Partner, DEI & Talent

Partner, DEI & Talent


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, microaggressions, 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. 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, real data. 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 5 core values that 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 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.


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 interrogate 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 diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism (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 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 DEI case studies that delve deeply into the experiences of three client partner 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 highly skilled facilitation – all informed by our own expertise, research, and lived experiences. 


To accomplish all of this and live up to our aspirations, Partners at Promise54 play an integral role as leaders who work to build the organization by contributing to the development of our services, our team, our business, and our organizational direction. Partners lead business development and service delivery for our clients and are directly accountable for Promise54’s success in terms of impact, financial sustainability, and team development. The Partners’ primary responsibilities fall into three categories:

    • Cultivating and sustaining a diverse and dynamic network in the nonprofit sector
    • Meeting significant annual sales goals ($600-$1.5M), which tends to entail:
      • Proactively cultivating prospective client relationships and identifying opportunities for partnership
      • Developing a deep understanding of prospective clients’ contexts and support needs
      • Collaborating with clients and supporting them to define the opportunity and desired outcomes
      • Synthesizing all of this to create a scope of work
    • Building Promise54’s field-level eminence and visibility through written thought leadership, presentations, etc.
    • Stewarding multiple (typically 6-8, sometimes more) client partnerships simultaneously, including leading Promise54 project teams to cultivate relationships, manage timelines, and deliver high-quality support to client partners. Typical projects include talent strategy (recruiting, performance, compensation), defining organizational DEI beliefs and designing structures and strategies to support organizations to live out those beliefs, and designing and facilitating tailored sessions to build staff and leadership capacity to cultivate inclusive, equitable cultures
    • Leveraging relationships that support accountability and candor in service of naming, interrupting, and transforming dynamics that impede equitable outcomes
    • Identifying risks to projects’ success and supporting teams and client partners to mitigate them
    • Spotting trends across partnerships; identifying and codifying the most impactful approaches and methodologies
    • Supporting client partners and Promise54 teams to adapt or redefine paths to desired outcomes in instances where the original scope of work no longer meets current needs
    • Coaching seasoned leaders and board members in a variety of complex situations
    • Managing and supporting internal teams through hiring, professional development, and mentorship
    • Fostering a culture reflective of Promise54’s core values
    • Providing leadership for organizational priorities, and input and/or decision-making on critical policy, strategy, and budget decisions for Promise54


First and foremost, candidates for the Partner – DEI & Talent role must embrace 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, candidates will need to demonstrate the following:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Adaptability: You approach new ideas, changes in work, or challenges with a sense of possibility and a solutions-based attitude. You have the ability to adapt to various working and management styles. You have the ability to tailor approaches to client partner projects across multiple types of natural tensions, including: speed vs. quality, repeat/copy-paste vs. customization, and 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 an 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.
    • Integrity: You demonstrate a high level of integrity, trust, and accountability

The following types of professional experiences have lent themselves well to this work and our team:

Minimally, we’re seeking applicants with:

    • At least ten years of professional experience with a record of increasing responsibility in a client-services role and/or leading culture, talent, and/or DEI initiatives
    • Significant experience leading high-level, complex organizational initiatives with a strong emphasis on talent, diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or antiracism
    • Proven success in business development, fundraising, and/or fee-for-service sales

Additionally, we’d welcome – and prefer – the following:

    • Fifteen years of professional experience
    • Experience working in the U.S. nonprofit and/or education sector, particularly those related to the challenges facing people from historically marginalized identities

The following skills have lent themselves well to this work and our team. We’re seeking applicants with a proven track record of these skills.

    • Demonstrated acumen in client-oriented consulting services, including:
      • developing guiding frameworks and/or structured approaches to solving complex talent challenges and designing organizational structures to support transformational outcomes
      • organizing complex ideas and translating ambiguity into clear direction
      • influencing others and supporting the behavior change needed to fuel change-adoption through relationships rather than positional power
    • Proven ability to set direction for self and others in the face of ambiguity
    • Proven ability to develop, manage, and inspire highly-proficient teams across multiple projects
    • Strong facilitation skills, including an attunement to dynamics, and the ability to skillfully interrupt dynamics in ways that interrupt bias, center equity, and support learning
    • An aptitude for presenting complex information to a range of audiences in ways that generate productive conversation and illuminate key insights
    • Creative problem-solving and an analytical inclination, demonstrated by an ability to synthesize key takeaways from data sets and visuals, and to develop effective strategies to address root issues
    • Strong communication skills – both verbal and written – that support collaborative, team-based work
    • Adaptability and the ability to effectively prioritize among many different projects and tasks at once
    • Proven ability to coach others to define challenges and develop solutions for themselves
    • Capacity for, willingness to, and proficiency in working virtually


Our work is national in scope, and our team is virtual with small clusters of team members located in the Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Los Angeles metro areas. The location for this role is flexible, though the Partner should be generally proficient working with teammates and client partners distributed across all U.S. time zones. Additionally, the Partner should possess the willingness and availability to travel. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Partners 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. After pausing travel in 2020 and 2021, Promise54 has resumed travel under certain conditions; currently, team members are traveling once a month or less. The Partner should be willing and available for travel similar to the pre-pandemic travel expectations described above. 


Promise54’s Partner role comprises four tiers of successive, increasing seniority with four corresponding salary levels. We anticipate that the successful candidate for this search will most likely join Promise54 at Partner level 1, 2, or 3 (depending on skills and experience), thereby resulting in a starting base salary between $149,000 – $215,700. With an additional annual bonus potential ranging from ~11% – 13% of the base salary, total starting compensation for this role would range from $165,500 – $243,800. While it is not guaranteed, in the past three years we have met our goals and fulfilled bonuses for all staff.  

Additionally, Promise54 offers a 401(k) retirement plan and match, as well as benefits including (but not limited to) medical, dental, vision, and 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 $160/month for a cell phone used for work. In addition, we have a generous travel expense reimbursement policy, 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.


We’ll work together to determine a start date that incorporates the needs of both the successful candidate and the organization. Ideally, the latest start date would be 10/1/23.


Application review is underway and will continue until the position(s) is filled.  If you are interested in being considered, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Please follow these steps:

    • Visit the Opportunities section on our website and find the “Partner” 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’d like you to address the following prompts in whatever format suits you. Please aim for responses of 200-400 words per response.
        • On pages 5-6 of this job description, we list a set of personal characteristics that are deeply valued at Promise54. Please pick 2 of them which resonate with you, and which you believe are reflective of you, and tell us why.
        • Please briefly describe an element of your professional experience that you think illustrates a match with at least two of these required experiences listed above in this job description:
          • At least ten years of professional experience with a record of increasing responsibility in a client-services role and/or leading culture, talent, and/or DEI initiatives
          • Significant experience leading high-level, complex organizational initiatives with a strong emphasis on talent, diversity, inclusion, equity, and/or antiracism
          • Proven success in business development, fundraising, and/or fee-for-service sales

If you encounter any technical difficulties, please contact:

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.

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