Legail Chandler named vice chancellor for human resources

Goal is to ‘open up the air-waves and hear from the many people who make this place great’


Legail P. Chandler, assistant dean and executive director of human resources at the School of Medicine, has been named vice chancellor for human resources at Washington University in St. Louis, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

Chandler, whose appointment is effective immediately, succeeds Lorraine Goffe-Rush, who was named vice president for human resources at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chandler will become a member of the University Council, which comprises the chief administrative officers and deans of the university. She will report to Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration, and lead the HR effort for the university’s more than 13,000 employees.

“Legail brings to this leadership role a wealth of experience and expertise, including great knowledge of our university community,” Wrighton said. “I am delighted she is joining our leadership team and look forward to working with her as we seek to build stronger programs for our most important assets, our people.”

Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, acknowledged Chandler’s contributions to developing programs and policies that advance the medical school, which has the largest number of employees.

“Legail has done an outstanding job serving the medical school for the past 16 years,” Shapiro said. “Her integrity, expertise and leadership have greatly enhanced the medical school’s human resources program.

“She has been instrumental in establishing popular health and wellness initiatives, including the Tread the Med walking program and bringing a farmer’s market to campus every Thursday. Legail also has been exceptionally committed to diversity and inclusion efforts.”

“Legail has a long and deep record of building strong and effective human resource programs, fairly resolving challenging employee and organizational problems, and building an organization that delivers great service,” Webber said.

“In recent years, she has built great teams in the area of organizational development and diversity,” Webber said. He noted that Daniel Blash and Denise DeCou, the two diversity and inclusion leaders Chandler hired in 2013 to help raise diversity awareness and support efforts to hire a more diverse workforce at the medical school, were recognized for their work during the Feb. 5 opening session of the university-wide conference, “Race & Ethnicity: A Day of Discovery and Dialogue.”

“Throughout her time at the university, Legail has earned the highest respect from colleagues, customers and employees,” Webber said.

“I’m excited to be given this opportunity to contribute at such a great institution,” Chandler said. “I believe human resources is all about people, and people are the organization and so our policies and programs need to be relevant to the organization, its people and its needs.

“It’s my goal to open up the air-waves and hear from the many people who make this place great,” Chandler said. “We need everyone’s input to take up the challenge to do better in our relationships with each other and to do those things that keep moving the organization forward.

“I think we are laying a great foundation to create conversation and improve understanding among all of the diverse groups and individuals we have here. And we will do much more of that,” she added.

Long association with the university

An alumna of the university, Chandler has 37 years of experience in human resources management, much of it at the Washington University Medical Center Campus.

She joined the Washington University medical school staff in 1999 as a human resources information systems consultant, where she helped implement PeopleSoft HR and payroll applications and analyze university-wide appointment and payroll business practices.

In 2004, she was named director of human resources at the medical school, where she, among other responsibilities, developed and managed the HR function for more than 9,000 faculty and non-faculty employees and established policies for compensation, recruitment, employee relations and leadership development.

In addition to building resources for the school-wide diversity and inclusion effort and hiring two experienced professionals to lead it, Chandler’s other accomplishments include developing in-house consultation services for organizational development, applied leadership and employee relations and launching Smart Choices, a career development program to help staff members set and assess career goals.

Under her direction, the medical school HR office consolidated payroll services into a centralized model serving more than 7,000 employees and saving the school more than $430,000 since 2010.

In collaboration with clinical leaders, she also launched the medical school wellness initiative that provides resources for smoking cessation, the walking program and numerous health and wellness events.

Most recently, her team has initiated a series of employee focus groups to receive broad-based feedback on a variety of topics that affect everyone who comes to campus to work, learn or study.

Prior to joining the university’s medical school HR staff, she had worked for BJC Health System since 1993, serving as compensation manager and then HR information systems manager before being named a system level director of human resources in 1994 serving emerging businesses.

Her first positions at the medical center were as compensation manager (1983-86) and then director of personnel (1986-1993) for The Jewish Hospital of St. Louis.

She had moved to St. Louis from her native Kentucky, where she had been a compensation specialist for the Kentucky Department of Personnel since 1977.

Chandler earned a bachelor’s degree in business and administration from Western Kentucky University in 1977 and a master’s degree in information management from Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science in 1998.

She also earned a certified compensation professional certificate through WorldatWork (formerly the American Compensation Association) and the senior professional in human resources certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), of which she is a member.