Education, Higher Education, Human Resources

Managing Director, Talent Acquisition and Outreach

  • Harvard University
  • Cambridge, MA

This position has been filled.

About Harvard

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the Puritan clergyman John Harvard, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and among the most prestigious in the world. Harvard University also holds a record number of honors and awards with 161 Nobel Laureates, 23 heads of state, 8 US presidents, and 132 Pulitzer Prize winners.

In addition to Harvard College, there are twelve graduate and professional schools, the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, and the Harvard Division of Continuing Education. More than 30,000 students attend Harvard University, including 8,527 undergraduates and 21,864 graduate students for the academic year 2020-2021.

Harvard University believes that inclusive excellence is a community that draws on the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity, one that fully embraces individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.  Members of the Harvard community are united by a shared commitment to inspired teaching, innovative scholarship, scientific discovery, path breaking creativity, and professional expertise that can help address society’s hardest challenges. Achieving excellence across these pursuits requires bringing a broad diversity of perspectives, methods, and experiences to bear on any given area of study or discovery. In other words, whether in the classroom, in the lab, or in the workplace, excellence requires diversity and an environment in which community members feel a sense of connection and belonging.

For more information on Harvard University, please visit their website.

Harvard Human Resources

Talent is at the heart of the higher education enterprise, and this will be the driver that differentiates institutional outcomes over the long term. Harvard Human Resource’s advances the University’s mission of excellence in teaching, learning, and research by delivering University-wide strategic HR Services, policies, rewards, and programs that attract and develop a diverse, talented, and engaged workforce. By championing innovative and effective approaches for the future of work, Harvard Human Resources is committed to fostering an environment where employees can maximize their contributions, enhance their well-being, engage creatively in their workplace, and experience a fulfilling career within Harvard’s vibrant community.


Manuel Cuevas-Trisán, Vice President for Human Resources

Manuel joined Harvard University as Vice President for Human Resources in August of 2021. In this capacity, he sets the overall strategic vision for Human Resources aimed at elevating the University’s profile as a progressive, business-forward employer, recruiting and retaining diverse talent, providing development opportunities for all members of the University workforce, and serving as a thought leader on how Harvard can thrive in the workplace of the future. He has oversight of and responsibility for staff employment policies, labor relations, benefits/wellbeing and compensation programs for the entire University and serves as the coordinating partner to the HR leaders at each of Harvard’s 12 individual schools. He is also responsible for all aspects of HR for Central Administration and has oversight of Harvard’s contingent workforce.

Most recently, Manuel was Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer at Northwestern University. Previously, he had a successful career at Motorola Solutions, Inc. in Chicago, which culminated in his service as Chief Human Resources Officer and Corporate Vice President of Employment Law

Manuel earned his BA from the University of Notre Dame and his JD from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Law. He holds Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) and Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), and a Master’s Degree in Executive Coaching & Leadership from Universitat de Barcelona/OBS.

The Opportunity

This is an exciting newly-created role on the Harvard Human Resources Senior Leadership Team. Reporting to the Vice President for Human Resources, the Managing Director, is responsible for the design and delivery of a strategic talent acquisition management function for the University. This inaugural role will be an influential leader in meeting Harvard’s goals of valuing the potential of engaged staff in its present and future success. This Managing Director is one of the seven direct reports to the Vice President and will lead university-wide talent acquisition and talent acquisition platform management, develop a framework for an internal talent marketplace, establish and lead diversity partnerships and outreach efforts, sourcing and executive search, university-wide contingent workforce, and the central administration recruitment team.

In partnership with other members of the HHR Senior Leadership team, this leader will be responsible for optimizing Harvard’s employer branding and marketing by articulating and elevating the University’s employment value proposition across the varying labor markets where Harvard University is present. With the shared goal of attracting and developing a diverse, talented, and engaged workforce the Managing Director will lead the university wide strategic pipeline development, sourcing, and executive search efforts, as well as maximize outreach and diversity partnerships. The Managing Director will also own the relationship with the university-wide contingent workforce Managed Service Provider and other staffing vendor partnerships.

The Managing Director will lead a 22-member Talent Acquisition team that is embedded and partners with key stakeholders and hiring managers across Harvard’s central administration (~5,500 employees and averaging approximately 400 openings) on high-volume recruitment and outreach. Through the ATS, there are approximately 120,000 applicants annually. The Managing Director will set strategic, ambitious, and realistic goals for the team, and hold themselves and their team accountable to the highest levels of service, performance, and respect.

Opportunities for the Managing Director and their team:

  • Optimize Talent Acquisition and develop a compelling employment value proposition.
  • Develop an effective and innovative community of practice with Talent Acquisition resources embedded across the 12 schools, including experimentation with new ways of attracting talent in hard-to-recruit disciplines.
  • Leverage the growth of alternative work models and Harvard’s Guiding Principles for Dynamic Work as part of the University’s talent acquisition efforts. (Note that these principles are pending publication, hence will be provided only to candidates invited to meet the Search Committee.)
  • In coordination with the Center for Workplace Development (CWD), support efforts to upskill managers to recruit, lead, and retain a distributed workforce.
  • Support the strategy to expand Harvard’s employment footprint beyond Massachusetts and the commutable states.
  • Reimagine the employee experience and their life cycle through engaging, multimodal and EDIB centered communications strategies.
  • Partner with the Center for Workforce Development to increase Harvard employees’ career mobility while addressing broader strategic workforce and talent planning needs.
  • Collaborate on addressing compensation competitiveness gaps and HHR’s strategic investments in total rewards programs to make Harvard the employer of choice for candidates.

 Key responsibilities include: 

  • Influences key stakeholders to bring consensus to the University’s Talent Acquisition strategy and mission.
  • In partnership with the Strategic HR Communications and Engagement Director, co-leads the development and implementation of employment marketing approaches and recruitment strategies for attracting talent, maximizing opportunities for outreach and diversity partnerships to increase the diversity and quality of candidate pipelines.
  • Oversees management of a team of talent attraction professionals that provides effective and timely services for all staffing needs in Harvard’s 40+ Central Administration (CADM) units in partnership with CADM HR Consulting leadership.
  • Serves as a strategic liaison and guide to Talent Acquisition leads and HR deans/directors at each of Harvard’s schools to ensure compliant and coordinated service delivery including communication of key information and hiring best practices.
  • Represents the University as one employer for the internal and external marketplace for various university-wide talent attraction systems, policies, and external partnerships.
  • Responsible for the management, optimization and compliance of Harvard’s applicant tracking system; advocates with IT partners for system enhancements that support strategic business need.
  • In partnership with the HR Consulting and HR Analytics teams, drives talent forecasting for future hiring needs and aligns staffing strategy to longer-term workforce plans. Capitalizes on the use of workforce analytics data to identify patterns, drive change, and assess progress. Develops, markets, and communicates the University’s value proposition to build a strong presence in the internal and external employment marketplace.
  • Researches, develops, and participates in innovative programs and services to ensure Harvard establishes itself and is recognized as an employer of choice and as a leader in Talent Acquisition practices.
  • Closely partners with Benefits, Compensation, Well-Being, and HR functional leaders to ensure that a total rewards strategy is clearly communicated and leveraged in the talent attraction process.
  • Develops effective approaches to increase Harvard employees’ career mobility while addressing broader strategic workforce and talent planning needs.
  • Responsible for developing and obtaining support for implementing a university-wide approach to executive searches. May directly recruit for select executive-level searches.
  • Leads and/or participates in university-wide initiatives or projects that intersect with talent acquisition efforts.
Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will offer the following key skills, experiences, and competencies:

Relationship Building and Team Management

  • Able to effectively build and maintain relationships and influence and lead others through change.
  • Excellent client and relationship management skills.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and experience in navigating a large, complex, decentralized multi-site environment.
  • Ability to gain and sustain credibility with diverse range of audiences and constituencies.
  • Experience building consensus and integrating processes, policies, and procedures across multiple decision-makers in a decentralized environment.
  • Able to engage, manage, coach, motivate and mentor team members.
  • Sets and achieves strategic, ambitious, but realistic goals.
  • Creates a culture of continuous learning and professional development.
  • Builds leadership and professional abilities; empowers others to build their decision-making skills.
  • Willingness to assume a front-facing role in communicating with both senior administrative and academic leaders and to understand their respective talent priorities.

Strategic and Visionary Leadership

  • Holistic thinker, intentionally shapes and influences a positive workplace culture.
  • Forward thinking about organizational agility and workforce capability.
  • Ability to gain respect and trust of critical clients; strong customer service skills.
  • Strong influence and consensus-building skills.
  • Willing to examine current practices and policies and create a roadmap focused on bringing the best, diverse talent to the university as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  • Able to balance immediate priorities while anticipating and planning for future strategic needs. Enthusiasm and unapologetic mission orientation.
  • Identifies and responds to external and competitive trends, finding creative solutions that are beneficial to HHR and to the University.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of strategic planning and managing a business unit budget.
  • Demonstrated experience and impact in developing and implementing recruitment strategies, policies, and programs.

Data-Driven Analysis and Business Orientation

  • Understands financial implications of decisions and provides leadership that promotes fiscal health and accountability.
  • Integrates human resources analytics as one of many variables in management decision-making.
  • Maximizes effective use of resources.
  • Uses data-informed decision making to support HHR and University goals.
  • Creative problem solver who seeks out-of-the-box solutions.
  • Strong analytical, communication, influence, and presentation skills.
  • Clear, comprehensive understanding of the link between talent acquisition, business strategy, and mission.
  • Ability to develop clear, actionable steps in support of an overall business strategy.
  • Collaborative and consultative style to maintain effective partnerships.

Fostering Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

  • Demonstrates a record of creating, fostering, and building an inclusive culture.
  • Builds HR capacity and fluency in equitable and inclusive practices and policies within a challenging regulatory environment.
  • Ability to effectively integrate inclusive and equitable policies, practices, and systems into TA processes and communications strategies.
  • Extensive expertise in sourcing diverse populations and promoting an inclusive workforce.
  • Strong understanding of the regional labor market, recruitment marketing, and workforce planning needs.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. Advanced degree and/or professional certifications preferred.
  • Professional experiences beyond HR a plus, e.g., financial, legal, etc.
  • Hands-on, energetic, self-starter with managerial experience.
  • Success in developing and negotiating major vendor relationships.
  • Strong knowledge federal contractor compliance regulations.
  • Knowledge of higher education sector or demonstrated ability to learn new industry sectors.
Compensation & Benefits

The compensation for this role is competitive and based on experience. The salary range for this Grade 62 leadership role is available here.


Beth Schaefer and Marisa Chock of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit


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