IFES Welcomes Elaine Cole as Director of Human Resources

Elaine Cole
Publication Date: 
1 Jun 2020

News Type:

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) is proud to announce that Elaine Cole will join IFES as its new director of human resources (HR). She will start June 22.

Throughout her 25-year career in HR, Cole has led, developed, executed and evaluated human capital programs for varying-sized domestic and international companies. She joins IFES after four years at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she was the director of HR business partner. In that role, she developed and executed an HR vision and framework for approximately 3,500 employees represented by 15 unions and served as a driving force in revitalizing the Kennedy Center’s HR department.

Previous positions from both the private and public sector included director of HR for IQ Solutions, an organization working on public health challenges around the world; the Merrill Corporation, an international cloud computing software solutions company; and Community Partners LLC, a nonprofit offering assistance with affordable housing to disadvantaged communities.

Cole’s wealth of experience will allow IFES to take a major step forward in building out the organization’s global talent and HR strategy. She will lead IFES efforts to recruit, develop and retain world-class talent and ensure the accomplishment of integrated strategic goals and the advancement of IFES’ mission: “Together, we build democracies that deliver for all.”

Originally from West Africa, with Portuguese and Caribbean heritage, Cole speaks to varying degrees French, Italian and West African Pidgin English. As the daughter of a civil servant from Sierra Leone serving his country in posts around the world, she grew up as a true international citizen.

Cole holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Sierra Leone in English and French and a certificate in Juche philosophy. She holds a master's degree in HR management from the University of Maryland University College.

The executive search was conducted by Pangburn International LLC of Washington, D.C.