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What was your role before joining Oxford HR?

Following 12 years in Africa, mainly in energy, I returned to the US to look for an unusual career challenge, combining hard-to-solve problems but with high potential impact, especially around strong leadership, culture, change, and conservation. The opportunity to contribute to Oxford HR and help our clients achieve extraordinary outcomes for the causes they stand for is exciting, and I have lots of energy to give it.

What do you feel you can bring to clients?

Over a number of leadership roles, I have built and trained multi-disciplined teams, coached and mentored, grown and trimmed organizations, handled tough cross-cultural conflicts, used psychometric analysis, created policy, and with much of this in challenging contexts with considerable ambiguity. I have worked mainly in the private sector but also in Government in Development. I’ve built a major conservation project for Dr. Jane Goodall in the Congo and operated harmoniously in some highly sensitive environments. I hope to draw on these experiences and skills to serve clients creatively.

What issue/s keep you awake at night?

I wonder a lot about the entire state of the world, and what we can do to make it better. I’m thrilled to be at Oxford HR among people making a difference, and look forward to helping empower our clients to the maximum extent I can.

What qualities would you find in a great leader?

Putting others and the team first and self last. Fierce ambition for the team’s success. Articulate and inspiring message-making. Wit, grit, drive, honor, faith, truthfulness, creativity, and the confidence to try, fail, and try again.

What book have you read most recently?

Two brilliant historical analyses by Barbara Tuchman: The March of Folly, and A Distant Mirror – The Calamitous 14th Century. Now reading Niall Ferguson’s The War of the World – each over 500 pages which allows ample time to absorb them!

Who would be your dream client?

Those with the courage to break the mould but the humility to seek help in doing so: who live and work in dangerous places, who pursue meaningful social and/or environmental investment (ie: not just the visible kinds), who seek to win against unethical competition, who have the courage to experiment.

Favourite Quote

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” The Apostle Paul writing to the church at Philippi.

Rodney MacAlister has a career which has spanned international business, primarily in energy, government service, consulting and public advocacy. He has served on non-profit boards, chaired the Cape Town chapter of the State Dept. Overseas Security Advisory Council, been a founding member of the Corporate Council on Africa and the Business and Human Rights Roundtable at the Fund for Peace. He worked for some years building and growing businesses in former conflict zones, including as CEO of the US African Development Foundation in the Administration of President George W. Bush. He was responsible for the creation of an orphan chimpanzee sanctuary for Dr. Jane Goodall in the Republic of the Congo, featured in the film on her life, The Hope, released on Earth Day 2020. Rod also serves as a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a premier Washington think-tank, where he advises on development and related issues.

Rod holds BA and MA degrees in International Relations from the University of Redlands, California, and spent a year of post-graduate work at The Sorbonne, Paris. His French is reasonably fluent on good days.