I am extremely excited to announce that Nealon DeVore will be joining the President’s team on the 18th of April in the newly created Chief of Staff / Board Liaison position. After interviewing a number of highly qualified candidates, Nealon was voted Number One by all members of the foundation’s hiring team. We saw Nealon as the best candidate to function as the primary contact person for the Board and associated committees in the implementation of the Foundation’s strategic plans, strengthening governance oversight and to serve as my trusted partner in developing, managing, and tracking NCF’s capacity plan for strategic direction, and coordinating the foundation-wide goals process. Our Recruitment Team envisioned Nealon as a resourceful individual with strong emotional intelligence that could help in achieving actionable results and build strong and sustainable relationships.
Nealon brings an insatiable curiosity, an adaptability to different environments, an ability to find common ground, and a mindset for finishing every job well and on time. He has managed senior leadership’s offices, supervised employees, managed internal and external relationships, worked closely with board members, and managed strategic objectives. Born in Arkansas and raised in a religious environment, Nealon began to build an impressive 14-year career while earning his B.A. in Political Science at the University of Central Arkansas. His first job was a Special Assistant at The Clinton Foundation where his responsibilities included managing logistics for all visiting VIPs and dignitaries. It’s where Nealon began to develop what his peers and managers commented on as his ability to skillfully manage relationships and make the right judgment calls when engaging with high-level executives and boards. Some of those judgment skills were put to use in his work with young interns at the Clinton Center where he administered the internship program, mentoring more than three dozen young team leaders each year.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recruited Nealon where he worked as Advocacy Coordinator, strengthening his management and administration skills. He managed the grants administration of the Foundation’s charitable sector support program, which at that point was first exploring the theories for catalyzing donor engagement and giving. He led projects to successful outcomes, including developing programs for all employees use in tracking dozens of gifts made in the name of the Gates family. His supervisors spoke of Nealon as “the best hire ever… a very strategic, trustworthy, tactful partner, skilled at building trust with an uncanny ability to remain completely calm during tense, stressful situations”.
Nealon has dedicated his career to public service through non-profit and philanthropic pursuits, globally. After leaving the Gates Foundation, he joined the staff of the ONE organization and spent the next 6 years working across global development issues to help eradicate poverty worldwide. He worked out of ONE’s Washington, DC office and later moved on to become Senior Project Manager during which he established their Johannesburg, South Africa office. His ability to transcend cultural barriers in working across diverse environments in North America, Africa, and Europe was instrumental to a successful career with this organization. His African Executive Director applauded his ability to represent the nascent Africa Team’s interests to the global organization and praised his ability to straddle both sides of the cultural divide that enabled their team to accomplish many goals and objectives.
In his role as Chief of Staff / Board Liaison at the foundation, Nealon will support a culture of collaboration and engagement with Trustees and Associates. He will assist with onboarding new Board Members; support good governance based on the Foundation’s By-Laws and best practices; and make recommendations to the President and Board for changes to meet evolving priorities. Nealon will work closely with me to increase organizational integration and effectiveness, helping things run smoothly across programs, departments and working groups. He will work on strategic initiatives with the senior team, will ensure alignment among stakeholders, help problem-solve, and create engagement, cooperation and hospitality around cross-program and special projects throughout departments.
Nealon reported that while a good portion of his career has focused on supporting leadership, he has been a leader in his own right. Recently, he has worked as an independent consultant with his own company providing solutions and offering new, out-of-the-box ideas in those solutions.
Nealon lives in Brooklyn with his partner. He speaks of his love for international travel, languages (speaks French), U.S. & International politics and he enjoys running and loves weddings. He is an avid reader - an evening with a good book is very relaxing for him, especially a history book. He speaks of these turbulent times when truth is questioned and overlooked, when division is easier than unity.
Nealon is enthusiastic and excited about his new job with NCF.
Thanks for joining me in welcoming Nealon to the team.