Skip to content

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution welcomes Yessica Cancel as Chief People Officer

Seasoned executive to join WHOI in newly created role, beginning October 3

Woods Hole, MA — Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the world’s independent leader in ocean discovery, exploration, and education, today announced the appointment of Yessica Cancel to its executive team in the newly created position of Chief People Officer (CPO). In her role as CPO, Cancel will draw on her experiences in operations and human resources management to enhance and further WHOI’s commitment to an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and engaged workforce and to develop a vision and strategies that help WHOI achieve its long-term workforce and workplace goals.

Cancel brings experience from across many facets of business. She most recently served as Chief Operations Officer for Pace Center for Girls, a non-profit based in Jacksonville, Florida, that provides year-round safe and supportive academic and counseling programs to help girls understand their past and prepare for their future through counseling, life-skills training, and career preparation. Prior to that, she was the Vice President Organizational Development at Sea Star Line, a marine shipping company. Cancel has also worked in various human resource roles.

“My career has always been focused on the development of others,” said Cancel. “As an educator early in my career, or in an organizational development capacity, helping people identify and maximize their strengths, both as individuals as well as within teams, has been my "why.” The result of this collaborative, research-based work has been sustainable, thriving cultures. A healthy culture creates an environment where people can be innovative and work to solve the most challenging problems.”

According to Peter de Menocal, WHOI’s President and Director, “Yessica is bringing her talents to WHOI at a pivotal time, as we prioritize a strong, inclusive culture and fine-tune our strategy to achieve the goals set out in our Institutional Vision.  I am excited to welcome Yessica to the WHOI community, and I know her leadership will have an enormous impact.”




About Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans’ role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit