Head Diversity Officer

Washington, D.C
Sep 16, 2021
Sep 18, 2021
Full Time


The Smithsonian's Head Diversity Officer is a newly created role that will lead and manage the Institution's commitment to fostering a Diverse, Equitable, Accessible, and Inclusive (DEAI) organization.

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The Head Diversity Officer (HDO), is part of a leadership team committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive organization in which everyone-regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and other identities-has an opportunity to thrive. As a leadership team dedicated to our mission, we believe that by harnessing the power of a diverse workforce in which people feel included, we can better serve the public, both here in our nation, and around the globe.

Consistent with our role as a national leader for learning and the diffusion of knowledge, we are committed to facilitating dialogues within communities and around our country on diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) topics. In order to better position our organization, as well as our 6,000+ staff, to deliver on this goal, we also need to ensure the organization is leading, developing, bolstering and addressing diversity efforts, needs and gaps. With the creation of a HDO, who will serve as the Smithsonian's central leader on DEAI issues, we strive to build a world-class capability in support of our role to serve the public.

The HDO, who will report to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, will be expected to conceptualize and execute an institutional DEAI strategy. This strategy will consist of a set of specific goals, initiatives, and metrics to measure success, and will unify, coordinate, or integrate existing programs across our 60+ organizational units. In developing and implementing the strategy, the DL will work collaboratively with senior leaders from across the Institution, as well as key partners, such as the Office of Equal Employment and Supplier Diversity, Human Resources, and other important partners.


- Collaboratively develop and drive a Smithsonian-wide DEAI strategy.

- Be a thought leader and industry expert on how DEAI can improve mission performance and employee engagement.

- Act as a trusted advisor to the senior leadership team, enabling them to identify and implement opportunities for meaningful change and outcomes.

- In collaboration with senior leaders, develop a robust set of training and other experiential activities to develop a common set of skills among staff at all levels.

- Collaborate with unit directors from across the Institution to ensure all leaders understand and avoid bias, promote equal representation, and invest in content with clear DEAI objectives and outcomes.

- Serve as a spokesperson on DEAI topics, and actively and frequently communicate and interact with staff.

- Collaborate with HR leadership and other stakeholders to examine current policies and processes-such as those that guide hiring, performance management, and professional development-to remove unintentional barriers to equity.

- Identify strategies and lead efforts to improve representation across the Institution at all level, including senior levels.

- Actively collaborate with others to pursue funding for DEAI initiatives, both through federal sources and philanthropy.

- Externally represent the Institution on DEAI topics through written publications and/or speaking opportunities.

- Cultivate external relationships and collaborations with diverse communities and organizations.

- Engage with, and be responsive to, the Board of Regents on DEAI issues.

- Develop metrics for assessing goals; analyze and present data trends that inform strategies or changes for improvements.


- Deep expertise in DEAI topics; a recognized expert in the field.

- Highly collaborative, skilled at working effectively across organizational lines and at all levels.

- An ability to excel in a decentralized and geographically dispersed environment.

- Deep expertise in facilitating organizational engagement on DEAI topics.

- Excellent written and oral communication skills.

- Mission-driven, with an appreciation for the Smithsonian's public service orientation.

- An ability to develop, drive, and support change initiatives.

- A curious and continuous learner who can adapt quickly and influence direction in a complex environment.

- Extensive experience presenting to stakeholders such as donors, boards, external partners and internal audiences.

- An experienced leader with the ability to set clear priorities, lead change, achieve outcomes, and develop people.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Pass Pre-Employment Background Investigation
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service

See Qualifications section below.


Applicants must clearly demonstrate the necessary level of managerial and leadership skills and competence to perform successfully in this position. This includes a minimum of 15 years of professional experience, with at least five of those years working at the executive level in large, complex organizations. Some experience working in, or with, the federal government is helpful, but not required. Bachelor's Degree required; Master's Degree desired.

In addition, applicants must have one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-15 level. Specialized experience is defined as least 10 years in the DEAI field-or related fields-with experience designing and implementing DEAI initiatives at an organization comparable in size to the Smithsonian.

The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1. Demonstrated experience developing and leading effective diversity, equity, accessible, and inclusive programs and initiatives for a large, complex organization. This includes managing change with an understanding of the contexts and cultures within an organization that impact implementation and achieve results.

2. Possess strong interpersonal and communication skills to build relationships, trust and credibility. This includes ability to effectively persuade and influence stakeholders and to form successful partnerships with a wide variety of constituencies (i.e., senior leadership, boards, donors, and staff) across an organization.

3. Leadership experience at the managerial level that includes goal setting, planning, and implementing programs, and establishing metrics and reporting protocol. This should include ability to use data and leverage analytics to drive strategy.

4. Demonstrated skill and ability as an executive in leading, supervising, challenging, inspiring, and managing a multi-disciplined and culturally diverse workforce. This should include attracting, retaining and motivating employees and displaying a commitment to the EEO/Affirmative Action programs.


Additional information

The incumbent reports to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and is expected to conceptualize and execute an institutional DEAI strategy. The Head Diversity Officer independently plans, designs, implements and evaluates the overall program and determines methods and approaches to be used. Work is evaluated in terms of results achieved and objectives met.

This position has been reviewed to determine the level of POSITION SENSITIVITY. Based on the nature of the work, the position has been determined to be Public Trust/HIGH RISK. This designation will require 1) a pre-employment Security Agency Check (SAC) for the prospective incumbent; and 2) a subsequent comprehensive background investigation and favorable adjudication in order to continue in the position.

The Smithsonian Institution does not discriminate against any employee or any applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization or other non-merit factors.

The Smithsonian provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need an accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the contact person listed in this announcement. The decision on granting a reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Relocation expenses will not be paid.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

The qualifications listed in this document will be used along with your resume and your responses to the questions posed in the electronic application process to determine the candidates who will move forward in the evaluation process. When preparing your responses to the questions, please provide concise, detailed information on your background and experience.

Important Note: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience. Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to the major duties and qualifications criteria listed for this position.

PART-TIME OR UNPAID EXPERIENCE: Credit will be given for appropriate unpaid work on the same basis as for paid experience. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. To receive credit for such experience you must indicate clearly the nature of the duties and responsibilities in each position held and the average number of hours per week spent in such employment.

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Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

Your Resume

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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