Operations Department

Location: Any major global HRW office

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled



Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world. We are roughly 500 people of 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need. We direct our advocacy towards governments, armed groups and businesses, pushing them to change or enforce their laws, policies and practices. To ensure our independence, we refuse government funding and carefully review all donations to ensure that they are consistent with our policies, mission, and values. We partner with organizations large and small across the globe to protect embattled activists and to help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims.


The Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) will provide strategic leadership and oversee day-to-day operational implementation on all global equity, diversity and inclusion policies, programs and practices for the organization. In this highly collaborative role, the Director will partner with senior leadership to develop, drive and communicate a holistic DE&I strategy at Human Rights Watch, infusing DE&I principles into our policies and practices. The Director is responsible for setting and implementing an overarching vision of diversity, equity, and inclusion, reporting directly to the Deputy Executive Director / Chief Operating Officer. This is a new role for the organization and will have a dedicated colleague to support them. The successful candidate will be based in one of our major offices, with an expectation of travel once it is safe to do so.

This position comes at a critical time. We have conducted multiple staff surveys and know what challenges our staff face, and are looking for a leader to bring together disparate staff-led DE&I efforts under a shared vision. We seek a leader who has a deep understanding of the DE&I issues in the human rights field and who can consult and collaborate with staff to drive change. Our staff-led efforts include a DE&I taskforce and a dedicated group examining how colonial, slavery, and racial legacies as well as patriarchal and class divides impact our world and our movement.

This opportunity requires an inspiring, collaborative, courageous, innovative, and visionary leader with outstanding people and management skills. While the following areas of responsibility should be anticipated, the new senior leader should be prepared to play an active role in building and shaping the agenda over time.


  • Develop and lead implementation of an organization-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy and initiatives and integrate a DE&I approach across functions.
  • Drive leadership awareness, commitment and accountability for DE&I initiatives.
  • Work with senior leadership to embed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across the organization, acting as the subject matter expert on all matters DE&I, and applying DE&I principles to our programs, training & development.
  • Develop the organization’s fluency in terms, concepts, and best practices related to DE&I.
  • Work closely with Human Resources to ensure optimal attraction, development and retention of diverse talent and to promote belonging and staff engagement.
  • Develop DE&I related initiatives that further the organization’s mission and values, engaging with and seeking input from our staff-led initiatives and other internal stakeholders.
  • Measure, track and analyze the effectiveness of DE&I initiatives to report on progress and identify opportunities for future areas of focus and be accountable for the evolution of our DE&I strategy.
  • Develop and implement an external engagement strategy to communicate to various non-staff stakeholders (e.g. donors, prospective candidates, and the public) the importance of DE&I to our organization, our work, and the human rights movement.
  • Develop relationships with external partners and professional organizations to advance our DE&I goals. Support fundraising for DE&I specific initiatives.
  • Perform other responsibilities as required.


Background & Experience

To be successful in this position, this individual must have extensive knowledge of DE&I practices, expertise in consulting and executing on organization-wide development and change initiatives, and a demonstrated history of staying abreast of this rapidly developing field. This leader will also have a deep personal dedication to the value of diversity and inclusion. Success in this position requires the ability to establish collaborative relationships (at all levels), set direction, develop others, and instill a strong results orientation. This individual must exhibit a demonstrated approach to DE&I from a social justice lens with an understanding that marginalized identities and communities may vary depending on location and context but have strong similarities globally.

Setting Strategy

  • A forward-looking approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will advancing inclusion, diversity, and staff engagement.
  • Critical thinking and skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information from multiple sources and perspectives to reach an answer or conclusion.
  • Effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.

Executing for Results

  • Exceptional project management/organizational skills; ability to manage multiple priorities.
  • Excels at delivering and continuously improving DE&I initiatives in a seamless and impactful way.
  • The ability to set clear and challenging goals.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.


  • Leads by example and drives the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.
  • Perseveres in the face of challenges and exhibits a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards, commands respect from others.
  • A leader who is self-reflective and self-aware of their own limitations.

Relationships and Influence

  • Influencing through relationships, internal and external, is important. Ability to persuade hearts and minds, engage in difficult and deeply personal dialogue with empathy, and handle conflict with grace and humility.
  • Both high intellect and emotional intelligence in order to communicate and influence effectively within a global, matrixed organization to meet the organization where it is.
  • A collaborative style to work with others openly and transparently to create an environment where diverse viewpoints are valued, and information is shared with others for the purposes of achieving a shared goal.


  • 10 years of experience of proven success in creating, leading and implementing DE&I. strategies, with at least 2 years in a global organization with a diverse workforce
  • Strong project management skills.
  • Ability to manage relationships throughout the organization, coordinating time and resources according to shifting priorities.
  • Demonstrated experience translating vision into strategy and delivering against the plan.
  • Experience leveraging data and analytics to develop insights and drive decision-making.
  • Enjoy program-solving and taking on challenges.
  • Strong written and/or verbal communication skills.
  • Experience in setting up Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) desirable.
  • Experience in working with legal counsel and HR on workplace conduct issues a plus.


HRW seeks exceptional applicants and offers competitive compensation and employer-paid benefits.  HRW offers a relocation assistance package and will assist employees in obtaining necessary work authorization, if required; citizens of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.


Interested and qualified candidates should contact Audeliss c/o Ben Lerner, Executive Search Consultant at ben@audeliss.com

Human Rights Watch is strong because it is diverse. We actively seek a diverse applicant pool and encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply. Human Rights Watch does not discriminate on the basis of disability, age, gender identity and expression, national origin, race and ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or criminal record. We welcome all kinds of diversity. Our employees include people who are parents and nonparents, the self-taught and university educated, and from a wide span of socio-economic backgrounds and perspectives on the world. Human Rights Watch is an equal opportunity employer.

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