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Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Department of Human Resources

Wake Forest University
Winston Salem, NC

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Job Details

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Job Description Summary

Wake Forest University has retained Diversified Search Group a national executive search firm, to assist in its identification and review of candidates for the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. Confidential inquiries, nominations, referrals, and curriculum vitae with cover letters should be directed in confidence to:

Amy Sugin, Managing Director |

Judy Boreham, Managing Director, Co-Head, Human Resources Practice |

John Mestepey, Managing Director |

Laura Bertonazzi, Senior Search Associate |

Electronic submissions should be submitted through the Diversified Search Firm website.

Wake Forest University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Wake Forest University is seeking a forward-thinking visionary and transformational executive to lead and elevate the human resource function within the University. An experienced professional who has previously worked within a decentralized environment will find this an exciting opportunity to reposition the function, and further build and develop a strategic team that emphasizes service, collaboration, and communication, always with the Wake Forest mission in mind.

Reporting to the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, the Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer (VP/CHRO) will lead the human resources function in cultivating and enhancing a culture of cohesion and collaboration, employee excellence, engagement, and leadership for the Reynolda Campus. The VP/CHRO will lead the development and implementation of campus-wide human resource strategies and initiatives with an intentional focus on alignment with the University’s mission. This leader will be a change maker, have an excellent strategic and operational track record across the human resources discipline, and proven experience in building high performance teams in which each member is valued and respected. The VP/CHRO will develop and maintain strong relationships and trust at every level of the University, able to translate stakeholder needs into dynamic programs, practices and procedures, and influence leadership leading to best practices which drive performance and human capital impact across the University.
The VP/CHRO will lead a human resources team focused on the customer and achieving excellence across a broad range of functions including talent acquisition; staff assessment, management, and development; performance review systems; leadership and organizational development; HRIS; compensation and benefits; DEI, affirmative action, Title IX, EEO and change management. This role will present to the Board of Trustees on human resource strategy and related issues.

Job Description

Key Responsibilities

  • Serve as a strategic and operational partner to university leadership, acting as a trusted advisor and guide in all aspects of human resources (HR);
  • Provide vision and effective leadership for the human resources team, empowering the function to be confident partners and provide impactful guidance;
  • Plan, develop, organize, execute, and evaluate the organization’s HR strategic vision, with a commitment to accountability, service excellence, and improved employee experience;
  • Cultivate and champion a culture of continuous improvement, focusing on key human resource metrics to track progress;
  • Standardize and develop innovative and measurable programs which advance a culture of proactive support for Wake Forest employees with a focus on quality and performance;
  • Frame issues supported by data analytics and benchmarking insights, to drive leadership towards more effective problem solving and decision making, with a clear focus on results;
  • In partnership with other units, implement employee-related components of Wake Forest’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan as well as its affirmative action plan;
  • Offer strategic leadership for the recruitment and development of talent and help enhance campus-wide support for effective retention strategies;
  • In partnership with the Office of General Counsel, ensure compliance with policies, laws, and practices that impact recruitment, retention, separation, and other personnel matters;
  • Drive continuous improvement of the Workday platform, process challenges and champion solutions for the benefit of the Academy;
  • Oversee trends in employee data and regularly scan the internal and external environment for issues that may impact the workforce;
  • Align total rewards programs with the University’s objectives to attract, recruit and retain top talent;
  • Proactively keep a pulse of the market, understanding market shifts and developing a continuous innovative human resource approach within the evolving competitive landscape;
  • Effectively lead human resource related communications, developing clear, concise, and relevant messaging to the different stakeholders regarding HR programs, policies, processes, and initiatives.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree coupled with equivalent work experience in human resources management.
  • Fifteen years+ of progressively responsible leadership of a human resources function within complex, multi-layered organizations and preferably experience within the higher education sector;
  • Experience leading a progressive, “best-in-class” human resources team and able to demonstrate significant change, supporting employees through trust, transparency, and advocacy;
  • Experience analyzing and solving complex employee relations and organizational design/change management issues;
  • Experience leading human resource COE’s including: employee relations, organizational design and development, information systems, DEI, talent acquisition, Title IX, learning and development, performance management, benefits and compensation;
  • Strong business skills in the strategic recruitment, support, development and advancement of people;
  • The ability to lead by influence and example as a “down to earth,” practical leader who understands the culture of academia and how to make change happen;
  • High degree of both IQ and EQ; able to use both in influencing decision making;
  • Ability to modernize structures while honoring the University's history and traditions;
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills with a high degree of initiative, judgment, discretion, emotional intelligence and collaborative decision making;
  • Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing demands and needs of the community;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, persuasive presentation and public speaking skills;
  • Development and implementation of effective policies and procedures to support and advance a diverse and inclusive workplace;
  • Outstanding listening skills and willingness to challenge the status quo;
  • Demonstrated understanding of EEO, Title IX and discrimination investigations;
  • Knowledge of federal and state regulatory compliance requirements;
  • Ability to establish and lead the execution of priorities in a decentralized environment.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Relevant advanced degree preferred;
  • SPHR certifications preferred;
  • Experience within higher education preferred.

Additional Job Description

Time Type Requirement

Full timeNote to Applicant:This position profile identifies the key responsibilities and expectations for performance. It cannot encompass all specific job tasks that an employee may be required to perform. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and perform job-related duties as may be reasonably assigned by his/her supervisor.

In order to provide a safe and productive learning and living community, Wake Forest University conducts background investigations and drug screens for all final staff candidates being considered for employment.

Wake Forest seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce while promoting an inclusive work environment committed to excellence in the spirit of Pro Humanitate. In adherence with applicable laws and as provided by University policies, the University prohibits discrimination in its employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and veteran status and encourages qualified candidates across all group demographics to apply.


Wake Forest University, formed in 1834, has experienced decades of growth and innovation.  WFU is a distinctive university that combines a liberal arts core with graduate and professional schools and innovative research programs.  The University embraces the teacher-scholar ideal, which prizes the personal interaction between students and faculty.  It is a place where exceptional teaching, fundamental research and discovery, and the engagement of faculty and students in the classroom and the laboratory are paramount.

Wake Forest University is a community that seeks the enlightenment and freedom which come through diligent study and learning. Its higher goal, however, is to give life to the University motto "Pro Humanitate," as members translate a passion for knowledge into compassionate service. The community shares a tradition that embraces freedom and integrity and acknowledges the worth of the individual. The heritage, established by the school's founders and nurtured by succeeding generations, promotes a democratic spirit arising from open-mindedness and discourse. Wake Forest fosters compassion and caring for others. Its collective strength and character are derived from the values and distinctive experiences of each individual; therefore, it affirms the richness of human intellect and culture and its contribution to knowledge, faith, reason, and dialogue. Furthermore, it strives toward a society in which good will, respect, and equality prevail. To that end, Wake Forest University rejects hatred and bigotry in any form and promotes justice, honor, and mutual trust.​

The University is comprised of:  the undergraduate college, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Divinity, School of Law, and School of Medicine (located on the Bowman Gray campus with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center) and today enrolls about 4,846 undergraduates and 2,823 students in graduate programs at its principal location, the Reynolda campus.  Students at Wake Forest University enjoy a great deal of access to and interaction with world-class faculty both in and out of the classroom setting with a student-faculty ratio of 11:1.  Wake Forest employs approximately 2,772 full and part-time faculty and staff.

Wake Forest is a collegiate university offering a vibrant, intellectual community with a rich cultural life, an impressive array of facilities, and a strong athletics program competing in the fifteen-team Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).  Since its founding, the university has adopted the motto “pro humanitate,” which is exemplified by a deep institutional commitment to public service and engagement with the world. Wake Forest has a strong commitment to holistic, eight-dimensional well-being for students, faculty and staff as evidenced in the Thrive initiative.

Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest is located in Winston-Salem, NC, a beautiful, mid-sized city centrally located in the Piedmont-Triad region of North Carolina.  Winston-Salem is a family-friendly city with high quality schools, numerous outdoor recreational activities and events, and is known for its vibrant and thriving arts scene.

Winston-Salem residents enjoy close proximity to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains (1.5 hours) and Atlantic beaches (4 hours), a moderate climate with four distinct seasons, a very reasonable cost of living, and an eclectic variety of restaurants, wine bars, and breweries for dining with friends and family.  Winston-Salem offers many of the amenities of a large city but with the sense of community and quality of life of a smaller town (

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