Laureate Leadership Perspectives – Timothy Grace, Chief Human Resources Officer, Laureate Education
In this edition, we give a warm welcome to Timothy Grace, Laureate’s new Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), who shares some of his career highlights, how he became inspired by Laureate, and his vision for the role and future of the HR function in our organization.
Tim, let us begin by saying how excited we are to have with us. Could you tell us about your major career milestones before joining Laureate?
I am a career long Human Resources professional and have had some very interesting and rewarding assignments along the way with both smaller regional companies, and high profile global organizations. Among the most interesting are those assignments in which I was able to be a part of transforming an organization. These assignments are very challenging, but at the same time, the most rewarding, since it generally involves driving success by working with all the employees in the company. To transform a Company, it requires the entire employee population to be motivated and aligned with the vision; it’s a “call to action” that drives success. Personally, I don’t think there is anything better than contributing to building a company in which employees are the number one priority.
What motivated you to join Laureate? What are the particular qualities that distinguish Laureate from other companies?
When the opportunity to join this company presented itself, I clearly remember how the mission of Laureate really resonated with me. I was inspired by the transformative power of education and how Laureate focuses on expanding access to it, ensuring that our students succeed in today’s competitive world. Additionally, I saw a focus not only on numbers of students or revenue, but on the quality of the educational opportunities provided. Also, I think it is very important for organizations to find ways to give back to the communities and geographies in which they operate, and it is clear that Laureate does this in a big way. Finally, it seems a great time to join the organization with the recent changes in leadership and the desire to ensure HR is a key player in guiding the future of the company. Not all companies have the potential – and ability – to change the world, so being part of a movement that makes education available for those that wouldn’t otherwise is a great reason to want to be a part of Laureate!
What are the key aspects of your early impressions of the company?
I’ve been here a little less than two months, and while I am still learning about our company, one thing that stands out is the passion and commitment I see in all the people I have met so far. There is quite a bit going on, so early on, I think the Leadership Team will need to help prioritize all the strategic initiatives across the organization so there is a clear vision of where and how we want to bring the business forward. One thing for certain is that the employees in the organization will be a big part of this vision.
You have taken on the role of CHRO. What would you say are your top priorities in your role?
As part of the experience working at Laureate, I want to help make Laureate a Great Place to Work, so we can not only retain and motivate existing employees, but be more attractive to those perspective employees looking to join us. There is no doubt, HR can help manage the change necessary going forward and I feel great about the HR Team and its involvement, alignment and support of the business priorities.
What does work-life balance mean to you, and how important is it for organizations like Laureate?
All organizations these days need to pay special attention to work-life balance issues. I have worked for some of the most progressive companies in this regard and I look forward to sharing my experiences within Laureate where applicable. Work-life balance is really about recognizing and valuing the differences within our workforce, and not treating all employees assuming they all have the same professional and personal needs. I believe in creating an environment in which employees have options to allow for choices depending on particular individual or family needs. We will make this topic a key part of the HR Strategy for Laureate, with more exciting details to come in the future.
The Positive Leadership movement is having a significant impact across our organization. How does this tie into your own vision of leadership and talent management?
I am very impressed with the bold efforts already invested in this leadership and organizational initiative we call Positive Leadership. I think it is a good start to ensure we develop a positive culture, one that recognizes the right behaviors across the organization. The key to success in the long term will be to truly embed and integrate these principles into our culture, so we attract, retain, develop and promote employees who demonstrate these qualities. We will move beyond awareness with this initiative and I look forward to making it part of the value proposition for those working at Laureate.
Our mission of being Here for Good has been part of Laureate since the beginning and is reinforced by our status as a Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corporation. How does this connect to your role as CHRO?
This gets to the core of why I chose to join Laureate as CHRO. I know the HR Team and every employee has the ability to contribute in a big way as it relates to our Mission. As CHRO, I see it as my responsibility to reinforce these noble efforts in all that we do.
Would you like to close this interview with any final thoughts or a special message for our 65,000+ Laureate colleagues across our network?
I have been humbled by the open and warm welcome from all the Laureate employees I have met so far. I look forward to getting to know as many employees across the organization in the coming months, and am certain, together, we will further our efforts in making Laureate a Great Place to Work. My commitment to the organization is that I will always be looking out for the well-being of our employees, their families, and everyone associated with this great organization.