Chief Engagement and Culture Officer

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • Apr 26, 2024
Full time Alumni Relations Development/Advancement/Fundraising Other Academic Administration & Affairs Other Executive

Job Description


Chief Engagement and Culture Officer

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Chief Engagement and Culture Officer

Job Profile Title
Director E, Development, Services

Job Description Summary
The Chief Engagement and Culture Officer is responsible for creating and driving a culture strategy throughout Development and Alumni Relations that aligns with the organization's mission, values, and goals. Culture is the workplace experiences that both shape beliefs and drive actions to achieve clarity around the most critical organizational results needed for success. This person will create and champion innovative programs to bring about the best in the organization using a data enlightened perspective to identify organizational resource needs and introduce new ways of working. They will execute ideas and concepts that people can rally around for organizational success and orchestrate learning skills and staff career development.

This position reports to the SAVP Advancement Strategy and Planning and oversees a team of 7 people, including 3 direct reports - Director DAR HR, Sr. Learning Strategist and Sr. Engagement Strategist. The team is responsible for implementing strategies to enhance the employee experience and maximize the success of the organization in support of Penn's Campaign. That is, to think in ways that are both human-oriented and business -centric. They work with other senior leaders to outline goals and objectives along with the methods and resources required to achieve them, making deliberate choices about where to focus efforts and resources to gain a competitive advantage. Advancing strategic priorities, they establish a shared vision for the organization's culture and ensure that it is communicated and sustainable. Organizational culture is the nexus of our values and how our values drive performance and boost return on investment for DAR over the long run. They are responsible for overseeing efforts fostering a positive and inclusive work environment that promotes employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. This can include developing programs and initiatives to support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Chief Engagement and Culture Officer is responsible for managing the organization's reputation and brand, both internally and externally. They partner with colleagues to ensure that the organization's culture and values are reflected in its messaging and branding and that they are consistently communicated to employees, customers, and other stakeholders. They are responsible for developing and implementing programs and initiatives to engage and retain employees. This can include employee surveys, focus groups, and employee engagement programs. Additionally, they manage and work with colleagues to develop and support internal communications (for example newsletters and town halls) and external messaging.

The Chief Engagement and Culture Officer is responsible for influencing organizational change by facilitating a selective approach for maximizing the distribution of resources to the most impactful areas. This can include changes to processes, systems and policies, ultimately implementing and driving innovative best practices to ensure long term success and sustainability. Develop and implement a culture strategy: Create a culture strategy that aligns with the organization's mission, values, and goals. Work with other senior leaders to establish a shared vision for the organization's culture and ensure that it is communicated, reinforced and sustainable.

Job Description


  • Lead and Implement DAR Employee Communication Strategies: Develop strategy for and manage 4-6 All Staff gatherings/Town Halls per year, recruit external speakers that support staff engagement objectives, internal employee messages from VP, recognize and highlight staff and staff group contributions.
  • Manage communication: Communicate Penn's culture and values to employees, customers and other stakeholders. Create internal communications, such as employee newsletters and town hall meetings, and external communications, such as internal press releases and social media posts.
  • Proactively develop and promote DAR's brand: focused on increasing awareness and raising the visibility and prestige of DAR with other professional peers by advancing stories about DAR's fundraising success in ways that support DAR staff program objectives.
  • Manage the organization's reputation and brand: Both internally and externally, work to ensure Penn's culture and values are reflected in messaging and branding and consistently communicated to employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
  • Develop and support focused training and engagement of Penn fundraising staff: Develop fundraiser training programs for every level of fundraiser in the organization.
  • Promote a positive and inclusive work environment: Foster a positive and inclusive work environment that promotes employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Develop programs and initiatives to support diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Drive DEIB and employee engagement journeys to foster a culture of belonging.
  • Enhance Employee engagement and retention: Develop and implement programs and initiatives to engage and retain employees. Elicit feedback through employee surveys, focus groups, and employee engagement programs to support a data-driven approach to continuous quality improvement.
  • Lead change management: Manage organizational change and ensure Penn's culture and values are integrated consistently; includes changes to processes, systems, and policies.
  • University alignment: Ensure alignment with Penn's culture and values.
  • Manage and advise the leadership team: Provide guidance to the leadership team on cultural issues; act as a liaison between employees and leadership; provide feedback and recommendations to the leadership team to improve the culture of the organization, connecting culture to organizational drivers for success.
  • Manage and lead a team: Leader of a team that inspires, motivates, develops and engages them to bring their maximum potential and innovation to their positions.

**Please provide a resume and cover letter in order to be considered for this role. Please upload all documents in the “Resume/CV” section of the application prior to submitting.**


  • Degree in Business Administration, Psychology, Human Resources, Organizational Development/Dynamics, or related field is required. An advanced degree and/or specialized certification is preferred.
  • Minimum of 7-10 years' experience in a role as a catalyst leading organizations through transformational change
  • Demonstrated business acumen understanding an organization's business model; assessing situations, analyzing data, and proposing decisions that align with the culture strategies, goals and objectives.
  • Proven track-record managing transformative organizational changes effectively, ensuring integration and alignment with organization's culture and values.
  • Exceptional leadership, communication, coaching and interpersonal skills with the ability to develop and implement culture strategies, inspire, engage and retain employees and manage change effectively.
  • The ability to establish and maintain relationships with colleagues, stakeholders, and team members; includes demonstrating integrity, reliability, and transparency in all interactions while consistently delivering on commitments.
  • Knowledge of best practices in Organizational Development and the ability and experience to apply those practices to improve and change the culture of the organization.
  • Previous experience managing and advising a leadership team, providing feedback and recommendations to the leadership team to improve the culture of the organization.
  • Public speaking and presentation skills with the ability to translate complex operational issues and decisions into people-centered messages
  • Outstanding analytical skills with the ability to apply data to strategically drive changes in support of organizational best practices.
  • Solid experience in practical problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Lived or professional experience implementing strategies to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and overall cultural awareness
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and dynamic, complex environment

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile.

The University of Pennsylvania has partnered with Talent Citizen to assist in this recruitment. Please contact Senior Associate Eva Kotilinek to share your resume and cover letter via email at:

Department / School
Development and Alumni Relations

Pay Range
$110,850.00 - $200,000.00 Annual Rate
Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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