Meet Beatrice Macksallah
Since joining One Acre Fund Kenya's human resources team in 2011, Beatrice Macksallah has seen her scope of care grow from less than 500 staff members to more than 2,900 staff members serving more than 350,000 farmers. We say "scope of care" because as the current head of human resources in Kenya, Beatrice brings an enormous level of caring and passion to her work. Supporting such a large, diverse, and widely spread team is no mean feat, but Beatrice proves herself more than equal to the task.
Beatrice’s calm, poised demeanor belies her incredible energy. This energy is what allows her to consider the needs of so many while simultaneously bringing a high level of focus to each individual task. Fortunately for One Acre Fund, Beatrice looks forward to continuing to grow her team's number and skills, all the while increasing the quality of care and service that is offered to One Acre Fund’s most valuable resource - our staff.
How did you decide on a career in human resources (HR), and why did you choose to work for One Acre Fund?
My last role, which lasted five years, was with another NGO. I was working in the HR department there, and I was doing administration. I have always been interested in HR because I have always loved working and interacting with people. In the HR department I get to interact with different people and get to learn a lot from them.
I appreciated what One Acre Fund is doing, how they are touching farmers’ lives and having real impact on the ground. I wanted to be part of that change and work to impact people’s lives. I like how One Acre Fund operates: it’s not a “boardroom” culture where decisions are made high up. Rather, it is a collaborative and interactive atmosphere.
What do you feel has been your greatest moment or achievement at work? Why do you feel it was so important to you?
The greatest moment for me always is when we have a successful hire. I love when new staff members are able to fit well within their departments, and when we get feedback from their department heads that they are doing a great job.
For an achievement, I’d say being able to decentralize HR functions and ensuring that all staff welfare is taken care of is something that makes me feel very proud. I feel I have been able to serve One Acre Fund staff well.
What is one of the most challenging things about your role? How do you overcome it?
We are a diverse organization— we have new hires, and new managers, and everyone comes in with different ways of doing things! And of course, everyone has different expectations and wants different policies in place. It can be difficult to incorporate all these ideas into one operation, but we always make sure that the policies of the organization are well communicated to new staff to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Who is your role model in life?
Internationally I look up to Graca Machel, and locally my role model is Wangari Maathai. Though she [Wangari Maathai] is dead, her policies and impact still remain with us. She was focused. I also love reaching out to other organization members and friends who are in the same profession to try and share ideas and encourage each other; they are also my role models.
What is the one thing that you would not change about yourself?
I would not change my character and how I relate to other members of this organization. I believe in being myself and always try to put my best foot forward. For example, my personal motto is “Offering and Serving.” I believe in offering and serving with the expectation that someone will emulate what I do and, in the long run, be better than me.
If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
If I had a superpower, I would wish for the power to make people do the right thing. I believe people know that they are supposed to do the right thing, but in most cases they don’t do it!
Has working for One Acre Fund met your expectations?
The experience has been great! Joining One Acre Fund at first was a shock to me. The culture and way of doing things here was different compared to other organizations. Other organizations do things in a formal and procedural way, but at One Acre Fund it was informal. I mean, even the dress code was not strict! But the environment was still very professional, which I liked.
I have to say I love what I do. I love applying my skills to support others in their work. I want to ensure that all the people I work with reach the same level of professional satisfaction that I have. I have grown to love HR because of the experience I have had when dealing with people. I will always do HR for the rest of my life. If I have to change, then I would just want to move to a higher level, like Strategic Management.
What do you hope One Acre Fund looks like 10 years from now?
One Acre Fund will be a household name, will have a greater impact in tenfold, and will expand to other counties and countries in the region—the Rift Valley and even the coast!
Interested in joining the One Acre Fund team? Visit our jobs page and apply today!