Crystal Stanfield, Director & Talent Acquisition and Planning at MITRE, Most Inspiring WomenLeaders of 2021 Profile

Crystal Stanfield
Director of Talent Acquisition and Planning at MITRE

Crystal Stanfield, Director & Talent Acquisition and Planning at MITRE, Most Inspiring WomenLeaders of 2021

“Transforming Talent for a Safer World”

MITRE’s Crystal Stanfield takes winning talent to a whole new level. Since 2019, she has transformed the company’s Talent Strategy in planning, attracting, and hiring—all to support MITRE’s Good Growth strategy by bringing in next-generation thought leaders and technical experts.

“What drives me is the ability to create,” Crystal says. “I often envision what my result looks like, then I reverse-engineer it.”

A not-for-profit company that works in the public interest across federal, state, and local governments, industry, and academia, MITRE’s mission is solving problems for a safer world. Its sponsors focus on solving the nation’s most critical and complex problems, relying on MITRE’s talent in areas such as national security, cybersecurity, public health, and space. Consequently, Talent Acquisition at MITRE is critical to growth and sponsor delivery, and there’s fierce competition for in-demand, short-supply technologists.

Crystal came to MITRE in 2019, when its siloed Talent Acquisition team was in need of a fresh approach to strategy, consistent leadership, and innovation. “We were able to deliver on the talent demands of the organization,” she recalls, “but it wasn’t a great experience for the candidate, recruiter, or hiring manager. We were competing against some of the most well-known organizations and fighting a brand-awareness challenge.”

So, Crystal realigned Talent Acquisition to support core business sectors, added strategic sourcing capability in-house, launched a recruitment marketing pilot, and began the process of integrating a Talent Experience Management system. “I’m focused on digital employer branding, seamless productivity, candidate experience, and showcasing why MITRE is the company you dream about working for,” Crystal says. “It’s a place where you literally amplify your impact for the public good.”

Now, MITRE’s transformation strategy centers around Team, Technology, and Talent Attraction. “It’s been a long road,” Crystal says,” but we’ve realigned our department to add new capabilities in strategic sourcing and talent attraction. We’ve also added talent advisors with deep expertise in key areas of our business.”

Crystal’s own story is a unique one. At just 19 years old, she began working straight-commission for a boutique staffing firm and quickly found success. “The roots I got in staffing taught me a lot about hunger, work ethic, and influence,” she says. Soon, Crystal jumped from agency to corporate HR in a “build-it” opportunity and continued to land new transformation opportunities.

Crystal’s own take on leadership is one born of experience. “I’ve been fortunate and grateful to have hired and mentored many talented recruiters over the years, and I’m proud to see them climb the ranks, knowing I was part of their journey,” she says.

That’s because Crystal, too, had influential mentors throughout her career—including one who encouraged her to pursue her bachelor’s degree at age 30. This mentor then guided and encouraged Crystal—who was a single, working mom—through her coursework at Chicago’s DePaul University.

“Going to school at 30 was the best thing I ever did for myself and my career,” Crystal says. “I was able to instantly apply everything I learned, because I tapped into 10-plus years of experience in recruiting.”

Crystal sees her accomplishments to date as just the beginning. “I imagine, come September, that my transformation vision will be realized,” she says. “But it’s not the end. We have a roadmap of innovation ahead of us, so it’s more of an evolution than a transformation.”

She adds, “Recruiting is the sales and marketing of talent. We sell career opportunities—and at MITRE, we sell the dream of making a difference.” IE




Crystal Stanfield
Director of Talent Acquisition and Planning at MITRE


The MITRE Corporation is working to solve some of the nation’s biggest challenges in defense, cybersecurity, healthcare, homeland security, the judiciary and transportation. MITRE is a not-for-profit corporation committed to the public interest, operating federally funded R&D centers on behalf of U.S. government sponsors. MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. To learn more, visit

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