Humane Society Taps accelHRate to Find Chief People Officer

Executive recruitment firms are finding a growing demand for chief people officers for all sorts of organizations. For non-profit HSUS, the role will be an integral part of the executive team.

July 16, 2019 – Executive search firms have been stepping up their efforts to assist companies across the nation to find new chief people officers. The latest: accelHRate was selected by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to lead its search for a new chief people officer. Kimberly Shanahan, founding president and chief executive officer, led the search along with managing partner and co-founder Kelly McPherson.

“This is an incredible opportunity for a seasoned HR executive to blend their extensive experience and to connect with an important mission,” said Ms. Shanahan. “This person will partner closely with the newly promoted CEO on her agenda and build an HR function that will have enormous impact on employees and the Humane Society’s mission. There is a lot to do; therefore, we are looking for someone who is an experienced coach/counselor, leader and one who is adept at change management.”

Reporting to the Humane Society’s new president and CEO, Kitty Block, the organization’s first chief people officer will be an integral part of the executive team for this high profile non-profit. This executive will be expected to ensure that the organization has a high impact HR function, which includes talent acquisition, talent management, learning and development, succession planning, employee relations, HR systems and processes, organizational development and effectiveness, compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusion, analytics and culture.

“The Humane Society’s new chief people officer will be a strategic yet pragmatic leader who understands how to build a strong human capital function, instill strong cultural values across an entire organization, and manage growth in existing and new markets,” the search firm said. “This executive will understand how to operate in a lean environment with a distributed global workforce.”

HSUS wants a strategic senior human resources executive who will bring the credibility, presence, judgement, expertise and experience to partner effectively with Ms. Block and the rest of the executive team, said accelHRate. The individual should also ideally have experience working with a board (non-profit and/or for profit). This executive will be charged with building a multi-faceted, approachable, business/solutions-oriented HR function that will engage and empower employees to fulfill the organization’s mission.

Candidates should have at least 20 years of experience, ideally serving as a No. 1 human resources executive for a non-profit or for-profit services organization of at least 800 employees. They must have leadership experience in a company with a distributed workforce.

Among the other qualifications HSUS is seeking:

  • Early experience in one or more large companies known for strong talent practices preferred. While not-for-profit experience is not required, he/she must be able to effectively work in, and influence across, a mission-oriented organization.
  • Experience/ability leading analytics/metrics-driven decision-making and tailoring those to specific employee and cultural nuances.
  • Experience as a confidant to a CEO across all facets of human capital, business strategy and culture. Must be willing to challenge management’s point of view when necessary, offering alternative constructive suggestions.

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  • A “nose for talent,” able to recognize great talent and the potential of individuals. He/she will implement and lead effective and innovative processes for hiring, developing and retaining people across the organization.
  • An open, highly collaborative- and results-oriented management style that focuses on the development and empowerment of colleagues at all levels inside and outside the HR team. Track record of building high performance teams and leveraging collaborative persuasion skills across all levels of the organization.
  • Strong organizational development, coaching and facilitation skills. This will include experience building successful training and development capabilities for an organization at all levels.

HSUS, based in Washington, D.C., is well known for its work on behalf of animals for more than 60 years. Working closely with affiliate organizations, the organization provides hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year, as well as providing education and training for thousands of local organizations.

Proven HR Recruiters

Headquartered in Herndon, VA, accelHRate is focused on placing chief human resource officers, their direct reports and boards of directors. The team has placed hundreds of high impact HR executives across all industries and geographies. The firm was established in 2014.

Ms. Shanahan brings more than 25 years of business and executive search experience to accelHRate. She has partnered with hundreds of CEOs, board members and CHROs across multiple industries and geographies to place HR, CEO and board of directors talent. Prior to co-founding accelHRate in 2014, she spent eight years with Korn Ferry where she led the HR center of expertise as senior client partner and simultaneously served as managing partner for the company’s Northern Virginia office. She was also an active member of the CEO and board practice.

Ms. McPherson brings close to 20 years of recruiting and management experience to the firm. In her role at accelHRate she focuses on chief human resources officers, head of total rewards and heads of talent roles. Her clients range from Fortune 500 organizations to private equity portfolio companies across a range of industries, including technology, healthcare, B2B services, financial services, defense, industrial, retail and consumer services.

Chief People Officers

Here is a sampling of recent chief people officer searches conducted by top firms from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Hanold Associates Seeks Chief People Officer for Canidae
Private equity-backed Canidae, a pet food company, has retained Hanold Associates to find its first chief people officer. Jason Hanold, CEO and co-managing partner of the search firm, is leading the assignment, joined by partners Keri Gavin and Mayank Parikh.

D. Hilton Associates Recruits Chief People Officer for Achieva Credit Union
Fairfax, VA, retained executive search firm D. Hilton Associates placed Jeff Blake as chief people officer of Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, FL. Mr. Blake brings nearly 20 years of human resources and credit union management experience to his new role. 

Polachi Finds Chief People Officer for Bottom Line Technologies
Polachi Inc. recently placed Stephanie Baker Lucey as the new chief people officer of NASDAQ-traded Bottom Line Technologies in Portsmouth, NH. “We know Steph’s experience navigating organizational complexities will make her a great fit for our client Bottomline Technologies.”

Lucas Group Seeking Chief People Officer for Joint Venture
Executive search firm Lucas Group was recently retained to lead the chief people officer search for the new joint venture formed by affiliates of KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Company. Kyle Lehman, managing partner, human resources executive search, is spearheading the assignment.

Human Capital Consultants Places Chief People Officer for ONE Campaign
Human Capital Consultants, LLC placed Anchal Gupta as chief people officer for ONE Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy and campaigning organization. The search was led by senior search consultant Katherine Emery.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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