Partner, Research & Insights
Race and educational inequity have been intertwined throughout our nation’s history. On May 17, 1954, in the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court observed “…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, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.” However, oppression, inequity, and violence still obstruct the path to self-determination and a life full of choices for young people from historically marginalized identities.
In fall 2017, Xiomara Padamsee and her team of nearly a dozen professional talent advisors formed Promise54 -- driven by the conviction to help organizations deliver on the promise implied in the Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling. We envision a day when organizations committed to educational equity have maximum impact because they have the right people excelling in the right roles, their teams reflect the communities served, their cultures are inclusive, and their internal structures are equitable. Essentially, Promise54 helps adults to thrive so that they can do their best work for students, families, and communities.
Promise54 is a nonprofit 501(c)3 with a small, strong, passionate, and growing team of 20+ experienced advisors. Our partnerships balance investments in people and the organizational systems and culture around them, spanning topics such as recruitment systems, competency modeling, compensation, performance management, change management, board development, management / leadership development, communications, decision-making and more. All of our work includes a deep focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI), based on our belief that creating a thriving, sustainable workplace for a diverse team will both generate greater impact for students as well as more durable relationships with the communities these organizations serve.
We have committed to specific goals by 2023: first, we aim to engage 1,000 leaders about the link between talent and DEI in achieving strong organizational outcomes for kids; second, we will support 100 organizations to material progress on diversifying their teams, increasing staff performance, and strengthening retention without gaps by seniority or identity.
Promise54 provides services to support these goals at three levels:
- For the field, we conduct research, mine for insights, and disseminate widely to support leaders in their work to build thriving organizational environments with effective DEI to drive better outcomes in service of kids, families, and communities. Our research products include quantitative and qualitative reports such as 2017s Unrealized Impact and a set of deep and vulnerable case studies about to be released.
- For organizations, we focus on supporting and enhancing organizational effectiveness, inclusive culture, and equitable systems through tailored advising partnerships and cohort programs.
- Finally, for individuals, Promise54 focuses on supporting and developing leaders to thrive through 1:1 executive coaching, and cohort-based workshops and institutes.
In service of this work, our team is committed to the following core values:
- Champion Justice: We acknowledge the impact of historical inequities and are committed to pursuing justice. We will do this by reshaping mindsets, behaviors, and structures one organization and one leader at a time, while examining ourselves in the process. We believe all young people, especially those of color and those growing up in low income communities, deserve to have adults acting boldly on their behalf – challenging the status quo, spotting and addressing inequities, sharing power and, perhaps most importantly, making room for silenced voices to be heard.
- Pursue Impact: We are committed to helping adults live out their fullest potential, so they can offer their very best to the young people they serve. This means we relentlessly pursue the best outcomes with our partners and, in the process, we always choose courage over comfort. We strive to consistently deliver excellent work and an unparalleled client experience to inspire effective action, advance equity, and help our partners realize their missions.
- Embrace Possibility: We approach our work/h 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 clients.
- 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, 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.
- Be Humble: We don’t have all of the answers, so we listen closely to our colleagues, our 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.
Promise54’s first two years of operations have been auspicious; client demand for our services exceeds our capacity, we have gained the support of several national funders, and we have high standards for how we operate internally. Specifically, we’re trying to build a radically human organization whose policies and practices support all of our team members to bring their full selves to work. But, like any relatively new organization, we are making critical internal operational decisions in real time while serving clients, developing our team, and building our brand. This combination of aspirations means that we are juggling the different kinds of work we need to do for ourselves, and that for the field which, in turn, has revealed areas where we have room for improvement. Specifically: we don’t yet have all of our systems and structures in place; our website needs a refresh (and one is underway); we need to grow our team even further to serve the work we’re being asked to do in the field; and sometimes we achieve the elusive work/life balance we’re after, and other times we fail. Essentially, we are a work-in-progress.
This is an opportunity to join a highly dedicated team of people within a vibrant, cutting-edge, and unique nonprofit committed to equity in education. Partners play a vital role toward living up to our mission. Partners are leaders within Promise54 and participate in building the organization with fellow Partners by contributing to decisions on strategy, financials, marketing, branding, hiring, operations, and the development of field-leading intellectual capital. Partners play a leading role in business development and service delivery for clients of Promise54, and are directly accountable for its success in terms of financial sustainability, team development and management, and impact.
Further, this particular Partner will inhabit a new role designed to provide the vision and strategic direction for Promise54’s research in order to accelerate learning and deepen the impact of our work. The successful candidate will generate and oversee a learning agenda and related portfolio of research focused on developing an expanded awareness of talent systems and their relationship to diversity, inclusion, and equity. In that context, the Partner will design and manage research projects across Promise54’s scope of interests, lead the corresponding collection of data-based DEI insights, work closely with our client project teams, and be responsible for proactively translating our findings into easily digestible and actionable insights and guidance for our clients, funders, and the broader field. Finally, this Partner will sharpen and enhance our ability to measure the impact of our work, namely, the extent to which we can shape the field’s understanding of what it means to build an organization where talent can truly thrive so that organizations generate unprecedented results for children.
Given the success of Unrealized Impact, we are both eager and poised to offer the field additional and expanded data-based insights and tools. We also know that there is great demand for this information. At the point of release in 2017, almost 5,000 individuals had completed our DEI survey across over 200 organizations. As of today, over 20,000 individuals have completed the survey across 400+ organizations. Further, a growing number of organizations in the field are taking the survey for the second and, in some cases, third time and this is driving huge demand for updated reporting and expanded insights focusing on aspects of identity beyond race, such as gender, LGBTQIA, socioeconomic background, and intersectionality.
As such, the Partner must have experience that prepares them to assume the following responsibilities:
- leading the design, development, and implementation of Promise54’s research practice and strategy related to talent systems, DEI, and educational equity, and leading the charge to secure philanthropic funding necessary to sustain these research efforts;
- developing and overseeing multi-million dollar projects - potentially including oversight and coordination of the work of external partners/contractors;
- serving as a resource and translating and disseminating our research for our clients, the field, and funders;
- partnering with internal managers of client projects to ensure that knowledge from the field and evidence from research inform and strengthen Promise54’s client services;
- enhancing alignment of data needs across Promise54, including supporting the organization in collecting data to meet organizational targets;
- ensuring that members of Promise54 programs/cohorts have access to reliable research and analysis to inform their efforts related to education equity and talent-readiness;
- establishing and nurturing a network of relationships with key academic researchers/institutions, funders, school districts, and relevant nonprofit partners to further Promise54’s mission and research agenda and to promote visibility of talent issues in the public dialogue;
- sustaining Promise54’s high standard for data integrity and transparency of data methods used in research and evaluation projects and in external communications; and
- representing Promise54 in the field on talent-readiness, DEI and related issues among internal and external audiences including national forums, conferences, and media appearances.
Requisite Experience, Skills, and Personal Characteristics
First and foremost, the new Partner must share Promise54’s conviction that organizations will best maximize their impact and truly thrive when their teams are diverse, their cultures are inclusive, and their practices model the equity they wish to see in the world. Further:
The most compelling candidates will have the following experience:
- 10+ years supervising and conducting large- and small-scale research projects in the education sector engaging diverse stakeholders and leveraging multiple research designs (quantitative and qualitative, primary and secondary analysis, program evaluation and quality improvement, quasi-experimental, etc.) (experience with foundations in this context is especially attractive);
- a demonstrable track record of conducting, publishing and presenting research;
- fundraising (for), launching, and building a new research practice;
- seasoned and successful project management of individual and/or team-wide work plans that include goals and interim milestones and reflect strategic planning related to managing resources, time, and people involved efficiently and effectively;
- a demonstrable record of success and earned respect related to management, mentorship, and development of team members; and
- collaboration with academia, nonprofit organizations, donors and government agencies.
The most compelling candidates will have the following skills:
- a PhD or relevant experience in the social sciences or social justice field;
- the facility and judgement to talk to a prospective client and discern what research services could be valuable;
- the ability to balance rigor with pragmatism to promote the application of credible research;
- comfort with organizing ideas and the ability to develop compelling written communications and presentations, including agility in common tools used for data analysis, presentations, and visualizations including Excel/Google Sheets, Powerpoint/Google Slides, and Tableau/Google Data Studio (and, ideally, R, SQL, and/or Python).
- the ability to tailor approaches to client projects across multiple types of natural tensions, including: speed versus quality, repeat versus customization, physical deliverable versus facilitation;
- the ability to communicate in a way that is both accessible and effectively received, as well as the ability to differentiate communication style based on the audience and situation;
- strong content knowledge related to the dimensions of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, and intersectionality and the confidence, inclination, and ability to navigate robust conversations about these complex issues;
- the ability to build deep, authentic, trusting, durable relationships with colleagues;
- the ability to formulate questions that drive discussions forward, particularly among adults and in the context of adult learning;
- the ability to “manage up and across” and the ability to demonstrate personal agency;
- the ability to develop and execute work with independence and a high degree of ownership;
- the ability to prioritize among many different projects and tasks at once; and
- consistent follow-through.
The most compelling candidates will possess the following personal characteristics:
- unwavering commitment to Promise54, its mission and its core values;
- shared cultural, racial or socioeconomic connections, identities, and/or experiences with the communities we serve;
- familiarity with the national education sector and past efforts to reform its systems and practices, particularly those related to the challenges facing young people from historically marginalized identities;
- the gravitas, presence, and judgment required to represent Promise54 externally;
- a strong desire to continue to strengthen and build Promise54 and a corresponding sense of ownership for not just your own success, but that of the team and the organization as well;
- comfort and confidence related to the client services and sales responsibilities of the Partner role;
- a results-driven mindset such that you hold yourself and others to a high bar;
- a high degree of self awareness as demonstrated by knowing where your skills are strong versus where you need resources and support as well as awareness of your own feelings, thoughts and behaviors and their impact on others;
- an innate instinct to be a team player… to chip in when necessary in order to help the organization optimize its work, and contribute to colleagues' ability to operate at their highest leverage point;
- the maturity and self-motivation to work in a virtual organization, often autonomously;
- where systems and structure may be ideal, you can be nimble and still productive in their absence as Promise54 continues to evolve;.
- integrity; and
- a sense of humor.
The Partner will report directly to Xiomara Padamsee, Promise54’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer.
Promise54 provides competitive compensation and a benefits package including a bonus based on individual and organizational success, full healthcare coverage, and access to 401(k) accounts with a matching contribution policy.
Our work is national in scope, and our team is virtual. The location for this role is flexible, though the Partner should possess the willingness and availability to travel on average one to two times per month with a typical duration of 1-2 nights per trip. Also, team retreats are quarterly, with a typical duration of 2-3 nights per trip, and Partner retreats are monthly and two days long, though sometimes virtual.
As soon as possible.
To Apply: The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Inquiries or applications (consisting of cover letter and resume) should be directed to Monisha Lozier, Partner: [email protected]. Promise54 is deeply committed to providing equal opportunities. We serve diverse organizations, we are a diverse organization, 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 age, color, ability, gender, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, expression, gender identity or veteran’s status.