Sep 08, 2021

Director of Human Resources

$120,000 - $140,000 yearly
  • NPAG
  • Oakland or Los Angeles, California
Full-Time Administration/Operations Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging Human Resources/Recruiting

Job Description

Essie Justice Group (Essie) is building grassroots power to dismantle the US incarceration system, the most egregious creator of racial and gender injustice of our time. We are a loving and powerful community of women with incarcerated loved ones—and include cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender non-conforming (gnc) people, elders, and young people.

Building a sustainable grassroots institution that can be leveraged in the fight for a Black Feminist future is a priority at Essie. Through the development of thoughtful organizing models, a vibrant organizational culture, and scalable structure, our aim is to break the isolation of the 1 in 4 women who have loved ones behind bars and sustain bold decarceration advocacy through the leadership of women with loved ones behind bars. After seven years building an active membership across California, launching a power-based campaigning team, and making meaningful contributions to the field through our values-driven employee manual which we shared with over 500 people last summer, Essie is now waging even more ambitious plans to invest in the development of our Black Feminist institution building politic and strategy. In the midst of significant organizational growth, we are seeking a discerning, values-driven, and forward-thinking Director of Human Resources to help lead this effort.

During this political moment, sustaining the people power that drives our work and movements is vital. As we continue to strive toward operationalizing our radical Black feminist values, we are looking for a Director of Human Resources with a strong desire to lead in an organization where the "how" of people processes deeply matter and employee policies that are aligned with race and gender justice values are viewed as standard operating procedure. This person is a highly collaborative, experienced, and strategic leader as they will be charged with talent recruitment and hiring, onboarding, and maintaining the professional development of a vital team to move Essie’s vision and values forward. This person approaches their organizational responsibilities with a balance of confidence, rigor, and creative problem-solving, which in turn enables all members of the team to be good stewards of Essie’s resources and people.

The Director of Human Resources is responsible for varied and wide-ranging functions that are critical to enhancing the effectiveness of the Essie employee experience. Under the direction of Essie's Senior Director of Strategy & Operations, the Director of Human Resources ensures the administration of employment, compensation, performance management, employee relations, training is carried out in alignment with organizational strategy and our core values. The Director of Human Resources works closely with other members of the Operations Team to attract, motivate, develop, and retain great people through effective resourcing, training and development, performance management, and reward strategies. This role requires a strong working knowledge of benefits administration and payroll oversight in order to provide guidance and support to staff.

As a senior member of the organizational leadership, the Director of Human Resources reports directly to the Executive Director and will help shape Essie’s present and future—contributing to strategic decision making in the present while helping to architect Essie’s internal growth in alignment with our values. At Essie, how we win is as important as what we achieve, and our ideal Director of Human Resources approaches Black Feminist organizational culture development and scaled organizing goals with equal rigor and commitment.


Essie Justice Group is a nonprofit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. Our award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. We are building a membership of fierce advocates for race and gender justice — including Black and Latinx women, formerly and currently incarcerated women, transgender women, and gender non-conforming people.


Human Resources - Direct all aspects of personnel processes including hiring, on-boarding, off-boarding, benefits, and compensation.

  • Administer Essie’s policies, including staffing, employment processing, compensation, health and wellness benefits, training and development, records management, safety and health, succession planning, employee relations, and retention.
  • Manage an organized, developmentally-focused, and timely performance evaluation process.
  • Oversee staff retention strategy.
  • Lead the efforts in recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and off-boarding employees.
  • Administer Essie’s benefits package including annual open enrollment and retirement plan; manage relationships with vendors; make recommendations for opportunities to enhance or adjust benefits provided; ensure staff are equipped to make sound decisions about benefits through training and one-on-one meetings.
  • Manage an HR firm or staff member to conduct transactional Human Resources activities including running on-time, accurate semi-monthly payroll and ensure appropriate withholdings, pre-tax benefit deductions, reimbursements, bonuses, compensation adjustments, and garnishments, processing and administering all leave-of-absence requests and disability paperwork: medical, disability, and FMLA, coordinating employee payments with the Employment Development Department or other state agencies.
  • Support the Operations Team by providing human resources advice, counsel, and decisions; analyzing information and applications.

Personnel Growth Infrastructure - Lead the development and maintenance of human resources infrastructure, policies, and procedures to keep Essie functioning smoothly and aligned with our race and gender justice values.

  • Develop organization strategies by identifying and researching human resources issues; contributing information, analysis, and recommendations to organization strategic thinking and direction; establishing human resources objectives in line with organizational objectives.
  • Guide management and employee actions by researching, developing, writing, and updating policies, procedures, methods, and guidelines; communicating and modeling enforcing organization values.
  • Serve as a management team resource on personnel issues, policies, and strategies.

Personnel Risk Management - Oversee compliance, policies, personnel, and personnel risk management issues. Assess and mitigate potential harms to the organization.

  • Field any personnel complaints or grievances; escalate to Senior Director of Strategy & Operations when necessary. Conduct personnel investigations when necessary.
  • Complies with federal, state, and local legal and safety requirements, employment law and policies and by studying existing and new legislation; anticipating legislation; enforcing adherence to requirements; advising management on needed actions.
  • Handle discipline and termination of employees in accordance with organizational policy.
  • Oversee off-boarding processes for transitioning staff, including compliance.

Hiring Organization

Essie Justice Group


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

Ideal Qualifications

  • 10+ years’ experience in Human Resources recruitment, hiring, benefits, compensation, retention, compliance, employee policies, and personnel growth infrastructure with a minimum of 4 years serving in management role(s) within the nonprofit sector.
  • Superior knowledge of employee policies, personnel issues, and personnel risks as well as state and federal employment law.
  • Strong collaborative leadership skills to coordinate, develop, and implement policies, training, and compliance strategies.
  • Demonstrated ability in planning, leading, developing, and coordinating hiring, recruiting, and retention.
  • Impeccable attention to detail and excellent verbal communication, writing, and editing skills.
  • Significant experience recruiting dynamic, confident, and empowered change-makers.
  • Significant experience supervising people in a way that acknowledges differentials in privilege and power, recognizes their gifts, encourages their confidence, supports their growth, and holds them accountable to standards.
  • Successful track record as a collaborative leader and director who excels in managing people and policies in a growing, fast-paced, and non-traditional work environment.
  • Adept with Mac operating systems, Google Suite, and MS Office Suite (especially Excel, Powerpoint, and Word).
  • Commitment to the beliefs and values of Essie with a demonstrated passion for progressive politics, specifically in gender justice, race justice and ending mass incarceration.


  • Values-driven and deeply in-tune with personal motivation. You care deeply about people and the impact that organizational culture, processes, and policies have on them, which informs your strategies and daily work. You move with a sense of and are able to maintain a high standard of respect for others whatever the situation may be. You are a leader in modeling solutions-oriented approaches to problems and bringing out the best parts of the team to achieve success.
  • Communicates from connection to purpose and people. You believe that policies should be accessible and information empowering. By delivering clear and thoughtful information, you know you can help Essie be more impactful and individual team members more confident in the process and more courageous in their work. You are here for the people.
  • Ethical discernment and honesty we can trust. You are a trusted ethical compass for the people with whom you work. You don't just do what's standard or required by law - you do what's right for your people - even if a higher cost or greater time investment is attached. You are a thoughtful team member who acts in alignment with your integrity and are unfailingly trustworthy.
  • Sees #Woke as a verb. You are committed to continuously deepening and evolving your own understanding of systems of oppression through study, openness, and humility. And you easily recognize your own relationship to privilege and power, examining and shifting your behaviors as appropriate.
  • Uplifting and additive. You see mistakes as opportunities for growth; problems as catalysts for solutions, and inspire others along the journey. You carry a positive approach, can-do attitude, a sense of humor, and authentic kindness wherever you go.

Industry/Service Area

Advocacy/Social Action, Crime/Legal, Social Justice




The Director of Human Resources is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. This position is supervised by Essie’s Deputy Director. The salary for this position is between $120,000 - $140,000 depending on experience with full medical, dental, and vision benefits, optional 401(k), a substantial vacation package, and a monthly personal wellness stipend. The position is based in one of Essie’s offices in Oakland or Los Angeles, California. Essie has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy.

Application Instructions

More information about the Essie Justice Group may be found at:

This search is being led by Whitney Herrington, Emily Wexler, and Andres Marcuse-Gonzalez of NPAG. Please address a thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” outlining your interest and qualifications, and submit along with a resume through the hiring portal.

Essie Justice Group provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all staff members. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, and skills. Essie does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history, traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Essie values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones; formerly incarcerated people; people of color; women; queer, transgender, gender non-conforming (gnc), and gender fluid people.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, performance assessment, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

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