A Conversation with Desmond Hunte, HR&A’s New Chief Finance and Operations Officer

A Conversation with Desmond Hunte, HR&A’s New Chief Finance and Operations Officer

We sat down with HR&A’s new Chief Finance and Operations Officer to discuss the future of HR&A and the work he’s doing to support our growth to tackle even greater challenges in cities and communities across the globe.


Can you share a little bit about your background and what brought you to HR&A?


I started my career doing economic and business and strategy analysis for a bank that was focused on improving mortgages and lending for low- to moderate-income, first time, and minority homebuyers. As my career progressed, I worked for organizations like Wells Fargo; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and lobbying and consulting firm Michael Best Strategies. In many ways HR&A’s mission feels like a “full circle” moment.


HR&A presented a unique opportunity to connect my career experiences and my values. I want to work for a successful business that also has positive impact on the communities where we work and live.



What are you looking forward to in the next year as HR&A’s Chief Finance and Operations Officer?


As our finance and operations leader, my main goal is always to make things work seamlessly so the “experts can expert.” That’s really been my philosophy everywhere I’ve gone, whether it’s with bankers, policy experts, or government agencies around the world. It’s about creating an environment that allows the experts to focus on what they do best — producing excellent work for our clients and communities — by streamlining the stuff that can get in the way.


My team is focused on building systems so that our clients and project teams can maximize their impact. If I can save the organization 20 minutes a day, that’s 20 minutes more that we can serve as experts. Also, those 20 minutes spent more productively have a positive impact on our bottom line, our staff’s happiness at work, and the communities we serve. So, in a myriad of ways, I’m looking forward to building systems that amplify those results over the next year.


HR&A is company with an almost 50-year history, and with Jeff Hébert stepping into the role of CEO in early 2024, we’re embarking on a new chapter. As a core member of his Executive Leadership Team, what do you think are the opportunities and challenges facing a company like HR&A at a pivotal moments like this?      


HR&A is in a great position because our our  entrepreneurial spirit, and  committment to  tackling even bigger projects and challenges. With that in mind,  every company reaches a stage in its growth when you need to step back and evaluate the systems you have in place and how they will grow with you. No one in our industry matches HR&A in terms of the level of excellence in our client work, and I want to make sure the internal structure supporting that work mirrors that excellence and even raises the bar. It all comes back to streamlining how we do business to ensure our “experts can expert.”


HR&A has demonstrated that changing and adapting is part of its DNA. That’s a huge opportunity, because change is hard for most organizations. At HR&A, there’s an openness to evolving that will serve us well. In the end, everything we’re doing is with the goal of serving our clients and helping our employees be more efficient, productive, and happier at work.



How do you manage implementing change and growth without losing what makes a company like HR&A special?


I’ve been around a lot of professional services organizations in my career, and HR&A offers a uniquely customized, hands-on, and action-oriented approach to our work. We’re not just taking things off the shelf and reselling them to clients as something new for the sake of greater profit. No matter how much we grow, we can’t get away from the customized and committed way we deliver our work, because it’s what makes us special. I’m here to help make sure we can stay true to who we are while we grow to become even better.


Learn more about Desmond.