Director, Racial Justice Center

Director, Racial Justice Center

Service Employees International Union

Washington, DC   |   March 13, 2020

About Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a dynamic and progressive labor union, based in Washington, DC. SEIU represents more than 1.9 million workers in healthcare, public services and property services. SEIU members belong to 150 local union affiliates across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
SEIU is committed to achieving its vision of a just society, in which all workers are valued and all people are respected—no matter where we come from or what color we are; where all families and communities can thrive; and to leaving a better and more equitable world for generations to come. In order to achieve this vision, SEIU is committed to waging and winning breakthrough organizing campaigns, joining in a wider movement to create a more inclusive, multi-racial democracy, and creating a more leader-rich, powerful 21st century union.

SEIU believes that in order to win economic justice, SEIU must win racial justice, and is committed to becoming an anti-racist organization. As part of SEIU’s commitment to building a wider movement focused on economic justice, SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) established a Racial Justice Task Force grounded in the belief that the union could and needed to take on the fight to end structural and anti-Black racism.

In January of 2017 to support SEIU’s commitment to all working families whether Black, white or brown, the Union established the Racial Justice Center to serve as a hub and resource for the organization’s work to create a world where everyone, no matter the color of their skin, can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

SEIU’s international headquarters is located in Washington DC, where the union leadership is based.

For more information on SEIU, visit For more information on SEIU’s Racial Justice Center, visit

The Opportunity

SEIU seeks a collaborative and visionary leader to effectively set goals for SEIU’s Racial Justice Center and direct its programs, with the objective of linking the fights for racial and economic justice and moving the union to become an anti-racist organization. Reporting to the Chief of Staff and partnering closely with the Chair of the Racial Justice Committee, the Director will lead the union’s efforts to firmly establish achieving racial justice.

This position will facilitate and support SEIU’s racial justice transformation; supporting the development of and scaling up effective racial justice campaigns, strategies, and programs along with building racially just organizational practices, policies, and systems.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to, the following:

Team Building and Leadership Engagement

  • Develop the union’s internal and external racial justice journey
  • Lead and convene cross departmental, divisional, and local governance meetings and discussions about SEIU’s racial justice initiatives, serving as an internal expert and guide on issues related to racial justice.
  • Lead the staffing of the Racial Justice Committee, an elected leader committee that guides our union’s journey. Develop agendas for meetings and drive preparation and follow up for meetings.
  • Supervise all Racial Justice Center staff and partner with SEIU’s BOLD Center Director, Officers, and senior leadership team to help facilitate and support SEIU’s racial justice transformation.

Program Management

  • Work in a strategic partnership with leadership to drive the Racial Justice Center programs from start to completion, applying deadlines, milestones, and processes to ensure effective progress.
  • Identify and develop shared models, approaches, and practices to facilitate the Union’s racial justice work and transformation efforts, leveraging racial justice teachings and philosophies.
  • Ensure program operations and activities adhere to SEIU’s internal policies and resolutions.

Strategic Partnerships

  • Develop collaborative relationships with SEIU’s racial justice partners and broader racial justice thought leaders to support the Union’s racial justice programs and efforts, both internally and externally.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues to advance an explicit race/class narrative and analysis in SEIU’s communications and work. Support emergent work around advancing a multi-racial democracy.
  • Collaborate with Officers and senior staff to develop benchmarks and a process to demonstrate progress around SEIU’s racial justice transformation efforts.
Candidate Profile

The Director, Racial Justice Center position calls for a dynamic and creative leader who is deeply committed to SEIU’s mission and values. The ideal candidate will have a solid understanding of the racial justice issues involved in organizing for economic and social justice with the ability to lead with influence and inspiration. They will collaborate effectively with diverse groups of people from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds and will be passionate about applying best practices in racial justice work to a complex environment.

While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Applied knowledge of racial justice theories and best practices in an organizational setting. Experience in social justice education, program development, and curriculum writing.
  • A proven track record providing strategic leadership in a union or social justice organization and/or complex political and organizational situations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social and economic justice and the ability to work effectively across and in support of diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Broad knowledge of systems thinking, organizational development, capacity building, and/or change management theories, methods, and approaches.
  • Significant experience supervising and developing staff. Experience directing and managing organizational change.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Significant experience within communities of color – Black communities, in particular.
  • Strong public presence with compelling written and oral presentation skills.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, particularly around sensitive issues, with the ability to serve as a strategic advisor and sounding board to staff at all levels of the organization.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and working through solutions when there is no obvious path.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively, build consensus, and cooperate with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Working knowledge and experience managing an annual budget.
  • Fluency in Microsoft Office Suite with ability to quickly learn internal systems, applications, and workflows.
  • Ability to travel when necessary (anticipated to be a significant amount of time, particularly in first year).
Compensation & Benefits

The salary will be commensurate with experience and the range will start at $125,000. Employees receive a generous benefits package that includes an employer-paid medical and dental plan (for full-time employees and their qualified dependents) and retirement benefits.


Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Melissa Madzel is leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


SEIU is an inclusive organization and is striving to be an anti-racist organization. We believe that systems and structures that support white supremacy hurt all of us, particularly people of color, people from working class backgrounds, differently abled people, women, and LGBTQ+ people. We believe that these communities must be centered in the work we do. Hence, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other marginalized communities.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit