Director of People, Finance, & Operations

Director of People, Finance, & Operations

Safe Passage Project

New York, NY   |   August 23, 2019

About Safe Passage Project

Safe Passage Project provides free lawyers to child refugees who are being deported. To date, we have supported 950 children in NYC.

Many children embark alone on the long and dangerous journey to the United States seeking protection. They are fleeing trauma such as gang violence and recruitment, abuse, and sexual assault. In 2017, the government reported that they apprehended over 40,000 immigrant children seeking entry to the United States. Closer to home, the New York Immigration Court has more than 15,000 cases involving children on its docket.

Immigrant children are not afforded free legal representation by the government, regardless of their age. As a result, more than half of immigrant children must go through immigration proceedings without the aid of a lawyer. Unable to effectively argue their claim for the legal protections they may qualify for, more than 80% of these children are issued deportation orders.  To many, this means returning to the danger from which they fled.

This is where Safe Passage Project steps in, providing free legal assistance to these refugee and immigrant children in New York City and Long Island who are facing removal despite their strong legal claim to stay in the United States.

Safe Passage Project is growing rapidly; we are currently the largest provider of free lawyers to immigrant children in New York State. Since 2015, our funding has increased more than sevenfold.

Check out press on our work in The New Yorker and Glamour.

Director of People, Finance, & Operations

About the role – Director of People, Finance, & Operations

Our recent growth is driven by our collective vision to move beyond serving some of the children who need our services toward serving all such young people. To do so in New York we’ll need to grow another 3x over the next few years. We seek a leader who can oversee the design and implementation of the organizational tools, technologies, and systems to ensure an impeccable foundation and propel our capacity to achieve big things.

We are looking for an experienced professional who will build organizational infrastructure — including but not limited to organizational management, talent recruitment, financial, HR, administrative, and IT systems — that not only never break as we grow, but always are out ahead of our anticipated growth. You have the vision to see the short, medium, and long-term future of Safe Passage Project’s operational needs, and you can optimize and improve our systems, at each stage of our evolution.

There are several backgrounds that could serve you well in this role, including previous experience leading operations and overseeing its various associated functions (finance, HR, Talent Recruitment, etc.). The Director of People, Finance, & Operations reports to the ED, Rich Leimsider, and will have two direct reports, along with several other dotted line relationships.

As Director of People, Finance, & Operations, you will be accountable for:

  • Leading our talent acquisition efforts as we grow, potentially doubling from our current size of 35 in the next two years, including building the tools and systems we need to enable that kind of growth.
  • Advising on HR best practices around compensation, benefits, employee relations, etc.
  • Building and managing the human resources processes, including administrative processes for recruiting, hiring and onboarding staff, resource planning and staff performance management processes.
  • Managing the day-to-day financial operations of the organization.
  • Overseeing the financial planning and reporting for a ~$4M annual operating budget.
  • Acting as our chief process manager, steering the team toward achieving our strategic priorities as detailed in our 3-year Strategic Plan.
  • Creating and implementing a process for gathering and sharing relevant data across the organization and network; Develop organizational capacity for data analysis and evaluation.
  • Working with the ED and Deputy ED, build and foster shared values and promote a healthy culture.
We are looking for someone…

who brings:

  • 6-10 Years of Professional Experience. Others might consider your career unique and you probably have spent some time leading hiring/talent acquisition efforts for a growing organization.
  • The experience of being accountable for – or heavily involved in – successfully hiring at least 20 people in past roles.
  • A comfort with finance. We are not looking for a CPA or anything like that. We do need this role to have strategic oversight of our finances and be able to provide useful reports to leadership, the board, and the team.
  • The ability to think and plan strategically and tactically in order to move the organization forward in meeting strategic goals.
  • Experience, comfort, and technical expertise working across HR, benefits, legal/compliance, finance, facilities, IT, and data systems.
  • Passion for our mission, desire to be part of a challenging legal practice making a difference in a child’s life. Commitment to positive social change.

​who is:

  • Adaptable & Flexible. You can handle any curveball, and in fact, you expect them. You’re strategic yet have the ability to pivot quickly as priorities shift and the team continues to take shape.
  • An Active Listener & Trusted Communicator. You can easily connect with people, can quickly earn trust from your team, and strive to ensure that team members feel heard.
  • A Humble Leader. You’re an approachable, active listener who inspires trust and confidence from others. Your ego is secondary; you lead by example, embodying the notion of personal responsibility and encouraging others to build on your ideas, challenging them and expanding them.
  • Efficient and organized. You can take in a range of events at different levels of urgency and importance, formulate responses, and keep progress going on many fronts at once.
  • A Strategic Decision Maker. You thrive in a rapid-growth environment where you can press forward quickly with big ideas, though you understand this often requires recognizing when it is required to take a step back and create proactive strategic plans that empower your team members. This role isn’t for the meek; we want excitement, not reluctance when a big decision needs to be made or you’re asked to make a tough call.
The Application Process

To apply, please create a Basic Profile using this link or click the Express Interest button. The process takes no more than 5 minutes and all you need is your resume.

Priority will be given to those individuals who submit by Tuesday, September 10th; therefore, we encourage you to submit yours soon!

This evaluation process will follow best practices shown to reduce bias in decision making and may be different from other application processes you have experienced.

When you apply, we kindly ask you to remove your schools from your resume. There is no need to reformat your resume and you may leave your degree (e.g. “B.A. Economics”). Just remember to remove any undergraduate and graduate school name references where possible. This “bias blind” process is aimed at opening this opportunity to more candidates; reviewing applicants on performance assessments instead of resume proxies (e.g. where you went to school). Lastly, we intentionally do not ask for a cover letter so we kindly request that you not send one in your application

The overall evaluation process will look to follow this anticipated timeline:

  • Early September: Selected candidates asked to complete short answer questions.
  • Mid-September: Phone interview with Safe Passage staff.
  • Late September: Finalist candidates will be asked to complete a timed trial assignment.
  • Early October:  Finalists will come for an in-person multi-team member group interview day in our New York City office. Candidate references will also be checked at this step.
  • Mid-September: Offer extended.

This is a senior-level role within our organization and we expect the salary to be in the $90K range, with competitive benefits.

If you have any questions about the opportunity, please feel free to email

Safe Passage Project is an equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people, veterans and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.