Vice President, Equity & Culture

Vice President, Equity & Culture

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Princeton, NJ   |   June 2, 2021

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF, the Foundation) is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. For nearly 50 years, the RWJF has worked to improve the health and well-being of everyone in America. Robert Wood Johnson II demonstrated his sense of personal responsibility toward society by leaving nearly his entire fortune to the Foundation.

Since its beginning as a small community foundation, RWJF has had the opportunity to help shape key efforts to improve the nation’s health and health care—from the development of the 911 emergency call system and the national effort to decrease tobacco addiction and smoking rates, to the improvement of care at the end of life, confronting childhood obesity, and connecting health with equity.

Now with assets of more than $13 billion, the Foundation awards over $600 million in grants annually. Working with a wide range of national and local partners, and an internal team of nearly 300 dedicated professionals, RWJF is committed to building a Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. This requires removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, powerlessness, and discrimination, and their harmful consequences. After all, it’s hard to be healthy without access to good jobs and schools, safe and affordable places to live, high-quality health care at a reasonable cost, and policies that support the well-being of children and families.

We are working to broaden the discussion about what shapes health and to set a new standard of well-being for all communities, a standard that is rooted in equity. Across the nation, gaps in health outcomes are large, persistent, and increasing. Many of them are caused by systemic barriers embedded into all levels of our society. RWJF is dedicated to addressing the social and structural determinants of health, and increasingly our work is exploring ways to dismantle structural racism in order to achieve health equity.

We approach our work using four key strategies: (a) gathering and producing tools and evidence; (b) cultivating leaders who work individually and collectively across sectors; (c) amplifying voices to shift national conversations and attitudes about health; and (d) promoting policies, practices, and systems-change to promote better health.

Focus Areas

RWJF is working to expand every person’s opportunity to pursue the best health possible through investments in four broad areas:

Healthy Children and Families  

Goal: All families, no matter their background, have access to the resources they need to raise thriving children, fostering healthy development from a child’s earliest years.

Healthy Communities  

Goal: To create the conditions in communities that allow all residents to reach their best possible health and well-being.

Leadership for Better Health  

Goal: Leaders of every community work inclusively to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

Transforming Health and Health Care  

Goal: Health care, public health, and social services work together to fully address the goals and needs of the people they serve.

Equity, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration are fundamental principles at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The wide-ranging experiences, passions, and perspectives of our staff enrich the work and strengthen our ability to address the nation’s most pressing health issues. The Foundation offers a collaborative, collegial, and creative work environment. With a career at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one will make a difference.

Key Responsibilities

At this pivotal time in its history, RWJF seeks an exceptional inaugural vice president, Equity & Culture (VPEC). With a track record of leadership in equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and organizational or cultural transformation, the successful VPEC will serve as a key advisor and counsel to the president and CEO, chief operating officer and executive vice president. The successful VPEC will serve as a member of the executive team and as a strategic senior leader with primary responsibility for advancing the Foundation’s mission and vision by building strategy and operationalizing EDI Foundation-wide. This will include co-designing a relationship with the Equity Leadership Group, a representative body from across the Foundation that is being created to co-lead on the institution’s equity journey. This position will have the ability to design a team structure and identify the resources it needs to lead our EDI strategy.

Once the strategy is designed and organizational structure is in place, the VPEC, will be accountable for oversight of structural modification, execution, communications, and measurement, and will work closely with senior management colleagues responsible for programmatic activities, talent management (Human Resources), finance, and investments. The VPEC will be responsible for crisis management related to EDI and the integration of the work into all facets of RWJF’s operations, including external focus on health equity. Key areas of focus include:

EDI Strategic Planning

  • Guide the Foundation through an inclusive EDI strategic planning process. The resultant plan will include but not be limited to significant internal culture shifting as well as recommendations to inform how RWJF allocates resources and conducts grantmaking.
  • Assess equity, diversity and inclusion across the organization, and work with teams to develop consistent goals, strategies, tactics, and measures of success with respective teams. Frameworks should empower teams to take measurable action.
  • Establish clear and measurable equity plans for each department with specific equity standards germane to their team and function. These plans must outline accountability protocols.
  • Develop, articulate, and implement a strategy to embed equity into all functions based on their distinct characteristics including Human Resources, Program, Information Technology, Finance, Investments, and Executive Office Communications.
  • Inform overall strategic direction of the Foundation through an EDI lens, with special emphasis on internal Foundation culture.


  • Provide vision, innovation, energy, and leadership for RWJF’s focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion in partnership with the Equity Leadership Group and senior leadership, as we collectively work to help build a Culture of Health and promote health equity, both internally and externally.
  • Utilize sophisticated understanding of change management to transform internal organizational culture to a place where all have a sense of belonging.
  • Provide equity advice to the president and CEO regarding the Board of Trustees, which may include learning/education, nominations to the Board, processes, and outcomes.
  • Liaise between senior leaders and staff; position the Equity Leadership Group to work effectively within and alongside both bodies.
  • Demonstrate fidelity to RWJF’s Guiding Principles.
  • Inspire and support a culture of belonging that promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration.
  • Serve as a key advisor and counsel to the president and CEO, the chief operating officer, and the vice president and chief human resources officer on organizational EDI-related matters, especially related to talent acquisition, management, engagement, and development.
  • Serve as a key advisor and counsel to the president and CEO and the executive vice president on programmatic activities.
  • Lead intergroup dialogue; move people to a place of being comfortable with discomfort (surrounding EDI matters); and be willing to effectively manage all EDI discussions.


  • Establish, evaluate, and/or enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion goals, strategies, and operational infrastructure to support the work of the Foundation.
  • Assemble and lead an operational EDI team and budget within the Foundation that would collaborate with all departments on equity from learning and advising to supporting implementation. Through intensive coaching and training, this team will build capacity for EDI work across the Foundation.
  • Manage, supervise, evaluate, and develop EDI staff for the short- and long-term.
  • Inspire and support cultural competence across the Foundation.
  • Develop action plans, business recommendations, efficient procedures, and sound policies through an EDI lens that realistically support the organization.
  • Promote and oversee relationships between internal departments and external entities, including government, vendors, and partner organizations.
  • Provide financial oversight for EDI operations to ensure goals and objectives are accomplished.
  • After evaluating current functions and developing and implementing a partnership plan, the VP, Equity & Culture is jointly accountable, along with the chief operating officer and the executive vice president for integration of equity into the following functions:
  • Human Resources and Operations: Includes strategic leadership and change management by layering EDI into the lifecycle of talent management— recruitment and retention of diverse candidates and staff, respectively; organization engagement and performance management that is inclusive and equitable, respectively; training and development; succession planning; and compensation and benefits, that are all inclusive and equitable. Help set the tone and nurture a collaborative and culturally competent workplace environment and promote a culture of belonging and respect.
  • Programs: Serve as an advisor to all of the program themes, teams (Healthy Children and Families; Healthy CommunitiesLeadership for Better Health; Transforming Health and Health Care; New Jersey) and units (Communications; Policy; Research, Evaluation and Learning).
  • Executive Office/Executive Office Communications/Strategic Partnerships: Partner with the VP, Communications in advising the president and CEO’s office in elevating and messaging internally and externally the role of RWJF as an equitable, diverse, and inclusive philanthropy. Internally, coordinate well with Human Resources, Legal department, and the entire suite within Operations for these efforts. Externally, lead the strategic partnership work with social justice organizations, including the NAACP, Faith in Action, UnidosUS, and the President’s Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy, with the goal of leveraging these relationships to inform the work of all areas of the Foundation.
  • Develop relationships across philanthropy to share and learn best practices.
  • Build an unwavering internal culture of inclusion excellence.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Professional Experience/Qualifications

The successful candidate will have a minimum of 10 years of experience in integrating organizational EDI management into several of the following functions. The successful VPEC will have a track record of increased responsibility in a complex management and leadership role with direct people and performance management experience: Human Resources, Mission/Business Development, Marketing/Communications, Relationship/Vendor management.

In addition, the VP, Equity & Culture will have:

  • A deep understanding, awareness, and sensitivity of the experiences of marginalized people, and an understanding of the national trends and emerging scholarship on anti-racism and the dismantling of White privilege.
  • Expertise and temperament to take the lead on important and difficult discussions about race, racial disparity, racial reconciliation, disability, gender and sexual identity, and the consequences of privilege in regular day-to-day operations with the ability to manage all perspectives.
  • A deep understanding of power structures and privilege differentials and institutional systems that foster systemic inequalities; as well as theories and frameworks for dismantling them, including how to address power dynamics and shared power models.
  • A legacy of translating vision to strategic planning, goal development, and tactical efforts toward implementation to achieve improved outcomes with a related ability to establish clear metrics and a process by which to chart progress.
  • Diplomatic and skilled in managing the “inside outsider” dynamic; possess a sophisticated ability to decipher a dense culture from the inside, while remaining enough of an outsider to challenge the ego and narrative of a longstanding foundation.
  • A widely sought-after speaker; a force for intellectual and professional community building, who excites and inspires listeners in any setting; able to write and communicate elegantly and brilliantly for a variety of audiences—in person and in writing—including grantees, foundations, policymakers, and strategic partners; capable of coaching others to do the same.
  • Displays humility with confidence; being able to garner intellectual credibility without being overly academic.
  • Committed to building allies without compromising personal convictions and values.
  • Demonstrated track record in advancing EDI strategies while shepherding an organization through significant internal change and cultural realignment.
  • Significant crisis management experience, with the capacity to provide intellectual and emotional leadership; and convene and unite a community during challenging and demanding high-profile moments.
  • Reputation as a champion for fairness and empathy; will insist on a culture of community-building and possess the charisma and compassion necessary to inspire deep trust and collegiality; and be able to develop productive relationships with colleagues, consultants, vendors, and others who contribute to the effective and efficient functioning of EDI management.
  • A natural leader who is trustworthy and brings the highest standards of honesty and integrity; coupled with the willingness to act decisively when consensus is required.
  • The maturity and self-assurance needed to inspire trust and gain acceptance within an organization of shrewd, high-achieving individuals.
  • Well-versed in human behavior, human psychology, and organizational psychology.
  • Experience working as an integral member of a senior leadership team, having served as a key influencer, actively engaging with peers and mentoring teams with diverse levels of expertise.
  • Exceptional people management and supervisory experience.
  • Passionate commitment to supporting the Foundation’s mission and to the Foundation’s Guiding Principles.
  • Reputation as a great listener who can harvest and synthesize the smart ideas of others; reflects what’s heard and builds on it to articulate shared values and goals.
  • Reputation as a risk taker and problem solver.
  • Highly developed emotional intelligence skills.
  • Optimistic, poised, energetic, inspirational, flexible, approachable, accessible, consistent, empathetic, community-oriented, accountable, an indefatigable work ethic, and an abiding sense of humor.
  • Available to travel as needed.

While a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required, academic credentials will not take the place of robust EDI leadership experience.


A competitive compensation package will be provided to attract outstanding candidates.