DJDS | Studio Director
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Studio Director




Designing Justice + Designing Spaces (DJDS), a woman-of-color-led organization, is the only nonprofit architecture and real estate development firm in the country that innovates in and around the built environment to address the root causes of mass incarceration. With a focus on restorative justice and restorative economics, we partner with and serve low-income communities of color across the country. Our work counters the societal inequities evident in the dominant architectural models of justice — courthouses, jails, prisons, etc. — by designing and developing new prototypes such as peacemaking centers, mobile classrooms, and re-entry housing for formerly-incarcerated men and women. To achieve the mission and continue our ethos, the team is comprised of architects, designers, real estate developers, operations/events production staff, and community organizers; and projects often involve community members and systems-impacted individuals as experts, consultants, and contractors. Our work is founded on restoration and we incorporate it into our company culture and operations. We engage with our communities and partners with trauma-informed processes and patience. We value — and practice — self-awareness and personal growth in order for all staff members to be able to bridge the communities in which we work, from philanthropy to elected officials to those incarcerated and their communities of care.




The main objectives for the Studio Director role are to provide strong project management support to each project team, direct project staffing, and ensure project budgets and schedules remain on track. In addition to the overall studio direction and overseeing project teams, this role will serve as lead project manager on at least two to three projects at any given time. DJDS is a design studio; we take projects from concept development through design development and transition to outside contractors for construction drawings and construction management. However, we remain nimble and responsive to our partners’ needs, which often results in new project typologies such as product development, game design, and regional planning and mapping. This role will provide direction and guidance around the processes and systems for bringing these new project types to fruition. This key role will help set the organizational and project culture and work directly with the executive team to help set organizational priorities. The Studio Director will report to our main office in Oakland, California; however, the role may include travel time for up to 20% of the job.





  • Lead multiple projects and teams across multiple stakeholders.
  • Lead Project Managers and technical staff members to understand and navigate projects, clients, and internal processes, outwardly and inwardly.
  • Assess and elevate skills of individual staff, and develop opportunities for growth for staff members.
  • Support the PM Manager to manage and oversee the processes of project management for all projects.
  • Be a strong leader amongst the directors team, informing and advocating for high-quality design, design and technical talent, and excellence in project delivery as it relates to architecture services.
  • Support the directors team to bridge and strengthen the organizational values across disciplines within the organization, through fostering close collaboration and communication with the Design Director, Real Estate Development Director, Advocacy Director, and Community Engagement Director and the project teams.
  • Drive initiatives to increase internal collaboration.
  • Collaborate with COO and CFO on hiring needs and selections.
  • Collaborate with the design team to implement design processes and strategies.
  • Support the design team in maintaining and elevating the integrity of the organization’s Design Ethos across technical staff and projects. 



  • Provide onboarding and opportunities for growth to architectural staff and others as necessary.
  • Work with the PM Manager to implement and maintain project management software and systems to help the organization’s existing project processes.
  • Ability to lead one to two projects and perform all tasks required of a Project Manager.
  • Maintain the process for managing meetings, including the preparation of agendas, note-taking, and distribution of next steps, in collaboration with Operations.
  • Develop, supervise, coach, and mentor staff to ensure standards are met and individuals are accomplishing their goals, as pertains to their roles.
  • Work closely with the Design Director to lead implementation of design processes for design excellence within the organization as they pertain to projects.
  • Attend and support bi-weekly PM meetings with the PM Manager.



  • Develop a system or process to track the status of all projects and goals, and integrate the information with the organization’s overall operations and finances.
  • Create and coordinate work plans, schedules, and timelines across projects with all project managers.
  • Create and monitor project schedules.


Client Management and Partnership Relationships:

  • Support Project Managers by attending meetings with appropriate teams and consultants as required by the contract scope or the project stage.
  • Assist Project Managers in identifying and creating add-service directives.
  • Serve as the initial point of contact with clients when issues or questions arise.
  • Identify and manage relationships with architecture, engineering, and construction related partnerships.


Quality Control:

  • Develop, in conjunction with COO, company quality standards, and support Project Managers in ensuring that the projects conform to the contractual agreement the firm has made with the client.
  • Develop, with relevant directors, internal interdisciplinary quality control processes at specific milestones in the project.
  • Review contract drawings and specifications for completeness, accuracy, and coordination.
  • Provide peer review or delegate it as required.


Financial Control and Risk Management:

  • Control project profitability and liability exposure.
  • Assist Project Managers and CFO with the monitoring of project budgets along with project progress, and ensure that each project is on schedule and within the approved budget.
  • Collaborate with Project Managers and Operations in writing project contracts.
  • Review project billings with Project Managers on a regular basis, and report project financial and schedule projections to CFO as scheduled.
  • Monitor project receivables and assist in the collection of receivables. Delegate to and supervise PMs as required.


Business Development:

  • Provide support for and vet new inquiries using project selection matrix.
  • Lead the development of proposal drafts and submissions with Project Managers and team members.


POSITION SUMMARY (Expected duties of a Director level position)


  • Consult on key decisions for areas of responsibility.
  • Guide Project Managers and Coordinators, if needed, on decision-making for their respective areas of responsibility.
  • Review and approve expenses within authorized limits.
  • Collaborate with the DJDS Leadership team on organization-wide matters.
  • Develop and maintain internal and external relationships on behalf of the organization.
  • Take responsibility for compliance in areas pertaining to this specific role.
  • Attend weekly meetings to provide input on the direction of the overall organization.




  • Accurate and detail-oriented
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong self-awareness with cultural competency for a diverse range of cultures, communities, and lived experiences
  • Ability to delegate
  • Strong design skills
  • Strong command of project delivery methodology and standard AIA contracting
  • Ability to work on multiple projects and maintain effective communication and quality control
  • Strong ability to plan, schedule, and direct the work of self and others
  • Advanced understanding and proficiency using the following software:
    • Microsoft Office
    • Google Apps
    • Click-up or similar project management software
  • Basic understanding of:
    • AutoCad and/or REVIT
    • Sketch-Up
    • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Strong command of project delivery methodology and standard AIA contracting




  • Bachelor’s degree in architecture, construction management, engineering, or related field
  • Minimum ten years industry experience (architecture, construction management, real estate development, engineering)
  • Advanced understanding of building codes, including national and state local codes




  • Healthcare benefits with options for medical insurance under the company group plan. Employer contributions are determined by the chosen healthcare plan and covers employee premiums only.
  • Compensation for this role starts at $120,000 annually.




Please send a digital portfolio, following the directions below. If you have a website that includes your portfolio, you may send a PDF of your cover letter and resume, and the appropriate link(s) for the rest.

Subject Line: Studio Director Application
Attachment: One multipage PDF not to exceed 3MB

The PDF should include:

  • Cover letter (in your cover letter please include (please limit to 400 words max):
    • Your definition of Restorative Justice
    • Your definition of Trauma-Informed Practice
    • An example where you have observed or participated in Non Violent Communication
    • Your understanding of Emotional Intelligence and it’s relation to personal accountability
  • Resume
  • Portfolio with the following examples, for which you have primary authorship:
    • Two completed projects for which you served in a leading role
    • Project examples for which you served in a creative leadership role
    • Project examples for which you served in a project manager role


Please, no phone calls or recruiters. All applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S.