Organization: Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, TN

Express Interest

About Vanderbilt University:

Vanderbilt UniversityVanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, is a top-15 private research university offering a full-range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Created with an initial $1 million gift from Cornelius Vanderbilt, who envisioned a place that would “contribute to strengthening the ties that should exist between all sections of our common country,” Vanderbilt is situated on a 330-acre campus near the thriving city center, serving 12,000 students and employing more than 6,000 faculty and staff.

Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, and education and human development, as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The combination of cutting-edge research, strength in the liberal arts, and nationally-recognized programs of education, medicine, law, business, engineering, nursing, and divinity, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their educational experiences to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting health, culture, and society.

Vanderbilt provides a gateway to greatness, drawing the best and brightest students from across the nation and around the world. Vanderbilt alumni can be found in Congress, on the judicial bench, among the list of Nobel laureates, heading corporations, conducting innovative medical research, writing for and appearing on the stage and screen, and playing in the NFL and major league baseball.

Vanderbilt was recently ranked #1 in the Princeton Review among 382 top colleges and universities for “happiest students” — as well as #2 for “best quality of life” and “great financial aid,” #5 for “best run colleges” and “beautiful campus,” and #6 for both being in a “college city that students love” and having “great campus/city relations.”

The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelors, masters, education specialists and doctoral degrees. Vanderbilt is a member of the Association of American Universities.

About Human Resources:

Vanderbilt University’s Human Resources team is led by Barbara Carroll, who joined the University in 2016 as Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief HR Officer and has been introducing a number of innovative and best-practice HR approaches at Vanderbilt.  Barb just concluded a three-year cycle leading the national board of CUPA-HR (the professional association for higher education human resources).

Human Resources at Vanderbilt comprises seven main areas: University Benefits, HR Consulting, HR Information Systems, Learning & Organizational Development, HR Communications, University Payroll, and Compensation & Talent Acquisition.

Human Resources is part of the Division of Administration, led by Vice Chancellor Eric Kopstain. The division provides the infrastructure essential to realizing Vanderbilt’s mission of creating and disseminating knowledge for the betterment of society. In order to carry out the university’s mission, the entire division embraces a vision based on leadership development, service excellence, and sound infrastructure.

About the Position and Responsibilities:

The Executive Director for Compensation and Talent Acquisition is a newly-created position and reports directly to the CHRO, serving as a key member of the Human Resources executive leadership team.

Vanderbilt HR’s underlying compensation philosophy is to pay well and to expect a lot from great contributors to the organization’s success.  Vandy is looking for a thought leader who fundamentally understands and embraces the critical importance of the continuum that links good job design –- to organizational goals and values — to insightful compensation valuation — to creative candidate sourcing, attraction, and selection – to top performance outcomes – all of which help result in high satisfaction, sustained engagement, and a strong sense of alignment among hiring managers and employees.

The position is responsible for delivering complex and comprehensive services related to strategic job design, compensation management, talent acquisition, compliance, and customer-service-focused thought leadership for Vanderbilt University.  The position collaborates closely with critical stakeholders across campus, and will develop and design new models for delivering market-focused and competitive programs that connect and support the right talent for the institution in competitive national and local markets.  The Executive Director will be responsible for enhancing HR’s internal consulting capability, and be a change leader and facilitator through this process.

Ongoing responsibilities include:


  • Leads and builds capacity in the compensation and talent acquisition teams and provides overall leadership for the department by developing a vision to seamlessly integrate the functions; develops goals and objectives that build on the collective subject matter expertise and high performance of the team.
  • Maintains the highest levels of accountability for the quality and productivity of the unit.
  • Demonstrates the ability to support a positive work climate, establishing partnership, empowerment, and accountability among team members and with clients across campus.
  • Models intrinsic integrity and excellent professional judgment while exhibiting unquestioned discretion with highly confidential and sensitive information.
  • Maintains a high-functioning team focused on strategic priorities and outcomes. Envisions organizational success and communicates clear goals and objectives. Provides appropriate positive and constructive feedback; shares knowledge and develops employees; deploys effective coaching strategies; celebrates publicly, critiques privately.
  • Exhibits a high level of emotional intelligence

Consultation and Subject Matter Expertise

  • Is the senior subject matter expert on compensation trends and analytics, candidate sourcing, and federal/state workforce compliance requirements, ensuring a comprehensive compensation and recruitment strategy and aligned HR system functionality that meet current and future university needs.
  • Will be responsible for building a strategic approach to recruiting and related services that enforces the university’s ability to attract, hire and retain the highest quality workforce; provides leadership for legal and regulatory compliance of recruiting policies.
  • Identifies and communicates emerging issues related to compensation and operational practices; recommends and leads innovative solutions.
  • In collaboration with the CHRO — and building from the model recently introduced at Vanderbilt to articulate and categorize university jobs — develops, evaluates and assesses the university’s compensation policies and programs, balancing industry best practices with regulatory issues, institutional resource drivers, and university human resources strategy and goals.
  • Oversees the market understanding of jobs, and evaluates and maintains salary structures to reflect Vanderbilt’s desired position in the labor market. Trains HR partners on use of compensation system tools to ensure appropriate market pricing of jobs.
  • Serves as the University’s primary content expert and strategic advisor in policy matters involving job classification and compensation philosophy and management. Provides professional consultation and guidance to CHRO and other campus leaders on compensation and labor market data and trends to support institutional decision-making. Personnel costs (wages and benefits) comprise almost 65% of the University’s annual operating budget; thus strategic compensation approaches are a core contributor to the institution’s financial and operating decisions.
  • Prepares high-quality analyses, reports, and quantitative metrics to support data informed institutional decision-making and ensure federal and state compliance.

Collaboration and Customer Service

  • Creates and maintains a superior customer service culture in support of the University’s dynamic employee population, and in consideration of the competitive labor markets in the Nashville region as well as among top higher education institutions nationally.
  • Exhibits a strong working knowledge of HR/Finance/Payroll enterprise technology systems and collaborates with university partners on the identification of issues and resolution of concerns; makes recommendations for technical and functional improvements.
  • Builds and sustains strong working relationships across organizational divisions and with diverse constituents, while engaging in ways that are appropriate and respectful of the diverse cultures that make up the Vanderbilt community.
  • Consults collaboratively and effectively with colleagues across other organizational units to ensure optimal outcomes and effective risk management.

Compliance & Reporting

  • Serves as a senior content expert to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local employment and workforce regulations, particularly including federal FLSA and equal employment/affirmative action requirements and regulations related to the employment of non-resident foreign national employees.
  • Effectively manages the University’s Form I-9 and employment background check processes to ensure ongoing compliance in a decentralized hiring environment.

Continuous Improvement

  • Vanderbilt is implementing the Oracle Cloud system for HR and Finance, with a go-live date of Jan 1, 2018. This position will be accomplished in the use of large, complex enterprise-wide technical systems (such as PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP, etc.), open to embracing and leveraging new technologies, and able to develop creative functional solutions, evaluate outcomes, and improve processes.
  • Provides functional leadership of the evaluation, selection, integration, and administration of ancillary systems necessary for effective talent acquisition and compensation management programs.
  • Ensures the ongoing development, maintenance, and improvement of work processes and action steps required to administer programs and activities efficiently and accurately.


  • Functions as a key steward of institutional resources
  • Holds themselves and others accountable to the highest standards of quality and productivity
  • Gets the job done; accepts responsibility; addresses problems rather than allowing unresolved issues to fester; models willingness to contribute above and beyond the call of duty
  • Ensures effective financial and budgetary management of the unit’s operating budgets
  • Regularly tracks and reports success outcomes of recruitment, retention, and engagement activities to ensure that hiring units feel well-served by the function, including metrics on time-to-hire, turnover, ability to attract the top candidate, and success of creative sourcing efforts.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (e.g. accounting, HR management, finance, etc.) or equivalent experience is required.
  • A master’s degree in a relevant field is preferred, with ten to twelve years of progressive experience in human resources management and leadership
  • Compensation program management for a mid- to large-size organization, with at least 5 years of direct leadership experience in compensation, HR business partnering, and/or talent acquisition management experience is ideal.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with total compensation theory, job classification principles and job evaluation methodology; and of laws and regulations impacting compensation administration.
  • Skill and knowledge in the collection, analysis and determination of market salary and total compensation data, and its application to institutional insights.
  • Leadership skills, with the ability to effectively support and manage a team of professionals in high volume work involving accuracy, productivity, confidentiality, security and adherence to deadlines. Must be able to transfer knowledge and foster accountability.
  • Maintains a sense of humor and perspective, is an approachable, adaptable and open-minded professional.
  • Ability to effectively communicate ideas verbally, visually, and in written form. Strong public presentation skills with the ability to articulate clear, concise, logical, information and analyses to a wide range of audiences.
  • Coaches and facilitates change at all levels; Exhibits well-rounded business acumen and sound business judgment, tact and diplomacy. Experience interfacing with senior business leaders and working both independently as well as through others.
  • Excellent collaboration, project management, time management and negotiation skills with ability to multi-task and meet deadlines. Good organizational skills with attention to detail required.
  • Knowledge of current trends in human resources best practices, a creative and innovative approach to solutions-driven problem solving, and demonstrated ability to foster and support university wide collaborations.
  • Higher education human resources/compensation management experience strongly preferred
  • Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation preferred.

Living and Working in Nashville:

Vanderbilt UniversityNashville is consistently ranked as one of the best places in America to live and work. It is the largest city in Tennessee, and is a recognized center for music, healthcare, publishing, banking, and technology services.  The climate is moderate, with four distinct seasons, none of which are extreme. There is no personal income tax on earnings in Tennessee, saving the average relocating family between 3% and 10% of income – or between $3,000 and $10,000 for every $100,000 earned.

The 10-county greater Nashville metropolitan region is home to more than 1.8 million people and 40,000 businesses, with the city attracting more diverse new business from across the country than any city its size over the past 20 years.   More than 100 people a day are moving to Nashville.    The region is adding about 10,000 – 20,000 new jobs every year, in all sectors. Recently, Forbes ranked Nashville as the third best positioned city “to grow and prosper in the coming decade.”

Nashville has more than 12,000 acres of beautiful parks and a thriving, walkable downtown with a free bus and a bike-sharing system, providing access to over 200 downtown restaurants and 124 performance venues for live music and the performing and visual arts.

The “arts participation” rate is nearly five times the national average. And, with 111,379 students in 18 colleges and universities, Nashville is the third largest college town in America.

  • Ranked #4 “Brain Magnet” for gains in people with college educations
  • Ranked #7 as “Best City for Finding Employment Right Now” – Forbes Magazine
  • Ranked #10 as “Best Place for Business and Careers” – Forbes Magazine
  • The Gulch, an urban mixed-use neighborhood in downtown Nashville, is the first “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) certified platinum neighborhood in America
  • Nashville is home to two of the top 100 K-12 public schools in America. – U.S. News & World Report
  • Successful and well-respected NFL and NHL franchises
  • World-class symphony has received 13 GRAMMY® nominations and six wins

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.  Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.  Vanderbilt does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, covered veterans status, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other university-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the university does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender expression consistent with the university’s nondiscrimination policy.


Elizabeth Neumann, Managing Director ( and Beth Schaefer, Vice President ( are assisting Vanderbilt University with this project.  We welcome nominations, referrals and expressions of interest and invite you to email your materials to us to be considered.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, educational institutions, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit