The High Line, an extraordinary public space and non-profit organization working with the NY City Department of Parks and Recreation, seeks a thoughtful and accomplished leader for Senior Director for Human Resources and Administration. Charged with providing comprehensive oversight, planning and management of all human resources and administration functions, the Senior Director will be a champion of the organization’s core values and strategic commitment to attract, retain, advance and support a broadly diverse workforce of the highest level of excellence that thrives in a respectful, inclusive and equitable workplace culture. Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Senior Director is a member of the senior management team, and provides oversight and mentorship of a small team in human resources, IT, and office management.
About the High Line
The High Line is both a nonprofit organization and an elevated freight line transformed into a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. It is owned and operated by the City of New York, and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line.
It is now an extraordinary public space enjoyed by residents and visitors from all over the world. Through work with communities on and off the High Line, the energy and commitment to reimagining public spaces to create connected, healthy neighborhoods and cities continues. Visitors can walk through the gardens, view art, experience a performance, enjoy food or beverage, or connect with friends and neighbors—all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.
The original elevated line was constructed in the 1930’s to lift freight traffic above the streets of Manhattan, and the last train ran in 1980. Founded in 1999 by community residents, Friends of the High Line fought for High Line’s preservation and transformation at a time when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. In 2004, the design team was selected for its renewal project. James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an architecture firm, joined experts in horticulture, engineering, security, maintenance, art, and other fields to realize what is now one of New York’s most celebrated and lively public spaces.
The organization’s evolution has informed its mission and vision over the years since its founding and now relies on these values as a lens by which decisions are made:
- Keep Evolving – Pursue the less obvious, innovative, and fearless solutions in all our work.
- Remove Barriers – Create access points for all people proactively, regardless of race, income, age, country of origin, ability, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. More specifically, we look at incorporating our definitions of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility as:
- Diversity is the intentional building of awareness and appreciation of intersecting backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.
- Grounded in diversity, Inclusion is the practice of seeking out, prioritizing, and implementing the expertise of diverse voices, recognizing that each is valid, valuable, and necessary.
- Grounded in diversity and inclusion, Equity is the just and fair allocation of power, resources and opportunities.
- Access is the freedom from physical, cultural, communication, financial and legal barriers.
- Collaborate – Seek out a diversity of experiences: listen, respect, and learn from multiple voices, perspectives and modes of participation. Recognize power in teamwork.
- Value Resources – Commit to environmentally sustainable best practices in the park and in our organization.
Using the current strategic framework as a guide, Friends of the High Line seeks to identify what’s next for the organization. With the same conviction and dedication that was brought to saving, designing, and rebuilding a forgotten piece of industrial infrastructure, there is a commitment to building and sustaining a place where diverse communities of neighbors and visitors feel a sense of belonging and engagement, where the unexpected can be encountered, and where connections can be created with each other and with the surrounding neighborhoods and communities. The vision has expanded to becoming a “civic connector” – that is about linking individuals and communities to the social, environmental, cultural, and economic resources on and off the High Line, and prioritizing those who have not historically benefitted from these resources. The High Line is reimagining the role of public space to create more connected and healthy communities and is central in responding to the interests and values of the community and to future needs of a rapidly growing West Side of New York City.
Robert Hammond is co-founder and the Executive Director of Friends of the High Line. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Hammond graduated from Princeton University. Prior to the Friends of the High Line, Hammond worked as a consultant for the Times Square Alliance, Alliance for the Arts and National Cooperative Bank and as Ex-Officio Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2012, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School, and in 2013, the National Building Museum awarded Hammond and co-founder, Joshua David its 15th Vincent Scully Prize for their work in creating one of the most successful urban revitalization projects, and for “excellence in historic preservation.”
For more information on The High Line, please visit: www.thehighline.org
The Senior Director of Human Resources and Administration will provide strategic oversight and direction for the High Line’s human resource and administrative functions in order to achieve results aligned with mission, vision, and values of the organization and create a culture at Friends of the High Line that helps ensure employees can be fulfilled in their job and help ensure that the High Line is a great place to work. The Senior Director will provide oversight of a comprehensive range of HR and administrative services and advising for a full-time staff of 100 and seasonal staff of 50. The Senior Director will support developing positive values and behaviors, creating a diverse and inclusive work environment, fostering professional development and learning, and ensuring the organization continues to be a place where people are inspired by the mission and love coming to work each day. The Senior Director will play a collaborative partner role in the equity, diversity, and inclusion work of the High Line on an organizational and interpersonal level. Additionally, Friends of the High Line is seeking a leader with a progressive HR mindset, excellent communication skills, and the highest ethical standards and values.
Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, Gail Beltrone, the Senior Director will work closely with members of the Executive Team as an advisor and functional expert regarding human resources and organizational culture. The Senior Director will provide direction and support to the High Line’s talent strategy facilitating the achievement of people-driven goals, while meeting management and regulatory human resources expectations. In addition, the Senior Director will lead the effort to recruit, develop and lead a team capable of supporting the High Line’s performance and growth strategies while fostering an engaging, positive work environment.
In alignment with the organization’s goals related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, the Senior Director will lead the implementation of inclusive and equitable best practices, efficient systems, and tools where needed, and improvement of all structures and practices and communications wherever possible.
Utilizing deep knowledge of a variety of human resources functions, the Senior Director will design a comprehensive strategy and effective systems to attract, onboard, retain, and develop a skilled and engaged workforce that distinguishes the High Line in a competitive labor market. In collaboration with all levels of staff to cultivate an inclusive work culture and oversee initiatives and programs to help guide employee engagement, accountability, and fulfillment.
In addition to managing human resource functions, the Senior Director will oversee the administration of office services, through an office manager and reception activities, to ensure appropriate space and resources for High Line staff to succeed in their roles.
As the leader of the High Line’s information technology strategy, the Senior Director will oversee the outsourced IT services and other resources to support internal services and, in collaboration with the COO, determine best use and acquisition of organization enterprise software, network hardware, and server management. In addition, the Senior Director will oversee office manager responsibilities and determine best practices for remote work as well as an on-site office use.
Attributes that will be the Senior Director’s greatest assets include:
- Change Leadership: Catalyze new approaches to improve results by transforming culture, systems or services, helping others overcome resistance to change so that organizational objectives are achieved.
- Collaboration: Develop productive working relationships with others to accomplish organizational goals.
- Communication: Present ideas effectively (orally and/or in writing) to individuals and groups in formal and informal settings and deftly acts an effective listener in all levels of interaction.
- Commitment to Equity: Possess a high-level understanding of diversity and inclusion work, with a demonstrated capacity for operationalizing equity within the daily functions of the organization.
- Excellence-Driven: Ensure the High Line’s strategy and goals are met timely and effectively, adding value by pushing the functional agenda into the future to seek organizational advantage.
- Functional Competency: Possess the functional and technical knowledge and skills to perform the job at a high level of accomplishment, understanding and using appropriate office software and technology and acting as a leader and technical expert with regard to compliance-related matters.
- Mission-Focused: Catalyze others’ commitment to advance the well-being of healthy, thriving, connected communities.
- Proactive Thinking: Identify key issues and relationships relevant to achieving a long-range goal or vision.
- Team Building: Serve as an ideal team player exhibiting humility, initiative, and people smarts. Uses a flexible interpersonal style to build, motivate and guide cohesive teams in attaining organizational goals.
- Vision & Purpose: Confront the complex realities of the environment and simultaneously seeks a different and better future, providing purpose, direction and motivation.
- Values-Driven: Demonstrate behaviors which reflect the values and mission of the High Line.
The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:
Expertise in People, Values and Culture
The Senior Director will be an advisor, manager of teams, and functional expert to the COO and Executive Team regarding talent management, employee relations and culture. This person will develop and execute comprehensive HR, employee relations, employee effectiveness and talent management strategies in alignment with the organization’s priorities. The ideal candidate will bring experiences in building and leading a best-in-class human resources function with a strong understanding of human resources management and talent development strategies. This leader will evaluate and advise on the organization’s policies and systems concerning human resources and will have a proven ability to foster and strengthen cultures rooted in collaboration, compassion and professionalism. They will be a team builder who has designed and implemented effective talent recruitment, management and retention strategies in the past.
Collaborator, Partner and Change Agent
The Senior Director will initiate new approaches to improve results by transforming culture, systems or services as well as seek and incorporate ongoing feedback. This leader will have practical experience in communicating change, including those related to historic practices, traditions and long-established systems. Proactive and insightful, the Senior Director will bring a mindset to examine the status quo. This leader will empower the staff by operating with a high degree of transparency and clarity, in addition to focusing on outcomes.
The Senior Director will also oversee regular assessment and reporting on employee morale with a focus on continuous improvement and development of positive employer/employee relationships to promote a high level of morale, motivation, retention and job satisfaction. The Senior Director will drive culture to establish and maintain a level of credibility and trust that encourages employees at all levels to discuss issues openly and set a positive tone for the organization.
Cultivating Equity and Using Influence
The Senior Director will have an understanding of the issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, and will embed these ideas in the management of staff. Experienced in working with diverse populations, this person will have the character and integrity necessary to develop rapport with people of varying experiences, backgrounds and philosophies. This person will relentlessly be in pursuit of creating an environment where every employee can be their authentic selves. This collaborative leader will build and lead the vision to advance the High Line’s organizational goals to recruit, develop and retain top talent.
A resourceful coach and capable facilitator, the Senior Director will enthusiastically collaborate with the organization’s staff in developing awareness, comfort and confidence to address and champion equity in all aspects of the organization and its services. Understanding that this mission attracts great talent, and that great talent attracts great opportunity, the Senior Director recognizes this is but one stop on each colleague’s robust career journey, and will seek to build an organization that makes it a place people want to stay and grow.
Passion for the Mission
The Senior Director will embody the values and mission of the High Line and as a result, will inspire and motivate others to push the mission forward in a collaborative manner. The Senior Director will catalyze others’ commitment to advance the well-being of the staff and the organization overall. They will lead by example, understanding that at times, empathy is an essential quality. The ideal candidate will have an eye consistently focused on the future and how to best adapt the organization to its changing environment. The Senior Director is someone who can be trusted without reservation and build a strong sense of community within HR and the greater organization. This leader will also serve as an ideal team player, modeling the values of the organization in their everyday work and exhibiting humility and a flexible interpersonal style to build, motivate and guide a cohesive team in attaining organizational goals.
Compensation & Benefits
Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Beth Schaefer and Marisa Chock of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Friends of the High Line is a proud Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages anyone who has a love for what we do to apply. We are committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment for our visitors and staff. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of 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.
At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.
Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. Koya does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.