Head of People Operations

Type: Full-time
Location: Alameda, CA or Salt Lake City, UT
Supervisor: Chief Operating Officer


Are you curious about why some teams achieve exceptional heights, while others seem stuck? Do you notice … maybe even marvel … at how some people appear to be on a perpetual journey, one with an elusive destination, where they consistently push beyond the bounds of what they thought they might achieve? Are you excited by the possibilities unleashed by human connection, and the exponential power that groups of people can generate together when their energy is collectively focused? Have you ever wondered why two people can share the same experience yet perceive opposing realities? Do you have conviction that interpersonal dynamics and personal development are worthwhile pursuits? Do you have a perspective about why some people appear more open to personal change and growth relative to others? Are these differences biological, epigenetic? Are you curious about how connected our genes are to our psychology? Are you an explorer? Do you seek challenges? Are you comfortable with uncomfortable feelings?

The greatest asset of any organization is its people. No technology, no patent, no product and no market have any value without capable people creating, enabling, collaborating and delivering.

Our experience, observations, and aspirations suggest that meaningful achievements – mission-driven achievements – are more about people and culture than serendipity and chance. We think this grounding has underpinned our success to date, yet as we look ahead to future growth we know what’s worked well will be challenged by scale. We are seeking a world-class Head of People Operations to lead, guide and help build on the foundation we have created.



We seek a thoughtful, experienced leader to join our team as our first ever Head of People Operations. This role will report to the Chief Operating Officer and will focus on all parts of the Checkerspot experience, ensuring that all stages consistently embody and impart our principles and ethos, with heart and human connection, at the core. This role acts on the conviction that a company, defined by its people, can have great significance in making the world better.
More specifically, the Head of People Operations will initially be responsible for managing and executing day-to-day activities while building out the People Operations team with domain experts focused on, but not limited to, Professional Development, Talent Acquisition, Benefits Administration, Performance Management, and Onboarding/Exit Processes. The role will operate with an eye on maturing our existing processes that thoughtfully bring on board, develop, and enable the highest quality talent, measured both by capability and character. The ideal candidate will be someone who balances technical experience and professionalism with flexibility and adaptability. As our team scales, we want to ensure we preserve what works well, and evolve and improve on areas not yet exceptional.



  • Manage, execute, and maintain day-to-day activities, with a focus on, but not limited to, Professional Development, Talent Acquisition, Benefits Administration, Performance Management, and Onboarding/Exit Processes
  • Engage and participate with the Board of Directors as needed
  • Drive development of long-term and near-term people operations strategy and tactics
  • Design and execute culture, performance, and talent retention initiatives in direct consultation and partnership with functional leaders (cultural influencers) across the organization
  • Foster a cohesive culture and a trusting relationship between locations while nurturing and supporting local attributes
  • Work closely with leadership and communication teams to build internal communications strategy


  • Develop and execute recruiting efforts
  • Swiftly navigate talent pools to identify and source ideal candidates
  • Work with leaders to identify resource needs, recruit the highest quality talent, and build a tailored personal and professional development progression
  • Recognize that relationship building over the long-run is better than a transactional approach to talent
  • Build consistency, maturity, and authenticity into recruiting process
  • Lead communication and organization of team expansion activities
  • Work with the company's executive leadership team to establish a sound plan of management succession that corresponds with our strategy and objectives 
Professional Development

  • Enhance professional development offerings (e.g., training and coaching) and foster their use within the Checkerspot team
  • Evolve performance management processes in a way that scales with a growing business, but remains in line with Checkerspot’s principles
  • Serve as the active voice of the team by continuously listening to explicit and implicit employee needs and advocating accordingly with members of the leadership team

  • Enhance existing compensation and benefits management systems with industry standards and benchmarks in mind
  • Manage supporting processes and systems underpinning compensation and benefits
  • Ensure that all people operations systems and processes are compliant with federal and state regulations
  • Lead and conduct onboarding activities for new members of the team 
  • Develop and implement performance review process in concert with incentive compensation plan
  • Maintain and keep current the Checkerspot Handbook, directory, and org chart
  • Oversee events and gatherings uniting the Checkerspot community (internal and external), including development and implementation of project plans and supporting budgets
  • Support underperforming team members with good listening, infrastructure support, coaching and training if appropriate



  • 15+ years of industry experience, preferably (but not necessarily) in the technology development industries
  • Advanced degree strongly preferred in psychology, general management and/or organizational development
  • Exceptional ability to listen and a curiosity to learn
  • Proven experience and leadership in developing people
  • High emotional intelligence and agility with the ability to easily tune in to the explicit and implicit needs of the organization and how it weaves in the needs of individuals
  • Recognition that building strong and trusting cultures is a journey and not a destination; this requires grit, resilience, calm, curiosity, and patience 
  • Passion for building high performing teams with an ability to pull on both academic and innovative concepts and strategies
  • Familiarity with (or quick learner of) the talent requirements for Biomanufacturing and Material Science 
  • Readily pushes bounds of traditional concepts while balancing systemization with flexibility
  • Strong people development and leadership skills; ability to manage extended or virtual teams
  • Self-starter who thrives and can multitask in fast-paced and often ambiguous environments
  • Nimble business mind with the ability to think strategically, and to zoom in tactically to focus on developing creative solutions
  • Ability to travel and work between Checkerspot locations
  • Possesses a thoughtfulness that never obscures, or ignores, the importance of heart 
  • Embodies a proactive approach to problem-solving with strong judgment, especially when managing opposing points of view



If you are interested in joining us at Checkerspot, please send your cover letter and résumé to careers@checkerspot.com with the position you are applying for in the subject line.