Changemakers - Alan McLean
27 August 2012 at 10:30 am
Alan McLean, CEO of RedR Australia, is profiled in Changemakers – a regular column which examines inspiring people and their careers in the Not for Profit sector.
Having entered the NGO sector in 1979, initially in the overseas aid component for 14 years, Alan McLean is now back working in the sector with a sobering perspective of 33 years.
RedR Australia is a humanitarian agency which maintains a Standby Register of highly skilled personnel for United Nations agencies and other established frontline aid organisations to draw on for short-term emergency and disaster relief work.
They are a leading provider of humanitarian response training courses. These courses help equip potential and experienced aid workers with the specialised skills and knowledge to maximise their effectiveness in the field.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
Heavy focus on the safety, welfare and security of personnel in the field ahead of their assignment, during their assignment and after their return. We are encouraging all aid agencies to give serious attention to these points.
“Trying to fit the right shaped peg into the right shaped hole,” in finding the best-available person to fill a given vacancy, having regard to skills, experience, cultural-awareness and sensitivity, flexibility, possibly language capability and any other relevant criteria to try to ensure that those who need our help are assisted by the absolutely best we can mobilise.
“The never-ending search for balance…..” The hope that the international disaster and emergency scene will not present multiple catastrophes simultaneously -a Haiti-type earthquake, a Pakistan flood, and Horn of Africa malnutrition crises all registered together would likely exhaust the global community’s response capacity.
The hope for balance in that talented people available at any time will include a quota of engineers, some logisticians, a batch of public health specialists, some water and sanitation technicians and educators, together with people able to protect the most vulnerable.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Achieving shared organisational goals, collective endorsement of strategy and action list, and all members working together in pursuit of a mission. In a sector where passion drives people but not always cohesively……..
School taught me……….?
That if you obtain a reasonable education and display respect for your health, many other aspects of life will largely take care of themselves. With an ounce of luck!
If you could have dinner with two people from history, who would they be?
Sharing a table with Karl Marx and Winston Churchill would be rather fun, not needing to speak myself, so as to capture every word between the two!