Koya Leadership Partners Recruits CHRO for Penn State

A 164-year old university in Pennsylvania turns to a boutique recruiting firm specializing in CHRO assignments to fills its top post. Let’s go inside this important leadership post as Liz Neumann and Beth Schaefer sit down with Hunt Scanlon to discuss this important search!

March 13, 2019 – Executive recruiters continue to be in hot pursuit of chief human resource officers and other senior-level HR leaders across the nation. Koya Leadership Partners recently placed Lorraine Goffe as the new vice president for human resources and CHRO of Penn State. She succeeds Susan Basso, who left the college for a position at Ohio State University. Managing director Liz Neumann and vice president Beth Schaefer led the assignment. Ms. Goffe started her new role last week.

“We started the search last summer and finished the last interviews before Thanksgiving so there would be plenty of time to have an offer accepted by the middle of December,” said Ms. Schaefer. “Generally, a search at this level takes four to five months to finish when working with a search committee. We became close partners with the search committee chair and David Gray the EVP at Penn State.”

“This is a very attractive role in the higher ed community and so many people know Susan Basso and the good work she started at Penn State, so there was a lot of buzz about the opportunity,” she said. “There have been a lot of exciting changes on the campus in finding more innovative ways to get work done efficiently, and it’s a role where someone can see that they will have an impact and work with a great team. The possibility of being at a Big Ten institution is also a big draw for candidates.”

“Lorraine is coming to Penn State at an exciting time, and she offers them the skills of a well-seasoned HR executive who is not only good at strategy and execution, she has such an incredibly wonderful way with people in how she collaborates and listens to the needs of the campus,” Ms. Schaefer said. “She is also a great leader and developer of teams.”

“We are pleased to welcome Lorraine Goffe to Penn State,” said Mr. Gray, who serves as Penn State’s senior vice president for finance and business. “She has dedicated her career to envisioning and implementing innovative human resources services and systems that not only meet strategic goals, but that most importantly enhance the lives of employees. We look forward to the leadership that Lorraine will bring to this critical role.”

Ms. Goffe is a human resources leader with more than 20 years of experience in higher education. She has broad experience in organizational leadership and change, workforce development, performance management, employee benefits, compensation, employee relations, HR analytics and technology, and more.


Why the Partnership with Chief Human Resource Officers Matters

Anyone with the ties to the human resources function knows how much it has evolved in recent years – and with it the role of the chief human resources officer. The biggest shift seen is in how the CHRO has progressed from fighting for a seat at the table to playing a key role on the executive team. According to executive recruiters who ply their trade placing some of the best ones in the field, a great CHRO can be one of the most vital strategic human assets a company can have – closely partnering with the CEO and CFO.

In addition, following a record-breaking year of recruiting top HR leadership into some of the best well-known brands across industry, Hanold Associates has just been tapped by the National Football League to lead its search for a new chief human resources officer (CHRO). Jason Hanold, CEO and managing partner of the Chicago-based recruiting outfit that bears his name, is leading the assignment which kicked off just days before Super Bowl LIII. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.


Previously, Ms. Goffe served as VP for HR at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before that, she worked at Washington University in St. Louis for 15 years where she held various leadership roles, including director of employee relations, before becoming vice chancellor for human resources. Ms. Goffe began her career in private industry before moving into the healthcare field as manager of HR at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Transformation Effort

In her new position, Ms. Goffe will oversee Penn State Human Resources, which is comprised of more than 210 staff members who serve the university’s 37,000 full- and part-time employees across 24 campuses, excluding Penn State Health. She will serve on the President’s Council and provide leadership across all HR departments, foster strategic collaborations and build partnerships across academic and administrative units in support of the university’s mission and strategic plan.

Related: An Up-Close Look at the Transformational Role of the CHRO

In recent years, Penn State Human Resources has embarked on a transformation effort that continues to reshape and improve HR service delivery, effectiveness and efficiency. Ms. Goffe will play a key role in implementing the transformation of HR policies, practices and technologies over the next several years to enhance customer service, support employee engagement and build a diverse workforce, among other goals.

Proven CHRO Search Consultants

Boston-based Koya Leadership Partners is a national executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. This year, the firm was again recognized by Hunt Scanlon Media as one of the top 50 search firms in the Americas.

HR searches are a hallmark of Koya. In addition to many such searches across the mission-driven organization landscape, the firm is currently partnering on searches for higher education CHRO roles at the Catholic University of America, Skidmore College and the Maryland Institute College of Art. And in the recent past, Koya consultants have led CHRO searches for Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Clark University, Fordham University, George Mason University, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Koya Leadership Partners Tapped to Find CHRO for Saint Joseph’s University
Saint Joseph’s University recently selected Koya Leadership Partners to find an experienced, effective and creative leader for the position of chief human resources officer. Koya vice president Amy Sugin is leading the search along with consultant Charlotte Harris.


Ms. Neumann has nearly 30 years of experience in financial management, organizational consulting, and executive search. With an established track record of serving clients in higher education, she is a confidante and advisor to presidents, provosts and boards.

Ms. Neumann has led searches for Brown University, Ohio University, Emory University, Yale University, Wayne State University, Cornell University and Ithaca College, among others. She often focuses in areas of business, budget, finance and administration, HR, information technology, and strategy for higher education, medical and research organizations. Ms. Neumann was previously a partner at Neumann Executive Search Partners. She joined Koya upon the merger of the two firms.

Related: Here’s Why Game Changing CHRO Talent Is In Big Demand

Ms. Schaefer has 20 years of corporate experience in human resources roles and over a decade of search experience in the corporate and higher education arenas. At Koya, she specializes in searches for senior leadership in HR, diversity and inclusion, financial management, enrollment management, institutional research and other areas of higher education administration.

Ms. Schaefer has led searches for Simmons College, Emory University, Boston College, Ithaca College, Vanderbilt University, Wellesley College, University of North Carolina, Wayne State University and the University of Washington. Prior to joining Koya, she spent five years with Neumann Executive Search Partners.

Related: An Up-Close Look at the Transformational Role of the CHRO

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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