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The Barnes Foundation names Sheronda Whitaker Deputy Director for HR and Chief Diversity Officer
Whitaker joined the Barnes as Director of Human Resources in 2018 and became Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer in 2020. Image courtesy of Sheronda Whitaker. Photo by Whitney Thomas.



PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, today announced the promotion of Sheronda Whitaker, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, to Deputy Director for Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer. A human resources professional with over 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit, business, and financial sectors, Whitaker joined the Barnes as Director of Human Resources in 2018 and became Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer in 2020. Her most recent promotion underscores the Barnes Foundation’s long-standing commitments to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) initiatives, supporting its staff and volunteers, and enhancing workplace culture.

“Every day I am inspired by the creativity and collaborative spirit of our staff as they work to fulfill our educational mission,” says Thom Collins. “Sheronda’s promotion is an acknowledgment of her exceptional work on behalf of the Barnes community over the past three years and is reflective of our institutional commitment to the crucial work of the Human Resources department, which provides the support and training our staff and volunteers need to thrive and grow. I look forward to our continued work together as we expand efforts to build and diversify our workforce, create equitable opportunities for staff advancement, and enhance our workplace culture.”

At the core of Whitaker’s role is the design and execution of effective strategies to fulfill the institution’s enduring commitments to DEAI. She collaborates with staff across every department to ensure the Barnes is a welcoming and supportive work environment for all staff and volunteers. Under her leadership, the Human Resources department expanded to include a position dedicated to staff training, equitable and inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, and supporting the design and implementation of DEAI initiatives.

Also under Whitaker’s leadership, the Barnes deepened its commitment to strengthening its work culture with the development of a cross-departmental Culture Action Team, which formed a plan in 2020 to address staff interests and concerns for the upcoming year. One of these initiatives, the Pathways Program, now offers structured internal learning opportunities and career planning in various museum fields, as well as the potential for advancement, to frontline staff throughout the year.

Whitaker’s work is aligned with the Barnes Foundation’s new strategic priorities and goals to strengthen its commitments to accessible education and diversity, inclusion, and social justice in the years to come.

Whitaker has served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA Delaware and Ingleside Homes. She holds an MS in human resource development from Villanova University and a BS from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, Philadelphia Society for Human Resources Management, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.










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