September 14, 2021 – With the coronavirus crisis still posing a risk to people everywhere, human resources executives are stepping up at businesses across the country, playing a vital role in helping their organizations navigate what continues to be an even greater challenge than the Great Recession. Along the way, the importance of people strategy is expanding, and that is keeping executive search consultants who specialize in finding talent across the sector busier than ever.
Of note, WittKieffer was recently retained by the Institute of Aging to lead its search for a new chief people officer. Consultants Elaina Genser and Molly Gauss are leading the assignment. “This is an exciting opportunity to join one of Northern California’s largest community-based non-profits during a period of intensive growth, expansion and innovation,” the search firm said. “Based in San Francisco, the new CPO will be visible to staff in all locations and there is flexibility regarding relocation.”
Reporting to the CEO, the CPO will serve as a key leader in a unique healthcare services organization and will bond with a team that loves the company’s mission of caring for one of the community’s most vulnerable populations. “This individual will make a critical impact on the organization’s success by bringing new ideas and challenging the way things have been done in the past,” WittKieffer said. “The new CPO will positively contribute to talent identification, employee development and retention, which are key factors in successfully scaling especially in the Bay Area’s competitive health care labor market.”
Knowledge and Work Experience
Candidates should have at least 10 years of increasingly responsible human resources management experience including leading a progressive human resources department in a growing organization is required. They should have experience with California labor laws, wage and hour laws, and regulations. Knowledge of expansion markets would be valued. In addition, prospects must have expertise in developing and maintaining positive employee relations environment and a highly engaged workforce is required. In addition, WittKieffer cited other desired traits in candidates:
- Broad human resource leadership success with a focus on organizational and leadership development, including culture development, preferably in a growing organization as a strategic peer to the C‐Suite.
- Successfully led team of direct reports, balancing strategic leadership with hands on involvement when needed. Developed keen judgment to know when/how to go between the two.
- Process, efficiency, and systems savvy and will drive continued expansion and utilization of all workflows to increase efficiency.
- Strong technical skills including expertise in compensation, benefits design and administration, recruitment and retention, organization development, health and wellness, employee relations/employee engagement and employee communications is expected.
- Strong skills in succession planning, leadership development, management training and performance management systems. Experience in developing leaders, managers and clinical talent is required.
- Experience working effectively with boards of directors on strategic human resources matters and having previously worked with labor unions would be ideal, but not required.
The Institute of Aging serves over 20,000 seniors and their families annually through programs designed to alleviate isolation and enable older adults to continue living independently in communities throughout California. IOA has doubled in size over the past four years and is poised to double in size again with new locations in California and across the country over the next three years.
WittKieffer, based in Oak Brook, IL, assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities, and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives and other leaders.
WittKieffer has placed Kauline Cipriani as VP for diversity and inclusion for Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO. Leading the assignment were Charlene Aguilar, consultant; Christine Pendleton, senior associate; and Bree Liddell, associate. “We are just thrilled to welcome Kauline to the leadership team of Colorado State University,” said Joyce McConnell, president of CSU. “She is taking on this critical role with a track record of success wherever she’s been and will be able to build on the excellent work done by her predecessor, Mary Ontiveros.”
Ms. Genser has more than 35 years of industry experience. She has completed hundreds of searches for clients, including health systems and hospitals, senior care, and not-for-profit organizations committed to improving the quality of life. Ms. Genser advises healthcare trustees, CEOs, senior executives and physicians as they define executive needs within a changing healthcare environment. In 1992, Ms. Genser established WittKieffer’s Northern California office in Emeryville. She now serves as a senior partner of the healthcare practice in the western states and as vice chair and lead director of the firm’s board of directors.
Ms. Gauss takes a holistic approach to cultivating strong and diverse candidate pools, She helps identify senior-level executives for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, physician group practices and other leading healthcare organizations.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media