April 8, 2020 – Recruiting HR talent continues to be an expanding priority for companies, even with the pandemic upon us. The thinking goes that once social distancing is lifted, and the virus lethality subsides, some semblance of normalcy will return to businesses. With that in mind, many organizations continue to plan through the crisis and beyond. To that end, Los Angeles-based Shelli Herman and Associates just placed Maurice Wiggins as the first chief human resources officer (CHRO) of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Shelli Herman, president of the recruitment firm, led the assignment along with her associate, Krista Haley.
Mr. Wiggins started in his new role this week, despite the museum’s temporary closure because of the coronavirus pandemic and the staff having moved to working remotely.
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“With this hire, our client was really looking for someone who put people and culture first,” said Ms. Herman. “The Whitney Museum has a long and robust history of hiring and mentoring great people who are deeply passionate about the work and enormously committed to mission.”
“Maurice has the ideal background for the Whitney because of his strong human resources generalist experience; he has a strong bias toward collaboration and the development of people,” she said. “The focus for their first ever CHRO is that of maintaining the ethos of the museum, while modernizing the current HR structure to be innovative and transformational.”
Mr. Wiggins has over 10 years in stakeholder engagement, diversity and inclusion, event producing, recruiting, staffing, compensation administration, training and development in industries such as entertainment, customer service, retail and higher education. He has proven advanced management experience working with senior leaders to facilitate change which yielded positive organizational results.
Previously, Mr. Wiggins served as director, strategic planning and human resources at Columbia University Medical Center. In this role, he was responsible for client service excellence, operations (budget, staffing, culture), thought leadership and business development, which support a population of 500-plus employees and external affiliates. Mr. Wiggins is also founder of Profyle Management Consulting, which provides coaching and consulting to leaders and organizations specializing in the areas of management consulting, brand experience, leadership development, and strategic communications. During his career, he also gained experience in various roles with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida State University and Metris Companies.
In his new role as CHRO of the Whitney Museum, Mr. Wiggins will evaluate and then strengthen all current human resources processes, structures and practices to achieve best-in-class programs and services that reflect the values of the organization, encouraging strong employee engagement.
“One of his key and initial goal’s will be that of insuring that the human resources unit implements and aligns people centric practices that adequately reflect the character of the workforce,” said Ms. Herman. “Maurice will focus on building a renewed vision for the function such that the HR structure is elevated to ensure it strategically aligns with overall organizational success.”
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In addition, Mr. Wiggins will collaborate with all departments in support of programs designed to foster a climate of inclusion as well as the engagement of a diverse work force. He will facilitate and implement programs, services and policy development to help advance the organization’s core commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Mr. Wiggins will also serve as a partner and advisor to managers at all levels across the museum. He will be expected to serve as a champion for the Whitney’s culture and core values.
As one of the preeminent institutions devoted to art in the U.S., the Whitney Museum presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The collection includes over 24,000 works created by more than 3,500 artists in the U.S. The museum was established in 1931.
Shelli Herman and Associates has a long roster of clients, including Otis College of Art and Design, Catalina Island Conservancy, the Annenberg Foundation, Pacific Northwest College of Art, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and University of California, Los Angeles.
Ms. Herman, who has 20 years of executive recruitment experience, has a strong record of leading searches and building upper management teams for a diverse clientele, including Fortune 500 companies. She has completed senior-level assignments in many industries, including consumer products, healthcare, high technology and finance, as well as for non-profit and cultural organizations.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media