Racial injustice, inequity, and the systems designed to perpetuate them have defined our nation’s history. In the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court stated “…it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity…is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”
We believe the spirit of this decision was a promise to decouple race from access and, more broadly, to break the predictive links between identity and outcomes overall. We also believe that as a society, we have yet to deliver on that promise; nearly seven decades later, institutionalized oppression, micro-aggressions, discrimination, inequity, and violence still obstruct the path to self-determination and a life trajectory full of choices for people from involuntarily marginalized communities. So, in 2017 and with the Brown ruling in mind, we founded Promise54 determined to help deliver on the promise of equity.
Specifically, we partner with social impact organizations working to address society’s most complex challenges, which often disproportionately impact historically marginalized groups. Our research indicates that too often within these organizations, the dissonance between stated values and lived staff experience results in cultures, policies, and practices which reinforce the very inequities that organizations are working to end. This, in turn, creates additional pain and hinders impact.
We envision a day when social impact organizations can create a more just world because they have diverse teams of people thriving in roles that activate their unique gifts and talents; foster inclusive and antiracist cultures; and have equitable practices, policies, and structures. With this vision in mind, we are ~20 passionate individuals who leverage our collective advising, coaching, systems design, and facilitation experience to help create the conditions for people to thrive and do their best work.
At Promise54, one of our most sacred guiding principles is Radical Humanity. Both internally and with our client partners, we’re focused on authentic relationships and deep engagement.
Endeavoring to operate in this way requires that we believe in the innate brilliance of each human. We assume imperfection is the norm and extend the grace of second chances to each other knowing that lifelong learning is not only inevitable but it fuels experimentation, risk-taking, growth, and innovation. We believe that process is as important as outcomes, and that good intentions don’t trump painful impact. Qualitative life experience is acknowledged as valid and real data. And, perhaps most importantly, we are working to slow down and bring intentionality, planfulness, care, compassion, humor, joy, and love into our work.
In service to these commitments, our team is committed to the following core values which guide our work together:
- Champion Justice: We acknowledge the impact of systematic oppression and are committed to pursuing justice. We help to create the conditions to interrogate and shift mindsets, behaviors, and structures, while examining ourselves in the process. We act boldly in our pursuit of diverse, inclusive, equitable, and antiracist workplaces by challenging the status quo, spotting and dismantling inequities, sharing power, and elevating and centering historically silenced voices.
- Embrace Possibility: We approach our work with a sense of possibility, adaptability, and optimism. We invest time in new ideas, engage in thoughtful problem solving, and explore innovative ways to team with each other and partner with our client partners.
- Be Well: We know that to do our best work, we must accept and support each other in all of our humanity. We have fun, laugh out loud, find joy in our work together, celebrate each other’s life milestones, and live unapologetically in our own skin. We practice flexibility related to where and how we get our work done, respecting each other’s professional preferences and life priorities. We carve out time to relax, recharge, and refuel individually and as a team.
- Pursue Impact: We are committed to helping people thrive so they can bring the full weight of their talent and passion to the communities they serve. To do so, we pursue transformational outcomes with our client partners and, in the process, we choose courage over comfort. We strive to deliver excellent work and an unparalleled client partner experience to inspire effective action, advance equity, and help our client partners realize their missions.
- Practice Curiosity: We don’t have all of the answers, so we listen closely to our colleagues, our client partners, our schools, and our communities, as they tell us what’s working and what’s not. We embrace those who push our thinking while helping us make progress. This learning makes us and our work better.
HOW WE PARTNER
At Promise54, we’re obsessed with the interconnectedness and complexities of relationships between people, their work, and their organizations.
We bring that passion into our partnerships along with humility, care, humor, and intentionality. Because we believe transformative change begins with the individual, we support our client partners to bring a Radically Human lens to interrogating the ways in which their own behaviors and habits contribute to maintaining or dismantling systems of inequity.
We support our client partners to foster spaces where the voices and experiences of those who have been historically silenced can be shared and centered and where staff find connection across lines of difference, learn from one another, and bridge perspectives. We do all of our work with an emphasis on race while honoring, supporting, and leveraging intersecting identities.
Promise54 provides services and supports at several levels:
- Individuals and Teams: We support leaders and teams to thrive through executive, group and career coaching, cohort-based learning and convenings, and curated retreats designed to create community, connection and dedicated spaces for reflection and growth.
- Organizations: Through tailored advising partnerships coupled with proprietary tools and powerful benchmarking, we equip organizations with an understanding of their assets and challenge areas at the intersection of talent systems, culture, and DEI. We focus on supporting and enhancing organizational effectiveness, inclusive cultures, and equitable systems. Our executive search practice centers equity, deepens inclusion, and interrupts bias throughout the hiring process to help organizations realize the potential for radical impact presented by executive transitions and expansion.
- The Field: We conduct field-level research, mine for insights, and disseminate our findings widely to support leaders in their work to build thriving organizational environments where truly effective DEI practices drive stronger outcomes. Our research products include quantitative and qualitative reports such as 2017’s Unrealized Impact (with which we launched our organization), a set of radically vulnerable case studies which delve deeply into the experiences of three client organizations as they initiate and navigate new DEI initiatives, and most recently, our 2021 release of Unrealized Impact 2.0 - The Hard Truth About Where We Are and Ways To Move Forward.
Hallmarks of our approach include rigorous data-driven assessments and insights, thought leadership, tailored strategic support, attentive project management, and expert facilitation - all informed by our own expertise, research, and lived experiences. All of our work is infused with a deep focus on DEI and antiracism.
To accomplish all of this and live up to our aspirations, Senior Associates at Promise54 play an integral role in both external and internal capacities as members of small teams that partner with client partners. Senior Associates are accountable to Associate Partners who, in turn, guide their work as the project manager and invest in their growth and professional development. Senior Associates are typically working on three projects at a time. The role is ideal for contributors who can develop and execute work with independence and a high degree of ownership, but also those who enjoy working in close collaboration with a team in order to produce strong client partner deliverables. The Senior Associate’s primary responsibilities and duties fall into three categories:
Behind the Scenes Client Partnership Support
- Collaborating with Partners and Associate Partners to develop sustainable and impactful talent and equity-focused strategies for client partners, and design implementation roadmaps with client partners to address the hardest people-related issues in response to real-world, time-sensitive challenges brought forward by the client partner
- Designing materials for capacity building sessions and client partner work sessions, including drafting high-impact presentations and other client partner-ready deliverables
- Gathering data and conducting desk research; performing quantitative and qualitative analysis; building models; identifying issues, forming hypotheses and synthesizing conclusions into recommendations
- Overseeing operations and logistics for matching and tracking client partner coaching sessions
- Outlining and identifying stakeholder groups and their varying needs, and developing tools and draft messages that support client partners’ efforts to manage systems and cultural changes within their organizations
External, Client Partnership Support
- Engaging in ongoing client partner communications including, but not limited to written communication, and co-facilitating sessions that have a variety of intended outcomes and configurations. Sometimes, senior associates, with the broader Promise54 project team, support a small group to come to agreement on a particular decision or conclusion. In other sessions, the team’s role is to support entire organizations to build the skills, knowledge, and mindsets to advance a culture of inclusion, belonging, and equity in their context.
- Facilitating focus groups and interviews
- Coaching early to mid-career professionals
- Contributing to recruitment of cohort-based projects and support business development by sharing publications and announcements
Supporting Organizational Priorities
- Collaborating with others on and/or lead internal workstreams
- Contributing to Promise54’s thought leadership in the field by writing blog posts on topics relevant to our work and of personal interest
- Engaging in hiring processes, including serving on selection panels and connecting with potential new hires
- Supporting our team’s ongoing growth and development by designing and facilitating content for team sessions and retreats
- Generating creative, action-oriented insights and recommendations for internal and external improvements and key decisions
Our work is national in scope, and our team is virtual with small clusters of team members located in the Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore and Los Angeles metro areas. The location for this role is flexible, though the Senior Associate should be generally comfortable with working with teammates and client partners distributed across all U.S. time zones. Additionally, the Senior Associate should possess the willingness and availability to travel. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Associates traveled approximately 30% of the time (or two trips/month with a typical duration of one to two nights per trip), for team retreats, national conferences, and other critical in-person meetings. Promise54 is currently not traveling because of the pandemic, however we anticipate resuming travel at some point; the Senior Associate should be willing and available for travel similar to the pre-pandemic travel expectations described above.
As soon as possible, ideally spring 2022.
First and foremost, the Senior Associate must share Promise54’s vision of a day when social impact organizations can create a more just world because they have diverse teams thriving in roles that activate their unique gifts and talents; foster inclusive and antiracist cultures; and have equitable practices, policies, and structures. Additionally, to perform the job successfully, a Senior Associate will need to demonstrate the following competencies:
- Equity focus: You use an equity-conscious lens, language, and tools to drive our work internally and externally. You understand how identity, power, white conditioning and privilege impacts lived experiences of an individual (including yourself), structures, and institutions. You possess the courage, inclination, AND skill-set to speak up/interrupt oppressive situations/structures/power dynamics moments because you recognize inequity and act accordingly. You take on a heavier burden of speaking up when your identity is in the mainstream.
- Results-driven: You are focused on outcomes (both quantitative and qualitative). You hold yourself and others to agreed upon standards and you clearly define what it is you are trying to accomplish with a deliverable or contribution to the work/project. You develop and execute a strategic pathway forward so that you can deliver high-quality short-term results/deliverables and build capacity for longer term results.
- Adaptability: You approach new ideas, changes in work, or challenges with a sense of possibility and solutions-based attitude. You have the ability to adapt to various working and management styles. You have the ability to tailor approaches to client projects across multiple types of natural tensions, including: speed vs. quality, repeat/copy-paste vs. customization, physical deliverable vs facilitation. You develop innovative solutions when challenges arise.
- Self-Awareness: You know where your skills are strong, where you need resources and support, and you actively seek to understand these things. You possess awareness of your own feelings, thoughts and behaviors and their impact on others and work to positively impact others/mitigate harmful impact. You know where the boundaries of your experiences and vantage points are and you acknowledge that you have limits to what you can see. You know when to pull back vs. lean in in various settings. You demonstrate humility. You have the ability to both voice and navigate tensions with colleagues related to things like bandwidth, availability, and accessibility.
- Communication: You communicate in a way that is accessible. You differentiate your communication style based on the audience and situation to have the greatest impact. You are able to distill and communicate complex information in a way that moves the work and/or team forward. You are able to clearly, proactively, and consistently articulate your ideas and document them when necessary.
- Culture Keeper: You build relationships with colleagues demonstrating curiosity about others' background and perspectives. You express interest in the team's well-being and care. You leverage and celebrate differences. People who know you and work with you feel valued and respected. You accept and support your teammates in all of their humanity. You strive for the collective best, you see yourself as part of a team and recognize your impact on that team with a sense of possibility, adaptability, and optimism, as well as with responsibility. You feel a degree of ownership for the success of the team and the organization, and not just for your own success.
- Feedback: You bring a growth mindset and curiosity to giving and receiving feedback. You offer honest, actionable and timely feedback through the appropriate channels specific to the work or deliverable expectations using an equity conscious lens. You strive to internalize and incorporate developmental feedback and ask questions to seek clarity when needed. You actively seek out and receive feedback from others when appropriate with the intent of growing professionally and enhancing work products.
Our experience suggests that the following types of professional experiences lend themselves to this work:
- At least three to five years’ professional experience in a role requiring project management, and analytical problem solving, preferably at an established consulting firm serving external client partners
- Experience working in or with schools, and/or organizations supporting schools
- An understanding of – or better: a deep familiarity with – the national education sector in the U.S. and past efforts to reform its systems and practices, particularly those related to the challenges facing young people from historically marginalized identities
Our experience suggests that the following types of skills lend themselves well to this work:
- Capacity for client services demonstrated by comfort with organizing information and ideas, translating ambiguity into clear direction, and the ability to develop compelling written communications and presentations, including PowerPoint decks
- Analytical inclination demonstrated by a strong grasp of key takeaways from data sets and visuals, quantitative fluency, and comfort with basic data analysis
- Facilitation skills, including the ability to move a conversation forward, with attunement to various interpersonal dynamics, and motivations
- The ability, willingness, and—ideally—comfort with working virtually
- Agility in Excel and PowerPoint
- Strong, communication skills, both verbal and written, that support collaborative team-based work
- The ability to prioritize among many different projects and tasks at once
- Consistent follow-through
Finally, candidates should demonstrate the following personal characteristics:
- A tested and high level of integrity, trust, and accountability
- Sound discernment and judgment
- Attention to detail
- Comfort working autonomously as well as taking direction as needed
The range for the starting base salary for this role is $81,000 - $99,100, with annual bonus potential ranging from 5% - 6% of the base salary (total potential starting compensation would range from $85,000 - $105,000). We anticipate most people who are new to Promise54 would enter the role in the range listed above. While it is not guaranteed, in the past three years, we have met our goals and fulfilled bonuses for all staff.
Promise54 offers a 401(k) retirement plan and match, as well as benefits including (but not limited to) medical, dental, vision, short and long-term disability. We also offer reimbursements to support your ability to work remotely, specifically: for home office set-up costs, up to $50/month for home internet, and $162/month for a cell phone used for work. In addition, we provide a $100 monthly reimbursement for co-working space or other expenses to make working remotely more comfortable and reimburse up to $500/year for wellness-related expenses to support our team members’ ability to live into our Be Well core value. Click here to learn more.
The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled, although submission by February 13th is strongly encouraged.
Please follow these steps:
- Visit the Opportunities section on our website and find the “Senior Associate” role
- Answer a brief set of questions about you
- Below the questions, you’ll be able to upload your current resume as well as a cover letter, one in which we encourage you to address the following prompts in whatever format suits you. NOTE: While we will not strictly count words, we are looking at how clearly and concisely you convey your thoughts. Please attempt to stay within the ballpark of 500-600 words per question.
- Please briefly describe an accomplishment from a recent professional experience that you think illustrates some of the strengths you'd bring to the Senior Associate role.
- What are the top three or so things you hope to devote consistent time and energy to in your next job?
- We all have types of work that deplete our energy and/or that we would ideally spend less time on at work. What two or three things do you hope to spend little or less time and energy on in your next job?
Note: We are only considering applicants who are legally authorized to work in the United States.
Promise54 is a 501(c)3 organization deeply committed to providing equal opportunities. We are a diverse organization serving other diverse organizations and we are committed to non-discrimination. It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are treated equally without regard to race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.