VP, Human Resources Strategic Initiatives

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Job ID:

450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215


Employment Type:
Full time

Work Location:
PTL Remote: 2-3 days remote/wk


Reporting directly to the Senior Vice President (SVP) for Human Resources/Chief People Officer,  the VP for Strategic Initiatives will lead a team who provide strategic planning, business goal-setting and status reporting, project planning and management, business process redesign and transformation, and rapid (crisis) response to Dana-Farber’s central HR organization.  The Vice President will also oversee a HR communications function, whose audience is the current and potential Dana-Farber workforce as well as leadership and managers. 

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is experiencing strong, sustained growth, which places increased demand on HR services and expectations for service delivery. This position works closely with the SVP for HR/CPO and the senior HR team to assess, recommend, and implement improvements and “scale-ups” of HR services that effectively support this growth and the achievement of DFCI’s mission. The VP for Strategic Initiatives will serve as a strategic advisor and thought partner to the SVP for HR/CPO taking a broad and deep view of how the HR organization can best serve DFCI, its people, and its mission. With others on the senior management team, contribute significantly to shaping the HR function for the future, which will entail a step change over the next 3-5 years to strengthen and modernize HR services and programs, structure, systems and business processes. The Vice President will be a key strategist and contributor to improving HR’s capacity, capabilities, service delivery and supporting infrastructure. HR’s strategic priorities for the next 3-5 years include greater adoption of talent management, improving inclusion, diversity & equity, providing an engaging culture and work experience, effective total rewards, fostering workforce well-being and resiliency, and strengthening and modernizing the HR function. 

Located in Boston and the surrounding communities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a leader in life changing breakthroughs in cancer research and patient care. We are united in our mission of conquering cancer, HIV/AIDS and related diseases. We strive to create an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment where we provide compassionate and comprehensive care to patients of all backgrounds, and design programs to promote public health particularly among high-risk and underserved populations. We conduct groundbreaking research that advances treatment, we educate tomorrow's physician/researchers, and we work with amazing partners, including other Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals. 


  • Overall:  Provide team leadership by developing and managing diverse talent. Set clear goals to achieve the best results and greatest impact. Motivate and enable the team to meet goals and provide high-quality work, adopt new technology, and provide excellent service. 
  • Strategic Planning:  Provide strategic advice and counsel to the SVP for HR/CPO and the senior HR leadership team. Support the development and alignment of long- and short-term (annual) HR goals with DFCI’s broader objectives and priorities. Inform DFCI’s HR strategy and direction, conduct regular environmental scans, review HR and employer performance measures and metrics, engage in systematic listening and feedback gathering, and utilize institutional, benchmarking and best practices research. Ensure there is appropriate alignment of HR strategic objectives with the annual performance objectives of HR teams. Consult as needed with senior leadership in other administrative functions to ensure lateral alignment and coordination. Collaborate with the Managing Director on the development of the annual departmental budget and FTE requests, developing the business cases for incremental HR resources as needed.   
  • HR Business Transformation:  Monitor and drive progress on HR strategic objectives and the related HR transformation strategy. Help to prioritize HR initiatives and lead high-impact critical projects as needed.  Partner with HR leadership team to: understand opportunities for HR process and operational improvements, rationalization and alignment; define, build and support scalable and sustainable HR solutions; enact HR process improvements to improve efficiency. Cultivate strong partnerships and collaborations with initiative owners and functional leadership to achieve the objectives of the initiative. Develop creative solutions that address business needs within the culture and environment of a highly matrixed organization.   
  • Project/Program Management Office:  Provide expertise and resources across HR to define project management standards, practices, and tools that are consistent with those used at the Institute more broadly.  Mentor and develop project management capabilities/capacity across HR. Track the status, progress and well-being of numerous concurrent projects in HR.  Directly manage high-priority projects and strategic initiatives on behalf of the SVP for HR/CPO or the HR leadership team. 
  • HR Communications:  Leads the HR communications function, responsible for employer brand management, HR’s digital presence on the web, on social media, and on the employee intranet.  Create useful, relevant, usable and compelling content for multiple audiences including prospective and current DFCI employees, as well as DFCI people managers and departments who are HR’s internal clients.  Develop communications that enable employees to take best advantage of their DFCI total rewards. Contribute to HR’s approach to content management across multiple platforms (web, knowledge bases, help systems). Develop and distribute HR-related news, announcements, presentations, and collateral materials that drive understanding, equitable utilization and satisfaction with DFCI’s wide range of employee rewards. Support the SVP in developing communications, presentations and talk points for presentations and meetings.  
  • Rapid Response:  At the request and direction of the SVP for HR/CPO, lead short-term rapid (or crisis) response to unusual situations/disruptions or events that have significant impact on DFCI’s workforce or Human Resources. These situations may range from more routine (inclement weather, utility or mass transit interruptions) to less routine. Serve as HR’s “point person” on emergency management/crisis response that is being managed by DFCI personnel or civil authorities. Ensure communication in all directions and that the situation is recognized, managed, stabilized and resolved. Escalate priority concerns/risk to the SVP for HR/CPO for awareness or decision-making. Convene the HR leadership and response teams as needed. 


  • Undergraduate college degree required; Relevant master’s degree (MBA, MPA, MS) preferred 
  • 10+ years’ management experience and demonstrated success in providing HR services in a large, complex non-profit organization preferably:
    • In non-profit sectors such as higher education, academic medicine, research, health care, biomedical/pharma, business, research, government or management consulting that consults to organizations in these sectors  
    • Progressively responsible roles in strategic planning, business transformation, and process improvement 
    • Deep HR functional knowledge and strong proficiency in HR competencies 


  • Leadership and relationships:  Well-developed leadership skills with strong character and integrity. Leads, develops and inspires a team of planners, analysts and communicators. Displays good judgment for risk-taking and acts decisively to create positive impact and best outcomes. Solution- and team-oriented. Excellent communicator with strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Experience in building critical relationships and collaborations, internal alliances, and long-term partnerships in a complex, matrixed organization. 
  • Strategic and analytical thinking:  Ability to analyze complex situations with acuity and insight.  Uses data and information skillfully to detect and characterize problems and opportunities, develop solutions, and create a compelling narrative. Can think strategically. Comprehends, synthesizes, organizes and presents large amounts of complex information in a way that increases the understanding, engagement, and forward momentum of HR staff and teams. 
  • Functional expertise:  Skilled, with demonstrated expertise in strategic planning, program/project management, and communications. Accurately scopes out and estimates projects, recognizing complexity and risk, and manages projects effectively. Solid knowledge of core HR processes and functions. 
  • Managing Change:  Proficient in leading and managing through change, growth and uncertainty while creating a productive, stable and reliable environment for the immediate team and the larger HR organization. Flexibility and adaptability to shifting priorities and/or organizational needs, while mitigating the impact of shifts and changes on staff. Flexibility, adaptability and agility to navigate through resistance and setbacks effectively.  Anticipates barriers and adjusts in ways that move the work forward 


Directly supervises approximately 5 FTEs 

At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, we work every day to create an innovative, caring, and inclusive environment where every patient, family, and staff member feels they belong.  As relentless as we are in our mission to reduce the burden of cancer for all, we are equally committed to diversifying our faculty and staff.  Cancer knows no boundaries and when it comes to hiring the most dedicated and diverse professionals, neither do we. If working in this kind of organization inspires you, we encourage you to apply.  

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is an equal opportunity employer and affirms the right of every qualified applicant to receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, national origin, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability, age, ancestry, military service, protected veteran status, or other groups as protected by law. 

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