Introducing our new regional director for East Africa, Helen Dalton, with a few questions to get to know her and hear about her background and passions.
1. What do you feel your previous roles will bring to being RD for Africa for Oxford HR?
Having worked for 25 years in senior management roles in the NGO sector I know how vital it is to find the right candidate to fill an executive position within a specific timeframe. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in a number of project start-ups where I have been responsible for assembling the senior project team and get the project started within a relatively short span of time. It is at these times that being able to call on your networks and your knowledge of the sector is a real advantage. In addition, having been a consumer of executive search and recruitment services myself I know the importance of good communication and being able to connect with your client early on in order to build a productive relationship.
2. Which role are you most proud of placing in your career and why?
I have placed staff in many different senior roles across East Africa, Asia and Central Europe. Quite often I have been responsible for recruiting diverse members of project teams. It is always satisfying putting together a team that gels and goes on to achieve extraordinary success. I put together one such team for the Capable Partners Programme for what is now FHI360. The team was consistently high-performing and remained together for six years.
3. What qualities make a dream candidate?
I am constantly amazed at the calibre of local talent and in a continually changing world and I love being able to place candidates that are focused, have a clarity of purpose and are able to communicate their aspirations effectively.
4. Which organization would you love to place a role for and why?
In Africa today we are seeing the emergence of a new type of organization that combines not-for-profit values with fast paced systemic approaches in an attempt to find different ways of addressing some of the more intractable problems of our age. These organizations require dynamic non-traditional leaders. I would love to place a role in this type of organization because this may be where the long terms solutions are.
5. Which of the SDGs are you most committed to and why?
Ending extreme poverty – SDG 1. The focus of my work over the last two years in my role as the East Africa Regional Director for the BOMA Project was on ending extreme poverty in northern Kenya through an innovative programme that helped ultra poor women start sustainable small businesses, diversify their income sources and increase their resilience against economic shocks. I saw first hand how over a period of two years these women were able to go from living hand to mouth to being confident respected members of their communities, able to pay for health insurance, sending their children to school and increasingly being seen as leaders in their communities. This model is now being adopted by government across Africa. If complemented by government economic inclusion and social protection programs, I believe this and similar models could go a long way in making a dent in rates of extreme poverty in Africa.