Associate Partner

Associate Partner

Our Inspiration:

Racial injustice, inequity, and the systems designed to perpetuate them have defined our nation’s history. In the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court stated “…it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity…is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

We believe the spirit of this decision was a promise to decouple race from access and, more broadly, to break the predictive links between identity and outcomes overall. We also believe that as a society, we have yet to deliver on that promise; nearly seven decades later, institutionalized oppression, micro-aggressions, discrimination, inequity, and violence still obstruct the path to self-determination and a life trajectory full of choices for people from involuntarily marginalized communities. So, in 2017 and with the Brown ruling in mind, we founded Promise54 determined to help deliver on the promise of equity.

Specifically, we partner with social impact organizations working to address society’s most complex challenges, which often disproportionately impact historically marginalized groups. Our research indicates that too often within these organizations, the dissonance between stated values and lived staff experience results in cultures, policies, and practices which reinforce the very inequities that organizations are working to end. This, in turn, creates additional pain and hinders impact.

We envision a day when social impact organizations can create a more just world because they have diverse teams of people thriving in roles that activate their unique gifts and talents; foster inclusive and antiracist cultures; and have equitable practices, policies, and structures. With this vision in mind, we are ~20 passionate individuals who leverage our collective advising, coaching, systems design, and facilitation experience to help create the conditions for people to thrive and do their best work.

Our Ethos:

At Promise54, one of our most sacred guiding principles is Radical Humanity. Both internally and with our client partners, we’re focused on authentic relationships and deep engagement.

Endeavoring to operate in this way requires that we believe in the innate brilliance of each human. We assume imperfection is the norm and extend the grace of second chances to each other knowing that lifelong learning is not only inevitable but it fuels experimentation, risk-taking, growth, and innovation. We believe that process is as important as outcomes, and that good intentions don’t trump painful impact. Qualitative life experience is acknowledged as valid and real data. And, perhaps most importantly, we are working to slow down and bring intentionality, planfulness, care, compassion, humor, joy, and love into our work.

In service to these commitments, our team is committed to the following core values which guide our work together:

    • Champion Justice: We acknowledge the impact of systematic oppression and are committed to pursuing justice. We help to create the conditions to interrogate and shift mindsets, behaviors, and structures, while examining ourselves in the process. We act boldly in our pursuit of diverse, inclusive, equitable, and antiracist workplaces by challenging the status quo, spotting and dismantling inequities, sharing power, and elevating and centering historically silenced voices.
    • Embrace Possibility: We approach our work with a sense of possibility, adaptability, and optimism. We invest time in new ideas, engage in thoughtful problem solving, and explore innovative ways to team with each other and with our client partners.
    • Be Well: We know that to do our best work, we must accept and support each other in all of our humanity. We have fun, laugh out loud, find joy in our work together, celebrate each other’s life milestones, and live unapologetically in our own skin. We practice flexibility related to where and how we get our work done, respecting each other’s professional preferences and life priorities. We carve out time to relax, recharge, and refuel individually and as a team.
    • Pursue Impact: We are committed to helping people thrive so they can bring the full weight of their talent and passion to the communities they serve. To do so, we pursue transformational outcomes with our client partners and, in the process, we choose courage over comfort. We strive to deliver excellent work and an unparalleled client partner experience to inspire effective action, advance equity, and help our client partners realize their missions.
    • Practice Curiosity: We don’t have all of the answers, so we listen closely to our colleagues, our client partners, our schools, and our communities, as they tell us what’s working and what’s not. We embrace those who push our thinking while helping us make progress. This learning makes us and our work better.

How We Partner:

At Promise54, we’re obsessed with the interconnectedness and complexities of relationships between people, their work, and their organizations.

We bring that passion into our partnerships along with humility, care, humor, and intentionality. Because we believe transformative change begins with the individual, we support our client partners to bring a Radically Human lens to interrogating the ways in which their own behaviors and habits contribute to maintaining or dismantling systems of inequity.

We support our client partners to foster spaces where the voices and experiences of those who have been historically silenced can be shared and centered and where staff find connection across lines of difference, learn from one another, and bridge perspectives. We do all of our work with an emphasis on race while honoring, supporting, and leveraging intersecting identities.

Promise54 provides services and supports at several levels:

  1. Individuals and Teams: We support leaders and teams to thrive through executive, group and career coaching, cohort-based learning and convenings, and curated retreats designed to create community, connection and dedicated spaces for reflection and growth.
  2. Organizations: Through tailored advising partnerships coupled with proprietary tools and powerful benchmarking, we equip organizations with an understanding of their assets and challenge areas at the intersection of talent systems, culture, and DEI. We focus on supporting and enhancing organizational effectiveness, inclusive cultures, and equitable systems. Our executive search practice centers equity, deepens inclusion, and interrupts bias throughout the hiring process to help organizations realize the potential for radical impact presented by executive transitions and expansion.
  3. The Field: We conduct field-level research, mine for insights, and disseminate our findings widely to support leaders in their work to build thriving organizational environments where truly effective DEI practices drive stronger outcomes. Our research products include quantitative and qualitative reports such as 2017’s Unrealized Impact (with which we launched our organization), a set of radically vulnerable case studieswhich delve deeply into the experiences of three client partner organizations as they initiate and navigate new DEI initiatives, and most recently, our 2021 release of Unrealized Impact 2.0 – The Hard Truth About Where We Are and Ways To Move Forward.

Hallmarks of our approach include rigorous data-driven assessments and insights, thought leadership, tailored strategic support, attentive project management, and expert facilitation – all informed by our own expertise, research, and lived experiences. All of our work is infused with a deep focus on DEI and antiracism.

This Opportunity:

To accomplish all of this and live up to our aspirations, Associate Partners at Promise54 play an integral, internal and external role as leaders of small teams that work with client partners. Associate Partners are accountable to Partners who provide advisory support, and invest in their growth and professional development.  The role is ideal for contributors who can develop and execute work with independence and a high degree of ownership, but also those who enjoy working in close collaboration with a team in order to produce strong client partner deliverables. The Associate Partner’s primary responsibilities and duties fall into three categories:

Behind-the-Scenes Client Partnership Support

    • Defining paths to get to the outcomes we agreed to at the onset of partnerships by developing and managing project plans and project teams
    • Anticipating, mitigating, and proactively flagging risks to timelines and desired outcomes, adjusting course as needed to get to the highest impact for client partners in ways that are conscious of existing partnership parameters
    • Forming hypotheses, identifying key information sources, and supporting the team to gather data through interviews and secondary research; designing and conducting quantitative and qualitative analyses and/or reviewing analysis conducted by teammates; synthesizing broad swaths of data into tangible, digestible insights
    • Leading teammates and client partners to distinguish between symptoms and root issues, and supporting client partners to move from a set of conclusions about the current state to future-oriented priorities; collaboratively developing sets of strategies that are likely to address root challenges
    • Designing and/or managing the design of content for capacity building or client partner work sessions that have a variety of intended outcomes and participants
    • Outlining and/or managing others to identify stakeholder groups and their varying needs, and developing tools and draft messages that support client partners’ efforts to manage systems and cultural changes within their organizations

External Client Partnership Support

    • Building and managing partnerships with multiple client partners at a time, as Promise54 supports their navigation of complex, people and equity-related opportunities, and challenges
    • Facilitating sessions that have a variety of intended outcomes and participants. For example, in some work sessions, Associate Partners and the project team support a small group to come to agreement on a particular decision or conclusion, while in other sessions, the team’s role is to support entire organizations to build the skills, knowledge, and mindsets to advance a culture of inclusion, belonging, and equity in their context
    • Coaching early-career to seasoned leaders and board members
    • Cultivating and strengthening networks in our fields of work; supporting scope creation in the business development phase, and as Associate Partners grow in experience and proficiency, fulfilling formal business development goals
    • Facilitating focus groups and interviews
    • Contributing to recruitment of cohort-based projects

Supporting Organizational Priorities

    • Through day-to-day management, fostering a culture of ongoing growth and development, which includes both coaching teammates, and designing and facilitating content for team sessions and retreats
    • Collaborating with others on and/or leading internal workstreams
    • Contributing to Promise54’s thought leadership in the field by writing blog posts on topics relevant to our work and of personal interest
    • Providing thought-partnership on significant organizational decisions, in addition to generating creative, action-oriented insights and recommendations for internal and external improvements
    • Engaging in hiring processes, including serving on selection panels and connecting with potential new hires


First and foremost, the Associate Partner must embrace Promise54’s vision of a day when social impact organizations can create a more just world because they have diverse teams thriving in roles that activate their unique gifts and talents; foster inclusive and antiracist cultures; and have equitable practices, policies, and structures. Additionally, to perform the job successfully, an Associate Partner will need to demonstrate the following competencies:

    • Equity Focus: You use an equity-conscious lens, language, and tools to drive our work internally and externally. You understand how identity, power, white conditioning and privilege impacts lived experiences of an individual (including yourself), structures, and institutions. You possess the courage, inclination, AND skill-set to speak up/interrupt oppressive situations/structures/power dynamics moments because you recognize inequity and act accordingly. You take on a heavier burden of speaking up when your identity is in the mainstream.
    • Results-Driven: You are focused on outcomes (both quantitative and qualitative). You hold yourself and others to agreed-upon standards and you clearly define what it is you are trying to accomplish with a deliverable or contribution to the work/project. You develop and execute a strategic pathway forward so that you can deliver high-quality short-term results/deliverables and build capacity for longer term results.
    • Culture Keeper: You build relationships with colleagues demonstrating curiosity about others’ background and perspectives. You express interest in the team’s well-being and care. You leverage and celebrate differences. People who know you and work with you feel valued and respected. You accept and support your teammates in all of their humanity. You strive for the collective best, you see yourself as part of a team and recognize your impact on that team with a sense of possibility, adaptability, and optimism, as well as with responsibility. You feel a degree of ownership for the success of the team and the organization, and not just for your own success.
    • Feedback: You bring a growth mindset and curiosity to giving and receiving feedback. You offer honest, actionable and timely feedback through the appropriate channels specific to the work or deliverable expectations using an equity conscious lens. You strive to internalize and incorporate developmental feedback and ask questions to seek clarity when needed. You actively seek out and receive feedback from others when appropriate with the intent of growing professionally and enhancing work products.
    • Adaptability: You approach new ideas, changes in work, or challenges with a sense of possibility and solutions-based attitude. You have the ability to adapt to various working and management styles. You have the ability to tailor approaches to client partner projects across multiple types of natural tensions, including: speed vs. quality, repeat/copy-paste vs. customization, physical deliverable vs facilitation. You develop innovative solutions when challenges arise.
    • Self-Awareness: You know where your skills are strong, where you need resources and support, and you actively seek to understand these things. You possess awareness of your own feelings, thoughts and behaviors and their impact on others and work to positively impact others/mitigate harmful impact. You know where the boundaries of your experiences and vantage points are and you acknowledge that you have limits to what you can see. You know when to pull back vs. lean in in various settings. You demonstrate humility. You have the ability to both voice and navigate tensions with colleagues related to things like bandwidth, availability, and accessibility.
    • Communication: You communicate in a way that is accessible. You differentiate your communication style based on the audience and situation to have the greatest impact. You are able to distill and communicate complex information in a way that moves the work and/or team forward. You are able to clearly, proactively, and consistently articulate your ideas and document them when necessary.

Our experience suggests that the following types of professional experiences lend themselves to this work:

    • Experience leading work at an organizational level, through talent systems and structures (e.g. compensation, performance management, competencies, etc.), with a strong emphasis on diversity, inclusion, equity, and antiracism
    • Experience working in or with schools, and/or organizations supporting schools,
    • Experience leading/facilitating change management efforts and/or cross-functional projects
    • Experience developing and/or enhancing talent systems and structures
    • Training and experience from a management consulting organization
    • A minimum of eight years of professional experience, ideally including consulting involving project and team management specifically related to serving client partners on talent-related challenges.
    • An understanding of – or better: a deep familiarity with – the national education sector in the U.S. and past efforts to reform its systems and practices, particularly those related to the challenges facing young people from historically marginalized identities

Our experience suggests that the following types of skills lend themselves well to this work:

    • Capacity for client partner consulting services demonstrated by comfort with developing guiding frameworks, or structured approaches, organizing complex ideas, translating ambiguity into clear direction, and the ability to develop written communications and presentations, including PowerPoint decks
    • The ability to develop, manage, and inspire a highly proficient team
    • Analytical inclination, demonstrated by an ability to synthesize key takeaways from data sets and visuals, and strong intuition in designing analyses, graphical depictions that lead others to insight, and strategies that address root issues
    • Strong, communication skills, both verbal and written, that support collaborative team-based work
    • The ability to prioritize among many different projects and tasks at once
    • Strong facilitation skills, including the ability to move a conversation forward, an attunement to dynamics and motivations, and the ability to skillfully interrupt dynamics in ways that center equity, and support learning and growth
    • The ability to coach others to define challenges and develop solutions for themselves
    • The ability, willingness, and—ideally—comfort with working virtually
    • Consistent follow-through
    • Agility in Excel and PowerPoint

Finally, candidates should demonstrate the following personal characteristics:

    • A tested and high level of integrity, trust, and accountability
    • Sound discernment and judgment
    • Attention to detail
    • Comfort working autonomously as well as taking direction as needed


Our work is national in scope, and our team is virtual with small clusters of team members located in the Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore and Los Angeles metro areas. The location for this role is flexible, though the Senior Associate should be generally comfortable with working with teammates and client partners distributed across all U.S. time zones. Additionally, the Associate Partner should possess the willingness and availability to travel. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Associate Partners traveled approximately 30% of the time (or two trips/month with a typical duration of one to two nights per trip), for team retreats, national conferences, and other critical in-person meetings.  Promise54 is currently not traveling because of the pandemic, however we anticipate resuming travel at some point; the Associate Partner should be willing and available for travel similar to the pre-pandemic travel expectations described above. 


The range for the starting base salary for this role is $101,900 – $135,000, with annual bonus potential ranging from 8% – 9% of the base salary (total potential starting compensation would range from $110,000 – $147,200).  We anticipate most people who are new to Promise54 would enter the role in the range listed above.  While it is not guaranteed, in the past three years, we have met our goals and fulfilled bonuses for all staff.  

Promise54 offers a 401(k) retirement plan and match, as well as benefits including (but not limited to) medical, dental, vision, and short and long-term disability. We also offer reimbursements to support your ability to work remotely, specifically: for home office set-up costs, up to $50/month for home internet, and $162/month for a cell phone used for work. In addition, we provide a $100 monthly reimbursement for co-working space or other expenses to make working remotely more comfortable and reimburse up to $500/year for wellness-related expenses to support our team members’ ability to live into our Be Well core value. Click here to learn more.

Start Date:

As soon as possible, ideally spring 2022.

To Apply:

The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position(s) is filled, although submission by February 13th is strongly encouraged.

Please follow these steps:

    • Visit the Opportunities section on our website and find the “Associate Partner” role
    • Answer a brief set of questions about you
    • Below the questions, you’ll be able to upload your current resume as well as a “cover letter,” one in which we encourage you to address the following prompts in whatever format suits you. NOTE: While we will not strictly count words, we are looking at how clearly and concisely you convey your thoughts.  Please attempt to stay within the ballpark of 500-600 words per question.
        • Please briefly describe an accomplishment from a recent professional experience that you think illustrates some of the strengths you’d bring to the Associate Partner role.
        • What are the top three or so things you hope to devote consistent time and energy to in your next job?
        • We all have types of work that deplete our energy and/or that we would ideally spend less time on at work.  What two or three things do you hope to spend little or less time and energy on in your next job?
    • Finally, if you encounter any technical difficulties, please contact:

Note: We are only considering applicants who are legally authorized to work in the United States.


Promise54 is a 501(c)3 organization deeply committed to providing equal opportunities. We are a diverse organization serving other diverse organizations and we are committed to non-discrimination.

It is our policy to ensure that all individuals with whom we are in contact are treated equally without regard to race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status.


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