What was your role before joining Oxford HR?
My most recent full-time role was as Executive Director of IFAW UK, a conservation and animal welfare charity with a wide programme of work but with a focus on landscape conservation in Africa and India. My role was to oversee the entity, its income and programme work on wildlife crime, managing a staff team of single office and multi-office global staff. For most of 2023 I was consulting, assisting start-ups in the nature pricing and environmental justice space including around new ai models for enforcement. I was also working as an associate with OxfordHR and this has led to a full time role as Principle Consultant.
What do you feel you can bring to clients?
I have really good knowledge of the sectors of conservation, sustainability, animal welfare and also the intersection of the development and humanitarian sector with animal programming. I have over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the non-profit sector in roles from operations to programmes and executive directing so I hope I have worked out what the qualities of a good leader are and can find these and nurture them. Leadership has such a pivotal role on organisations, its culture and productivity and impact so I hope I can influence in a different way with Oxford HR.
What issue/s keep you awake at night?
A few I guess. The plight of the planet under the stewardship of our species and how we are not shifting enough capital at scale fast enough. The biodiversity crisis we face and the loss of nature, at the same time as how we can ensure that nature can become an internalised part of the economy. Maybe the next big adventure I want to undertake. Definitely how the UK has lost its way with providing social mobility.
What qualities would you find in a great leader?
I am great believer that culture eats strategy for breakfast! Thus a great leader has more than just the skills and experience to do the job, they need to be able to get people to follow their vision and need to know how to get the best out of people. But they also need to stand up and be present when things get tough and be open to feedback.
I always tried to follow two simple rules in leadership:
- Do the simple things right
- You are the average of the five closest people you surround yourself with.
What book have you read most recently?
Climate Capitalism by Akshat Rathi. I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch at the Royal Institute. The book offers a positive spin on what the future holds for challenges to the planet, especially through the lens of technological progress and the power of capital markets.
Who would be your dream client?
Anyone who sincerely wants to improve their organisation by bringing in the best people as that’s something we can do!
‘Ships are safest in the harbour. But that’s not what ships were designed to do’
James joined Oxford HR in 2023 as an associate consultant. He has over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector focused in conservation, environment, animal welfare and emergencies. He has operated in more than 40 countries in his career, delivering policy change at national and international levels as well as significant service delivery to beneficiaries and changes to protected area status.
After many years of conservation fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Latin American, James’ first senior role was as Executive Director of Operations at CCC Ltd, managing marine and terrestrial surveys and the implementation of protection areas. From there he moved to WSPA as Global Programme Director for Disaster Management working on the intersection of animal and human need in emergencies. After 9 years he moved to become Director of Programmes at CDP, working on environmental disclosure and overseeing global programmes on investor engagement, corporates and supply chains, global policy and cities, states and regions. James then moved on to become Executive Director of IFAW UK focusing on wildlife crime and overseeing a significant income portfolio as well as pioneering the organisations approach to new models of conservation financing. James continues to advise organisations in the environmental justice and nature financing space.