Head Diversity Officer

Smithsonian Institution
District of Columbia, United States
$143,057.00 - $215,057.00
Nov 16, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time


The Smithsonian Institution was established as an independent trust instrumentality of the United States by an Act of Congress in 1846 with a clear mission: the increase and diffusion of knowledge.

The Smithsonian employs approximately 6,500 federal civil service and trust-funded staff members, and during normal operations, is supplemented by over 6,000 volunteers, interns, fellows, and visiting scientists annually. With 19 museums, 8 research facilities, and the National Zoo, the Smithsonian has national and international impact in science, research, history, art, and culture. The Smithsonian receives federal appropriations and government grants as well as awards and gifts from private foundations, corporations, and individuals; revenue is also generated from ancillary activities (e.g., memberships, museum shops, licensing). The Institution’s endowment provides additional support. Certain revenues, such as gifts, grants, and contracts, have restricted uses, including support of research or scientific activities. With the exception of the current pandemic-related closures, the Smithsonian annually hosts 25 million visitors in its public facilities (180 million web visitors) and generates more than $170 million in business revenues. Admission is free for the vast majority of Smithsonian venues, so those revenues flow from business activities, membership programs, and media enterprises.


The Smithsonian Institution is seeking a Head Diversity Officer (HDO), who will be 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.


  • Minimum of 10 years of professional experience in the DEAI field with increasing levels of responsibility, preferably with at least two of those years working in the DEAI field at an organization comparable in size and complexity to the Smithsonian.
  • Bachelor’s Degree required; Master’s Degree desired.
  • Some experience working in, or with, the federal government is helpful, but not required.


Resumes with cover letters, nominations, and/or referrals should be sent to ExecutiveResources@si.edu, noting “Head Diversity Officer” in the subject line by December 14, 2020

 For inquires contact Suleyka Lozins, HR Specialist at LozinsS@si.edu or (202) 341-4857.


The Smithsonian is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages individuals of all backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities to consider this leadership position. The Smithsonian’s commitment to inclusivity encompasses, but is not limited to, diversity in nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and disability.

This is a Trust (non-Federal) position.  The salary range is $143,051 - $215,057 annually with comprehensive benefit including a fully vested retirement program (TIAA) with a generous employer contribution.  We also offer a rich program of services and opportunities to balance and enhance your work life.  As a result of these programs, the Smithsonian has been rated one of the top 10 places to work in the government. 

This appointment will be subject to the applicant’s successful completion of a pre-appointment background check and a subsequent background investigation.

For more information, please visit the Smithsonian Institution website at www.si.edu.

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