Franci Phelan Joins CNM as New Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

Franci has led human resources departments at many high-profile national organizations and is excited to help CNM chart its course for the future
May 17, 2023

Franci Phelan, CNM’s new Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), is looking forward to working with the HR team in helping CNM remain a preferred workplace that continues to support employees and adapt to HR trends now and into the future. Franci will oversee day-to-day and strategic HR planning to ensure the college continues to create wraparound support services and development for our outstanding faculty and staff.

Franci joins CNM after decades leading human resources teams at high-profile for-profit and nonprofit organizations across the country. Highlights include her time as Chief Human Resources Officer with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Department of the Navy (NEXCOM).  Previously she spent time with companies including DuPont/Pioneer, Cummins Corporation, Miller Brewing Company, TDS Telecom, Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and The Circle K Corporation.

Franci is excited to help CNM advance its vision of “Changing Lives, Building Community” and knows human resources is integral to the success of our employees, and ultimately our students.

“Over time I’ve seen clearly that human resources, or the people function of an organization, has all the levers needed to help an organization accomplish its goals because at the end of the day every organization is made up of the people who make it run,” she says. 

Going forward, Franci will help CNM continue implementing a strong employee-focused culture serving as a bridge between the college’s employees and its leadership team.

“Daily, I know that my team and I have to continue to execute tasks and strategies to ensure that CNM remains a preferred workplace and is supportive of all its employees,” she says.

More broadly, Franci will also help CNM think about the future. Post- pandemic, it's become more important than ever to have a broad view of human resources so that the college can prepare for the changes that will face the institution going forward. 

“If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that we need to see macro trends that can and will impact the CNM enterprise,” Franci says. “We need to chart our course now so that we can properly react to those trends when they’re here. I’m a strong believer in strategic planning and know that we always have to create contemporary and equitable practices for our employees. Just as we continually upgrade technology, we need to ensure our HR/people practices and offerings are up-to-date in order to serve CNM well.”

On a personal note, Franci is excited to be back in the Southwest. She started her academic career at Arizona State University and loved living in the desert. After many years living in seven states and three countries, she’s glad to be back in a place that feels familiar and exciting. 

“The more I explore the Southwest, the more I fall in love with the history, culture, and geography of this area,” she says.

Additionally, Franci now joins others in her family who work in higher education, including her husband who’s a university professor, and her brother, who’s a community college president in Michigan. 

“I’m surrounded by educators and so glad to be at CNM, which is known for serving such a wonderfully diverse student body in myriad important ways,” she says.