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Head of People/Talent and Culture

New York, NY
October 23, 2018

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HILARY TOLMAN +1-212-***-****

Results-oriented and versatile trilingual senior HR executive with multicultural generalist experience in the gastronomic restaurant, international hotel and luxury art industries. Well-rounded and knowledgeable, with strong relationship-building, administrative and management skills. Impeccable verbal and written communication skills. Adept at helping companies make their talent and culture goals a reality by creatively translating their business needs into human resources priorities and implementing transparent and collaborative people initiatives. Hands-on, progressive leader and trusted advisor to the C-suite, passionate about conscious capitalism and improving and streamlining the full human capital experience cycle for the seasoned Associate as well as the Millennial employee - from global talent acquisition, associate engagement, change management, training and development, administration and compliance, organizational design and cultural strategy to retention and succession planning.


Diverse HR experience as a self-employed consultant, company HR business partner and progressive visionary as well as in talent management, global sourcing, employee brand building and HR operations and administration.

20+ years of international cross-cultural recruiting experience, with a concentration in Corporate, hospitality ExCom and culinary positions and a specialization in immigration-based talent sourcing and recruiting, processing USCIS petitions and creating dedicated visa related employment programs for companies.

Extensive experience designing employment systems for recruitment and retention strategies including social media and soft recruiting, candidate identification and selection methods and diversity and inclusion strategies that satisfy the immediate and long-term needs of organizations as well as ensuring that all recruitment efforts, postings and advertising reinforce brand identity.

Organizational design decision-maker, using HR metrics and data analysis to align organizations’ strategic, short and long-term HR business objectives (such as title and salary standardization, departmental reorganizations, manning guide analysis, HR business plans, succession planning, centers of excellence, etc.) to drive productive company change.

Knowledgeable human capital management leadership through critical and organization-wide initiatives related to HR process redesign, brand standardization and change management in order to meet the demands of both the business and the Associates supported with a view to update processes through the Millennial lens. Proactively and effectively able to address components of workplace culture that impede organizational and individual effectiveness in a manner consistent with organizational values. Excel at identifying and recommending opportunities to improve and align existing methodologies with innovative company-wide HR vision; creating an integrated approach to all talent and culture management efforts and streamlining HR business operations in complex environments. Expert at creating and disseminating effective company specific HR brand standard collateral (SoPs, job descriptions, organizational policies and procedures, Associate handbooks, administrative forms, on-boarding documentation, operating manuals, service standards, letters of offer, etc.) and innovative tools, processes and programs that integrate with organizations’ values and core competencies, including progressive and cohesive “Associate Experience Journeys” from “attraction” to “transition”, balancing organizational and budgetary resources with the need to maintain organizations’ competitive position in their marketplace and increasing employee efficiency and productivity.

Strategic leader, skilled at advancing and integrating talent management solutions, engagement programs, learning and development initiatives, performance management, professional and leadership development, succession planning and Associate recognition around future workforce needs and gaps. Original vision and strategic, intentional leadership, creating comprehensive programs that aim to attract, retain, engage and develop Associates.

Exceptional at fostering an open-door culture of accountability, trust, recognition and results among Leadership and Associates at all hierarchical levels of an organization.


Corporate Vice President of Talent and Culture (Head of Human Resources, North America)

MILLENNIUM HOTELS AND RESORTS (New York City, NY, USA) June 2016 – September 2017

Advisor to the President North America, key member of Millennium’s Corporate Executive team and point person to a regional team of 25 HR professionals, was responsible for leading the vision, strategy, development and execution of organizational HR effectiveness for the Corporate office and 14 US properties. The primary focus was on recruiting a new corporate team, creating a cohesive “Associate Experience Journey” for the company’s 3000 North America employees, as well as implementable company-wide HR brand standards, with the goal of being featured on the Forbes annual list of best places to work in the United States. Laid off, along with many other corporate Associates, as the company is in financial difficulty in the North America region and my position was eliminated as inessential.

Produced an effective corporate HR annual budget, reviewed and approved the individual hotel HR budgets, evaluated products, negotiated vendor contracts and reduced other expenditures. Created in-house initiatives to replace previously outsourced programs and reduced the corporate HR department’s budget by nearly 18% in the first year.

Reviewed compensation, benefits and best practices among competition in each of the company’s market segments in order to remain competitive. Working with Corporate Finance and Benefits, spearheaded the annual insurance and benefits review and enrollment process. In conjunction with Corporate Operations and Finance, piloted Millennium’s annual salary-setting process, merit increases, KPO submissions, corporate bonus and deferred share calculations.

Served as a resource for property GMs, Corporate and Global Leadership and provided management oversight to direct reports and dotted line assistance remotely to the Regional and property HRDs in all matters related to administration, organization and compliance as well as confidentially assisting them, often in conjunction with the Legal department, with the management of disciplinary actions and/or terminations, grievances and Associate relations issues. In the annual Associate Engagement Survey had a leadership approval rating of 98%.

Mobilized the management team, the HRDs and the property GMs to develop and execute talent acquisition and retention strategies, planning around future workforce needs and gaps. Directly responsible for all Corporate and property ExCom recruiting. In an organization where property turnover ranged from 12 to 113% for the year, and the company was led by 4 Presidents for the region in 16 months, maintained a corporate and HR team turnover of 6%.

Rewrote or constructed all HR brand standards, job descriptions (in order to better inform interview and evaluation processes while giving existing Associates the opportunity to fully understand company expectations and potential future career paths within the organization); researched, revitalized, communicated and enforced organizational policies and procedures. Modernized and rewrote all HR collateral as needed, including Associate Handbook and SOPs.


SELF-EMPLOYED (Greater Los Angeles Area, CA, USA) October 2012 – June 2016

Worked as an independent contractor in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, taking on consulting projects in the fields of HR, talent acquisition, hospitality and luxury art. Clients included The Belmond Group and The Viceroy Group.

Creative Director

THE TOLMAN COLLECTION (Tokyo, Japan) September 2007 – June 2012

In charge of advertising and PR for the largest publisher of contemporary Japanese limited-edition prints, a family business. Created digital marketing collateral, activated and monitored social media presence for the company's galleries worldwide and executed online marketing, brand building, virtual exhibitions and remote sales.

Vice President – US Operations

GORDON RAMSAY HOLDINGS (London, United Kingdom) January 2006 – June 2006

Hired to remotely supervise pre-opening operations and HR and recruiting initiatives for his restaurant openings in New York City and Boca Raton, Florida.

Owner/HR Consultant

HTM RESTAURANT CONSULTING (New York City, NY, USA) November 2003 – January 2006

Advisor, talent sourcer and immigration counsel to high-end Manhattan restaurants. Clients included Gail Simmons (Top Chef) and many of NYC’s high-end restaurants, including Daniel Boulud’s.

HR and USCIS Visa Administrator/Executive Assistant to Owner

DANIEL/THE DINEX GROUP (New York City, NY, USA) ` September 1997 – November 2003

Originally hired as the Chef/Owner’s Executive Assistant with responsibilities including VIP clientele relations, house account management, special event planning, customer complaint resolution, ghostwriting and day to day office administration. As the company grew from one to five units, seized the opportunity to manage human resources and USCIS administration for all foreign staff.

Co-owner/International Executive Headhunter

CYNÉGETHIC CONSULTANTS (Paris, France) June 1995 – August 1997

Bought into an existing consulting firm specialized in recruiting and head-hunted multilingual executives for global corporations throughout Europe. Started a secondary translation and desktop publishing business. Clients included Ubisoft, Monique l’Huillier, The Forte Hotel Group and Xerox.


Bachelor of Arts

SMITH COLLEGE (Northampton, MA., USA)

Major: French Studies; Additional Course Work: East Asian Studies.

Independent Study Junior Year Abroad: French Literature, Sorbonne, Paris.

Junior Year Work Program: Banque Nationale De Paris, Tokyo. Charged with finding Japanese importers for French

products. Conducted all business in Japanese and found importers for 13 of the 15 products represented,

from biodegradable flower pots to ship launching pads.

Senior Project: Translation of an Edgar Allan Poe novella from English to French, comparing it to Baudelaire’s.

Member of the President’s Circle.


French and English: Bilingual (attended the Lycée Franco-Japonais (Tokyo, Japan) from Kindergarten to graduation with honors, the sole language of instruction being French).

Japanese: Fluent

Microsoft Office XP, Google Docs, Photoshop CS2, Adobe Illustrator 8.1, Dreamweaver CS3, Adobe Bridge, Adobe InDesign CC, HTML5 based web design, FileMakerPro 8, ACT 2000, various French language Quicken accounting software, Micros, Skype recruiting, LinkedIn recruiting, Glassdoor, Indeed, hospitality online ATS and recruiting, ADP Payforce, Boolean search methods and other social media networking and recruiting methodologies.


Smith College Asian Art Task Force (2003–present)

Alumnae Group fundraising, obtaining art loans, finding guest curators and forging museum contacts for the University’s Asian art exhibitions. Personal donations to the Smith Museum of Art form the Hilary Tolman Collection of 20th Century Japanese Prints, one of the strongest college collections of postwar Japanese prints.

The Tolman Family Giving Committee (2000-present)

Family business board responsible for promoting contemporary Japanese art globally and for choosing the organizations and artwork for donation purposes. Family trust artwork donations (so far) include the University of Maryland, Smith College, Yale University, The Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Cincinnati Art Museum, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art, The Portland Museum, The Berlin Museum of Asian Art and the Library of Congress.

International YMCA Career Advancement Advisory Board (2002–2006)

Along with a select group of my peers, determined visa policy and regulations for one of the largest U.S. Department of State designated J-1 visa sponsor organizations.


"New York Chefs Cook for Tohoku” (July 3, 2011)

Japan-based lead organizer in charge of sourcing, logistics and organization for an event headed by one of my mentors, Chef Daniel Boulud. Nine top New York chefs flew to Japan to cook lunch for several thousand people displaced by the March 11 tsunami. (

Daruma Magazine (2008-2011)

Commissioned to write quarterly articles on contemporary Japanese artists and my personal relationships with them.

Actively looking for a publisher for my first novel (historical fiction), The Emancipation of Cora Crippen.

Food and recipe blogger at

Presently co-writing a book on contemporary Japanese art and artists, as seen through the lens of second generation art dealers with close personal ties to the leaders in the field; set to be published in 2020.

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