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Senior Director, People and Culture

NAFSA: Association of International Educators
Washington D.C.
Salary range minimum: $130,000
Closing date
Mar 18, 2024

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Administration, Other
Position Type
Department Head, Director
Employment Type
Organization Type

Job Details

The Senior Director, People and Culture, will develop and execute NAFSA’s people and culture strategy, contributing to the development and achievement of medium- and long-term strategy, ensuring effective inclusion of key people and culture considerations. To ensure the association is fully leveraging its human talent and fostering an environment that promotes employees’ growth and development, this position works closely with NAFSA’s senior executives, who comprise the Management Team. The position plays a critical role in managing the employee lifecycle, developing organizational culture, and managing change.  


The Senior Director is responsible for workforce development, management, and overall strategy for human resources, as well as leading the Office Administration function. Primary areas of responsibility include organizational culture, recruitment, training, compensation, benefits, compliance, employee relations, health and safety, change management, HRIS/HCM, and facilities management. 


As an ex-officio member of the Management Team, the Senior Director works closely with the CFO and Deputy Executive Directors to ensure the human resources and financial health of the association. The position contributes to the vision and strategic direction of the organization. This position is responsible for providing day-to-day oversight of human resources functions and supports the CEO with strategic initiatives to advance the organizational culture, health, and operations of the association.


Workforce Planning, Management & Employee Relations (40%)

  • Works with the CEO and the Management Team to ensure appropriate workforce and structure to accomplish organization-wide strategic and operational goals. Oversees administration of human resource programs including, but not limited to, compensation, benefits, and leave; disciplinary matters; disputes and investigations; performance and talent management; productivity, recognition, and morale; occupational health and safety; and training and development.
  • Oversees the recruiting process and establishes policies and practices to ensure fair employment and attracting a diverse applicant pool; identifies strategies to fill staff vacancies through direct recruitment; and works with external resources and agencies. 
  • Conducts and analyzes exit interviews; provides feedback and recommendations to senior management and managers. 
  • Manages workforce technology to improve efficiency and standardize operations; reviews systems and upgrades as necessary. Manages paper and electronic employee records retention, including within the HRIS/HCM, and in compliance with HIPAA, ADA, and record retention requirements. 
  • Conducts research and analysis of organizational trends including review of reports and metrics from the organizations human resource information system or talent management system. Design and lead initiatives including research and diagnostics (e.g. annual employee engagement survey and exit interviews), to maximize the engagement of all employees and build organizational commitment to the desired culture.
  • Leads the coordination, administration, and implementation of existing HR programs in a timely, accurate and consistent manner. Researches and analyzes HR policies and programs, seeking best practices and continuous improvement in HR activities.
  • Interprets policies and provides professional advice and guidance to staff and senior management.
  • Oversees the administration of and ensures compliance with NAFSA’s policies and federal, state, and local employment laws. Collaborates with the executive team and assists and guides departments and offices in the resolution of conflicts and implementation of new and revised laws and regulations. 
  • Ensures employee issues are dealt with in a prompt time frame so NAFSA is not exposed to potential legal risk, including leading on investigations into grievances and complaints where required.
  • Oversees the administration of the association's benefits programs, including health and welfare plan compliance. Selects and manages benefit broker relationships to ensure high quality, competitive services are provided to NAFSA and its employees. Monitors and evaluates benefit plan design, services, and costs, and recommends changes as needed to ensure offerings are competitive, inclusive, and support recruitment and retention efforts. 
  • Member of the Retirement Plan Committee with fiduciary responsibilities, and key role in ensuring compliance and staff education needs are met.
  • Formulates and administers personnel policies, procedures, and association standards as approved by the CEO. Ensures employees' adherence to policies and procedures. Evaluates the HR policies and procedures for recommendation to the CEO for changes and/or updates. Serves as a resource for management on best business practices as they relate to managing employees. Provides employee counseling on personnel matters and/or serves as a mediator for employee relation matters. Facilitates conflict resolution and conducts investigations of all HR claims. 
  • Oversees processes around regular personnel information maintenance for semi-monthly payroll actions and HRIS/HCM information and system management. 
  • Develops and implements departmental budget.

Strategic Management (25%)

  • Valued partner and trusted adviser to other Management Team members and Senior Leadership Teams to plan for, attract, develop, value, and retain NAFSA’s talented and committed staff.
  • Partners with senior leaders to enhance and ensure success of diversity efforts.
  • Strategically leads and manages an effective human resources function to support management of the employee lifecycle; and contribute to broader organizational and strategic management. 
  • Key role as ambassador for organizational culture and values, ensuring they are visible, embedded, and upheld. 
  • Leads continued development of organizational culture and staff engagement strategies.
  • Establishes and implements HR efforts that effectively communicate and support the association’s strategic plan. 
  • Establishes strong working relationships with members of the senior management team and staff throughout the association. Works collaboratively to resolve problems and build consensus across the association.
  • Assists Executive Office with On-boarding of new board members. 
  • Collaborates closely with the Senior Impact Officer on change management efforts and other organization-wide initiatives.
  • Supervises two staff: the Human Resources Associate and the Office Administrator. 

Compensation & Performance Management (15%)

  • Ensures compensation and job design is appropriate and aligned with strategic needs of the organization; selects and manages external compensation consultants to assist with maintaining a compensation and salary benchmarking structure in accordance with NAFSA’s compensation philosophy. 
  • Conducts position reviews as necessary to support job, departmental, and organizational changes. Establishes measures to ensure fairness and consistency in classification, compensation and job descriptions including analysis, specifications, and organizational structure. 
  • Oversees performance management and the annual performance appraisal process, provides education and assistance to managers to support fairness and consistency.

 Office Management & Facilities (15%)

  • Supervises Office Administrator to ensure effective functioning of office services, purchasing, mail room, equipment, and maintenance. 
  • Works closely with the CFO to oversee the administration of the current and future space and equipment needs of the association. 
  • Plans staff meetings, including office celebrations and coordinates overall staff communication to ensure staff is abreast of organizational developments. 

Other Duties as Assigned (5%)

  • Works on projects or strategic initiatives as assigned by the CEO.

Note: The Senior Director, People and Culture supervises two direct reports and is a member of the Management Team. Primary volunteer contact is through members of NAFSA’s Board of Directors, particularly the Governance Committee.  


  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution required, with concentration in human resources or organizational development preferred. 
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and/or SHRM’s Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications.
  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in progressively senior Human Resource Management roles 
  • Experience and proven track record in HR strategy development, execution, and delivery 
  • Demonstrated experience in organizational and leadership development.
  • Proven experience in a multi-faceted organizational context, with an emphasis on quality service delivery and results 
  • Previous experience working for a not-for-profit organization; with association experience being preferred.
  • A working knowledge of employment laws and regulations. 
  • Experience working through employment issues including hiring and termination procedures as well as mediation/disciplinary strategies.
  • Experience developing relationships across a multi-disciplinary organization to meet the organization’s mission. 
  • Hands-on experience with Human Capital Management systems (HCM/HRIS); with experience in the Paylocity system being preferred.
  • Experience and knowledge in employee relations. 
  • Demonstrated experience working in a diverse environment and having a strong appreciation for and experience promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.  

Personal Characteristics

  • A personal style that models integrity, equity, fairness and transparency.
  • High self-awareness and capacity to build trust and gain the confidence of others.
  • Rapport building and relationship building abilities. 
  • Judgement, discretion and ethics with regard to confidential issues.
  • Ability to manage conflict in the workplace and negotiate positive outcomes.
  • Highly developed oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong time management, decision making, and organizational skills. 
  • Ability to solve difficult people-related problems. 
  • Demonstration of a high level of initiative and organizational agility.
  • Ability to “think on one’s feet”.
  • Ability to work under pressure and to meet tight deadlines. 
  • High levels of attention to detail and quality.
  • Accountability for outcomes.
  • High level of computer literacy including Microsoft Office and HR systems. 
  • Proven communication, organization, entrepreneurial, and management skills.
  • Ability to execute strategy and supervise direct reports while aligning their work to organizational priorities.
  • Excellent editing, research, analysis, and writing skills.
  • Strong professional and personal confidence and maturity.
  • Open, accessible leadership style encouraging free exchange of ideas and full discussion of differing points of view.
  • Collegial ability to work effectively in a consultative environment and with teams.
  • Results-orientation and creative problem solving.
  • Comfortable working with a high degree of autonomy and responsibility.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Doing what it takes to get the job done.

Leadership Characteristics

  • Working Relationships: Works toward the greater good of the association and doing what is right for the organization and employees. Ability to be a strong contributor to the senior leadership team, and develop an outstanding working relationship with senior management, peers, and employees.
  • Managing People Effectively: Demonstrated success in managing people, building strong and effective teams, mentoring and delegating, retaining staff, and attracting new talent. Ability to build a culture of superior customer service.
  • Leading Change: Ability to lead and support change initiatives, develop innovative ways of doing business, re-engineer business processes for greater effectiveness or cost savings, and plan for long-term needs.
  • Communicating Effectively: Excellent written communication and presentation skills. Ability to effectively communicate complex information to diverse audiences.
  • Commitment to Transparency: A strong commitment to transparency and willingness to share information.
  • Decision-Making: Proven ability to make difficult decisions informed by data and input from a variety of constituencies.
  • Supporting International Education and the Business of NAFSA: An interest in and support of the mission and keen understanding of the business model.

A Master’s degree in human resources, organizational development, or similar field of study preferred. 


Total Compensation, Benefits

Starting annual salary for this for this full-time, 35-hour per week position is $130,000 within a narrow compensation range. The position is eligible for a robust employee benefits package, including:

  • Competitively priced medical and dental insurance plans with CareFirst
  • 403(b) retirement plan with eligibility for a 7% employer contribution, immediate vesting
  • Generous paid vacation, sick, personal, and parental leave plans
  • Thirteen paid holidays plus office closure between Christmas and New Year's Day
  • Fully paid group life and disability insurance coverage
  • Health and dependent care flexible spending account plans
  • Pre-tax parking and transportation plans
  • Generous tuition reimbursement benefit
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Free onsite fitness center and secure bicycle parking

Work Environment

The workday is generally 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The week after Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday.


Travel is required occasionally related to job responsibilities, especially for the annual conference or other leadership meetings. Participation in the NAFSA annual conference the week of Memorial Day, including the holiday itself, is a job requirement. The annual conference is held in varying cities. 


Tasks are performed in a typical office environment, involving sitting for extended periods of time. Sitting, standing, bending, and lifting 10 lbs or less will occur intermittently throughout the workday. Position involves constant use of computer keyboard and monitor, with intermittent use of headset and microphone. 



With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest and most comprehensive association of professionals committed to advancing international higher education. Based in the United States, we provide programs, products, services, and a physical and virtual meeting space for the worldwide community of international educators. The association provides leadership to its varied constituencies through establishing principles of good practice and providing professional development opportunities. NAFSA encourages networking among professionals, convenes conferences and collaborative dialogues, and promotes research and knowledge creation to strengthen and serve the field. We lead the way in advocating for a better world through international education.


NAFSA believes that international education advances learning and scholarship, fosters understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, is essential for developing globally competent individuals, and builds leadership for the global community. We believe that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security, and well-being for all.

Salary Description

Starting annual salary is $130,000 


NAFSA: Association of International Educators is an organization of people dedicated to building a global community and fostering a more peaceful world through advancing international higher education. With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world’s largest professional development and advocacy organization committed to international learning and creating a more globally engaged, welcoming, and educated United States. We are an organization of individuals who believe that: international education advances learning and scholarship; strengthens America’s diplomatic ties with countries across the globe and is an integral part of national security; and is essential for developing globally competent individuals. We believe that international education lies at the core of an interconnected world characterized by peace, security, and well-being for all. NAFSA is a workplace that not only appreciates diversity but believes it is our strength, and we strive to create an inclusive culture for all our team members. NAFSA is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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