Director, People Operations

Palo Alto, CA /
Kitty Hawk – Business Operations /
Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are leading the race to market with our all-electric  Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  Project Heaviside is Kitty Hawk’s latest high-performance electric VTOL vehicle. It is designed to be fast, small, and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic. 

You will lead the People Operations team, which includes business partnership with all Kitty Hawk teams, recruiting, diversity and inclusion, performance management and people development and benefits.  The role reports to the General Counsel, who manages all of G&A, and this role is part of the G&A leadership team.  You will set the strategy for the People Operations function and build the team as the company grows.  This will require you to understand the business and be an advocate of Kitty Hawk’s mission and values. This is an ideal role for a strong player-coach: someone who is ready to grow their functional management skills while still rolling up their sleeves to help get the job done!

Within 3 months you will:

    • Develop strong relationships with key stakeholders and business partners
    • Own and kickoff the process for annual performance reviews and merit cycle
    • Create a plan for streamlining and strengthening HR processes
    • Assess the need for team growth and create a plan to scale with the business

Within 6 months you will:

    • Assess and implement a hiring process to align to headcount growth plans
    • Partner with and advise leadership on defined people & culture strategy and decisions including team dynamic, design, development, and compensation
    • Assess employee development needs, make recommendations, and implement appropriate solutions
    • Function as a strategic business advisor to the senior leadership of each business unit regarding key organizational and management issues
    • Provide guidance on employee relations matters, policy development, and operational processes
    • Strengthen and guide recruiting efforts to meet our headcount needs and further company goals for diversity and inclusion

Within 12 months you will:

    • Contribute to the development of HR programs and processes such as workforce and succession planning, learning and development, and performance management
    • Manage the strategy and programs that support employee satisfaction for your client groups driven by data from our employee engagement survey
    • Full ownership of HR systems, deep understanding of downstream ecosystem, and integration of efficient processes with other G&A teams


    • A Bachelor's/Master's degree in a relevant discipline
    • 15+ years of experience in HR
    • At least 5+ years of leadership experience, including managing others in HR
    • Experience working with various departments, including Legal, Finance, and Engineering
    • Strong track record of developing effective and consultative relationships across all levels of an organization, including executives
    • Demonstrated competence and hands-on abilities in various HR functional areas: employee relations, compensation and benefits, performance management, etc.
    • Familiarity with labor law and compliance
    • Able to exercise good judgment and discretion, maintaining confidentiality
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
    • Show an ability to challenge conventional approaches and a willingness to build a unique approach


    • Experience as head of an HR team, including business partners, recruiting, benefits and payroll
    • Experience with employee equity plans and executive compensation
    • Experience in analytics, statistics and reporting on specific HR metrics and KPIs
We welcome you to apply even if you don’t match every requirement posted for this role.  No one candidate will be a 100% perfect match to our description, so if you are passionate about working on the next evolution in aviation and have similar experience to what we are looking for, we encourage you to apply.  Diverse backgrounds and experiences promote innovation and our goal is to build a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.

All of our team whose roles allow them to work remotely are doing so, and will continue to do so until we’re able to be back in the office. For teams that are not able to work remotely we’re making every accommodation possible to provide a safe working environment, and ensuring we meet all state and county guidelines. 

Our headquarters is in Palo Alto and we offer a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance (company pays 100% of employee premium), unlimited PTO days, 10 company holidays, a 401(k) plan with 50% company matching (no vesting period), flight lesson subsidy, education assistance, and company-sponsored social events. For those working onsite, Kitty Hawk also offers commuter assistance, and free drinks and snacks.

Kitty Hawk provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Kitty Hawk abides by applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Kitty Hawk is an E-Verify employer.