Completed Search: Vice President of Human Resources Opportunity: American Student Assistance

By March 6, 2020September 28th, 2020No Comments

American Student Assistance Vice President of Human Resources 

COMPLETED: This position has been filled.

Several months into the pandemic, many businesses have had to learn how to hire new team members remotely. In this episode, Todd Hand and April Sarraille catch up with Varda Halidy, ASA’s new VP of Human Resources, to hear what it’s been like joining a team virtually. Tune in as we discuss video interviews, building meaningful connections with colleagues over Zoom, and Varda’s advice for hiring over the next few months.

Learn more in this episode of the Knowledge Leaders Podcast, hosted by Todd Hand.

The Company

Today’s economy demands that students graduate from high school, earn some type of degree or credential, and develop knowledge and skills they can use in a job. But far too many young people drop out of high school, fail to enroll in a higher education program, or are unable to complete their credentials. ASA wants students to avoid the financial hardship and misalignment between education and career choices that has had a serious, negative impact on student completion.

For over 60 years, American Student Assistance® (ASA) has focused on helping students pursue a college degree. Having pioneered a student access program and partnered with hundreds of colleges and universities to help students and alumni manage their student loans and maintain financial wellness, education is at the core of ASA’s work.

Over the past six decades, ASA has learned when students need the most help as they think through their education and career paths. Today, their work begins with students as young as middle school, providing tools and resources so they can make informed choices about their futures. Some of these tools include:

  • Digital Programming: Developing engaging video content designed to help 13-18-year-olds explore education and career opportunities beyond high school
  • Planning Services: Providing in-person counseling services for education and career planning in local schools, libraries and community organizations
  • Advocacy: Championing policies that will help students pursue education after high school and attain credentials they will need to achieve their career objectives
  • Partnerships: Collaborating with national and local education institutions, policymakers, nonprofits and businesses to deliver innovative programs and services
  • Research: Using evidence-based models to deliver impactful services and inform students, families and the field about the evolving education and career landscape

ASA’s mission is to help students know themselves, know their options, and make informed decisions to achieve their education and career goals. This mission is fulfilled by providing the aforementioned tools and resources to students online, in classrooms, and through community-based organizations. ASA is committed to helping students:

  • Explore education and career options starting in middle school
  • Experiment through hands-on opportunities
  • Execute a plan to meet their goals

ASA’s innovative programs and partnerships, combined with a robust research agenda and advocacy platform, enable them to provide a meaningful impact on young people on a national scale.

ASA Blog

ASA’s History as an Advocate for Students

2019 Annual Report

The Opportunity

Based in Boston, MA and reporting directly to the CEO, Jean Eddy, the Vice President of Human Resources will be responsible for the strategy, development, and implementation of programs to hire and develop employee capacity.  A champion of diversity and inclusion the VP will actively engage in the development of ASA’s associates and culture while ensuring all company practices are held to the current Human Resource industry standards. A collaborative work style is essential as this individual will work closely with the finance team with regards to compensation structure as well as with other members of Senior Management and ASA’s Board and Committee members to support ASA’s mission, corporate objectives and goals.

Primary responsibilities:

  • Ensure the development and implementation of programs that enhance employee performance and satisfaction while supporting ASA’s continued fiscal stability
  • Oversee programs and policies in the areas of compensation, benefits, recruitment, diversity and inclusion, training and employee development, change management, and employee communications
  • Find and recruit new associates aligned with ASA’s three pillars of growth: innovation, advocacy, and investment
  • Translate the strategic plan into short and long-term HR initiatives and align human resource strategies and programs with business plans and priorities
  • Provide support, recommendations and reporting to the ASA Board of Directors, especially in the areas of benefits, retirement plans, compensation, culture, diversity, and inclusion
  • Serve as an internal consultant, advisor, and facilitator to the senior leadership team on all matters related to human resource management. Evaluate new and existing programs/strategies, organizational structures, and regulations and recommend next steps to optimize the impact on ASA’s ability to attract, motivate, develop and retain the key resources needed to deliver the overall corporate business plan.  

A future at ASA includes:

  • The opportunity to build a world-class and inclusive professional development process, allowing all ASA associates to achieve their potential
  • The chance to work with a high-caliber Board of Directors and advise and counsel senior management
  • The opportunity to work and live in the Boston area
  • The ability to positively contribute to the evolving and changing culture at an organization impacting millions of America’s youth

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate has been in the profession for 10 years and is currently an HR leader with experience championing and overseeing all human resource initiatives including HR operations, HRIS, performance management, benefits, recruitment and retention, compensation, recognition, succession planning, development/training, employee engagement and internal communications. S/he has the ability to develop and evaluate new and existing programs as well as internal departments.

You should have the following experiences and skill sets:

  • Track record of hiring and developing high achieving teams from entry-level to senior management
  • Knowledge and implementation of company-wide diversity and inclusion programs and practices 
  • Compensation (including bonus) design and strategy
  • Budget responsibility $2M
  • Fluency in all HR issues and best practices including but not limited to HR tools and technologies, employment and labor laws and regulations, compensation and benefits including retirement benefits/programs – with the ability to make decisions regarding outsourcing
  • Master’s degree preferred, Bachelor’s degree and/or equivalent certification and work experience required
  • Advanced business or HR/OD credentials a plus
  • Professional certification, e.g., SHRM-SCP or SPHR, an asset
  • Demonstrated HRIS/MS office experience, preferably Ultipro, Word, Excel and Powerpoint

Learn More

The Knowledge Leaders search process is thorough and may include: a written assessment, multiple interviews (recorded and in-person), background and social media checks, employment and education verifications, a drug screen, and professional reference checking. After all, our mission is to transform education by recruiting the best world leaders. 

If you have not already, submit your resume to April Sarraille ( at Knowledge Leaders. 

Knowledge Leaders, LLC provides equal employment opportunities to all applicants and candidates for employment. Knowledge Leaders, LLC prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

Get on the List

Join our email list and stay in-the-know about what is happening in tech and education.