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 2017’s Unrealized Impact and a set of deep and vulnerable case studies which examine the experiences of three client organizations and their experience implementing new DEI initiatives.
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.
To accomplish all of this and live up to our aspirations, Associate Partners (APs) are vital. APs work as leaders of small teams and take strong oversight roles in both external and internal capacities. Externally, APs play an important role with clients by managing client projects and relationships, identifying issues, forming hypotheses, designing and conducting analyses, synthesizing conclusions into recommendations, developing work plans, and ultimately helping to implement change. Throughout a client engagement, an AP leads the majority of discussions and presentations with senior client leadership. Further, internally, APs play an essential leadership role; not only are they assigned to support and develop more junior colleagues, but they lead a wide variety of initiatives and decisions within our evolving organization.
Duties and Responsibilities
In that context, the Associate Partner’s primary responsibilities and duties will be to take on client and team leadership responsibilities, as described above, and specifically:
partner with clients to develop sustainable and impactful talent strategies, and implement these plans to address the hardest people-related issues in response to real-world, time-sensitive challenges brought forward by the client;
serve as a thought partner to client project teams working on all Promise54 service offerings on how to conduct all of our work through a lens of cultural competence;
write blogs, conference presentations, website materials, and other eminence building materials to share our approaches and findings related to DEI with the field;
perform quantitative and qualitative analysis on core talent issues for clients;
identify key data sources, and gather data through interviews and secondary research;
develop and execute work with independence and a high degree of ownership, but also work in close collaboration with the internal team producing client deliverables (reports, analysis, decks, recommendations, presentations, facilitation, plans, etc.);
coach and develop internal Consultants;
support business development through relationship building in the field, input to proposals, and overseeing sales efforts with existing clients or smaller pursuits;
take on internal roles to build out Promise54’s key capabilities; and
contribute to Promise54’s intellectual property and knowledge dissemination.
Requisite Experience, Skills, and Personal Characteristics
First and foremost, the Associate 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.
Ideally, we are seeking the following professional experience in candidates for the position:
experience leading/facilitating change and creating organizational strength and synergy;
experience leading work at the organizational level, through talent systems and structures, with a strong emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and equity;
experience developing and/or enhancing talent systems and structures (eg compensation, performance management, competencies, etc.);
experience working in or with schools and/or organizations supporting schools; and
a minimum of 8 years of professional experience, ideally including strategy consulting involving project and team management specifically related to serving clients on talent-related challenges.
Candidates must also have the following skills:
familiarity with the U.S. education sector and past efforts to reform its systems and practices, particularly those related to the challenges facing young people from historically marginalized identities;
capacity for client services demonstrated by comfort with developing guiding frameworks, or structured approaches, organizing complex ideas, translating ambiguity into clear direction, and the ability to develop written communications and presentations, including PowerPoint decks
analytical inclination, demonstrated by a strong grasp of key takeaways from data sets and visuals and strong intuition in designing analyses and graphical depictions that lead others to insight;
the ability to develop, manage, and inspire a highly proficient team;
the ability to manage a project with thoughtfulness, confidence, and follow-through, all while prioritizing among several different projects and tasks at once;
a track record demonstrating ability to motivate and lead a team of professionals;
the ability, willingness, and—ideally—comfort with working virtually; and
agility in Excel and PowerPoint.
Finally, candidates should demonstrate the following personal characteristics :
unwavering commitment to Promise54, its mission, and its core values;
sound judgment and discretion with respect to critical information and decisions;
attention to detail;
comfort working autonomously as well as taking direction as needed;
willingness to proactively take on leadership roles within project teams and the firm;
a sense of humor; and
a well-rounded interpersonal skill set with the capacity to move others, build relationships, work collaboratively in teams, and facilitate joint problem-solving with clients.
Associate Partners report directly to Partners. This AP will report to Lora Cover, specifically.
Promise54 provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package including a performance-based bonus based on individual and firm success, full health care coverage, a generous PTO policy, and access to 401(k) accounts with a generous matching contribution policy.
Our work is national in scope, and our team is virtual (though concentrated primarily in the Northeast, Chicago, and Atlanta). The location for this role is flexible, though the AP should possess the willingness and availability to travel approximately 30% of the time (or 2 trips/month with a typical duration of 1-2 nights per trip), for team retreats, national conferences, and other critical in-person meetings.
As soon as possible.
The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position(s) is filled, although submission by December 13 is strongly encouraged. Inquiries or applications (consisting of a letter of interest and a current resume) should be directed to Monisha Lozier, Partner, via: [email protected]
Finally, 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.