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SVP, People & Culture

People · Seattle, Washington

First Mode is a creative engineering company solving the toughest problems on and off the planet, with the goal of having an outsized impact on the world around us. We build the barely possible.  

From our state-of-the-art manufacturing and production facilities in Seattle and Perth, we design and deliver resilient, reliable solutions for the most demanding and constrained frontiers in existence. In the last year our engineers built a 2MW hydrogen fuel cell and battery powerplant to retrofit a three-story, 300-metric-ton-capacity diesel haul truck; designed the power source and refueling system for the world’s first endurance race vehicle to be powered by liquid hydrogen; and delivered spaceflight hardware headed 370 million kilometers from Earth to asteroid 16 Psyche. 

While each project is unique, we typically meld together robotics, automation, systems engineering, modeling and simulation, and advanced fabrication to create a new future across many industries. If you have exceptional talent and a vision for the future, we want to talk. 

We are looking to add a motivated and enthusiastic Senior Vice President of People and Culture to lead our global People and Culture capabilities for 250+ employees as we grow to over 500. In this role, you will report to the Chief Operating Officer and partner closely with the executive team to develop strategies for rapid growth of the First Mode team. You have a deep understanding of the First Mode culture and passion for solving challenges of a fast-growing company. You are compassionate and empathetic towards people issues and enjoy fostering a positive work environment. You are excited to craft and execute the roadmap for People and Culture practices and processes as we scale our company and culture across the globe.

Position Responsibilities

  • Lead the creation and execution of First Mode’s global People and Culture strategy to reinforce company mission and culture.
  • Embed inclusion, equity and belonging into First Mode’s DNA and daily life.
  • Provide overall leadership and guidance to the People and Culture function by overseeing DEI, employee relations, learning, leadership development,  talent acquisition, talent management, compensation, and benefits globally.
  • Develop comprehensive strategic recruiting and retention plans to meet the human capital needs of First Mode’s strategy.
  • Ensure continual company compliance with relevant domestic and international labor laws and regulations.
  • Be a strategic business advisor for departments on organizational and management issues.
  • Deliver the best employee experience and strive to make First Mode the best place to work.

Basic Qualifications

  • Global experience in People and Culture with expert knowledge of international human resources strategies, processes, policies and laws.
  • Experience with start-up and high growth companies including IPO readiness.
  • Proven success building out comprehensive programs in the areas of total compensation, DEI, training and development in an international setting.
  • Highly effective communication skills with the ability to synthesize ideas and present them in a poised & polished manner.
  • A life-long learner who possesses a style and approach that is positive, proactive, thoughtful, empathetic, collaborative, organized and action-oriented.
  • Record of scaling teams and organizations and transformative environments.
  • Understand the high-growth mentality and be prepared to get hands-on in all facets of a hyper growth environment.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Background in one of the following industries: manufacturing, natural resources, energy, engineering, or large global operations.
  • Passion for Sustainability and Clean Technologies.

Additional Requirements

  • Must be willing to travel to all office locations at least once a year and extended periods.


  • This position will be located at First Mode’s headquarters in Seattle, WA and will be required to work in office >60% of working hours.


  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here. 

Benefits & Perks

  • Competitive compensation and bonus structure
  • 100% employer-paid health insurance (medical, dental, vision)
  • Flexible PTO with 12 week supplementary paid parental leave
  • 401(k) retirement account with a discretionary employer match
  • Commuter benefits (parking and public transportation)
  • A culture that encourages professional growth with learning and development reimbursements
  • Open and collaborative workspaces with free office snacks and lunches
  • Hybrid work model


First Mode is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with First Mode is governed on the basis of merit, competence, and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.