Isaacson, Miller Assists Harvard Business School in the Recruitment of Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer

The Boston-based search firm has placed Terrill L. Drake in this inaugural role at one of the most prominent business schools in the world. This key leader is expected to help develop and implement plans for cultivating and achieving a culture of inclusive excellence, diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the HBS community, as well as with alumni and other constituents.

July 13, 2021 – Isaacson, Miller has assisted in the placement of Terrill L. Drake as the first chief diversity and inclusion officer at Harvard Business School (HBS). Partners Keight Tucker Kennedy and Ponneh Varho led the search along with senior associate Sonia Gomez. “Harvard Business School aspires to be a place where everyone can be their best self,” said Srikant Datar, dean of Harvard Business School. “Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are critical to realizing that goal. We are fortunate to have Terrill, with his extensive experience and expertise, joining us to guide our community in this important work.”

In this inaugural position, Mr. Drake will play a lead role in developing and implementing a strategy for cultivating and achieving a culture of inclusive excellence, diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the HBS community, as well as with alumni and other constituents across HBS and beyond. He will build on the work of the school’s Racial Equity Action Plan, along with equity efforts related to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status and age.

2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recruiting Report:
Building a Balanced and Diverse Workforce

Hunt Scanlon Media’s latest market intelligence recruiting report – this time focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – will be available later this fall! The nation’s top executive recruiters are resetting expectations and looking for new ways forward to build balanced and diverse workforce teams for their clients.

According to executive recruiters, DE&I should not just be a priority, but an integrated part of every company’s leadership goals. Some companies have even tied DE&I metrics to executive compensation. But it’s more than that.

Part of building strong, diverse hiring teams means asking yourself: “Who is my company culture going to attract – and how will it engage people who are here?” This question can be very difficult to answer if you assume everyone feels welcome already just because you do. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations is more than just the right ethical decision. “It is one of the best business decisions a company can make,” said Keri Gavin, a partner with Hanold Associates and leader of the search firm’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practice. Hanold Associates is a proud sponsor of this year’s report. This report will help organizations prioritize DE&I as a business imperative that drives greater competitiveness, innovation and business results. Get it now! 

Mr. Drake will be charged with helping to enhance and sustain an inclusive and equitable campus climate that engages students, faculty, staff and the broader community. His office will both lead and support work across the school, including strategic planning, programming, training, curriculum development, and recruiting and hiring.

Angela Crispi, HBS’s executive dean for administration, said: “I’m delighted that Terrill will be joining the School’s senior leadership team and look forward to working with him. Harvard Business School strives to be a living model of the principles we teach in our educational programs. Leading diversity and strengthening an inclusive culture are vital skills in today’s organizations.”

Mr. Drake, currently the associate dean, strategic initiatives and head diversity officer at the Villanova School of Business, brings over 18 years of higher education experience in diversity, equity and inclusion; event, program and project management; marketing; and operational management. Prior roles include serving as the executive director, diversity initiatives at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business. He was recently elected to serve on the steering committee for the Diversity & Inclusion Affinity Group for AACSB and serves on the board of directors for Special Olympics of Pennsylvania.

“I’m excited and humbled to have the opportunity to lead the charge on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Harvard Business School,” said Mr. Drake. “The commitment to improve, and the humility with which the School has approached the work thus far, sets the stage for real progress in the years ahead.”

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is the oldest continuously operating law school in the U.S. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment executive education programs and 55 custom programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the school’s digital learning platform.

Related: CarterBaldwin Executive Search Tapped by Pepperdine University to Find Chief Diversity Officer

A nationally recognized search firm focused on recruiting transformational leaders for mission-driven organizations, Isaacson, Miller has conducted thousands of placements over more than three decades. More than half of the firm’s work has been in academia, involving university presidents, college chancellors and deans. The firm has filled top leadership posts at Wellesley College, Washington State University, Miami University, Howard University, Bowdoin College, Dartmouth, NYU, Virginia State University and the University of North Carolina, among others. Mr. Isaacson founded Isaacson, Miller in 1982.

Experienced Search Consultants

A member of Isaacson, Miller’s team since 2014, Ms. Tucker Kennedy brings diverse experience in non-profit and higher education organizations to her practice. She has worked on several presidential searches, including those for Spelman College, Hamilton College, Converse College, Duke University, Johnson C. Smith University and Elizabeth City State University. Additionally, Ms. Tucker Kennedy has played a key role on several student affairs searches for Ohio State University, Washington University in St. Louis, Princeton, MIT and Cornell. As a search consultant, she has worked with historically black colleges and universities, women’s colleges, and K-12 education and advocacy organizations.

Spencer Stuart Recruits CHRO for Harvard Law School
Spencer Stuart recently placed HR veteran Roxanne Armbruster as the new assistant dean and CHRO of Harvard Law School, the oldest continuously operating law school in the U.S.

The search firm was seeking someone with at least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in human resources, business and/or higher education administration as well as substantial staff management experience. Ms. Armbruster fit the bill with nearly two decades of experience in human resources and business operations across a variety of settings. Most recently, she served as the director of business operations at Ropes & Gray after transitioning from the firm’s human resources department. 

Ms. Varho is a member of the executive committee at Isaacson, Miller and the leader of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Since joining the firm in 2007, she has built a strong higher education practice, having completed more than 100 searches for presidents, provosts, deans and a broad range of functional leaders. Her searches often result in strong client affinity relationships, and she frequently works with her presidential placements to build out their leadership teams. Ms. Varho has conducted presidential searches for institutions including Bowdoin College, Spelman College, Vassar College, Wellesley College, and her alma mater, the University of Virginia. She has long been a champion of diversity and inclusion. In addition to her client work in this area, Ms. Varho co-chairs the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiative.

Ms. Gomez joined Isaacson, Miller in 2020. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, where she researched and wrote on issues related to immigration in the U.S. and also served as part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seminar on migration and the humanities. While earning her doctorate at the University of Chicago, Ms. Gomez worked on graduate diversity and equity initiatives in the office of the provost. In this role, she led organizing efforts in support of graduate students of color.

Recent Work with Harvard

In July, Harvard University turned to Isaacson, Miller to recruit Sherri Ann Charleston as the school’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. The same team of recruiters who are conducting the current chief diversity officer assignment led this search. “Sherri is an administrative leader and interdisciplinary scholar whose work at the intersection of history and law informs her efforts to translate theory into practice that improves higher education,” said Larry Bacow, president of Harvard. “She is widely admired for her ability to integrate all aspects of an institution into her strategic thinking and decision-making. I welcome Sherri’s leadership and expertise in this important area.”

A historian trained in U.S. history with a focus on race, women, gender, citizenship and the law, and an attorney with a specialization in constitutional and employment law, Ms. Charleston most recently served as assistant vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion, and chief affirmative action officer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Related: WittKieffer Seeks Chief Diversity Officer for Colgate University

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

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