Officials name inaugural chief people officer to overhaul human resources department

Officials announced GW’s first-ever chief people officer Monday, the latest step in a continuing process to improve the school’s institutional culture, according to a University release.

Dana Bradley, Northwestern University’s associate vice president for human resources, will take control of Human Resource Management and Development’s recruitment, performance management and professional development functions – as well as payroll, compensation and benefits – starting Sept. 3, the release states. Bradley will oversee a “major reorientation” of GW’s HR operations and focus on “putting people first,” according to the release.

“It’s a privilege and honor to join the George Washington University at a time of great emphasis on people who are the foundation for providing a lasting experience for stakeholders across the GW community,” Bradley said in the release. “I am incredibly excited to take on this opportunity.”

Bradley’s hire comes as officials make progress on University President Thomas LeBlanc’s strategic initiative to improve GW’s institutional culture. A culture assessment conducted last year with the help of the Disney Institute pinpointed poor communication and service culture as top issues among employees.

“We could never be a preeminent university without a thriving faculty and staff,” LeBlanc said in the release. “We have to be deliberate about developing and supporting our greatest source of strength: our people.”

Mark Diaz, the executive vice president and chief financial officer, will oversee the new position and announced a search for the role last March. GW is the first of its peer institutions to hire a chief people officer.

“To put it simply, Dana will advocate for faculty and staff at the highest levels of the University,” Diaz said in the release. “She is the ideal leader to help us change the paradigm for how GW supports and values our most crucial asset in providing an outstanding experience to our students and community.”

When Bradley joins GW in two months, she will be the first permanent head of GW’s human resources department in more than three years.

Prior to her position at Northwestern, Bradley worked in HR roles at Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago, according to the release. Bradley earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication and master’s degree in speech communication from Miami University in Ohio and earned her master’s in business administration from Case Western Reserve University, the release states.

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