Promoting Excellence and Trust in the Nonprofit Sector

Candace Osunsade

National Acquarium

501 East Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD



Over the past 30 years, I have experienced all facets of human resources. From a Generalist in a corporate environment in New York, to the Vice President of Human Resources, The National Aquarium in Baltimore, I have gathered a treasure trove of knowledge, people skills and experience. Merged with my education and natural talents, all have coalesced to define the leader that I am today. It is the core of my strength. As a strategic business enhancer and Human Resources leader, my main focus is helping the Aquarium maximize our potential and optimize business results. By utilizing my skills and expertise in Talent Management, Organizational Development, Compensation, Talent Acquisition, Employee Engagement, Project Management, and HR System Design & Implementation, I am leading transformational change within the Aquarium.

My operating principle is that a properly run HR team should understand every facet of the business and exemplify the standards for ethics, transparency, operational excellence and integrity within the organization; to lead, drive or change culture within an organization. This “leading by example” principle has led to substantive, positive change in the employee culture and general work environment at the Aquarium.

My functions are not defined by the walls of the Aquarium. I am most proud of my work with people, the community and other organizations in Baltimore. I believe it is essential to burnish the image of the City and improve the standards and quality of life of those who live and work in the City. Since we are located in and represent the City, our relationship is symbiotic. As one grows and improves, so shall the other. I actively support many local not for profit organizations, as an active contributor to the Greater Baltimore Committee, Carver Foundation, College Success Scholars, Building Steps and Anacostia Watershed Society. With a group of dedicated, talented and gifted professionals, we are implementing new structures and managing transformational corporate change within the Aquarium, through incremental and easily digestible steps. Our achievements include a fully-functional HRIS; strategic workforce planning based on talent assessment; nine-box succession planning; goals-based performance assessment; a competitive compensation program, with data-driven decision making around merit and incentive awards, promotions, and equity; and a best in class benefits program that includes a virtual wellness program, with a financially stable, self-funded medical & prescription plan.

On behalf of my team, our achievements were recognized with my recognition as the 2015 Chief HR Officer of the Year for Non-Profits by HRO Today Magazine. The award celebrates CHROs who help drive workforce initiatives through innovation, with measurable excellence in employee engagement and retention to prove it.

My skills, experiences, knowledge, vision and passion are most apt to those required by the Executive Leadership Development Program. I believe I am an excellent candidate and look forward to acceptance. Acceptance into the program will enhance my continued professional growth and commitment to improving the nonprofits that I work with.