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People and Culture Director

The People and Culture Director is a key team player within Steppenwolf’s general management team. Reporting to the General Manager, the People and Culture Director is responsible for all facets of human resources and talent strategy for Steppenwolf’s 200+ staff and artists. This position plays an integral role as an organizational culture strategist and change management advisor to the General Manager and Executive Director, partnering on initiatives ranging from company communications, business model design, succession planning, restructures, and Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA).

The ideal People and Culture Director brings a high level of understanding of the dynamics of an arts organization and demonstrable experience building responsive people and culture environments that balance creativity and accountability for all.



  • Collaborates with the General Manager and Executive leadership to understand the theater’s goals and strategy related to organizational culture, staffing, recruiting, and retention.
  • Provides guidance and strategic direction for all dimensions of the business impacting the organization’s structure, staffing, employee engagement, and employee relations.
  • Advises the Executive Director, Artistic Director, General Manager, and other members of the senior management team on the human resource implications and risks related to key issues and important strategic decisions.


  • Administers or oversees the administration of people and culture programs including, but not limited to: compensation, benefits, and leave; disciplinary matters; disputes and investigations; performance and talent management; productivity, recognition, and morale; and training and development.
  • Identifies staffing and recruiting needs; develops and executes best practices for hiring and talent management.


  • Partners with the General Manager and the Associate People and Culture Director to develop a holistic people and culture strategy that deepens the commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) at Steppenwolf.
  • Leads the program management of Steppenwolf’s IDEA work with the staff, board and ensemble; including, but not limited to, coordinating the development and implementation of priority initiatives and actions by the staff-driven IDEA Action Council plus the Ensemble and Board of Trustees efforts. Supports the IDEA Steering Committee in its creation and organizational-wide oversight role.
  • Identifies and manages IDEA partner relationships and recruits facilitators and outside support, when needed.
  • Supports and shepherds affinity spaces for interested staff.
  • Serves as the primary liaison with Enrich Chicago, a collaborative of over 40 Chicagoland arts and philanthropic organizations committed to ending systemic racism in the arts.


  • Adopts and institutionalizes leading-edge human resources methods, systems, and tools that elevate Steppenwolf’s human resource capacity and establishes consistent best practices.
  • Plans, leads, develops, coordinates, and implements policies, processes, training, initiatives, and surveys to support the organization’s human resource compliance and strategy needs.
  • Develops, monitors, implements and adjusts, when needed, departmental budget (via Excel).
  • Ability to translate People and Culture initiatives into accessible data and present it in a clear, concise and compelling manner.
  • Supervises one full time Associate People and Culture Director who manages benefit administration, oversees payroll, onboarding, worker’s comp, cultural HR events, and aspects of talent management.


  • Monitors and ensures the organization’s compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations, and recommended best practices; reviews and modifies policies and practices to maintain compliance.
  • Maintains knowledge of trends, best practices, regulatory changes, and new technologies in human resources, talent management, and employment law; applies this knowledge to communicate changes in policy, practice, and resources to upper management.
  • Works closely with pro-bono employment counsel on employment-related personnel issues.


Within the first 3-12 months, the People and Culture will achieve the following objectives:

  • Ensure that the People and Culture deliverables from the organization’s IDEA Action Plan are progressing and hitting deadlines. Communicate to constituents about progress in a regular and timely manner.
  • Develop and implement a strong, flexible human resources infrastructure that can meet the needs of Steppenwolf, a beloved Chicago arts organization, as we recover from a year of closure.
  • Serve as an effective business partner and advisor to the General Manager and Executive Director on all issues around managing people in a dynamic and creative environment.
  • Working closely with the Director of Operations, transition administrative staff back to the office in a hybrid mode post-COVID.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Demonstrable experience advocating for and activating inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in their professional and personal lives.
  • A deep commitment to working with diverse groups in terms of gender expression, race, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, class, and immigrant status.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  • Excellent organizational/project management skills and attention to detail.
  • Possess excellent time management skills with a proven ability to meet deadlines.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • The ability to manage up, sidewise and down with class and calm.
  • Proven strong supervisory and leadership skills within an HR/People and Culture department.
  • Ability to quickly adapt to the needs of the organization and employees.
  • Thorough knowledge of employment-related laws and regulations.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite and communication IT tools that best support human resource communication.
  • SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP highly preferred.
  • Preference to those who have non-profit arts HR experience.


Salary range: $70,000 – $90,000 with excellent benefit package for full time employees, including medical, dental, vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, vacation pay, paid sick time, personal days, Ventra transit benefit program, employee assistance program and 401(k) matching retirement program.

How to apply:

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and three references by following this link by June 18, 2021.

Full link:

Contact Info:
Solana O
Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago