The Trace is hiring a full-time director of people operations. Working across teams, this new position will lead efforts to ensure that people of all backgrounds can do their best work at our small but growing nonprofit news organization. 

The Trace is the only media outlet dedicated to covering gun violence in the U.S., a crisis that kills an average of 110 people every day and disproportionately harms communities of color. We not only document the problem; we pursue stories with the potential to pave the way to safer homes and neighborhoods for everyone. Our journalism creates impact through investigations that produce transparency and accountability, informative and empathetic storytelling, an emphasis on solutions, and collaborations that strengthen coverage of gun violence across the media. For more on our mission, see our About page.

It takes a talented, diverse, indomitable team to produce journalism capable of making such a difference. We believe The Trace’s is the best in the business. Our first-ever director of people operations will hold a critical role at our organization, overseeing efforts to care for our staff and develop processes and tools that allow our distributed organization (we currently have 18 full-time employees in 10 states) to collaborate effectively in a fast-changing world. This is an important leadership position, reporting to The Trace’s managing director. 

Responsibilities include:

Recruiting, empowering, and retaining talent. The director of people operations will help us build a diverse talent network, both during and outside active searches, and ensure we’re following best practices for inclusive and equitable hiring and talent development. This position will also oversee our performance review process, maintain The Trace’s transparent compensation system, and help employees make use of our generous benefits.

Building a supportive, high-performing culture by organizing team-building events and celebrations, implementing wellness initiatives, and regularly collecting and addressing staff feedback as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of remote work and hybrid schedules.

Measuring our progress. The director of people operations will lead annual equity assessments and produce an annual DEIB report. Additionally, they’ll coordinate goal-setting cycles and communicate our performance toward the objectives we set together. 

Supervising our manager of operations. Our operations manager handles essential tasks and processes that run the gamut from contracts and expense reports to compliance issues to on- and offboarding to staff appreciation and more. As her manager, you’ll find new ways for our operations team to work efficiently and effectively to support our growing staff.

Keeping The Trace running smoothly through ownership of The Trace’s employee handbook and manuals, operations budget, and related internal policies and systems.  


  • 7+ years of experience and success in operations, culture, HR, recruiting, or other related work. We’re defining these broadly — if you have helped build thriving, diverse workplaces, we want to hear from you. 
  • Achievements in helping organizations make tangible, steady progress on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • A passion for supporting people and teams in realizing their full potential. Prior management responsibilities at a distributed organization/virtual office would be a plus  
  • An ability to communicate clearly, compassionately, and effectively, both verbally and in writing 
  • A knack for staying organized and efficient while juggling emerging tasks and organizational needs
  • Belief in journalism’s power to be a force for good
  • Comfort with Slack, Google Docs, AirTable, Zoom, Miro, and other remote collaboration, project management, and productivity tools  
  • Knowledge of benefits and payroll administration, or a willingness to learn 
  • Same goes for familiarity with grant-funded nonprofit organizations 

We know that all of the attributes and interests listed here won’t apply to every candidate. If you think you’d be a great fit and have skills and qualifications not mentioned in this listing, we encourage you to apply and tell us why you’d succeed in the role.

Compensation and benefits

The salary range is $100,000 to $130,000, depending on the candidate’s experience, past achievements, and location. This full-time position includes no-cost medical, dental, and vision insurance; 12 weeks of fully paid family leave; a 401(k) with employer matching; four weeks of vacation time, plus 10 sick days, two personal days, company holidays, and a “down week” at the end of December; as well as professional development resources such as funding to attend conferences. 

The director of people operations may be based anywhere in the continental U.S., though preference may be given to candidates available for regular in-person collaboration (as pandemic conditions permit) in New York City, Chicago, or Charlottesville, Virginia, where the senior Trace managers with whom you’ll work most closely reside. Currently, The Trace also has staff in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Lincoln, Nebraska, with plans to fill at least five other positions in 2022.  

The Trace is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and strongly encourages applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people.

How to apply

Please fill out the application form and share your resume here. In lieu of a cover letter, we ask that you answer a few questions about your experience and goals. 

Deadline: We will accept applications until Friday, June 10. We may begin reviewing applications sooner, however, and will reach out to you directly if we like your application.

Questions? Email us at [email protected]. Please do not reach out to check on the status of your application; we’ll do our best to respond to candidates in a timely manner.