus, balance personal priorities, and save themselves one commute per week. 

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

At Braven, we are committed to attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining a diverse team. Braven operates in the context of our American culture, against the backdrop of systemic racism and oppression of marginalized people since our country’s founding. We are committed to assembling leaders at our organization who have emerged from everywhere, with a particular emphasis on those who share the racial and income backgrounds of our Fellows, and creating an inclusive culture that allows all teammates, of all experiences and identities, to thrive.  

Braven is an equal opportunity employer and considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, veteran status, or any other protected factor.  We encourage talented individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

Thank You

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  • Location
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Employment Type