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In Conversation with: Karen Twining

By 20 March 2019 No Comments

 

Associate Director, Africa

1. How long have you worked at Oxford HR and who have been some key clients in that time?

I have been working with Oxford HR since 2008, so over 10 years. During that time my main client has been Gatsby Africa: we’ve helped them fill over 50 senior posts in London, Kenya and Tanzania. Other key clients include Msingi, Practical Action, Oxfam, International Alert, iDE, AWARD, Saferworld, Better Cotton Initiative, African Philanthropy Forum, Christian Aid, IOD Parc, and Hivos.

2. What was your previous job before joining Oxford HR?

My previous role was CEO of iDE (International Development Enterprises) UK fighting poverty through the power of entrepreneurship in Africa and Asia. This proved excellent learning base for my subsequent economic development work with Gatsby Africa. Before that I worked for ActionAid (Head of the Africa Department in London), International Alert, and 10 years with Oxfam in Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda/Burundi/Kivu and Kenya.

3. Which role are you most proud of placing in your time at Oxford HR and why?

I’m delighted that the Gatsby Africa family including Msingi have recently appointed three dynamic Tanzanian women at Director level to run sector development programmes in East Africa.

4. What qualities make a dream candidate?

A concise and informative CV, a compelling wellcrafted statement which communicates passion and clearly articulates how they fit the particular role, preparation, intelligence, communication, a mixture of self-awareness, humility and confidence, plus integrity and honesty. And great references from credible senior referees.

5. Which organization would you love to place a role for and why?

I’m really interested in private sector/economic development and the role of markets in poverty reduction, and have wide and deep networks, so it would be great to work with any organisation in this space.

6. How well do you feel the issue of gender diversity is being addressed in Africa, across NGO and Not For Profit organisations?

There’s a lot more to do. Many organisations have gender parity targets. The Oxford HR Africa team is committed to ensuring that women are well represented on every shortlist. In the last year 51% of appointments were women. 25 years ago in Oxfam we were actively running gender awareness workshops in Kenya. There is still a pressing need to increase understanding of the enormous benefits of diversity.

7. How beneficial do you think mentoring schemes are within a workplace?

If there is wide organizational commitment to make mentoring schemes work, then they can be very effective. Many successful people have taken advantage of mentoring, both formal and informal. I was involved in setting up a mentoring scheme at ActionAid long ago.

8. What qualities do you think you need to be a good mentor?

Ability to listen and ask powerful questions

Ruth Davis

Ruth Davis

Ruth joined Oxford HR in 2018 after completing a BA in international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She completed multiple economic development courses, in addition to her dissertation which she wrote on the Anglo-American response to the AIDS epidemic, looking at international relations through a human rights lens.