As it comes to the end of 2019, you don’t have to look far to see key public figures pushing their leadership credentials. Fists being thumped on the table, fingers being pointed, manifestos made manifest. We have just had an election that has disrupted a nation, Brexit, Oxford Dictionaries declaring ‘Climate Emergency’ the Expression of the Year, humanitarian crisis on the rise both in number and severity and general international events and feelings that reflect an air of instability. Experienced, capable, reflective and wise leaders have never been needed more in our public lives but have never seemed to be in such short supply.
It is a time where the role of the leader in an organisation is at its most important – people who have the vision, courage and drive to change the world we exist in and not be afraid to upset the status quo or be outspoken, especially those at the forefront of the for-purpose sector.
At Oxford HR, as we head into our 25th year in 2020, we have had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s leading INGO’s, foundations, charities and the individuals that want to and do work within them. And because of our bird’s eye view we are able to see how the landscape is changing, and where we are best able to support our clients in their search for the visionaries of tomorrow.
In our strive to become ever more global in every sense of the word, we opened two new offices in 2019. The first on the European mainland in Amsterdam with a team of six people and then in June we opened our first office in Africa – in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2020, we look to Bangkok and Washington for our next office openings, to truly allow us to have a presence in the areas of the world where we feel our executive search experience can benefit with an on the ground presence, for our clients and candidates.
In terms of practice areas we launched Global Health, with a particular highlight being recruiting the new ED for UNAIDS in Geneva – Winnie Byanyima. This autumn saw the launch of our Environment, Climate and Conservation practice area – a particular passion for several of our consultants, and a priority focus area for us in 2020. We launched our Assessment and Learning division to enable us to understand some of those leadership drivers and to support and strengthen our clients’ leadership teams.
Meanwhile, our own research team goes from strength to strength growing by 12 members (taking our nationalities across the company to 18), all trained and accredited by the AESC (Association of Executive Search Consultants) and proudly delivering searches with a first-time fill rate of over 90% across the year.
Across Asia, we started working with the Green Climate Fund this year and completed a landmark project with the Islamic Development Bank and its new Science and Technology Fund. In Africa our work with the Gatsby Foundation continued, complemented by projects for UNDP and BRAC, the world’s largest NGO. In Europe we have started working with Greenpeace International and WWF as well as continuing our work with MSF. And finally, in the UK we’ve been working on a number of high-profile board appointments with St Christopher’s Fellowship and Muscular Dystrophy.
For many of our clients, diversity in leadership remains a touchstone issue. We believe our expertise in accessing networks of individuals from under-represented groups is one of our great strengths and this is reflected in our results where we’ve seen 51% of women, for instance, placed into the senior leadership roles we’ve been handling.
2020 will be a year for action for many of our clients and for-purpose organisations and we at Oxford HR are excited and ambitious for the year ahead. We may not be thumping the table or pointing fingers, but if you’re interested in working with us to support your own leadership team, you can come and visit us at our stand at the BOND Conference in March to discuss how we could help, or get in touch through our website.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.