The Opportunity:

In the United States, only 25% of high-achieving students from low-income communities apply to the nation's most selective colleges and universities. At EMERGE, we believe that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. Grounded in this belief, EMERGE empowers and prepares high-performing students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from selective colleges & universities across the nation.  

It is an exciting time to join the EMERGE team! The Covid pandemic and the spotlight on racial injustice have impacted our organization in ways that have forever changed the way we work, and the way we see the world. 

The Vice President of People and Culture is a new role created to drive the organization towards its goal to be the leading college access organization, with a culture that attracts and retains the most talented educational equity advocates. Our areas of focus include enhancing our culture, embedding DEIA practices into our organization, and creating systems to develop our people. This position will report to the CEO and sit on the Executive Leadership Team.

The Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate is friendly, innovative, and energetic, loves people and is driven to make EMERGE the best place to work in Houston! This person has an uncompromising bar of excellence and is passionate about creating a culture that entices the most talented people out there to come work for EMERGE. This person is also an unabashed champion for educational equity, is mission driven, and understands that talented people, when supported and developed, are motivated to get strong outcomes for students. Please consider applying if you are a natural builder of programs and have experience with innovative talent management systems in a traditional school district or/CMO, college access, or education nonprofit.

Estimated Start Date: February 15, 2023

Reports To: CEO

Location: Houston, TX. Hybrid. Onsite work is expected 2 – 3 days a week.

Salary Range: Compensation range is $120,000-$140,000

The Role:

As the Vice President of People and Culture, you will spend your time in the following ways:  

Big Picture Focus Areas: 

  • Creating the vision for and leading EMERGE’s talent management strategy which includes an organization wide process for coaching and development, competency mapping, performance evaluations, professional development, career pathways, rewards & recognition, and staff engagement.

  • Leading EMERGE to attain Best Place to Work status complete with competitive compensation and benefits packages, measured improvement, and advancement of a talent-focused culture

  • Embody Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism (DEIA) by ensuring that EMERGE has DEIA initiatives, reporting, events and that DEIA is incorporated into all aspects of the People function

  • Leading EMERGE’s change management. As EMERGE’s impact has grown, the nonprofit team has grown to over 40 staff members. You will join an energetic, passionate team of individuals working to propel Houston’s top students upwards and onwards. Structures are needed and the way we do business must evolve to meet a new set of ambitious goals. This role will spearhead change management efforts for the organization.

Strategic Vision & Goal Setting  

  • Using qualitative and quantitative data and knowledge of organizational best-practices, create vision for what the People, Culture, and DEIA function can achieve 
  • Vision and create a Talent Management System, which ties together all aspects of the employee experience, including Talent Acquisition, Talent Development, Talent Strategy and Talent Operations & Systems
  • Create strategies to achieve goals laid out in our strategic plan and prioritize initiatives that will move the organization forward
  • Set goals, including leading and lagging indicators, to ensure outcomes are being met. Communicate progress with CEO and Executive Leadership Team
  • Prioritize new workstreams or issues as they arise

Day-to-Day Focus Areas:

Team Management & Culture Building

  • Manage the Director of People and Culture to execute and implement the team priorities 
  • Create High Impact Responsibilities & Behaviors for each team member, and ensure that tri-annual performance meetings are completed to support the development of each team member 
  • Ensure proper planning to delegate roles and responsibilities across team 
  • Determine communication and reporting structure across team for clarity, communicating ownership and alignment across the three positions 
  • Manage overall team dynamic and professional development opportunities to ensure effective team culture 
  • Develop a cost model and structure for PCD expense planning 
  • Effectively manage PCD budget and team expenses to ensure financial resources are stewarded appropriately and expenses fall within the approved annual budget 
  • Oversee the Director & (eventual) Manager on implementation of the following topics:
  • Staff engagement, including planning and execution of team-wide meetings, celebrations and communications 
  • DEIA implementation, including embedding diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives into the People and Culture workstreams
  • Hybrid work policies, including changes or updates to our norms or office policies
  • Benefits administration

Talent Acquisition

    • Creates a streamlined sourcing and hiring process that allows EMERGE to find the best candidates & be viewed as a “best place to work”
    • Support Hiring Managers through the process and create easy to follow systems
    • Ensure our onboarding process introduces new hires to our values and culture

    Talent Strategy

      • Lead development of a talent strategy that drives to achieve EMERGE’s 5-year strategic goals
      • Create a vision and “playbook” for EMERGE’s culture, that can grow with the organization and ensure talent strategy and culture position EMERGE as an “employer of choice” for top talent
      • Promote diversity, equity, cultural competence, and inclusion as part of the talent strategy

      Talent Development

        • Create a vision and outline for how to develop and retain staff at EMERGE
        • Improve Performance Evaluation process to align standards across roles, train People Managers on giving on-going feedback, and incorporate rewards and recognition into the process
        • Set vision for professional development for EMERGE’s staff, across levels
        • Ensure development of clear career paths to drive retention and growth of high-performing staff
        • Drive retention of high-performing staff through rewards, recognition, and incentives, and promote culture that celebrates employee contributions through variety of informal and formal activities
        • Set vision for employee engagement, promoting strong culture and inclusive behaviors across teams

        Talent Operations & Systems

          • Promote high quality HR service delivery aligned with policies, procedures, and regulations
          • Serve as the contact for confidential HR needs, figuring out solutions when necessary
          • Promote development of competitive benefit and compensation programs aligned with organization’s talent strategy and culture
          • Guide leadership team in designing and managing benefit and compensation programs, and ensure programs adhere to current policies and regulations, and, in partnership with CFO, are financially viable
          • Promotes use of talent & DEIA metrics and reports to inform talent strategy

          Internal Communications & Staff Engagement Planning 

            • Review current organizational communication structures and provide a plan to enhance processes for better staff engagement 
            • Own any internal communications that need to be sent, including regular updates and emergency or urgent updates that need to go out to the full staff 
            • Review the EMERGE Hub and provide recommendations to make it more engaging; ensure team has process for regular updates 

            The Person  

            Strategic Thinker & Problem Solver 

            • Uses 'out of the box' thinking to improve or enhance our processes; shares learnings with others and encourages the team to keep innovating and moving forward 
            • Actively develops systems, policies and procedures to create long term change 
            • Sees the big picture, sets a vision and creates milestones for team to achieve goals  
            • Identify gaps and opportunities, and make a strategic plan for self and team that is aligned with program mission and outcomes   
            • Prioritizes daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly actions for self and team to meet annual goals; delegates actions appropriately across team 

            Relationship Builder 

            • Builds trust with their team and the broader team to foster a collaborative culture, engage in healthy conflict and discussion, and produce stronger outcomes as a result 
            • Motivates and empowers the team to drive towards a common goal; celebrates wins and fosters an attitude of gratitude 
            • Engages with direct reports and broader team in coaching and feedback conversations; facilitates development of team  
            • Spends time growing their network and knows when to engage stakeholders during the problem-solving process 

            Strong Communicator 

            • Communicates proactively and effectively to ensure alignment up, down and across the organization 
            • Seeks input from the right sources ahead of major decisions or changes being rolled out by the Operations team; provides or seeks clarity when unclear or in disagreement 
            • Proactively communicates decisions and “need to know” information to the direct team and the broader team 

            Functional Leader 

            • Displays a sense of ownership and responsibility of key metrics and functional focus areas, including being clear on decision making rights and communicating those decisions and being seen as a content expert who can share important data/information 
            • Engages in continued professional development around critical knowledge & skills needed to lead team/initiatives effectively 
            • Drives accountability through listening, responding and following through in the areas of Operations 

            Resource Maximizer 

            • Thinks strategically about how organizational funds are being spent; understands area budget and cost drivers well enough to create budget and reallocate as needed throughout the year  
            • Thinks critical about major spending decisions to ensure organizational funds are being used wisely and understands the return on investment prior to spending; ensure team is also working to maximize resources 

            Ideal Candidate will have:  

            • Bachelor’s degree is highly preferred
            • 7+ years professional experience, with a focus on HR, Culture or People initiatives 
            • 3+ years of experience leading a team 
            • Experience developing talent and workforce strategies and policies 
            • Exceptional interpersonal skills  
            • Exceptional project management skills  
            • Exceptional communication skills  

            Who we are:  

            At EMERGE, we live by our Core Values:  

            • Equity grounds us  
            • Diversity defines us  
            • Talent mobilizes us  
            • Meaningful relationships fuel us  
            • Results distinguish us  

            Founded in 2010, EMERGE is a college-access organization changing the life trajectories of hundreds of students across the Houston area. Since its inception, EMERGE has grown from serving 14 students across four high schools, to serving over 1,600 high school students across five school districts. We also serve over 1,400 college scholars at over 100 selective colleges and universities across the country.  

            The EMERGE nonprofit is a partner to EMERGE Houston ISD, EMERGE Spring Branch ISD, EMERGE Spring ISD, EMERGE Aldine ISD, and EMERGE Klein ISD.  

            As EMERGE’s impact has grown, our nonprofit team has grown to over 40 staff members. You will join an energetic, passionate team of individuals working to propel Houston’s top talent upwards and onwards.  

            What we offer:  

            At EMERGE, we aim to enact our core value of “equity grounds us” within our compensation practices to ensure a competitive and equitable salary & benefits package for all employees. 

            Our salary bands are established to accommodate growth within the role and varied experience levels at the point of hire. Based on historical data, we anticipate most candidates will begin their time at EMERGE at the lower end of the salary band. Yearly increases are based on the impact and scale of your role, along with external market factors.  

            Health Benefits

            EMERGE offers comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage. EMERGE also provides short-term and long-term disability insurance, along with life Insurance.

            Retirement Planning

            Eligible employees may participate in EMERGE’S 403(b) plan. EMERGE will match 100% of eligible contributions up to 3 percent of your gross earned salary.

            Paid Time Off

            Eligible employees have access to 27 Paid Time Off days for the year upon their first day of employment. EMERGE is closed for 18 holidays.

            Professional Development

            Eligible employees are awarded a stipend for role relevant professional development opportunities as well as access to internal EMERGE development tracks as they are offered.