Position Description

Position Description

California Science Center

(Los Angeles, CA)

Title: Vice President, Human Resources


Mission Statement: We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives.

A national and international leader in science education and informal learning, the California Science Center incorporates a dynamic museum with free general admission, robust educational programming including a professional development center for educators and a neighborhood K-5 elementary school, to improve public understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). With an average of 2.2 million guests in each year since Space Shuttle Endeavour arrived, including an average of 470,000 visiting school or youth groups, the California Science Center now ranks eighth of the 20 most visited museums in North America and is the most attended museum outside of New York and Washington, D.C.

The California Science Center is advancing one of the most transformative educational projects in the region, which will build an iconic destination for Los Angeles and inspire a new generation of scientists, innovators and explorers. Plans are underway to build the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, Endeavour’s permanent home, long-envisioned in Phase III of the Science Center’s 25-year Master Plan. This 188,000 square-foot expansion will integrate the California Science Center’s signature hands-on, educational exhibits with a diverse collection of aircraft and spacecraft – including Endeavour displayed vertically with real solid rocket boosters and external tank, as if ready for liftoff.

The California Science Center is located in Exposition Park, the crossroads of the Los Angeles community, just south of downtown and across the street from the University of Southern California. The surrounding community offers a diverse cultural experience, classic architecture, park-like grounds, world-class museums, cafés, entertainment and more.

The Foundation is a California nonprofit corporation created to support education and exhibit programs in association with the California Science Center, an institution within the Natural Resources Agency of the State of California. The Foundation manages 245 part-time, front-line staff; 125 full-time exempt and non-exempt staff; and 300 volunteers.

For more information, please visit www.californiasciencecenter.org.


Reporting to the Chief Financial Officer and supervising a team of six, the Vice President of Human Resources provides strategic leadership and functional expertise to drive HR departmental expectations while ensuring compliance with the Foundation’s policies, mission and strategic plan.


The Vice President of Human Resources is responsible for managing and directing all human resources functions including employment, compensation, benefits, training, employee relations and services in support of the Foundation’s objectives to establish the California Science Center as an employer of choice in the nonprofit community.

Essential duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide leadership and supervision to human resources and volunteer administrative staff, fostering a collaborative environment.
  • Reinforce organizational values and culture including the core values of accessibility and inclusiveness. Coordinate with the State Science Center Human Resources department on culture and policy.
  • Create and administer the budget for the Human Resources function.
  • Evaluate and establish recruiting and selection practices for both employees and volunteers that meet the Foundation’s requirements for ongoing recruitment and large scale recruiting for temporary exhibits, diverse employee base and multi-lingual staff. Directly participate in recruitment of senior Foundation staff. Ensure that employees and volunteers are provided with an effective on-boarding process.
  • Develop, implement and administer the Foundation’s compensation, benefits and pension programs; monitor the marketplace for changes in compensation and benefits practices and recommend changes to ensure California Science Center maintains a competitive stance. 
  • Establish in-house management training programs for a diverse, innovative, cooperative and well-trained workforce that addresses the organization’s needs (e.g., guest services, performance management, interviewing, supervision) and regulatory requirements (e.g. diversity, harassment, safety). Forecast future department needs and develop clear objective and processes, as needed.
  • Oversee and support ongoing retention activities for employees and volunteers including coffee with the President for new employees, monthly staff birthday parties, annual staff and volunteer appreciation party, Halloween party and Thanksgiving lunch.
  • In coordination with the Communications Department, oversee the communications with employees and volunteers including the preparation of the Foundation newsletter, Connections Ink.
  • Ensure that the organization’s equal employment practices comply with laws; ensure all supervisory staff are trained to support these policies.
  • Provide necessary education and materials to line management and employees – workshops on leadership, supervisory skills, coaching, and counseling, documentation, workers’ compensation, and wage and hour requirements; manuals; employee handbook; and standardized reports. Periodically assess employee handbook and human resources operations policies and procedures.
  • Gather data; analyze trends regarding turnover, hiring, promotions, workers’ compensation claims, unemployment claims, separations and grievances to determine action needed to adjust unfavorable trends.
  • Supervise maintenance of personnel files and records including the HRIS system, ensuring confidentiality and security of same; provide routine and special reports; and ensure preparation and submission of employee information to government agencies as required by law.
  • Advise supervisor of any major liability risks that could impact the Foundation, as needed.
  • Oversee and participate in employee relations functions:
  • Participate in the resolution of employee grievances; counsel employees on employment-related issues.
  • Counsel supervisory staff in performance management and resolving employee problems.
  • Monitor employee counseling and disciplinary procedures; monitor and approve involuntary terminations.
  • Develop, maintain and ensure compliance with federal and state labor and related laws, consulting with legal counsel as necessary; and minimize the Foundation’s exposure to lawsuits. Assess impact of new regulatory requirements affecting human resources and keep senior management informed of new developments. 
  • Visit all of California Science Center’s facilities and programs on a periodic basis to identify training needs, monitor morale, and the general health of human resources.
  • Perform managerial duties including interviewing applicants for employment; assigning and reviewing progress of assignments; conducting performance appraisals and recommending salary increases; and developing higher levels of expertise in staff members by encouraging further education, participation in seminars and providing learning opportunities within the department. Review proposed organizational changes proposed by Foundation senior management and make recommendations to senior management.
  • Oversee the performance management system and accesses effectiveness of forms used in the process. Review all completed performance appraisal forms and provide training and coaching to management on addressing performance management issues.
  • Ensure changes in employee status (e.g.) full-time to part-time status, leave of absence enrollment) are communicated through payroll accurately and timely to ensure compliance. Approve all personnel changes.
  • Remain knowledgeable about payroll processes and internal controls. Ensure all pay related changes have required documentation and approvals.
  • Select and coordinate use of human resources consultants, insurance brokers, insurance carriers, retirement plan administrators, training specialists, labor counsel and other outside sources.
  • Support any Foundation audits including financial statements audits and retirement plan audits. Support preparation of insurance applications and audits. 
  • Update job knowledge by participating in conferences and educational opportunities; reading professional publications and participating in professional organizations. Participate in Los Angeles Area Museum Human Resources Roundtable to share best practices and experiences.


The Vice President of Human Resources should value the mission of the California Science Center, be sensitive to and support the needs of its various constituencies and as such, model positive behavior. The successful candidate will operate with integrity and discretion, have strong analytical skills, be an excellent communicator, both verbal and written, and be a good planner with excellent attention to detail. The individual will be a goal-oriented administrator who can create systems and procedures and then personally work to implement them effectively. 

The Vice President of Human Resources must be a good problem-solver who is comfortable with the challenges of managing dedicated staff and volunteers. The successful candidate will have an open-door policy and be accessible to staff. The individual will be a good listener, patient and understanding of the California Science Center’s environment and various work schedules. The Vice President of Human Resources will have a customer-service orientation and will be well-disciplined, flexible and adaptable. The successful candidate will understand and value the importance of diversity and demonstrate sensitivity to the different cultures represented among the staff and volunteers.

The Vice President of Human Resources should have discernable judgment and the ability to make sound business decisions. Proven management skills and the ability to work well both independently and as part of a team will be important. The successful candidate will review and comment on organizational changes proposed by the Foundation senior management. A positive attitude and the ability to inspire others and positively contribute to staff morale and engagement will be valued.  


A minimum of ten years of increasingly responsible human resources management experience is preferred, including four years as a supervisor. Employee relations experience and a working knowledge of all human resource activities and associated state and federal regulations (e.g. COBRA, Wage and Hour laws, Fair Labor Standards Act, Equal Employment Opportunity regulations, OSHA, Workers’ Compensation, garnishments, American with Disabilities Act, ERISA, FMLA, CFRA, etc.) are essential and expected. Current knowledge of California labor laws is strongly preferred. Although experience in nonprofit institution would be beneficial, it is not required. 


A Bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in a management-related area. SHRM certification and California labor law experience will be highly valued.


Annual compensation will be competitive, and a comprehensive benefits package will be provided.


To apply for this position, visit www.morrisberger.com/searches.php

Morris & Berger
500 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 2150
Glendale, CA 91203-1923

1 (818) 507-1234