As head of the foundation’s relations for the Middle East, Pakistan, and East Asia, Hassan Damluji supports the foundation’s mission in the region through the artful management of partnerships. He works within the Global Policy and Advocacy division and is based in the foundation’s London office.
The foundation is working to solve global issues that can impact all of humanity. My job is to think through how that work can be relevant to a particular set of countries, and to build partnerships that can increase our impact. Some of our global concerns, such as polio and malaria, are especially relevant in the geographies my team serves. I try to make sure they stay high on the agenda there. Internally, we need to excite our global teams about the opportunities for partnership in the Middle East, Pakistan, and East Asia. So it’s a complex process of translation and persuasion.
My past experience consulting at McKinsey & Company was similar in some ways to the work I do at the foundation—they’re both about the art of influence. Ultimately, the foundation is trying to make changes around the world through influence and not by doing it ourselves.
To succeed at the foundation you need to be a good communicator who can get complex things done by getting the right balance of people on board. On any given decision, a whole range of people will be involved in one way or another. You have to be able to bring them with you. In fact, our colleagues are our biggest strength. We have a very diverse group with a wide range of skills. People will appreciate you because you have skills they don’t have. That’s why you were hired. At the same time, their background will mean they can bring something to the table that you could not have dreamed of. Everyone is here to add value.
The foundation is very targeted in its hiring; we look for specific skills for a specific job. If you want to work at the foundation, you have to find a very specific niche; if you don’t have it already, go get it. A good place to start is working for a grantee, which is how a lot of people are hired. And when you’re here, do volunteer work.