Employment Opportunity

Human Resources Director

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) works through a robust network of staff, pro bono attorneys, and law students to fill a major gap in access to legal aid for refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced people. At a point of tremendous organizational growth to respond to this global need, IRAP is now seeking nominations and applications for the position of Human Resources Director.

As fear, division, hatred, and economic uncertainty persist in the global consciousness and manifest in discriminatory policies, speech, and actions, individuals across the world must respond by demanding and upholding commitments to justice. IRAP is leveraging its volunteers and resources to fight back and ensure that, as a society, we espouse the humanitarian tradition of welcoming those who need refuge. Since its founding in 2008, IRAP has used legal aid, litigation, and advocacy to protect and advance the rights of refugees, both domestically and internationally; IRAP is also committed to developing the next generation of human rights attorneys through its work with law students. The global turn against refugee resettlement coupled with IRAP’s highly effective model has led to a period of rapid expansion to meet new levels of demand. In the past two years, IRAP’s annual budget has increased from $2 million to $9 million, and over the past six years, its staff has grown from ten to seventy-five. This is an opportunity to start and lead a human resources department that will support a different kind of non-profit – one that endeavors to provide for its staff the same excellent quality of life that the organization fights for on behalf of its clients.

IRAP seeks a dynamic, experienced and entrepreneurial professional to serve as its first Human Resources Director and lead the organization’s efforts to recruit, assess, grow, and retain top-quality, diverse talent and foster an equitable, just, and positive organizational culture.

The ideal candidate will be a leader who is committed to social justice, who views all things through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and who sees talent management as a key lever for improving internal culture. She/He/They will bring several years of experience in human resources-related functions, including in talent management, recruitment, benefits, and organizational development improvement practices for domestic and international staff. An understanding of the opportunities and challenges inherent to an ambitious and growing organization is critical. Additionally, she/he/they will bring a human- centered approach to HR and a labor union-friendly perspective to engage and motivate IRAP’s very committed and passionate staff. The candidate will be dedicated to building and maintaining an anti- oppressive organizational culture in a dynamic environment. She/He/They will have the ability to coach, mentor and advise a direct report, peers, and senior leaders on best in class talent management and organizational development practices.

This search is being conducted by Whitney Herrington, Callie Carroll, and Allison Kupfer Poteet of NPAG.

Application instructions can be found at the end of this document.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a dynamic and growing legal, policy, and advocacy organization that works to develop and enforce a system of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced people around the world. IRAP is the first advocacy organization to provide free and comprehensive legal representation to refugees throughout the registration, protection, and resettlement processes. Since its establishment, IRAP has helped to resettle more than 3,800 individuals to 18 countries.

IRAP operates offices in the U.S. (New York), Jordan (Amman), and Lebanon (Beirut). Our legal services are supplemented by a corps of pro bono lawyers from leading U.S. and international law firms and multi- national corporations, and by law students who have created IRAP chapters across the United States and Canada. Through this work, IRAP aims to assist refugees and other displaced people to find safe passage and to transform the landscape of refugee rights in the U.S. and internationally. IRAP is a growing, nimble organization staffed by an innovative and collaborative team that is committed to high standards of quality and close partnerships with clients, peers, and colleagues.

IRAP has developed an innovative legal aid and advocacy model that defends the rights of refugees and assures their passage to safe destination countries. IRAP’s approach is grounded in three distinct but interrelated strategies:

  • IRAP has created a “virtual public interest law firm” that defies geographical boundaries and provides high quality representation to refugees by a cadre of 1,200 law students and over 800 pro bono This model is scalable and allows IRAP to take on an increasing number of urgent refugee cases, as well as respond to immediate crises.
  • Through extensive litigation and systemic advocacy, IRAP brings legal challenges to refugee rights violations in the courts, creating solutions to overcoming the legal and bureaucratic impediments in the resettlement process, and developing an enforceable system of legal and procedural rights for refugees and displaced persons As the only organization that guide refugees through every step of the resettlement process, IRAP is often able to identify obstacles of which other institutional players are unaware. This unique model utilizes lessons learned in individual casework to advocate for systemic changes that benefit broader refugee populations.
  • IRAP trains the next generation of international human rights advocates through law school These advocates are essential to assuring fairness, decency, and adherence to the rule of law throughout the refugee resettlement process and promoting pro-refugee policies now and in the future.

This comprehensive advocacy network was successfully activated on January 27, 2017, when President Trump signed an Executive Order implementing the first travel ban. IRAP immediately mobilized lawyers across the country to travel to airports and other ports of entry to prevent them from being turned into prisons IRAP filed suit demanding freedom for more than 2,000 travelers imprisoned at airports around the country simply because they were traveling from Muslim-majority countries. In total, it took only 27 hours from the signing of the Executive Order to the emergency court decision demanding that these thousands of people not be deported. IRAP’s ability to rapidly mobilize a nationwide network of attorneys and advocates and secure an important legal victory was pivotal – the organization’s actions created a movement and ensured that the public was made aware of the chaos and injustice taking place behind closed doors.

The Human Resources Director will report directly to the Director of Operations and will be a member of IRAP’s operations team that manages the organization’s internal infrastructure including finance, administration, and information technology. Leading in partnership with members of the operations team and other key senior leaders, the new Human Resources Director can expect to engage in the following core challenges and opportunities, all of which require balanced lens between domestic and international field office relations:


Employee Relations
The Human Resources Director will act as the main point of contact for staff on HR-related issues. She/He/They will provide counseling and coaching to managers and employees regarding day-to-day interactions and interpretation of HR-related programs, policies, and processes. Additionally, she/he/they will partner with IRAP’s retained professional employer organization (PEO) and with IRAP’s legal counsel to remediate problems that arise and administer benefits and other programs. IRAP’s goal is to make each employee’s interactions with Human Resources as smooth, seamless, and caring as possible.

Talent Management
The Human Resources Director will lead the assessment and continued development of practices, processes, policies, and systems to support best practices in management, recruitment, employee well-being, etc. The director will also work in partnership with senior colleagues to strengthen a culture of feedback and learning and collaborate with other departments to coordinate staff development agendas and trainings.

The Human Resources Director will develop and manage strategies and systems for equitable, effective, and innovative hiring processes. It is critical for her/him/them to evaluate and introduce improvements to processes and procedures along the employee life cycle from recruitment to onboarding, and train and support hiring managers and hiring teams throughout the recruiting and interview process to ensure a diverse candidate pool, equitable hiring practices, and consistency across the organization.

Organizational Culture
In collaboration with the Director of Operations and key members of the operations team, the Human Resources Director will uphold an ongoing focus on an organizational culture that ensures a safe, inclusive, and emotionally supportive environment. She/He/They will serve as a thought leader and champion of the importance and value of a diverse, equitable, humane, and inclusive culture and partner with senior staff to establish and cultivate policies, practices, and norms that support that orientation.

Labor Relations
In collaboration with other organizational leaders, the Human Resources Director will plan and carry out assignments involving the labor relations program for IRAP. This includes participating in negotiations related to IRAP’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, facilitating labor-management meetings, and gathering and providing advice and assistance on contract administration and other bargaining unit relations.

The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to IRAP’s mission and will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • An approach to human resources that prioritizes the well-being of staff, and recognizes that staff who are valued and supported are better able to fight for justice for their clients and themselves;
  • Significant human resources experience in roles of increasing responsibility in a similarly complex organization;
  • Experience supporting teams that span US and international offices is preferred;
  • Prior experience encompassing employee relations, talent management, HR risk and compliance, learning and development, management coaching, and strategic advising and data management;
  • Commitment to and experience in successfully employing an anti-racist/anti-oppression lens to foster a diverse, equitable working environment and creating diverse teams that reflect communities served;
  • A high level of emotional intelligence and ability to thoughtfully and accurately assess and solve highly complicated people problems;
  • A systems thinker with the ability to translate ideas into action, and a creative and resourceful problem solver;
  • A collaborative, collegial style and a proven track record and commitment to mentoring and coaching staff and building internal A management style that fosters respect, teamwork and innovative approaches;
  • Highly organized and flexible; able to multi-task and manage a high-volume workload; excellent time management skills;
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills and the ability to understand and handle sensitive and confidential information;
  • Comfort with ambiguity and working through solutions with creativity and innovation;
  • Excellent writing, analytical, and oral communication skills;
  • Fluency in oral and written English required; additional languages are a plus;
  • Must be based in New York City (or willing to relocate).

The salary range for this role is expected to be $130,000-$150.000 per year, with actual salary commensurate with experience. IRAP offers an excellent benefits package, including healthcare and retirement plans, a flexible work schedule, and vacation and sick leave.

More information about IRAP may be found at: https://refugeerights.org/.

This search is being conducted with assistance from Whitney Herrington, Callie Carroll, and Allison Kupfer Poteet of NPAG. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: IRAP- DHR@nonprofitprofessionals.com. In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.

IRAP believes that diversity is critical to fostering a strong workplace and serving our clients well. We strongly encourage applications from people with lived experiences in the communities that we serve, members of other marginalized communities, and individuals whose identities are underrepresented in the legal profession.