Elaine Cole serves as the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) director of human resources (HR). 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 joined IFES after four years at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where she was the director of HR business partners. In that role, she developed and executed a human resources 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 sectors included director of HR for IQ Solutions, the Merrill Corporation, and Community Partners LLC.
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 human resource management from the University of Maryland University College.