Introducing Iqbal Ali, Executive Advisor at McLean & Company

Author(s): Iqbal Ali

How did you get your start in HR?

I was overseeing the Quality Assurance and Corporate Development functions at a manufacturing operation. The organization had grown to over two hundred employees and recognized the need for a formal HR department. I raised my hands to take on the challenge, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Transitioning into HR turned out to be the best career decision I have made. Our employees are our greatest assets and helping them excel is vital. A positive and inclusive workplace where all employees feel a powerful sense of belonging at work is critical for sustained organizational success in today’s diverse society and workplaces. As HR professionals and leaders, we have the tremendous opportunity and privilege to make significant positive impacts on the lives of our clients, investors, and employees and their families, in turn inspiring peak results in our organizations.

What does your role as an Executive Advisor involve? What drew you to it?

My leadership philosophy is driven by my core values and beliefs: we are all part of one humanity, and we have the responsibility to make the world a better place. The Executive Advisor role provides me the opportunity to collaborate with numerous HR leaders to build amazing workplaces and contribute to making a positive impact on client organizations. I love the multiplier effect of impacting countless individuals and businesses across sectors and regions through my Executive Advisor role at McLean & Company.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

My positive outlook on life is my biggest ally. I consider myself blessed, and I am grateful for all the wonderful people and circumstances in my life. I live in Calgary with my wife of 30+ years and am a proud father of two daughters who are both in the medical field. I am also closely connected with my extended family.

I consciously strive to balance important aspects of my life – work, home, and play. My repertoire of wellness practices includes meditation, yoga, and exercise. I enjoy playing tennis, spending time in nature, reading, and the world of investing. My spiritual perspective keeps me grounded.

What advice do you have for someone starting out as an HR leader?

Understanding the business is foundational for HR professionals and leaders. Take time to learn all aspects of your organization. Connect frequently with individuals at all levels, especially other leaders. Get to understand their reality and priorities. Speak their language – be it sales, research, finance, or operations. Stay away from HR jargon.

On a related note, focus on building strong relationships. Genuinely care about others and provide value. Keep in mind the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Lastly, be open-minded. View diversity of people, ideas, and perspectives as a strength. Continuously learn and grow. And keep being awesome!

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