Ep 254: The CHRO at a Nonprofit Organization with Tee Okasi-Nwozo

Today’s podcast is part of a series on the Workology Podcast focused on the role and responsibilities of the Chief Human Resources Officer, or CHRO. The CHRO is an executive or C-level role that deals with managing human resources, as well as with organizational development and implementing policies of change to improve the overall efficiency of the company. The CHRO Podcast series on Workology is powered by HUB International. One of the reasons I wanted to do this series is because there is a lot of mystery around the CHRO role. I want aspiring CHRO’s to know what type of skills and experiences they need to promote into a future CHRO role along with hearing from senior HR leadership how they are partnering and collaborating with their executive peers.


Episode 254: The CHRO at a Nonprofit Organization with Tee-Okasi Nwozo 


I talked to Tee (Tochukwu) Okasi-Nwozo, Chief Human Capital Officer at DC Central Kitchen. Tee has over 18 years of experience in developing and implementing talent management practices and programs at both strategic and operational levels. As an accomplished Human Resources professional, she has managed the people function for organizations in the nonprofit and private sectors; and has led human resources capacity-building efforts for international organizations. At DCCK, Tee oversees the organization’s talent management lifecycle, including acquisition, engagement, development, and performance management.

I asked Tee about the difference between people management in the for-profit and nonprofit arenas. “The bottom line is that people create value for organizations,” she said. “The ‘how’ might be different because of how success is managed in the two arenas. My role in HR as a strategic business partner in the private sector was to develop strategies to drive business performance through talent management. The benefit of the return we gained relative to our investment cost was a lead to improving the company’s profitability.

“In the nonprofit space, we measure success by the impact of the mission on the community we are serving. I’m responsible for implementing HR strategies that support the mission of the organization and we look for individuals who are committed to the mission as well as the skills they bring to the workplace. I’m focused on engagement and development efforts because I recognize the value our employees bring to the organization. Our human resources also expand to volunteers, and they are a valuable part of our organization. Unique to DCCK, our mission is to fight hunger and poverty through culinary job training programs and placement, but we also look to provide opportunities for individuals to identify and develop their strengths, but also apply those strengths as they navigate through their careers. Close to 60% of our staff are graduates of our job training program, so that part of our business is mission-critical because it’s intrinsic to who we are.”

In the nonprofit space, we measure success by the impact of the mission on the community we are serving. - Tee Okasi-Nwozo #podcast #chro #hr Click To Tweet

Strengths finder is a personal development tool designed by Gallup and it’s used to define the natural way we are when we show up as our best selves, how we influence, process information, and relate to other people. It’s a 45-minute assessment that provides an analysis of strengths. Tee has recently been working on integrating strengths finder into DCCK. I asked her to talk a bit about this process. 

How HR Supports Organizations and Workforce Dynamics 

Tee said, “when we were looking for a shared language across the organization to use to identify strengths, reinforce them, talk about them, support them. We integrated strengths into our performance reviews, we use them in meetings and in larger presentations. In workplace dynamics, we had to take a step back to assess how we recognize the changes we face, and right now, a big part of that was the staff working remotely and how we foster engagement. We’re looking to introduce virtual strengths group sessions and use that space to encourage people to celebrate each other and themselves.”

I think many HR people are familiar with strengths finder from way back. We’ve moved away from it in favor of other skills assessments and screening tests, but strengths finder is really the core to how many of us started with employee development. And it’s something we could bring back into our organizations, especially during a time when we all should be communicating more and celebrating what each team member uniquely brings to the table. 

It’s really interesting to delve into how a role like CHRO works within the nonprofit sector as well as how ROI and success is defined through positioning talent as a powerful tool to drive the organizational mission. I appreciate Tee taking the time to share her experience with us.

Connect with Tee Okasi-Nwozo.





DC Central Kitchen

CHRO Job Description

HUB International

Episode 252: The Role of the CHRO in Change Management

How to Leverage Business Ethics in Human Resources

Episode transcript


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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