Dr. James MacDonald - Leading Transformation in a Stressed Sector
Our guest in this podcast is a leader who exemplifies humility, courage, and the ability to envision. I first met Dr. Jim MacDonald in 2012. It was in the early days of him taking over the leadership of the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) and embarking on a major transformation effort. I was fortunate to partner with Jim and his team on some of the change initiatives. SFTS was struggling financially, the trustees lacked confidence that the institution could survive, and many of the staff were openly critical of Jim’s plans for transformation. They were challenging times on all fronts. On several occasions, I was witness to Jim’s in-the-moment courageous response to open attacks on his leadership. While giving voice to his team, he remained steadfast to the core priorities when many others would have caved. At the time of this interview in 2018, Jim had successfully transformed SFTS putting it well on the path to financial stability. In this podcast, Jim shares his journey of turning around an organization from the brinks of bankruptcy to one that is innovating and thriving in a stressed sector. Leaders who are shepherding transformation will find inspiring lessons to get through the most challenging times.
Reverend Dr. James McDonald is the 11th president of the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) and the professor of faith and public life. Prior to joining SFTS, he was the managing director at Bread for the World, a faith-based advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. working to reduce hunger in the US and around the world. Jim has a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University and a bachelor’s in public and international affairs from Princeton University.
This podcast is hosted by Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney