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jobs description

Situation Overview:

ZRG has been engaged to recruit a Managing Director, Campus Planning for Harvard University...

About Harvard University:

Harvard University, established in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard is renowned for its rich history, academic excellence, and significant contributions to research and society.

Harvard University enrolls approximately 20,000 students across its various programs and schools. This total includes around 6,700 undergraduate students in Harvard College and approximately 13,300 graduate and professional students. The university's student body is highly diverse, representing all 50 U.S. states and over 150 countries worldwide. Harvard's rigorous admission process and commitment to financial aid ensure that it attracts top talent from a wide array of backgrounds, fostering an inclusive and dynamic academic community.

The university comprises various schools and institutes, including Harvard College, the graduate schools of law, business, medicine, education, government, public health, and the renowned Harvard Divinity School. Harvard's extensive library system, the largest academic library in the world, boasts over 20 million volumes, providing unparalleled resources for students and researchers.

The university's campus is an architectural and historical treasure, featuring iconic structures like Harvard Yard, the epicenter of the university, and historic buildings such as Massachusetts Hall, the oldest surviving building at Harvard and in Harvard Yard, and Widener Library, the flagship of the Harvard Library system. Harvard's museums, including the Harvard Art Museums, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, offer vast collections that support teaching and research while being open to the public. Additionally, the Arnold Arboretum and Harvard Forest provide unique opportunities for the study of ecology and plant biology.

Harvard's impact extends far beyond its physical campus. The university has produced an impressive list of alumni, including eight U.S. presidents, numerous foreign heads of state, and countless leaders in various fields such as business, science, arts, and literature. Harvard's faculty includes prominent scholars, Nobel laureates, and Pulitzer Prize winners, who contribute to the university's strong emphasis on research and innovation.

Through its extensive network of affiliates, partnerships, and programs, Harvard plays a critical role in addressing global challenges and advancing knowledge across a wide range of disciplines.

Its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and public service underscores its mission to educate citizens and leaders who will make a difference in the world.


Harvard University Planning and Design (HUPAD) is responsible for the stewardship of one of the world’s most iconic campus settings and advances Harvard’s mission of teaching and research by enhancing, sustaining, and optimizing the physical campus to achieve planning and design excellence. While remaining centered in its historical Cambridge and Boston geography, the University today includes diverse campus locations throughout the United States and the world.

Harvard University is seeking an inspiring, collaborative consensus-builder to join HUPAD’s senior leadership team as Managing Director for Campus Planning. Reporting to the Chief of Planning and Design, the Managing Director, Campus Planning will provide leadership and direction to the Campus Planning (CP) professional team of 11+ employees which is primarily focused on the established campuses in Boston and Cambridge. The CP team supports the University's facilities, institutional land, and capital financial resources in collaboration with the Schools and Departments and the broader community.

As the leader of the CP team, the candidate will oversee the work of the Campus Planning team and coordinate closely with HUPAD colleagues (among them the Urban District Initiatives team and the Planning Resources team) and leadership of schools and units to provide expertise in strategic institutional physical planning, design, and public approvals to create a sense of place, promote physical connections, enrich the campus experience, and guide institutional development. The candidate will be responsible for identifying and implementing best campus planning and design practices, advocating for campus, and building design excellence, preservation of campus character, and the creation of a coherent campus, through coordination with university faculties and departments, cooperation with public officials and outreach to other stakeholders. The Managing Director will work collaboratively with the HUPAD Senior leadership towards ensuring HUPAD’s goals and mission are met.

Further, the Managing Director will collaborate with all Harvard Schools and Departments and build consensus toward developing and advancing visionary agendas while delivering client –centered results. The Managing Director will lead complex multidisciplinary teams responsible for comprehensive campus planning and design initiatives across Harvard’s campus locations. In consultation with Harvard Public Affairs and Communication (HPAC), the Managing Director will build partnerships with public officials and external committees on complex and sensitive planning issues and projects while providing strategic expertise in land use, design, and development planning. The Managing Director will also represent the University in public hearings and processes.

Position Description:

Strategic Leadership: Provide strategic direction and leadership for campus planning initiatives that align with Harvard University’s mission and values. Develop and implement long-term planning strategies to support the “One Harvard” vision and foster collaboration across schools and units. Collaborate with University leadership to establish long-term development objectives and prioritize projects in line with institutional priorities. Develop and support overall planning framework for the University focused on flexible campus development and land use strategies, design excellence, campus connectivity, sustainability, and climate resiliency. Craft and oversee public approvals strategies for university initiatives and projects that incorporate a sensitive approach to external requirements and constituencies while meeting University priorities. Identify potential risks associated with campus planning projects and develop strategies to mitigate them;

Planning, Design and Public Approvals Oversight: Oversee the development and implementation of physical and master planning initiatives. Lead efforts to create inclusive, welcoming, and resilient campus environments that support teaching, research, student life, and community well-being. Stay informed about local, state, and federal regulations and planning initiatives related to campus development. In coordination with the HPAC, lead the University’s planning efforts and public approvals with the local municipalities of Boston and Cambridge. Collaborate with University stakeholders to ensure that academic priorities are appropriately translated into physical spaces. Ensure financial, historical integrity and other realities are considered in plan development. Oversee the planning of capital projects, feasibility studies, site development guidelines, and consultant selection processes. Ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and in accordance with established quality standards. Manage project budgets, timelines, and resources to ensure successful completion within established parameters;

Policy Development: Working with team across HUPAD, jointly develop and implement University policies, design guidelines, and standards related to land use, development, open space, transportation, housing, historic preservation, physical accessibility, space use, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience planning. Oversee and manage the University’s Designer Selection and Design Review policy and process. Ensure outside consultants and contractors understand and carry out the expressed intent of the design guidelines;

Stakeholder Engagement: Foster and build productive relationships with internal stakeholders including academic faculties, administrative units, and University affiliates. Collaborate with external partners, host communities, and community stakeholders to address mutual concerns and promote mutually beneficial campus planning practices. Serve as a convener bringing multiple stakeholder groups together to focus upon cross-organizational planning;

Team Management: Provide mentorship, guidance, and supervision to a diverse team of professionals and foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, empowerment, and continuous improvement;

Communication and Advocacy: Serve as a spokesperson and advocate for campus planning initiatives within the Harvard community and beyond. Communicate complex planning concepts and strategies to diverse audiences through written reports and analyses, presentations, and public forums;

Budget and Resource Management: Develop and manage departmental budgets, allocate resources effectively, and seek external funding opportunities to support campus planning initiatives and capital projects. Develop and manage the budget for campus planning activities, ensuring effective use of resources and alignment with institutional priorities;

Continuous Improvement/Innovation: Stay abreast of emerging trends, best practices, innovations, and disruptions in campus planning, design, and higher education. Evaluate how trends in areas such as technology, sustainability, accessibility, and community engagement can enhance campus planning processes and organizational effectiveness. Refine existing and new methodologies and tools to incorporate relevant innovations and ensure campus planning supports the evolving needs of the Harvard community.

Diversity Statement:

The dynamism that comes with working at Harvard is largely the result of our diversity. There, staff, faculty, administrators, and students representing a wide range of ages, races, interests, and backgrounds come together in pursuit of common goals. Together, they strive to provide an environment that values diversity and promotes an inclusive culture.

Harvard is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Harvard University in the News:

To visit the Harvard University Newsroom Click Here.

Interview Process:

ZRG provides our global Clients with a rigorous and patented assessment platform grounded in data and analytics. Our interview process includes the following:
• Initial interviews with ZRG
• ZRG presentation of candidates to Client for calibration and discussion; Client selects candidates for consideration and initial interviews
• Candidates complete ZRG’s on-line assessment
• Finalist candidates advance to second and third round interviews with broader leadership team
• Formal referencing
• Offer extended

About ZRG Partners:

ZRG is a global talent advisory firm that is changing the way companies hire and manage talent. ZRG’s data driven approach to executive and professional search has been changing the way clients think about how to find top talent. The company’s digital Zi platform combines talent intelligence, candidate insights, and process improvement to dramatically deliver executive searches quicker and with proven better results.

Jim Lord

Managing Director

Helbling Division


As Managing Director, Jim performs client development and manages a team of consultants. He

also plays an instrumental role in shaping Helbling’s strategic vision and enhancing our executive search capabilities.

A Helbling team member since 1998, Jim has had the opportunity to represent organizations

within all of Helbling’s focus disciplines. In addition to securing professionals for higher

education and healthcare clients, he conducts and manages mid-to senior-level searches for

general, heavy civil, and specialty construction firms, as well as real estate developers. Prior to

joining Helbling, he was a Group Leader with an international consulting firm, providing

executive assessment and development to the manufacturing industry.

Matt Lesher

Senior Associate

Helbling Divison


Matt joined Helbling in 2003 and has broad recruiting experience, managing and performing a wide range of searches within the engineering and construction sectors, and facilities management. His recruiting assignments encompass executive management, operations, business development, and marketing professionals for multi-disciplined and international engineering and construction firms, industrial and high-end residential contractors, multi-family construction managers, and public-private partnerships. He also conducts searches for executives involved in facilities, real estate development, and engineering with hospitals, universities, preparatory schools, and public agencies.

Matt earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Robert Morris University. In his free time, he likes to golf, and volunteer with his church and junior sports
Cambridge MA United States


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