Ford Foundation appoints Samantha Gilbert as vice president for talent and human resources

NEW YORK, July 15, 2014—The Ford Foundation announced today that Samantha Gilbert, a global leader in the field of human resources, will serve as its first-ever vice president, talent and human resources. Gilbert brings more than 20 years of expertise to the foundation. Her experience spans the government, nonprofit and private sectors and includes human resources work in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe.

Through this new appointment, the Ford Foundation’s president, Darren Walker, has elevated the role of chief human resources officer to a vice presidential position, creating a new leadership post focused entirely on the foundation’s staff and organizational development. Gilbert will guide every aspect of the foundation’s global human resources function, including human resources strategy, talent management and staffing, training and development, employee and retirement benefits, and compensation.

As vice president, talent and human resources, Gilbert will report directly to the president and serve as an officer of the board of trustees. She joins an executive leadership team that includes the foundation’s seven other vice presidents.

Gilbert is currently the chief human resources officer at the Rockefeller Foundation, a position she has held since 2007.

“As a knowledge organization, we place a premium on recruiting and retaining an exemplary staff. I am thrilled to welcome Samantha to the Ford Foundation, where she will join a dynamic leadership team that is charged with reimagining and evolving our organization,” said Walker. “Samantha is uniquely suited for this important new leadership post. Above all, she is deeply committed to the values that guide our work: a belief in the dignity of every person and a sense of urgency about tackling injustice and inequality in the world.”

Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Gilbert spent 10 years at Christie’s International, a multinational company with a diverse art business portfolio, where she rose to become global head of human resources.

Earlier in her career, Gilbert was the human resources manager at the Jewish Museum in New York and a human resources coordinator for the New York City Department of Health. She began her career as a social worker in New York City’s public schools.

“I am delighted to be joining the Ford Foundation to work alongside deeply committed and engaged colleagues,” said Gilbert. “I look forward to building on the already great work of the foundation’s human resources team, and to creating an environment where people feel inspired and supported to do their very best work. Nowhere is this focus more important than in an organization where the impact of our efforts can improve the lives of people around the world.“

Gilbert will assume her new position in September. A respected leader in both talent management and philanthropy, she hosted the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2013 international conference titled “Talent Management for Innovative and Impactful Philanthropy in the 21st Century.” She is also a frequent speaker on the topic in the United States and globally.

Gilbert received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and a master’s degree in public administration (nonprofit management) from New York University. She holds a certification in organizational and executive coaching from New York University.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.