New York, NY; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Washington, DC

Chief of People and Culture, Lambda Legal

The Organization

About Lambda Legal

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.

Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships; challenge discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in the workplace, in the home, in schools, in health care, and in the military; and protect LGBTQ+ families, including by winning and defending marriage equality. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy, and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

Lambda Legal believes that serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and enthusiasm for diversity of all kinds. To be successful, the organization approaches its work with an understanding that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not the only obstacle to achieving full formal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV; rather, it recognizes the intersectional nature of discrimination, specifically including biases based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, education, and class. In light of this reality, Lambda Legal prioritizes awareness and proactive commitment to counteracting these biases and their compounding effects.

Position Summary

Lambda Legal seeks a Chief of People +Culture (CPC). This executive role is responsible for recognizing the value of everyone in the organization and the organization’s important mission and priorities. The CPC will lead a human resources (HR) team and operation steeped in equity principles, with the goal of moving Lambda Legal toward becoming an anti-racist organization.

This executive leads the team responsible for talent acquisition and pipeline, onboarding, employee relations, performance management, training and development, compensation, and employee benefits in alignment with the organization’s strategic priorities and programmatic vision. This position supports DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) and internal cultural initiatives and activities and works toward a human resources function rooted in equity. The CPC recognizes that the workplace is stronger when employees bring their whole selves to work and actively creates an environment in which employees feel safe and encouraged to do so.

Essential Job Functions

The Chief of People + Culture reports to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and works closely with the leadership management team. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the core duties and responsibilities expected of the CPC:

Organizational Effectiveness

  • Aligns HR operations with the organizational strategic plan; creates and implements HR strategy rooted in equity principles
  • Builds strong relationships with each member of the executive team, providing counsel on management concerns and coaching on best practices
  • Analyzes core program effectiveness from a human resources perspective to ensure that staffing is strategic, effective, and equitable
  • Works with COO and Leadership Team to define core values; ensures that core values are a part of daily work and conversation throughout the organization
  • Creates, encourages, and with the Executive Team, leads and maintains a culture of belonging in which all staff are united by vision and driven by mission; Encourages staff to assume responsibility for individual and organizational goals and ensures accountability
  • Develops systems of accountability and transparency in cooperation with the full staff, ensuring staff members have clear support structures and can expect a respectful, equitable, and humane working environment, both in the office and at external worksites
  • Creates and supports programs and initiatives that encourage and boost staff morale, engagement, and achievement consistent with core values, including a program of internal communications to promote productive and respectful exchange
  • Promotes a welcoming and vibrant work environment for both remote and in-office employees
  • Meaningfully engages staff in the development of policies, procedures, initiatives, and more through surveys, working groups, and other opportunities for involvement
  • Conducts employee engagement surveys, analyzes results, and recommends strategic investments to improve the outcome
  • Analyzes performance management structure to ensure equity, reflection of organizational values, and achievement of goals; ensures the organization’s performance standards are specifically defined, clearly communicated, and consistently and fairly applied; stays abreast of performance management best practices
  • Establishes strong rapport with staff via active listening, learning, and responsiveness
  • Devises a system for monitoring organizational turnover rates; makes recommendations aimed at increasing retention of high-performing employees
  • Ensures compliance with all federal, state, and local employment laws; remains current with changes in human resource and employment law
  • Supports organization-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives; shares Lambda Legal’s dedication to building a diverse and inclusive workplace
  • Actively participates in management bargaining process and maintains productive rapport with the union

Recruitment, Development, and Training

  • Designs and leads a robust internal and external recruiting structure for all positions in the organization, rooted in equitable talent practices
  • Supports each hiring manager to fill positions with exceptional candidates and reflects organizational values
  • Develops a recruitment pipeline that elevates diversity and equity goals and aligns with organizational programmatic needs
  • Designs and executes a comprehensive onboarding process that will integrate each new hire into the organization, leading to increased retention
  • Develops and oversees a team that coordinates employee recruitment and new staff orientation programs
  • Organizes, leads, and continually enhances organization-wide staff and management training, mentoring, coaching, and leadership development programs. Ensures that managers are fully trained on inclusive and equitable management practices; maintains awareness of staff dynamics and management issues to support training needs as they arise
  • Designs and administers staff retention and recognition/reward programs

Employment, Compensation, and Benefits

  • Provides analysis of Lambda Legal’s compensation structure, recommending revisions where strategically advisable and necessary for equity, including analysis of benefits and executive compensation; conducts regular salary surveys, and develops and maintains compensation guidelines
  • Oversees management and administration of the benefits programs
  • Oversees all aspects of employee relations, including disciplinary process, grievance process, mediation, and supervisory guidance
  • Oversees legal matters related to employee performance, compliance issues, and legal actions and serves as a liaison with counsel
  • Supervises regular review and revision of personnel policies


With the understanding that no one person will offer every desired skill and characteristic outlined below, compelling candidates will offer much of the following:

Education + Experience Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources, Business Administration, or related field, or equivalent professional experience is preferred; advanced degree a plus
  • Ten or more years of experience in HR, preferably with five to seven years in a leadership role
  • Demonstrated experience building and leading an HR team of direct reports
  • Substantial HR experience with employees from the LGBTQ+, BIPOC, disabled, and gender-nonconforming communities
  • Labor relations, collective bargaining, and contract administration experience
  • Experience working within a nonprofit organization

Skills + Competencies

  • Strong interpersonal skills, exceptional communication + presentation skills (both written and spoken); well-developed supervisory, decision-making, and problem-solving skills
  • Strong organizational, project management, and time management skills required
  • Ability to interact and collaborate with coworkers at and across all levels of the organization and teams, excelling in such an environment
  • Demonstrated success leading teams through periods of change
  • Strong understanding of employee relations in a multi-state environment
  • Proficiency in business and HR systems, inclusive of talent management, time and attendance, and HRIS systems.
  • SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP preferred
  • Firm commitment to equity and the mission of Lambda Legal
  • Commitment to serving the people of Lambda Legal as individuals and to helping them succeed alongside the organization
  • Talent for navigating ambiguity, rapid change, and uncertainty; comfortable operating in an environment that can pivot as needed to respond to internal and external priorities
  • A direct and open style; diplomatic approach; confident with complex and sensitive conversations; able to facilitate compromise and achieve consensus
  • Understands dimensions of diversity and how to work within diverse communities; understands the intersection of race and LGBTQ+ identities; understands the complexity of doing this work within systems of inequality
  • Excellent mentor who takes pride in developing team members
  • Compassion and empathy; a “counseling” mentality
  • Independent thinking and personal courage
  • Politically savvy; can maneuver and manage through complex organizational and political issues while being sensitive to personal cultural differences

Lambda Legal believes in creating a more equitable playing field for applicants and values the depth of relevant skills built through lived experience as well as formal educational and professional paths. If you don’t meet all the above qualifications but believe you could excel in this position, you are strongly encouraged to apply.

Successful candidates will welcome the opportunity to work in a racially- and gender-diverse environment and to contribute to a positive and inclusive atmosphere. Working at Lambda Legal requires demonstrated awareness, understanding, and commitment to champion the concerns of the breadth of the communities and staff that Lambda Legal serves.

Reporting Relationships

The Chief of People + Culture reports to the Chief Operating Officer and has the following supervisory responsibilities:

  • Human Resource Manager* – Interim in place
  • Recruiter* – vacant

* indicates a direct report

Compensation + Benefits

The salary range for this position is $185,000-$200,000.

A competitive benefits package is provided, including:

  • Medical*, Dental*, Life insurance*, Short- and long-term disability insurance*
  • Vision
  • Pre-tax Health Flexible Spending Account
  • Dependent care account
  • Commuter transit account
  • 403(b) retirement account with a 2% employer contribution plus up to 4% match
  • Substantial vacation (accrue up to 15 days year 1)
  • Three personal, 12 sick days
  • Lambda Legal observes ten holidays per year and is supportive of the observance of religious holidays

* Life insurance, short- and long-term disability, and basic medical and dental are provided at no cost to the employee.

As a reflection of our firm’s commitment to equity and equal pay for all, it is Cooper Coleman’s requirement that salary ranges or salary starting points be published for every search we conduct. The practice of not posting salaries perpetuates the gender and racial wage gap and discriminates against women, people of color, and other historically excluded populations by causing individuals to negotiate from a disadvantaged starting point.


The ideal candidate is located in any of the following major metropolitan areas where Lambda Legal has a regional office:

  • National Headquarters – New York, NY
  • Southern Regional Office – Atlanta, GA
  • Midwest Regional Office – Chicago, IL
  • South Central Regional Office – Dallas, TX
  • Western Regional Office – Los Angeles, CA
  • Washington, DC Office

Travel + COVID Statement

During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel will be minimal. However, some amount of travel (up to 15-20%) will be required in the future. Lambda Legal’s offices have reopened. The health and well-being of our employees and their loved ones are of the utmost importance to us. We follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines to ensure the safety of employees who work from the office.

EEO + Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBTQ+, HIV-affected, and allied communities and is an equal-opportunity employer. People of color, transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, people living with HIV, and people living with (or perceived as having) other physical or mental disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Background Checks

Before sending your resume for this position, please read it over for accuracy. Cooper Coleman verifies its candidates’ employment and academic credentials at the time of offer, and our clients frequently conduct background checks before finalizing an offer.​

How To Apply

Submission Instructions (read carefully)

Cooper Coleman is leading this search on behalf of Lambda Legal. To apply, please visit this link ( Inquiries and nominations of qualified candidates can be sent to:

Kathy Kraushar |

Kindly use the position title as the subject line of your email. All inquiries will be held in confidence.

A cover letter is not required with your initial application but is welcomed to help us understand your fitness for this role during our initial evaluation. Candidates invited for interviews will be asked to provide a thoughtful letter of interest indicating their specific qualifications for the opportunity, desire to join Lambda Legal, and connection to its mission.

Please note:  Viable candidates for this role are senior-level, experienced, practiced HR professionals. Those invited to advance stages of the interview process may be asked to complete an exercise in which they present responses to a panel. Keep this in mind as you consider exploring this opportunity.

Cooper Coleman LLC is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all qualified candidates and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or identity, age, ability, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis.

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