Chief Human Resources Officer to leave for new position

Carmen Canales, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, has accepted a position as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for the Novant Health system. She will join Novant Health next month. A search for her replacement will begin after the COVID-19 crisis passes. In the interim, Dedee DeLongpre-Johnston, Chief Sustainability Officer, will assist Hof Milam, Executive Vice President in providing leadership and oversight of Human Resources. 

Canales, who came to Wake Forest in 2011, has led the University’s talent functions, including recruitment, campus engagement, compensation and benefits, professional development, HR operations, and HR information systems. Across each of these areas, she has helped further the University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging. 

“Carmen has had a tremendous impact by positioning Human Resources as a strategic partner for the University,” said Executive Vice President Hof Milam. “Her transformative leadership has made it possible to advance our important talent management work in collaboration with our schools and departments.” 

During her time here, Carmen has led the expansion of a comprehensive benefits package, adding inclusive offerings such as gender reassignment coverage and student debt counseling, while increasing retirement plan participation by 55 percent. She also enhanced the faculty, staff, and retiree recognition events with an emphasis on authentic appreciation.

Early in her time at Wake Forest, Canales formed the Leadership Summit, which brings together academic and administrative leaders for professional development and collaboration. This program has featured internal and external experts on topics including innovation, tradition, change management, and friendship. Her vision for developing colleagues across the University also resulted in “Leading at Wake,” a series that focuses on creating a culture of engagement and belonging. 

“It has been a privilege to serve the diverse Wake Forest community,” Canales said. “The Human Resources team is talented, thoughtful, and dedicated, and will continue to collaborate with and support staff and faculty colleagues.”