Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Defender Association of Philadelphia

Job Summary

The Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has primary responsibility for providing leadership and administrative oversight for researching, developing, implementing and maintaining a range of successful practices for supporting a climate and culture that values and prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusiveness. The Director of DEI will work strategically, in collaboration with the Chief of People and Culture, with leadership and staff to foster a culture that is adept at supporting and leveraging differences within our community; utilizing fair and transparent practices that foster equitable decision making and outcomes; promoting dignity and respect across and among all staff. The Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is responsible for leading the organization’s strategic efforts toward creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and antiracist organization.

Duties / Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the executive team, including the Chief Defender and the Chief of People and Culture and a dedicated steering committee to define the Association’s long-term mission and vision and strategy around creating a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and antiracist organization.  This will involve developing a DEI mission statement.
  • Create an approach to our recruitment efforts, including developing a diversity recruitment strategy, to recruit diverse staff to the Defender organization.
  • Cultivate and promote an inclusive work environment that encourages and supports cultural competency and racial equity.
  • Maintaining a highly visible, responsive, and effective social media identity that provides accurate, updated information regarding employment, office community event, and criminal justice reform advocacy work.
  • Working collaboratively with the Director of Training to lead efforts to develop training programs for leadership and all staff on core competencies necessary to build equity and inclusion.
  • Tracking our progress on meeting our goals identified in the DEI strategy and working with a dedicated committee refining the strategy as necessary to meet those goals.
  • Seek funding to support anti-racism and DEI goals and programs.

The ideal candidate will:  

  • Have experience working directly with people from a diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Have a deep understanding of the systemic and individual impacts of poverty and racial oppression, as well as experience with theories and strategies designed to address racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of bigotry and bias.
  • Courage to bring awareness to issues of injustice, inequity, and discrimination internal and external to the office.
  • Highly collaborative and team-oriented, with the ability to build relationships with all levels of leadership.
  • Experience in working at multiple levels in a complex organization and inspiring and empowering culture change.
  • Willingness to engage in challenging discussions and manage and facilitate courageous conversations.
  • Ability to work across various units/departments at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, creating a shared understanding of how DEI work will be integrated to support the organization’s larger DEI mission and goals. Excellent oral, written, and presentation skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills and ability to facilitate effective conversations about race, gender, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ability to communicate with clarity and compassion with criminal justice stakeholders and community partners.
  • Ability to identify, quantify, interpret, and report statistical data and employee experiences to make recommendations that support diversity and equity efforts.
  • Open, respectful, transparent, empathetic and diplomatic. Possesses a sense of urgency as well as the ability to be flexible.


  • Master’s Degree or JD highly preferred.
  • Prior experience as a public defender/criminal defense attorney, or an attorney in non-profit or public interest field highly preferred.
  • Dedicated experience developing, leading, or advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Dedicated education/training/certification in DEI highly preferred.

Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. This description reflects management’s assignment of essential functions. It does not proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned. This job description is subject to change at any time.