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Administration, Human Resources, Nonprofit and Social Impact

Vice President of People & Culture

  • Mount Auburn Cemetery
  • Boston, MA

This position has been filled.

Mount Auburn Cemetery seeks a strategic, ambitious, innovative, and dynamic leader to be the inaugural Vice President of People and Culture (VPPC). Reporting to the President, the VPPC will have the opportunity to build and lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive human resources function. The VPPC will have deep knowledge of current practices, policy development, and services to create a “people first” culture, with meaningful and measurable outcomes. The new VPPC will play a key role in developing and implementing strategies that advance the cemetery’s efforts to be a high-performance team fueled by a skilled, engaged, diverse workforce with a vibrant and inclusive culture. 

This is an exciting time to join the Executive Team of the Mount Auburn Cemetery as their new President, Matthew Stephens, builds his leadership team. This role is one of new three leadership opportunities that will contribute their talents and energy towards the new vision planning, landscape design, and sustainability initiatives that are part of the exciting re-imagining of the potential of the Mount Auburn Cemetery as a place of peace, reflection, art, culture, beauty, and inspiration. 

About Mount Auburn Cemetery

Mount Auburn Cemetery inspires all who visit, comforts the bereaved, and commemorates the dead in a landscape of exceptional beauty.  Mount Auburn, the nation’s premier garden cemetery, provides innovative and comprehensive end-of-life services while being a model for environmental stewardship, horticultural practices, and historic preservation practices. Tranquil, yet energizing and historic, Mount Auburn is utterly unique in its diverse offerings, including a cemetery, garden, arboretum, cultural landscape, and outdoor museum. Recognized as one of the most significant designed landscapes in the country, Mount Auburn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003.

Mount Auburn Cemetery attracts over 200,000 visitors per year, and they visit for many different reasons. Families and friends come to pay tribute to loved ones every day, and others come to enjoy the beautiful landscape, the magnificent trees, the birds and other wildlife, or the amazing collection of funerary art and architecture. Many visitors attend Mount Auburn’s educational programs and tours, and still others come to study history and art, and to learn about the notable residents of the Cemetery. 

Throughout its 175 acres are more than 60,000 monuments that commemorate the lives and legacies of those now buried at Mount Auburn. Each monument tells an important story about the individuals it celebrates. In addition, the diverse collection of over 5,000 spectacular trees attracts many people to the Cemetery. It is this combination of topography, plants, wildlife, monuments, and other built structures that make Mount Auburn the unique landscape and National Historic Landmark that it is. Mount Auburn also offers educational opportunities, programs, and activities, including meditation events, community recycling events, lectures and talks at Bigelow Chapel, performances, holiday wreath-making workshops, book clubs, and other programs. 

Mount Auburn has an annual operating budget of approximately $13M and an endowment of approximately $260 million. The organization has a total staff of 76 year-round employees plus 40 seasonal employees and interns, as well as over 150 volunteers. Mount Auburn Cemetery and the Friends of Mount Auburn are each governed by a Board of Trustees. 

History

Bostonians founded Mount Auburn Cemetery in 1831 for both practical and aesthetic reasons: to solve an urban land use problem created by an increasing number of burials in the city and to create a tranquil and beautiful place where families could commemorate their loved ones with tasteful works of art in an inviting and natural setting. The public flocked to the new cemetery and Mount Auburn quickly became the model for the American “rural” cemetery movement. Today, Mount Auburn continues its historic dual role as a sacred site and beloved cultural landscape. 

More than 100,000 individuals are buried and commemorated at Mount Auburn, with more than 500 new burials each ongoing year. The organization honors the lives and legacies of all those now resting at the Cemetery who have helped to shape the world in which we live. Writers, educators, reformers, artists, scientists, and inventors are among those whose influence can still be seen throughout Boston, the New England region, nationally, and beyond.

For more information on Mount Auburn Cemetery, please visit their website.

The Opportunity

The Mount Auburn Cemetery seeks an accomplished, ambitious, aspirational, and mission-focused leader to serve in the inaugural role of Chief People and Culture Officer. The Vice President of People & Culture (VPPC) provides strategic leadership and guidance to create an organization-wide Human Resource function. In collaboration with leaders and staff, the VPPC is responsible for setting direction for a people-first culture, including developing and implementing contemporary human resources policies and practices. In addition, the VPCC will identify and implement long-range strategic talent and workforce management goals. The VPPC will play a key role in strategizing, developing, and implementing strategies that advance the organization’s desire to be a high-performance organization that is fueled by a skilled, engaged, diverse workforce, with a vibrant and inclusive culture. 

The VPPC has overall responsibility for the management and prioritization of resources including the departmental budget, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, and is responsible for prioritizing, setting, and achieving measurable long-range goals for the HR team, while adhering to the approved budget. The VPPC works with the Chair of the Human Resources Committee of the Trustees to schedule meetings, set agendas, and prepare materials. The VPCC will also advise and guide Mount Auburn’s newly minted Management Team. 

The VPPC serves as a member of the staff Executive Team (ET), along with the President & CEO, Executive Vice President & CFO, Vice President of Preservation & Facilities, Vice President of Cemetery & Visitor Services, Vice President of Horticulture & Landscape and Vice President of Institutional Advancement. The ET is responsible for assisting the Trustees of the Cemetery in formulating the strategic vision for the organization and leading the staff in the planning and successful execution of goals, both annual and long-range, in support of the organization’s strategic initiatives and mission.

The Vice President of People & Culture will be responsible for the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with ET to define the organization’s long-term mission and goals; identify ways to support this mission through Human Resources operations including talent management.
  • Catalyze organizational performance through leadership – linking strategy to structure, building a transformational change approach, and navigating complex organizational issues.
  • Collaborate with peers across the organization to develop and integrate workforce planning and analysis, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance management, employee engagement and retention, succession planning, and compensation
  • Directs the annual benefit insurance renewals and open enrollment process partnering with the Executive Vice President & CFO as appropriate.  
  • Provides guidance to supervisory and human resources staff in developing objective performance and other employee evaluations, practices and policies. 
  • Develops training programs that span a multidisciplinary and multicultural team and ranges from basic safety compliance to managing teams and building leadership.  
  • Provide guidance and leadership to the human resource management team and outside vendors; assists with resolution of human resource, compensation, and benefits questions, concerns, and issues.
  • Design and implement integrated talent management solutions, including executive coaching, individual development planning, talent review, succession planning, and leadership development.
  • Ensure compliance with employment, benefits, insurance, safety, and other laws, regulations, and requirements. 
  • Acts as organization liaison with government agencies concerning affirmative action and equal employment opportunities.
  • Provide training and policy updates to colleagues, ensuring legal compliance of management staff.
  • Researches, develops, recommends, and executes creative strategies to foster the organization’s IDEA goals.
  • Review current practices and policies, assessing and analyzing the extent to which they support or hinder the organization’s diversity goals.
  • Draft and implement recruiting and hiring strategies to attract employees from diverse backgrounds.
  • Address components of workplace culture that impede organizational and individual effectiveness in a manner consistent with Mount Auburn’s values
  • Maintains knowledge of laws, regulations, and best practices in employment law, human resources, and talent management. Maintains knowledge of diversity-related issues, legislation, and best practices.
  • Prioritize, set, and achieve annual and long-range goals for all sections of the Human Resources department, working with the President and other members of the Executive Leadership Team to ensure effective organization-wide planning.
  • Prepare and present annual departmental budgets to the Human Resources and Finance Committees of the Trustees and is responsible for adhering to the approved annual operating and capital budgets of the Human Resources department.
  • Serve as the primary staff liaison for the Human Resources Committee of the Trustees, working with the Committee Chair and the Board Relations Officer to schedule meetings, set agendas, and prepare meeting materials. Responsible for following up with Committee members and staff on all assigned tasks.
  • Attend all meetings of the ET and relevant Trustees meetings of Mount Auburn Cemetery.
  • Support and assists the activities of other departments as appropriate and needed, working closely with the appropriate Vice President.
  • Provide leadership and direction to the Human Resources Administrator in the performance of all daily human resources and payroll administrative tasks.
Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will possess the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Expertise in People, Values, and Culture

  • Progressive and comprehensive knowledge and experience in Human Resources and People and Culture building functions and business operations, including workforce planning and talent management and strategic workflow planning skills.
  • Experience building and leading a best-in-class human resources function with a strong understanding of People and Culture management and talent development strategies.
  • Working knowledge of payroll systems, HR databases, how to leverage technology or contracted resources to support People and Culture functions and programs 
  • A team builder who has designed and implemented effective talent recruitment, management, and retention strategies in the past
  • Demonstrated ability to exemplify all components of the culture in day-to-day behaviors that are consistent with the larger organizational culture that is being curated, while also comfortable addressing behaviors throughout the organization that are inconsistent with Mount Auburn’s culture

Collaborator, Partner, and Change Agent

  • A strategic and thoughtful leader with the ability to move an organization toward a vision for internal people and culture work beyond day-to-day operations.
  • A leader with proven ability to develop organization-wide change strategy and operationalize new systems and bring others along in learning, understanding, and utilizing new tools and structures aligned with organizational goals.
  • A thoughtful risk-taker that is always looking for new opportunities and win/win partnerships, talented manager with the ability to build and inspire a team around collective goals while also emerging in the organization as a thought leader.
  • Demonstrated analytical skills, with the ability to use facts and data to make sound recommendations

Cultivating Equity and Inclusion Through Influence

  • A thoughtful leader who will foster an inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible and workplace by cultivating an organization-wide understanding and appreciation of multicultural, multilingual communities
  • An ingenious coach and capable facilitator who will collaborate with staff in developing awareness, comfort, and confidence to address and champion equity in all aspects of the organization and its services.
  • An excellent communicator with customer service skills with the ability to interact with diverse groups and work successfully in a fast-paced, collaborative, team-oriented organization.

Team Leadership and Management

  • An excellent manager and team player with experience leading through influence and coaching and developing staff.
  • A leader who has remarkable change management skills, both in the theoretic implementation and practical execution at all levels of the organization 
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain a professional demeanor and an empathetic manner in stressful, emotional situations.
  • Demonstrated ability to build trust and culture in a large organization while also positively impacting culture and morale

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Business Administration, or related field required, Master’s or law degree highly preferred.
  • SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP strongly preferred.
  • Experience leading a People and Culture role in a cultural institution   
  • Sense of humor.
  • Must possess valid driver’s license.
  • Bilingual in Spanish and English preferred.
Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

Contact

Beth Schaefer, Liz Lombard, and Angie Sessoms of Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, have been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

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

Mount Auburn Cemetery is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group firm, is 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. At Koya, we don’t just accept difference—we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone. Koya does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, military status, veteran status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.

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