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Chief People Officer Job ID 2022-1759 58 views

The Organization
The world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is dedicated to research
and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system,
and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society. The ocean is a defining
feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored
frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all
facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor,
and life – including humanity.
This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s
long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers
are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased
information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness
about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.
Vision 2030: Ocean Science for the Global Good – WHOI applies their distinctive capabilities to
advance ocean science for the global good at a pace commensurate with the urgency of
challenges ahead. Providing transformative freedom and opportunity for their staff to advance
basic research, they accelerate innovation, engage the world, and commit to making WHOI and
ocean science a diverse and welcoming place for all.


The People
WHOI’s reputation around the world and through the years rests largely on the long line of people
who have contributed their talents to helping directly or indirectly address some of the most
pressing challenges in ocean science. Their scientists, engineers, technical, and maritime staff
travel to the farthest reaches of the planet, from the poles to the ocean depths and along the
world’s coast lines to discover, collect, analyze, and produce knowledge about our ocean and
earth for the public’s benefit. WHOI’s team works on ships and in the field in inherently
challenging environments.
WHOI recognizes that increasing representation and advancing inclusion is critical to their core
mission of exploration and discovery in a diverse and connected world, and diversity, equity and
inclusion are core values that weave through all they do. WHOI is taking action to build a culture
in which the voices of all people are fully heard and fully included; they are committed to
identifying and removing those barriers and building a healthier and more vibrant research
community. To aid in this effort, WHOI appointed a Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer who
assumed the newly-created role in August of 2021 to formalize WHOI’s commitment to DEI and
provide resources and guidance to the many individual and committee efforts underway across
the Institution.

Essential Functions

The Role
As a thought leader, visionary, and strategic partner to the President, the Chief People Officer
(CPO) will lead all aspects of WHOI’s People/HR initiatives and programs while aligning the
strategy with overall organizational goals and change management initiatives during a time of
pivotal transformation for WHOI. As a key member of a collaborative senior leadership team, the
CPO will build upon the positive, engaged culture that works to assimilate the interests, talents,
and contributions of employees in a high-performing and inclusive workplace. The CPO will
further the mission of WHOI as an enthusiastic leader, and will create professional development
opportunities for the People/HR team and employees throughout the organization. The CPO
must be a strong listener and communicator who is able to build and manage a team of
professionals and delegate effectively. The CPO will lead change while collaborating effectively
with peers and stakeholders, including finance, scientists, engineers, technical staff, skilled
tradespeople, maritime staff, administrators, academic and educational program leaders,
students, and post-doctoral fellows.


Strategic People/HR Leadership

  • Talent Acquisition – Lead and inspire a team that drives a leading-edge talent acquisition strategy
    to attract, develop, retain, and engage a high-performing workforce. Build innovative programs
    to promote employer branding in support of these objectives. Encourage ideas around
    onboarding and captivating events to appeal to a diverse, high-potential talent pool.
  • Talent Management – Create strategic direction and lead a team to develop and implement longrange
    strategic plans to build the human capital of WHOI through performance management,
    coaching, and training and development, thus motivating individuals to achieve their maximum
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – In partnership with the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer,
    lead the People/HR function as a champion of DEI and view all strategies and programs through
    a DEI lens. Support a data-guided approach to diversity across all ranks and align the People/HR
    function with the DEI initiatives, programs, and philosophies of WHOI. Foster a diverse, equitable,
    and inclusive culture that promotes valuing differences and creates a sense of belonging.
  • Professional Development – Empower and lead a team that will create strategies for professional
    and leadership development/learning that promote an environment of employee development
    while creating an employer brand. Implement sophisticated Learning Management Systems
    (LMS) and training modules that enhance the professional development of the People/HR team
    and all employees. Create a culture of career development and functional learning academies
    throughout WHOI to enhance the development of all employees and propel employee
    engagement and talent retention.
  • Performance Management – As a strategic advisor, inspire the creation of performance
    management programs that align with the values and mission of WHOI. Develop People/HR team
    members to coach management to set clear, meaningful goals and objectives. Use metrics and
    sophisticated performance management systems/technology to measure performance.
  • Total Rewards – Lead the strategy to develop a best-in-class total rewards team who will enhance
    benefits and compensation programs to attract the best talent to WHOI. Partner with the team
    to continuously evaluate the market to maintain competitive programs for the Institution.
    Empower and provide resources to the Total Rewards team to design and administer all
    compensation programs, including incentive plans and other compensation approaches. Provide
    leadership around aligning and developing performance-based compensation programs to drive                                                                                                                                                              employee performance and engagement.
  • HR Systems & Compliance – Advance People/HR technologies by selecting state-of-the-art
    systems that meet the current and future expectations of WHOI. Lead a team to manage and
    develop People/HR systems and leverage technology to support the achievement of strategic
  • HR Business Partnering – Align the HR Business Partners with various departments, ensuring they
    are the point person for all general HR needs. Coach the HR Business Partners to develop key
    relationships with stakeholders from their assigned department(s). Collaborate on each HR
    Business Partner’s people-related needs to drive operational success for their department(s).
    Compare business goals and objectives to the current structure of the department(s), ensuring
    they have the appropriate roles and employee skills within those roles. Lead organizational design
    initiatives to ensure that departmental staff plans align with future needs.

Education & Experience

Ideal Candidate


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, HR, or related field. Master’s degree in Business or HR preferred.
    SHRM-SCP, SHRM-CP, SPHR, and/or PHR certification a plus.
  • 15 to 20 years of experience in People/HR as a high performer, including People/HR leadership
    and staff management/development. Background as a change leader with success in building
    and transforming the People/HR function strongly preferred.
  • Excellent track record of leadership and team building that drives the development and
    evolution of high-performance cultures. Experience in non-profit, higher education, science,
    engineering, and/or technology preferred.
  • Strong knowledge of People/HR practices and procedures, including significant experience in
    employee relations. Current knowledge of state and federal legal compliance regulations,
    policies, and employment laws.
  • Enthusiastic, courageous, and energetic thought leader who thrives in a collaborative
    environment and has a creative, engaging, and people-focused attitude.
  • Experience leading staff to select, develop, design, and implement People/HR policies and
    procedures. Experience with the design, implementation, and socialization of HRIS,
    performance management systems, and payroll systems.

Special Requirements

WHOI has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect, where you must register your full vaccination status [vaccination plus booster] in order to begin your employment. The registration process is confidential and entails submitting your official vaccination records, or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason.


This job search is being managed by Pappas & Pappas.  Your application will be forwarded to:

Karen Pappas
Managing Partner
(o) 617-585-3038
(m) 617-448-8896

Physical Requirements

This position is mostly sedentary in nature and involves some repetitive motion such as with data entry.  There is also the occasional need for retrieving and replacing files that requires some bending, stooping, pushing and pulling.  This position will work alone as well as around and with others. Physical duties are subject to change.

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Company Information
  • Active Jobs 68 Jobs
  • Company Address 266 Woods Hole Road Woods Hole, MA 02543
  • City Woods Hole
  • Location Massachusetts
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