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Monday, Mar 4, 2024

A conversation with Caitlin Goss, newly appointed vice president for Human Resources

<p>Goss hopes to create a community that elevates and builds around different voices.</p>

Goss hopes to create a community that elevates and builds around different voices.

Caitlin Goss stepped in as vice president for Human Resources and chief people officer on Sept. 13, after the position had been vacant for eight months since January 2021.

As native of Hinesburg, Vt., Goss has deep roots in the state. At Middlebury, Goss said she can stay close to family and friends from home while also interacting with a diverse community from all over the world.

“Coming to Middlebury was a really compelling idea for me,” Goss said. 

Though she is only a month and a half into her new position, Goss is already facing a packed schedule as she takes on various jobs within the department. Working with the Human Resources team, she addresses issues such as recruiting, wages and benefits. She also collaborates closely with other senior administrators to ensure that their goals and strategies align.

Goss says that she is looking to create a sense of pride and belonging at Middlebury. In the midst of the ongoing global pandemic and the fight for racial and social justice, Goss has been tasked with helping employees navigate through these challenges.  

Goss believes that the best solution is to be a good listener. Goss wishes to co-create a community with members of the college by communicating extensively with faculty and staff, where she invites, amplifies, elevates and builds around different voices. She hopes to integrate the perspectives of all voices, old and new, to combat the challenges that arise.   

“I don’t like to think I have the answer, but people that work here do,” Goss said.  

Working with people has always been Goss’ passion. After graduating college, she worked for two years as an analyst at Harvard Kennedy School, where she learned about social entrepreneurship and leadership and how an individual or a team can create impact in a government system.

“After two or three years, I started to realize that I loved studying people,” Goss said. “And I loved the idea of people being able to drive impact in organizations.” 

She later spent six years working for Bain and Company, where she started as the lead analyst of global human capital in Boston, and then became the team leader of employee engagement in Shanghai, China. According to Goss, her experience with the leading consulting firm gave her an in-depth knowledge of business, broadened her experience in facilitating team work and built a global perspective that would benefit her throughout her career. 

Caitlin eventually chose to go back to school at the University of Vermont’s Grossman Business School and found a way to combine both work and passion. At UVM, Goss finished her Master of Business Administration in sustainable innovation, a discipline that she feels satiates all her needs. After graduation, she decided to put her skills to the test by joining Rhino Foods, a Burlington-based cookie dough manufacturer. 

“If you asked me if I would ever work at a cookie dough manufacturer, I would have thought that was totally crazy,” Goss said.

In the four years she served as director of people and culture at Rhino Foods,, Caitlin spearheaded several programs to create a more diverse and people-oriented workplace as employment doubled. 

Outside of work, Goss is passionate about Chinese culture and fluent in Mandarin. She traveled to China on a research trip her freshman summer after studying with a professor at Dickinson College and returned her junior year to study at Beijing University. During her stay, she climbed the Great Wall ten times and even picked up the regional dialect. 

“I love riding trains and talking to people, trying to read the newspaper and eating dumplings on the streets,” Goss said. 

Caitlin’s short-term goal as the vice president of Human Resources is to find balance in this fast-paced life.

“So many exciting things are happening at once,” Goss said. “It is important that we slow down and also find spaces to be creative.”

Outside of her work, she plans to teach her son how to ski this winter. 

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