New York, NY

Chief Talent and Human Resources Officer, The Wallace Foundation

The Organization

The Wallace Foundation  is an independent, national philanthropy with $1.6 billion in assets based in New York City.  The Foundation – traces its origins back more than half a century to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association. H C Smith Ltd, a retained executive search firm,  is excited to partner with the Wallace Foundation in its search for a Chief Talent and Human Resources Officer.

The Wallace Foundation seeks to improve learning and enrichment for marginalized children and to foster the vitality of the arts for everyone.  In each of its focus areas – arts, education leadership, and learning and enrichment – the Foundation seeks to achieve “dual goals” by simultaneously creating benefits:

·         At the local level through supporting our grantees in delivering and improving

their services to their targeted beneficiaries, and

·         At the national level by identifying and helping to answer one or more significant questions whose answers are not known but which, if known, could help propel progress broadly in the field.

Most of the Foundation’s grantmaking is conducted through initiatives.  These strategic investments are several times larger and longer than is typical for its peer foundations. Using the “Wallace Approach,”   initiatives are designed and based on efforts to understand the context of the fields in which it works.  It funds programmatic work in the field to generate improvements and insights and catalyzes broad impact through the creation and dissemination to practitioners and policy makers of a broad range of accessible and useful studies, reports and tools emanating from the work.

Wallace initiatives are designed and implemented through interdisciplinary teams from program, communications and research units. Teams work collaboratively to create and implement strategies that capture the synergy of its members’ diverse knowledge, skills, experience and ways of thinking. Team members from program, communications and research units are responsible for managing the grants in their respective disciplines and for collectively coordinating the work of grantees across disciplines. The Wallace Foundation has 50 employees in three program units (arts, education leadership, and learning and enrichment), communications, research, grants administration, finance, information technology, investments, legal, human resources and office services.

The Foundation seeks employees who are highly skilled in their professions and derive energy from working collaboratively across disciplines.  Wallace employees need to be able to think analytically, communicate clearly, and work collegially with others from different backgrounds.  The Foundation values the flexibility to adapt to change, a desire to learn, and the ability to work productively both on one’s own and with colleagues inside and outside the foundation.

Position Overview

Chief Talent and Human Resources Officer

The Chief Talent and Human Resources Officer (CTHRO) works closely with and reports directly to the Foundation’s president. The position has two primary areas of focus: i) overall organization development, employee engagement, talent acquisition and management strategies, aiming to create high performance teams that enable the Foundation to achieve its mission within a culture that fully reflects its core values, and ii) the full scope of human resources including performance enhancement, compensation systems, benefits and policies, staffing and day-to-day employee relations. There is one direct report to this position, a human resource

specialist, and the position shares administrative support with the General Counsel. The CTHRO is a member of the Foundations’ senior management team and shares responsibility for overall strategic planning and organizational policy. She/he serves as a liaison to the Governance and Compensation Committee of the Board, and chairs the Administrative Committee, which has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Foundation’s retirement and deferred compensation plans.


Organization, Team, and Individual Growth and Development

·         Leads efforts to engage staff in fostering the culture the Foundation aspires to – fully aligned with the values, including work on diversity, equity and inclusion.

·         Builds on analysis of various data sources (e.g., employee survey, 360 feedback, working groups and other input and feedback) and leads the discussion with the senior management team to design and implement Wallace’s annual organization development plan.

·         Supports directors in identifying the development needs of the teams/units they lead, develops a plan and researches resources to implement the plan, customizes for the team it serves, and provides ongoing support.

·         Designs and oversees processes to support the individual professional development of all staff at the Foundation.

·         Identifies external consultants to support the work – foundation-wide, with teams/units, and with individual employees. Reviews options and approaches with senior management and/or the individual director, develops the scope of work, and monitors for ongoing performance against agreed-upon deliverables.

Talent Acquisition

·         Collaborates with the hiring managers to develop position descriptions that reflect the responsibilities of the positions, qualifications required, and approaches that will attract a robust pool of diverse qualified candidates.

·         Identifies search firms, and with the hiring managers interviews and selects firms with the discipline/field expertise for the positions.  Firms must be capable of identifying and maintaining a robust and diverse candidate pool through to the finalist interviews.

·         Manages and participates in the recruiting process to ensure delivery of high-quality outcomes and timely results.

·         Designs and plays a key role in the onboarding process for all new hires at the Foundation.

Employee Engagement

·         Manages the performance enhancement system. Ensures the design of the annual process for performance feedback and goal-setting supports a developmental focus and is consistent across the Foundation.

·         Ensures Wallace’s policies and practices are competitive with the market, aligns with the values and the culture the Foundation aspires to, and in compliance with federal, state and local legislation and regulations.

·         Recommends changes to the senior management team as necessary.

Compensation and Benefits

The Foundation’s total compensation philosophy is to be competitive in the market so that it can attract, retain and motivate staff working together to advance its mission:

·         Works with the Foundation’s independent compensation consultant to prepare the annual review with the Governance and Compensation Committee of senior management and investment staff, and the review every three years for all staff.

·         Works with the compensation consultant to review design features of the incentive compensation plan for investment staff annually.

·         Manages Wallace’s health and welfare, and retirement plans (including incentive compensation plans for investment staff), ensuring they are competitive with the market, in compliance with legislation and regulations, administered in accordance with plan provisions, with timely and clear communications to staff on changes to build understanding.

·         Engages and manages external consultants, e.g., ERISA counsel, retirement plan investment advisor and benefit brokers to support this work.

·         With the human resource specialist, be a resource to employees and manage the day-to-day operational aspects of human resources.


·         Demonstrated ability to effectively collaborate as part of a high-performing, integrated, senior management team in a mission-driven, values-based culture, actively contributing across the Foundation to improve how we work together and build trust.

·         Ability to actively contribute across the Foundation to improve working relationships while building trust, respect and a high degree of integrity.

·         A combination of:  The proven ability to design and lead strategic organizational cultural initiatives (in areas such as building high performance teams and diversity, equity and inclusion), and

·         Strong track record of employee relations experience with technical skills to deliver the full scope of excellent day-to-day human resources services to the Foundation staff.

·         Fifteen or more years of substantive experience as a Chief Human Resources Officer or similar role.  Relevant experience would include culture and organization development, and employee benefits and compensation and a reputation for driving HR best practices in organizations.

·         Excellent analytical, conceptual thinking, interpersonal, strategic planning and project management skills.

·         Exceptional listening, written and oral communication skills combined with a sense of humor, poise and presentation capabilities.

·         Experienced in mentoring and coaching employees at all levels of the organization.

The Wallace Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to maintaining a diverse workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength. People of color are encouraged to apply.

The Wallace Foundation has retained HC Smith Ltd to conduct this search. All interested candidates are asked to contact Herbert C. Smith, PhD, Founder and President and Rebecca R. Smith, Principal at the following email addresses: or

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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