Senior Director of People Operations

Our Story

Founded as—and still officially named—the San Diego Society of Natural History, our organization traces its roots to an enthusiastic group of amateur naturalists who came together in 1874 to study the unique flora and fauna of our region. Now known as the San Diego Natural History Museum (and affectionately referred to as The Nat), the organization focuses on the natural history and unique biodiversity of our binational region. With a $12M annual budget and 170 employees, we welcome nearly 400,000 people to the Museum each year. In addition to our location in Balboa Park, The Nat hosts environmental education programs in the community, and we are engaged in scientific research throughout Southern California and the Baja California Peninsula.

While many people know The Nat as a flagship institution in Balboa Park, we are much bigger than our building. The world we live in is an amazing place. We want everyone to understand it better, enjoy it more, and love it as much as we do, so we’ll all protect it for the future. Because we believe that nature is the biggest exhibition of all. For more information, please visit:

Leadership & Culture

The Nat is led by Judy Gradwohl, who joined the Museum in July 2016 as the organization’s first woman president and CEO, following more than 30 years at the Smithsonian Institution. Judy’s passion for and wide range of experience in natural history research, science communication, and museum management has taken the organization to new heights. Under her leadership, the Museum developed a new strategic plan focused on regional science, collections, education, and conservation. The Sr. Director of People Operations will report to CFO/COO, Matt Jawlik, a passionate finance, systems, and leadership professional with over 20 years of experience with both nonprofit and corporate organizations. Prior to joining The Nat, Matt served as Deputy CFO for the California Charter Schools Association. The Director will join a convivial and dedicated team of exceptionally talented staff, working collaboratively to help shape The Nat’s future as we head into our 150th anniversary next year.

Benefits & Features

  • Salary: $90,000 – $100,000k DOE/NEG
  • Medical, Dental and Vision Coverage
  • Flexible Spending Accounts: Health, Dependent and Transit
  • Life Insurance for annual salary up to $150,000.
  • AD&D and Long-Term Disability
  • Voluntary Life or Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
  • Retirement Plan eligible to contribute immediately. Employer match, after one year of employment.
  • PTO: 10 paid days off, 10 paid sick days, 15 paid holidays
  • Park employee discounts at stores, coffee carts, and restaurants.
  • Free admission into all of Balboa Park’s museums and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
  • For more information on The Nat’s benefits please visit:


This role will need to work primarily on-site in Balboa Park and there is some flexibility for remote work.

Position Summary

A recent transition on our HR team has provided us the space to reimagine our needs around people operations. This new position will report to the CFO/COO and supervise our People and Culture Coordinator. The Director will be responsible for maintaining the Museum’s core values while creating and implementing innovative HR strategies to ensure our workplace environment cultivates a sense of community, inclusiveness, and safety. They will oversee all areas of HR operations, including benefits, payroll, talent recruitment and retention, performance management, employee engagement, and professional development activities. This is a highly collaborative role, serving as a thought partner and strategic advisor to senior management on the development and implementation of HR policies and procedures while providing coaching and support to all employees regarding HR issues. This role offers an excellent opportunity for a compassionate and supportive leader to have a significant impact on the individual and collective success of our team and the institution to which we are all so dedicated.

Current priorities for this role include:

  • Open enrollment evaluation and support.
  • Evaluate and modernize Museum policies and update the employee handbook.
  • Formalize a comprehensive employee evaluation process.
  • Deepen implementation of pay bands across Museum functions.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Oversee compliance with federal, state, and local legal requirements, stay current with new and future guidelines and legislation, and serve as our go-to advisor for the senior leadership team in all areas of HR and people operations.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive employee engagement plan.
  • Oversee all aspects of employee benefits, training, payroll, workers’ compensation, and employee termination processes.
  • Guide management and employee actions by researching, developing, writing, and updating policies, procedures, methods, and guidelines.
  • Administer our retirement plan and assist auditors as required.
  • Maintain records, reports, and personnel files in accordance with applicable labor laws.

Background Profile

  • Demonstrated HR experience, with strong knowledge of organizational development and HR management principles includinglabor regulations, state and federal compliance requirements, and HR best practices.
  • Strategic, innovative, and hands-on approach to all aspects of HR and operations; adept at analysis, strategic planning, and change management.
  • Demonstrated experience with benefits, payroll, legal compliance, and budget development.
  • SHRM certification required; SHRM-SCP preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills, written and oral; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with management, employees, and stakeholders.
  • Ability to multi-task while maintaining vigilant attention to detail.
  • Committed to the Museum’s mission, maintaining perspective, a professional demeanor, and a sense of humor.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

In compliance with the San Diego Natural History Museum’s mandatory vaccination policy, the Museum requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accommodations based on medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Tia Anzellotti, Director, Blair Search Partners
1855 1st Avenue, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101