Updates from NoVo

NoVo is hiring: Director of Organizational Development and Leadership

25 October 2017



NOTE: This is a reframing and reposting of an announcement for a position originally titled Director of Organizational Support and Development that was posted earlier this year. Candidates who applied for the original position are encouraged to review this updated posting and, if still interested in being considered, to resubmit their application in either its original or an updated form.

The NoVo Foundation is hiring a Director of Organizational Development and Leadership.


The NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. Created in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo is a social justice foundation dedicated to the transformation from a world based on domination and exploitation to one that operates on the principles of mutual respect, collaboration, partnership, justice, and equity.

We pursue this vision through initiatives that advance adolescent girls’ rights, end violence against girls and women, increase social and emotional learning, promote local living economies, and support Indigenous communities. These initiatives, though varied, share our commitment to building authentic relationships with grantee partners and other funders, investing in and centering feminist leadership, and taking calculated risks. With a staff of 26, we made grants to organizations and initiatives totaling over $100 million in 2016. 2017 sees the launch of our newest initiative, the Radical Hope Fund, a four-year $20 million commitment, which will respond to the current moment by supporting bold, imaginative efforts to build the movements we need for the future we imagine.

Seeing the world as it is — and as it could be — inspires all our activities. We believe that a new code of behavior is possible, where we are all linked and not ranked. Both through what we do and how we do it, we work to create the conditions for that new code to arise and to support others to participate.

Position Overview

Since NoVo’s creation in 2006, our grants and initiatives have grown significantly in complexity and scale, and we anticipate continued evolution in the years to come. Over this first decade, we have paid close attention to creating and maintaining an organizational culture that reflects our values of racial equity, feminism, inclusion, risk-taking, innovation and learning. As we grow, we are aware of, and energized by, the challenge of deepening how we live into those values.

Specifically, we are committed to bringing a strategic approach to adapting our processes and systems as our work deepens and our organization evolves; ensuring a values-aligned lens to all of our operations, including racial and gender justice; supporting staff to thrive and develop professionally both individually and as teams; learning together and sharing lessons across our programs; recruiting and carefully integrating new staff leaders who will push us and our work forward; and providing best in class policies and benefits that reflect our feminist values. We know that this will not only reap rewards for our staff tenure, productivity and program excellence, but, over time, could also influence practice among other foundations, and help inform how we invest in our grantees.

This is the exciting work that will be championed and led by our first Director of OD and Leadership. Based in our New York office, this new full-time position is a senior leadership role, reporting directly to the Executive Director, serving on NoVo’s senior management team, and having a strong voice in shaping how we operate and structurally organize.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate for this position will be a seasoned leader who brings deep, demonstrable experience in organizational change management, professional development, performance management, recruitment, team-building and strategic thinking. They will likely have gained this experience as a social sector leader, or social justice-oriented organizational development consultant, or HR professional in progressive and innovative social or private sector organizations — or through a combination of any of these. Whatever track they have taken to this point, they will also bring alignment with NoVo’s values; an aversion to business as usual; a proven passion for social justice, and racial and gender equity; and a desire to work in an organization whose mission and culture are unabashedly rooted in love.

This is a new senior position with priorities that may shift over time. But the initial focus will be on:

Crafting and leading organizational effectiveness processes that help NoVo manage change as we grow.

  • Lead and facilitate activities to hone our ability to model the commitment to collaboration, partnership, and racial and gender equity that underpins our programs and grantmaking.
  • Lead NoVo staff in adapting to change, for example, in how we communicate, share information, make decisions, collaborate within and across teams, and incorporate learning.
  • Help shape the vision for, and experience of, NoVo’s increasingly geographically dispersed work environment to ensure alignment with our culture and values.

Promoting internal professional and leadership development and continuous learning that supports staff to be productive, creative and collaborative.

  • Work with our managers to identify evolving staff learning needs, and develop both team and individualized professional development activities, including internal and external trainings, to address knowledge and performance gaps and promote experimentation.
  • Design our annual retreat and other activities that help us connect with each other, build relationships, and nurture a values-driven, results-oriented workplace culture.
  • Develop strong performance management and leadership development programs that support staff at all levels to reach their highest potential; and coach and support managers in their implementation.

Developing recruitment, onboarding, and orientation systems to bring on and thoughtfully integrate new staff, building an outstanding diverse and inclusive staff team at all levels of the organization.

  • Strengthen and standardize our hiring processes, position descriptions, recruitment guidelines and protocols, and develop rigorous outreach and selection practices.
  • Provide ongoing orientation and support for staff hiring teams, and oversight of external recruiters.
  • Create, and support staff in implementing, a thorough approach to onboarding, orientation and training for new staff, and developing plans for their ongoing development and learning.

Ensuring innovative, progressive policies, benefits and internal practices that reflect our values and enable staff to balance professional demands, personal, and family commitments, and bring their full selves to their work.

  • Help NoVo “walk our talk” even more by learning who does this best, researching innovative progressive policies, and recommending revisions to our benefits and personnel policies that comply with legal requirements and align with NoVo’s values.
  • Through compensation benchmarking, ensure that staff are equitably compensated and our compensation policies, practices, and systems are up to date and best in class.

Helping chart the course of the foundation overall as a key member of NoVo’s senior management team.

  • Participate fully in senior team meetings, and contribute to problem-solving, goal-setting, and other organization-level projects as needed.
  • Take leadership particularly on forecasting and planning for future talent needs, and informing design, facilitation, and implementation of organizational planning, strategy, and other special initiatives as they arise.

Representing NoVo and our learning with the field and with our grantee partners to help build the philanthropic and social justice organizations we need for the equitable future we imagine.

  • Bring lessons learned from our internal operations to inform how we invest in and support grantee partners.
  • Share with and learn from others in the sector, and help influence and advocate for a shift towards foundation and nonprofit practices to align with social justice and racial equity values.

Ideal Experience, Qualifications, and Attributes

We seek candidates with as many of the following as possible:

Mission, vision, and values alignment demonstrated through work, activism, and/or personal experience:

  • passion for justice and equity, including familiarity with anti-oppression frameworks, and racial and social justice movements;
  • curiosity about, and ideally, a knowledge of, and experience with, one or more of NoVo’s focus areas.

Substantial and increasingly responsible work experience in relevant fields:

  • at least 10 years’ experience providing strategic organizational and team development leadership;
  • ideally experience working with an organization or organizations with a reputation for innovative progressive organizational and talent development practices; and
  • optimally including experience helping guide the strategic growth of an organization.

Broad knowledge of organizational development, performance management and HR practices:

  • Well-developed broad organizational development in areas such as change management, racial equity and intersectionality, team development, strategy, facilitation, training and leadership development.
  • Either direct experience in HR, recruitment and talent management; or relevant skills and the capacity to research best practice, get expert advice, and ensure compliance.

Important competencies and personal attributes needed to excel in the role include:

  • Strong strategic thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal, relationship-building and written and verbal communication skills;
  • Flexibility to adapt as needed, self-manage, and prioritize and manage multiple competing priorities;
  • Trustworthy, with excellent judgment and discretion;
  • Resourceful, creative, curious, with a sense of humor;
  • Optimistic and resourceful, with strong self-awareness, cultural competence, emotional intelligence, humility and sensitivity to power dynamics;
  • Passionate investment in the wellbeing and success of NoVo’s staff and our organizational partners.

While undergraduate and graduate degrees in a relevant field are very helpful, neither are required when candidates can demonstrate significant evidence of equivalent experience and training. Equally, direct experience in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors are highly desirable, but neither are deal-breakers.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full time, exempt, salaried position. The exact salary will be determined upon hiring, but will be generous, commensurate with the expectations of a senior position for a seasoned leader, and in line with similar positions in philanthropy. NoVo Foundation offers a progressive, comprehensive benefit package and personnel policies that include medical, dental, vision, reproductive health, mental health, and wellness plans. Paid time off includes vacation, sick leave, childcare leave, as well as holidays. Other benefits include life insurance, long and short-term disability, 401k, dependent care assistance, Section 125 flexible spending account, adoption assistance, tuition reimbursement, and a matching gift program.

Application Process and Timing

Please submit a substantive and thoughtful cover letter describing your interest in the position and the work of NoVo Foundation, making the case for the relevance of your experience to the key areas of focus. The cover letter can be submitted together with a current resume, to jobs@novofoundation.org. Candidates who applied for the earlier version of the position posting are invited to reapply, if it is still a fit and of interest. Applications will be accepted until the ideal candidate is identified. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit early and ideally before October 23rd, 2017. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged and applicants will receive regular updates on the process and timing as we move forward on next steps.

Equal Opportunity

NoVo Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and we strongly encourage and seek applications from women, people of color, immigrant, bilingual, and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. NoVo is firmly committed to complying with all federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) laws. NoVo Foundation strictly prohibits discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of the individual’s race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, height and/or weight, disability, gender identity or expression, medical condition including acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or AIDS- related conditions, marital status, partnership status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, military status, arrest record and any other characteristic protected by law.